Nahid Sultana runs the blog Journey Around The Globe; here is a link to her website:
Q: What made you interested in travel blogging?
A: I used to teach basic computer skills to the middle school kids at a private school where each student created a blog as a fun project. That’s when I started my blog. But it really became a daily agenda for me when we moved to Belgium and started going to many different places. I had to note down all the information I was gathering from all these trips.
Q: What do you look for in a guest blogger?
A: I accept any kind of travel related guest posts. They have to be authentic and…oh yeh, some appealing pictures from around the world. But I also accept sponsored posts…but again, has to be travel related, like from hotels, cruise liners, airlines, or tour guide companies. So that my readers can enjoy them and get some information on particular destination.
Q: What sort of day job do you have and how does it affect your ability to travel?
A: I am a freelance photographer and a freelance blogger. So traveling really doesn’t affect anything. I used to be a teacher as I mentioned above. But after coming back from Europe, I am enjoying setting my own schedule and being my own boss J
Q: What is the biggest difference you have noticed between the American education system and that of European countries?
A: My girls used to go to a British school, St. Paul British Primary School, in Belgium. We had the option to enroll them in the local Flemish or French school. But because of the language issues, they were admitted in this English school. That’s why I am not too familiar with the overall European education system. But we were extremely satisfied with St. Paul BPS. The best part was that my elder daughter straight went to Grade 1 at the age of 5, which is unthinkable here in The States, where the children go to Kindergarten at that age.
Q: What advice would you have for people traveling with small children?
A: I can actually write a whole book on this topic…hahaha. But plan, plan, and plan…this is the most important thing when you are traveling with children. First thing, start packing ahead of time for a fun and smooth journey. If you pack night before the trip, you will definitely forget to put some necessary things in your suitcase. What I mean by that, other than just clothes, shoes and diapers, you need to have something that they will enjoy during the plane/train/car journey. Something like books, toys (that won’t make sounds), their favorite treats, or their favorite cup where they like to drink their milk from. I usually don’t give candies to my kids, but during trips, I buy their favorite candies/chocolates to keep them happy and energized from time to time (make sure not too many a day). When you have reached your destination, remember to have some snacks/fruits/drinks in your backpack to give them in between meals. Kids get hungry really quickly. They would want to munch on something if they are walking a lot, under the sun for too long, getting bored, or not enjoying visiting lots of museums. Also don’t forget your sunscreens, hats, and sunglasses. Another thing to make sure is that they get enough rest. If you are on a long vacation, the children get tired after just few days from waking up early or going to bed late, going to different places…sometimes may be with a tour guide, hiking/walking, and etc. Their bodies aren’t like their parents. They need certain amount of sleep everyday. Make sure they get plenty of that. Last thing I would say that when you are in a certain city or place try to do or see at least one thing that your kids will enjoy. Visiting history, museums, ancient ruins are fun for adults, but may be not for a 5 years old. Research and see if there is any bug museum or miniature display or just a nice park which kids would love to go and believe me every city has at least couple things for kids of all age.
Q: What European city is most like Portland?
A: We lived in Tervuren, a small Flemish city in Belgium, very close to Brussels. And weather-wise, this was very similar to Portland…short summer, gloomy winter mornings, no extreme heat in summer or freezing condition in winter, rare snow in the cold weather, and finally lots of rainy days. I really didn’t miss Portland much…well, other than the English language.
Q: What country was the most surprising to you?
A: I would say the whole region of Eastern Europe surprised me the most. When it comes to Europe, tourists usually go to the western part. But Eastern European countries, like Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania, Macedonia, Croatia, Russia, Estonia, and other smaller countries in that part of Europe are just as good as the other big countries. These places have so much to offer to their visitors despite the recent wars and economic conditions. They have some stunning natural beauties, many historical sites, good museums, unique cultures, and finally you can’t go wrong with the Eastern European food. The best part is, spending few days in some of these places are much cheaper than most of the other parts of Europe.
Q: What sets you apart from other travel bloggers?
A: My blog is more like a guide for the future travelers where I also share my personal experiences. Though I hate to write negative things about any places, I do share my honest opinions when it comes to any specific things, like food or must-sees. I try to take my readers to a virtual journey with my blog where they not only get the feelings of the city, but also know how much money we are spending on food, souvenirs, transportations, and etc. Another thing I always mention is the sites or the tour guides that we’ve used in any particular city along with their contact information and rates for my readers. And lastly, since we have traveled as a family with 2 small children, I always try to mention the kid-friendly things to do or see in the places we’ve visited.
Q: You have won a lot of blogging awards; how did you get nominated for them?
A: Thanks to my fellow bloggers, readers, and followers for those lovely awards. The way these awards work is that once they are nominated by their friends, they have to nominate a certain numbers of people to keep this chain going. I was fortunate enough to be nominated by some of my wonderful blogger friends.
Q: What is your weirdest airplane story?
A: I don’t really have any weird airplane story to share. But every plane or road trip we took was a memorable one and that could be either beginning or end of a journey. I am always excited about a visiting a new place and even more excited when I come back home ready to share the story and the pictures of the places I’ve just visited to my readers.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)