+ How did you get into blogging?

I’ve actually been blogging since I was a teenager. First I used livejournal and deadjournal (my name was sexinasweater – for real), then a blog named That’s Tangly, and then Candice Does the World, and now here I am, with Free Candie. My permanent home.

I’ve been a writer first and foremost my entire life. When I was a child I constantly wrote stories. I wrote stories about my two dogs, Lady and Beauty, and then as a teenager I wrote an entire YA series about a pen-pal club. Seriously. Blogging was an ingenious way for me to bring my work to an audience…I recognized this even at 16 years old.

+ How do you make money?

Omigawd. The question I get 3030329032 times a day. Not even my parents know what I do.

The simple answer is that I have a VERY diverse income stream. I make VERY little from this blog…it’s more or less a portfolio. Sometimes an editor or a company will find my site and reach out to me to ask for written content, etc. I do a great deal of web copy for sites like GuideAdvisor.com, as well as content for marketing companies back home in Atlantic Canada. I’m blessed to have come from a supportive small community.

I do make a small income from affiliate links and sponsored content, including sponsored media. But I will never endorse a product I don’t believe in, and if I’m not a fan of the product, I simply won’t talk about it. I’m aware that people have different tastes and I’d rather not slander an entire company just because of my personal preferences (unless there were serious issues).

I cleared just under $30K Canadian last year. That’s nothing. And yet I still pay my student loans, set aside money for RSPs and TFSAs, and rarely do I deprive myself. The key is to live within your means, my friends.

+ Do you take press trips?

Yes, although usually just two to three a year. I think it’s silly that so many other bloggers turn up their nose at press trips. I’m all about sharing the experience, not touting how fabulous a place is. I try to be transparent about the experience, especially when it comes to destinations I have always wanted to visit. I will never gloss over the facts. Bad case of traveller’s stomach? Oh you bet it’s going on the blog.

I pay for most of my travel myself. I’m not a trust fund baby and I grew up in a relatively low-income family. You’d be surprised how far your dollar can stretch when you’re not in North America!

+ Can we be friends on Facebook?

No, sorry. Not unless we’ve developed an online companionship, or have shared a beer IRL. It’s not you, believe me. But when you get 30 creeps trying to add you per day, it gets tiresome. Plus I’d like to keep up with my long-time friends and family to see what’s going on in the real world beyond travel! Feel free to send me a message on my Facebook page though, or by email. I’ll always respond. I’m always happy to meet new people!

+ I’m visiting Newfoundland – can you help?

Yes, I can even put together a full itinerary for you starting at $100CAD, depending on the length of your visit. That’ll include hotel recommendations, eating recommendations, and the best sightseeing spots. Please contact me if you’d like some help!

Otherwise refer to my full section of Newfoundland content.

+ Why did you choose to live in Berlin?

I’m fascinated by gritty cities (Athens!) with young populations, especially those that are filled with artists and alternative types. Berlin’s affordable, and a travel hub at the heart of Europe, thus fulfilling all my wanderlust needs. Plus it’s just all kinds of kickass.

+ What’s your favourite place to travel?

Sligo, Ireland is my favourite place in the world. It’s the only place (outside of Newfoundland) where I’ve felt a solid connection – like I was at home. I’ve been there twice and it keeps getting better and better. Great people, a surreally talented music scene, and lots of surf, SUP, and outdoor adventure.

+ Do you always travel solo?

Not always. To be honest, I have a lot of anxiety issues, and having grown up in such an isolated world, I’m just not that street smart compared to other travellers. That’s why Berlin is such a lovely challenge for me. Everything from supermarkets to recycling intimidates me. Berliners are cray about their recycling.

So while I DO travel solo, sometimes I just want the ease of travelling with friends or organized groups. I think people tend to sneer at tour groups, but if you find the small ones, you’re guaranteed to click with the right people. Plus you’ll learn a great deal about the country in the process – these guides are always well trained. I love travelling with groups like Contiki, Med Experience, and Trek America.

+ How do you plan your travels?

Check out my resources page for some of my favourite travel planning tools, as well as the gear I use!

+ How can I get into travel writing?

Start with what you know. That’s my best advice to you, and it’s how I got started…by writing about Newfoundland. I’m the only Newfoundland based travel writer in the Travel Media Association of Canada, so it’s my niche area. It was surprising to realize how valuable my knowledge is.

I recommend enrolling in a program like MatadorU to really break into the scene. You have to be a serious writer, though. I studied English and Professional Writing. I dedicated my life to this craft. This ain’t easy. You gotta love the craft. You gotta be passionate about quality work. You gotta WORK YOUR BALLS OFF.

+ How can I get into travel blogging?

Like travel writing…same same but different. Blogging is highly competitive and most people won’t make it. You need to be a talented web writer, and you have to know your way around a camera. Build that social media following (but if you send me an auto DM on Twitter you’re fired).

I recommend Travel Blog Success for getting you started. Their help has been incredibly valuable.

+ What’s next for you in writing?

I’ll have a few e-books rolling out in the coming months, and I just completed my first ever fiction manuscript with Humber College in Toronto. I miss the world of beautiful prose and storytelling on a different level, so I’m trying to break back into the Canadian author scene again.

So why did I create Free Candie? Well, I’ve been a writer since I was a child, but in the past five+ years I’ve turned this crazy blogging thing into an actual career that enables me to be location independent. You might say I’m a little addicted to sharing my stories digitally. I’m also addicted to cheese.

– Candice Walsh

Got more questions? Hit me with them.

Get in touch and I’ll do my best to help.