Enjoy Life and Worry Less – Interview with Iza Sanchez of “Take The Travel”

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For this week’s feature on the Best Pinoy Travel Blogger, we have Elizabeth (Iza) Sanchez of TakeTheTravel.com

Iza is a licensed ESL teacher who also travels and love adventures! On her blog she talks about her travels, travel tips for solo-backpackers and travel guides. She also shares tips on how to save on travel and great travel resources that she finds!

To know more about here, follow her on social media and on her blog:

Facebook: Take The Travel
Google+: Iza Sanchez
Youtube: Take The Travel
Pinterest: Take The Travel
Blog: TakeTheTravel.com

Licensed ESL Teacher and traveler?

Jacaranda (Jac): Does being a licensed/certified ESL teacher plays a big part in your traveling/travel lifestyle?

Iza Sanchez - Kuala Lumpur

Yes, it does mainly because I teach online so I can take my job with me wherever I go as long as the internet connection is stable.

I also do other types of online jobs, there are deliverables and deadlines to meet just like in a traditional office job.

But the upside is that the schedules are flexible so I can travel more often and longer.

Are you traveling full time?

Jac: Are you traveling full time now and you bringing your work/projects with you?

I just got back from the UK last March and I did work on some projects while I was there. I’ll surely travel again sometime this year, but I have no definite plans at the moment.

Favorite Post on Blog?

Jac: From your blog, what’s your favorite post you’ve published so far? What’s the one with most interaction/visits?

I particularly enjoyed the one in Sydney, and UK.. I want to go to the UK 🙂

The Sydney trip was quite an adventure. My favorite post is “Skydiving in Tugerah, Memoirs of a first-timer,” because skydiving was the most exciting yet riskiest thing I’ve ever done so I really enjoyed writing about it.

Iza Sanches skydiving

Generally the articles that get the most traffic are my travel guides. But the two that top the list are, “How to plan a trip to 100 Islands, Alaminos Pangasinan,” and “Destination Guide, Nagsasa and Anawangin Cove.”

Jac: Prior to going to Hundred Island a few weeks ago, I did read that article and it helped us a lot. Thanks for that!

Most Favorite/Most Memorable Travel?

Jac: What’s your most favorite or most memorable travel? Why?

It’s difficult to choose. Every trip I’ve taken has been a unique experience. All have special memories.

Member of any travel blogger community?

Jac: Are you an active member of any travel community?

I’m active in a couple of photography groups on Facebook and I follow the Solo Traveler Society founded by Janice Waugh. I’ve joined BeMyGuest’s travel ambassadors and write for them occasionally. I’ve also joined a local camera club for amateur photographers.

Learned new words, dialects or language?

Jac; Were you able to pickup new words from the places you’ve visited?

No, I haven’t stayed in a place long enough to learn a new language. But, I definitely would like to learn a new one in the future.

What is the funniest incident you’ve had while traveling?

Jac: Is there any funny experience from traveling?

Sharing a room with a strange Austrian boy in Singapore. It’s not what you might think though. Back then, I wasn’t used to staying at backpacker hostels.

To cut down on expenses I booked a shared room for two guests which was slightly more expensive than an 8 bed dorm room but with a little more privacy I thought.

Fast forward to the backpacker inn – I was alone the first night in the small room with a bunk bed and two cabinets. The other guest, never showed up. I hoped it would stay that way until the end of my trip, but before I went out the next day the receptionist informed me that my roommate would arrive in the afternoon.

I didn’t bother to ask details. Later, in the evening, forgetting about “the roommate” I opened the door to my room and lo and behold there I found Aldrik, blond, rugged with a boyish face and a European accent which I couldn’t identify.

He was  fixing some things in his huge luggage. We introduced ourselves and exchanged a few words while I tried my best to conceal any trace of confusion on my face. I excused myself for awhile and walked back to the reception area where I found the clerk who just got back from his break.

I questioned him about it and he replied with a blunt “It’s a mixed dorm room. Didn’t you read the reservation?” I think I said something like, “Oh, I guess I overlooked it,” which sounded so much better than “I had no idea what a mixed dorm meant.”

So as it was, I spent the next two evenings sharing a bunk bed with Aldrik, lying and listening in the dark as he spoke to his girlfriend for about an hour in their native language which I mentally translated to be an endless exchange of I love you, I miss you, I’ll be back soon. It felt strange and awkward. But it was an experience that I’m glad I can look back on and just laugh at now.

