I am sincerely loving putting together these articles each day. Especially when every interview is so different to the last. Yesterday, we chatted to travel blogger, Sarah from ecotravelist, discussing sustainable travel. Today, I am introducing you to an internationally published writer, podcaster and photographer, who has an incredible way with words and a deep curiosity about the world around him.
Meet Christopher Mitchell, a Canadian with many talents. We were initially intrigued by Christopher’s email describing himself as a podcaster and the understanding that he had appeared on Vancouver’s Roundhouse Radio. We made a point of stopping by and listening to a few of his ‘into Istanbul’ segments before heading over to his blog. We found his podcasts light-hearted, insightful and very easy to listen to.
As we investigated further (which is what we do to decide who we interview, in case you were wondering…), we were drawn in by his ability to story tell and engage his audience. With never ending amount of blogs circulating the internet, it’s inspiring to continually come across blogs that captivate us and lead us to read more and more. That’s the goal, right? It’s one thing to get someone onto your site, but keeping them there is key.
I’m a Canadian travel blogger, photographer, podcaster and freelance writer. Along the way, I’ve lived in countries such as Norway, South Korea, Turkey, and Nicaragua and, in total, I’ve visited over 70 countries as well as 6 continents. I’ve been lucky to see so much, but that hasn’t yet hindered my seemingly endless curiosity.
Writing, reading and travelling are my foremost passions in life and, if at all possible, I try to do be doing one of these three things as much as humanly possible. I genuinely love meeting and connecting with others, so feel free to link up with me on social media, or head on over to my blog to see what I’ve been up to as of late.
What made you decide to start a Podcast? Is there someone who does this that inspired you?
Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved listening to the radio. I remember being in the car with my parents and listening to the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), and really enjoying the fact that all the voices of the hosts were familiar to me. Not to mention my house was one growing up where you could often hear some form of talk radio in the background. So, my love of the podcast form itself really dates back to my love of public radio, which was instilled in me by my parents, who I’m indebted to in that regard (and likely many, many others).
My decision to start my own podcast wasn’t some grand, prolific leap for me in that it felt like a natural progression. I started my podcast “Into Istanbul” (which you can find on iTunes) with another friend who felt there was a void to fill in information about Istanbul. In a time in which sparse headlines dominate the opinion of what Istanbul is, we felt like we could give a view “behind the scenes,” and I think the name of the podcast reflects that.
I also have two more concepts I’m playing with as far as launching future podcasts, so stay tuned for that.
As I alluded to above, I think much of my inspiration came from the public radio I listened to as a kid, but there are plenty of podcasts now which do really inspire me. Great interview-centric podcasts like NPR’s Fresh Air certainly inspire me, and travel podcasts such as Chris Christensen’s “Amateur Traveler Podcast” also planted seeds for me as to what a quality travel podcast can be. Having only a few episodes under my belt so far, I very much respect those podcasts that have been going strong for a long time – editing is tedious, to say the least (but worth the effort!).
We love your writing style, have you always been passionate about writing or did this come with your travels?
Firstly, thanks for the compliment. I’d have to say that my love of writing is something that pre-dates my love of travel. I’ve been passionate about writing for as long as I can remember. Some of my first definitive memories are of my primary school teachers telling me that I had a way with words and that it might take me somewhere someday. That remains to be seen, naturally, but I can say that writing is arguably my favourite pastime. I can’t imagine my life without writing.
I actually was an English literature major at university because of my sincere love of reading and writing, and I still believe that was one of the best decisions I made, despite the potential lack of lucrative job opportunities that going into something like commerce might promise. I’ve been writing my blog for years, and I’ve been published in countries around the world in both print and online, so I feel like my writing has carried me a fair way. It’s something I initially thought was just a very time-consuming hobby, but I’m discovering now that it can be a career path for me, and that’s very exciting.
Why do you choose to travel?
It’s funny; I can’t really come up with reasons why I shouldn’t travel, you know? I have a deep curiosity inside me that I have a hard time quenching without travel. Google is truly wonderful, that’s for sure, but there’s a difference between seeing a place through a computer screen, and seeing something with your own two eyes.
Also, the world is becoming increasingly global. I’ve been to some 70 countries now, and I love the fact that I have personal feelings and an understanding about each one. When somebody makes a generalization about a nation I’ve visited, I can say, “You’re wrong, and here’s why…” – That means something to me. It’s definitely my intention to visit every nation on the planet.
What is your favourite travel quote?
My favourite travel quote is the one I have tattooed on my ribs. “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide
What is at the top of your bucket list?
For me, this is a really tough one, but I’ve got to go with Colombia. I’ve visited Ecuador but never made it over to Colombia, and I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things. I’ve been lucky to visit quite a bit of Europe and Southeast Asia, but South America is definitely where I’ve got my targets firmly set now.
Top tip for a first-time traveler
Do your research. I can’t stress this enough. I’m all for being spontaneous and letting a trip unfold, but you definitely need to understand a country well enough to add some context to your decisions. What I mean is, you need to know how you can ensure that you’re following the customs and paying respect to the traditions of a nation. Being foreign isn’t an excuse for being ignorant.
How do you grow your following authentically?
Be authentic. Nobody wants to read a blog or follow a travel blogger or travel personality who makes travel seem unattainable. When, years ago, I stopped pretending to be a traveller extraordinaire and just started to be “myself on the road,” people naturally had a greater interest in my excursions. Being honest and being true go a long way in a world in which there are plenty of fake people with a massive following. Personally, I don’t want people to follow me who are looking for those types of people to follow. I want real engagement with real people, and I’ve been lucky to develop that with my followers and readership.
Recently, opportunities have really been flooding in, and I’m so grateful for that, but I feel like the main thing is that people feel comfortable shooting me a message or email and letting me know about opportunities because they already know who I am. Chris Mitchell “the person” and Chris Mitchell “the travel blogger,” are the exact same, so I think that approach, that honesty, has really been my strength. Let’s be clear, I still have a lot of growing to do, but I feel like my goals are attainable, and I have a lot of support that I couldn’t be more humbled by.
Make sure you connect with Chris by using the links below.
Website – www.travelingmitch.com