Ella Capek, a travel blogger at Wide Eyed Wanderer, lives in Israel.
Born in Manchester, Ella lived there until the age of 14, before moving with her family to Israel. Studying to become a music therapist, Ella’s still continues to blog about her travels.
Her biggest dream however is to create an international music therapy programme and travel around the world, and implement it in different countries. You can read more about Ella from her IQPlanner profile page.
Why did you start travel blogging? How long have you been doing it?
At the end of 2014, I went on my first solo trip and had a fantastic time. I went to Kenya to volunteer and before I left, I reached out to travel blogger Helen from Helen in Wonderlust.
She has plenty of knowledge on travelling in Africa so I wanted her advice. She then offered me to write about my experience on her blog, so I did and really enjoyed the experience of writing and seeing it published.
However, I never thought about starting one of my own, despite having read travel blogs for over a year and loving them. I saw myself only as a consumer, not a contributor. But after sharing my story on her blog, all I could think of was starting my own.
It felt like a strong urge that came from nowhere and didn't make sense. At first, I tried to ignore it because I thought it was ridiculous. I’d only begun to travel, and knew nothing about running a blog. I wasn't a writer and am a big introvert. Why would people be interested in it?
But the urge was so strong that it actually began to annoy me and I started a blog, just to silence that urge. Something I thought would only be a 3-month experiment, ended up being one of my biggest sources of joy and fulfillment 2 years later. I'm so glad I listened to that urge as I can't imagine not blogging now!
Name your top 3 most memorable places?
Kenya, Paris and the hills of Andalusia in Spain. Kenya holds a special place in my heart because it’s where I did my first solo trip. But the country is also very beautiful and the people even more so. Everywhere in Kenya I met people who were genuine, generous and honest.
And I also fell in love with the people, the culture and the nature. There's a heart to Kenya that beats with kindness and sincerity.
I consider Paris to be my soul city — a soulmate but in the form of a city. As strange as it sounds, I felt like Paris understood me and I was at home there. It's a gorgeous city that's perfect for the creative, introspective introvert. It's a great city for just walking around, people watching and contemplating the ways of the world while enjoying a delicious croissant. It's character and style are very appealing too.
Last but not least, the Andalusian hills is a favourite because it's stunning! But it also holds another place in my heart. I was there for a yoga retreat about 6 months ago and had an incredible time. It was truly a transformative experience for me, but getting to experience that with the views of the Andalusian hills as the backdrop just made it even more special. The Andalusian hills are breathtaking and I spent many moments soaking up its beauty.
What’s the best thing about being a travel blogger?
I think it’s getting to share your stories and connect with your audience. It's the whole point of blogging for me and I find it so fulfilling and rewarding.
And the worst?! (if there is one)
The comparison game. Not when other bloggers or audiences are comparing you to others in a judging way, as both travel bloggers and travel blog audiences are generally very lovely people.
But when you start comparing yourself and your blog, to other bloggers and their blogs. The mental comparison game is a tornado that can sometimes be hard to get out of, and can be very debilitating.
Give your top tip to a blogger starting out
First off, I'd like to say congratulations on deciding to start a blog! Blogging is an endeavour and a journey that's like no other and it can be a very fulfilling one. There's a lot of advice I could give to new bloggers, but I’d say to trust yourself and your journey.
Not everyone’s going to be a blogger that earns $25,000 a month from their blog and certainly not within the first year of blogging. But if you truly love blogging and it fulfils you, allow your blog (and yourself) to develop naturally and don't put so much pressure on yourself to be a 'pro' blogger straight away, if that's what you want to be.
Everyone's blogging journey is different and pressure and high expectations can be a killjoy. It’d be a shame to taint something you've just begun doing with that pressure. Your joy and fulfillment should always be your top priority, so don't worry if you still haven't made thousands after a year or two or if you're not where you thought you should be. It's about the journey, YOUR journey and not about any desired end goal.
Hotel freebies: take ‘em’ or leave ‘em’?
This is a good question and one that every blogger has to figure this out for themselves when they reach that junction. Some bloggers will jump at the chance, while others will stay away from it like it's the devil.
I've personally never had the opportunity to take a hotel freebie so it's hard for me to say what I think about them. I'm inclined to say that there's nothing wrong in taking them, if you're given the opportunity and you want to take it then do so. But just make sure you go about it ethically.
For instance, ask yourself if this is something that you'd enjoy doing, even if you weren't getting to do it for free. Ask yourself if your audience will be interested in reading about this or if the experience is in alignment with your brand (staying at a 5* resort when your blog's niche is about budget travel etc). And always mention in your post if you were compensated. If all of these are a yes, then awesome! Enjoy yourself!
What’s at the top of your list for destinations this year?
There are too many countries! Some of the countries that I'd love to visit soon are Slovenia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Turkey and the Netherlands.
Other destinations include Vietnam, Thailand, USA and Nicaragua.
Why should people subscribe to your page?
I'd say that people should subscribe because I'm honest and because my blog has a lot of heart. I'll talk about topics that you might not read on others like, how to find the courage to travel again after a traumatic trip.
I share my experiences and stories, but I also talk about travel from a perspective of understanding the world and from personal development. I travel because I want to understand the world and people on a deeper level and I hope that by doing so, I become a better person.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten on your travels?
In Nairobi, Kenya, there’s a place called Carnivore Restaurant where waiters will come with different types of meat for you to try. If you eat meat, it's a great experience and I definitely recommend it.
There are a lot of different types of meat that aren't typical for Westerners and I tried a bunch of them. But the most unusual one I tried was... a bull's testicle. And no, I didn't particularly enjoy it!
Where’s your next adventure?
My next adventure is going to be back to the yoga retreat in Spain! They’ve since moved to the Valencia region, but I'll be back there to volunteer as a retreat helper for a few weeks.
I really wanted to go back before starting university and this way I get to stay around for much longer and help out at the place that helped me!
Want to know more about Ella's next travels? Click any of the links below to keep up to date.