Forks and Footprints with Blogger Megan Stetzel
Tell us about yourself! What do you do when you’re not traveling the world? Where are you from? Where do you currently live?
I am from a teeny tiny town in Upstate New York. My parents didn’t even own passports until a year ago, but somehow the travel bug burrowed deep down into my soul, and for the past 3 years, I have pretty much been on the road. I sustain myself through freelance gigs, bartending for a few months here or there, and a teeny tiny bit through my travel blog!
What first inspired you to start your blog? Since then, which destinations have you covered?
I started writing when I quit my life and bought a one-way ticket to Cambodia when I was 25. I figured it was easier to keep in touch with everyone at home if I just put everything in one place–stories, pictures, you know, the works! After Cambodia, I lived in Bangkok and taught English for about a year, and from there, I traveled around Southeast Asia to Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines.
I am currently working my way through Mexico and Central America so those will be new additions to the blog, Forks and Footprints!
What is the main purpose of your blog? Is there a message that you’re trying to convey to your readers?
Funny you should ask! Indeed, I have a very specific mission. I can’t eat anything, and apparently people want to read about how I eat and travel!
Well, I really do think I can eat a lot but outsiders think of my diet as grass and seeds and berries foraged from the forest. In the real world of Megan, I have Celiac disease, I can’t eat that dreaded word gluten that everyone is probably sick of hearing. This would certainly be annoying enough to travel with but I am also badly allergic to eggs and all nuts. But wait! There’s more! Weirdly, I am anaphylacticly (I don’t think that’s a word….) allergic to ONLY halibut and flounder, and I can eat all other types of fish. But as I recently found out, if I ingest either of these, I have about 20 minutes to stick myself with an EpiPen before it becomes, uh, let’s say uncomfortable.
But, still, I don’t let these food restrictions be my ball and chain to the USA or to well-traveled destinations. Nah, I love street food, I love finding new, weird little morsels. So, back to my mission–it’s to show people that even I can still travel authentically, and really delve into cultures, and you can too!
What gets you into the writing mode?
A really good meal! No joke. Often when I’ve had an awesomely delicious meal with great company it inspires me! I oftentimes try to harness that and crank out many posts in one sitting because unfortunately my poetic prose doesn’t just come to me every day.
What are some exciting partnerships, connections, or opportunities that have come out of your blog?
I have had the opportunity to meet amazing people. Coming from my background, I wasn’t surrounded by many like-minded people. Most of my friends are content with not leaving the US and I still love them but at times it can be difficult to relate. The travel blogging community has welcomed me in with open arms and I have made some great friends along the way.
I have also had the opportunity to create some lasting professional relationships as well! I am currently working with SelectRegistry.com to showcase the bed and breakfasts and inns that they endorse around the country. Unfortunately, I had never stayed in a B&B prior to this partnership and I am so glad I’ve had this whole other world opened up to me!
Is your blog a business? If so, what are some of the ways that you monetize it?
I treat it like a business, although, I am just at the beginning stages of monetizing slash building it into a functioning business. I am not looking to make money directly from content on my blog like ads or affiliates, I am looking at turning this into a brand and provide products or services through it. I recently acquired the domain, GlutenFreeTravelCompany.com and I can feel my creative juices flowing with what to do!
What advice would you give to other women who are interested in launching a travel blog?
Decide from the beginning if you want it to be purely for your own enjoyment or if you want to turn it into a business down the road. It’s more difficult to change directions later on. Be persistent and consistent. Set a posting schedule and stick to it. It’s difficult at times to hold yourself accountable but it will make all the difference!