“Trying to please everyone will be a great source of stress but the feel-good factor generated by doing what you love in the best manner possible can attract unexpected customers.”
Meet Hazel Joy, member of GirlCrew Kerry and Owner Arrivals Hall Travel Blog
We all joke about something being “big in Japan”, but GirlCrew Kerry member, Hazel Joy, can actually say that she is big in Brazil as the majority of the readers of her blog come from there. A travel blogger by trade, Hazel completed a science degree “many moons ago” and briefly considered becoming a science journalist/writer, but she didn’t pursue it. After speaking with the then Kerry County Council Writer-in-Residence Frances Kaye who was facilitating a Bealtaine Festival writing workshop Hazel was encouraged to give writing a go. And so, in 2008, she began submitting travel articles to a local free ads magazine for publication. From this rather inauspicious start great things began to grow and in 2010, the Irish Times published her Berlin article “Handbags or History” – an achievement that she calls “the highlight of my hard-copy phase”. As the recession progressed, Hazel got requests from people to publish articles online for the benefit of emigrants, and in September 2013 her travel blog was born. Of course, like any blogger worth their salt Hazel knew that she would need an attention-grabbling and unique title so she chose very carefully. In fact, the name Arrivals Hall comes from her philosophy that one should always return home with a truthful story and she aims to make that story as engaging as possible.
1. What is the best thing about your role?
To paraphrase Frank Sinatra, I can do it my way – I have complete editorial control.
2. What did you find most challenging about it?
Not having the money to do more extensive travel for a travel blogger is akin to a hairdresser without a scissors. However, too much focus on destinations could mean omitting blog posts on travel topics which are equally if not more important. For example, my post on LGBT tourism became my most popular blog post of all time (“Tolerance Tourism” – April 2015) and my interview with Hilary Bradt (September 2013) is my third most-popular post on the blog.
3. What is your proudest work related achievement to date?
It was an absolute honour to interview travel writer and publisher Hilary Bradt and I was privileged when she promoted the interview post on the Bradt website. David McWilliams re-tweeted my post on LGBT tourism. Validation from the masses and the experts is what writers dream of.
4. What would be your one tip to others who want to get involved in this industry?
Put yourself in the readers’ shoes. Much as you want to write will people want to read what you write? Channel your inner constructive critic to make your blog stand out from the inane.
5. What would be your motto in life, and in work?
Different strokes for different folks. In a business context, different people like different things. Trying to please everyone will be a great source of stress but the feel-good factor generated by doing what you love in the best manner possible can attract unexpected customers. For example, I’m still trying to find an explanation as to why Brazil is the overseas country where my blog is most popular.
In a personal context, the different strokes for different folks philosophy emphasises the need for tolerance and variety.
If you are a member of GirlCrew, and are interested in begin featured in Meet the GirlCrew, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!