Scariest moment?

Jac; What’s your scariest moment during one of your travels? What was the moment that happens that almost stopped particularly from traveling again?

I once experienced extremely bad air turbulence on a flight to Kuala Lumpur. I recall the pilot had instructed everyone to be seated and to fasten their seat belts. Then the lights of the cabin were dimmed. The shaking got stronger and went on intermittently for several minutes. All of the passengers fell silent but you could sense everyone’s anxiety.

The weather was bad when the plane departed Manila and I recall Typhoon Unagi had barely exited the country. So I was thinking it probably was still lingering around the skies of South East Asia and maybe it caught up with us.

But why wasn’t the flight canceled?

Those were the thoughts that ran through my mind. I really thought we might crash or have an emergency landing somewhere. The air turbulence went on for a period that felt like forever. It did stop though. Then the lights were brightened and the flight attendants casually resumed walking about. I let out a breathe of relief and  prayed that we would land soon.

Jac: hell scary! We experienced the same when we visited HK few years back.

Were you able to taste their local food?

Jac: Were you able to taste local food from your travels? Any strange thing you ate that’s memorable? Which one did you like?

I can’t think of any. Honestly, I’m not so adventurous when it comes to food. In a foreign place I still tend to order dishes that most closely resemble Philippine or Chinese food.

What place you would relocate?

Jac: Is there any particular place you’ve visited that you feel so at home that you were open in moving to that place?

Yes. Australia.

What’s still on your bucket list?

Jac: What place is still on the top of your bucket list? Why would you want to go there? 

There are dozens of places I want to see but Rome and Rio de Janeiro top the list.

How do you market yourself on Social network?

Jac: How do you market yourself on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social network?

Oh I actually don’t do twitter or Instagram simply because Facebook and other social media I use are time consuming enough. To market your blog you have to be willing to invest time and money on it.

Although, I don’t spend much on my blog these days aside from my hosting subscription I do dedicate a few hours each week on various blogger tasks  like doing research and keeping myself updated on recent digital marketing trends.

You don’t have to become an expert on internet marketing though but at least make an effort to understand things like SEO, building links and other ways to get your articles on top of google’s page ranks.

Subscribe to google webmaster or similar channels on youtube. Follow Matt Cutts and other google experts. Research, research and more research will help you learn how to get more visitors to your website.

Great content is also key to getting traffic. Produce great articles by following other bloggers, both local and international and learn from their success. When you’re just starting out, it will take time to build traffic, but keep working in on it and soon enough it will pick up.

What would you be doing if you don’t travel?

Jac: If you are not traveling, what would you be doing now?

I’d love to be a researcher or photographer for National Geographic or Discovery magazine.

Jac: Oh, I wish I could introduce you to Hannah.

Blog monetization?

Jac: Have you tried monetizing your blog?

Yes, I’ve joined a few affiliate programs.

Do you keep a list of the Philippine beaches that you’ve visited? What’s your favorite?

Jac: If it’s not Boracay or Bohol or some other famous beach, can you share how to get there? (for our readers who wants to go there as well).

Frendz Resort

Back in 2009 I traveled with my family to a remote coastal town called Port Barton in Palawan. It was about 3 hours from Puerto Princesa City. We rode a boat and toured many noncommercial and absolutely gorgeous islands. The best one was what the locals named Virgin Island. I’ve never seen a beach with water as clear as that and it seemed so calm and quiet everywhere.

You can take a bus from Puerto Princesa to Port Barton. But we rented a van to get there.
From the town I recall the dirt road we passed only got worse as we got closer to the coast. I do hope it has been developed by now.

What has travel taught you?

It’s taught me to enjoy life more and to worry less.

Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travel bloggers?

If you’re addicted to travel and you have a passion for writing then start blogging now. Every traveler has a unique experience to share so go on tell your stories and let others learn from them, laugh at your misadventures and be inspired to discover more of this beautiful planet of ours.

Follow Iza

To know more about Iza, follow her on social media and on her blog:

Clickable at the start of this post

Facebook: Take The Travel
Google+: Iza Sanchez
Youtube: Take The Travel
Pinterest: Take The Travel
Blog: TakeTheTravel.com

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