Interview with travel blogger Keith Jenkins from Velvet Escape

Posted on 11 July 2012

Keith Jenkins is the founder and publisher of the VelvetEscape luxury travel blog. Based in Amsterdam, Keith left his ten-year investment banking career to travel the world and carve out a new career as a travel blogger and social media advocate. He has visited more than 60 countries across six continents and writes about his travels on his Velvet Escape blog and exhibits his photos on The Happy Explorer photo blog. In addition to being a travel blogger, Keith often speaks at travel and social media conferences, and offers social media consultancy and marketing services via his Velvet Connect and iambassador brands.

Keith will be speaking at the Getaway Travel Blog Conference on Saturday 4 August in Cape Town about ‘The business of travel blogging’, and will cover a variety of topics like branding, community building and (ways of) monetizing – basically how to take your blog from a hobby and turn it into a business.

For more on the conference click here and to book a spot at the event click here or email me on [email protected].

I caught up with Keith just before he arrives in South Africa to find out more about VelvetEscape and his travel blogging tips.

How did you first get into travel blogging?

In 2008, I left my ten-year investment banking career and embarked on a five-month round-the-world trip. The trip was meant as a sabbatical but when I returned, the financial sector was in a crisis and there were no jobs. I had sufficient savings to keep me going so I decided to start blogging as a hobby to keep myself busy while I waited for the job market to improve. I blogged about my travel experiences and grew my audience via social media. Before I knew it, I was calling travel blogging my new career!

What do you love most about being a travel blogger?

I get to travel… a lot, it’s a fantastic creative outlet and I get to be my own boss.

What’s the secret to creating a successful travel blog?

I would say consistency, from the quality of your posts and photography/video to the consistency of your writing style and the frequency of your blog posts.

How do you get your blog noticed amongst the millions of other blogs out there?

Just be yourself. Tell your story, your way. A compelling story helps to distinguish you from the rest and allows your readers to connect easily with you. Be open about your interests, views, strengths and fears.


What advice would you give to fledgling travel bloggers?

Concentrate on finding your ‘voice’ (your writing style and personal perspectives) and building your content.

How do you make money out of travel blogging?

You have to work very hard, persevere and treat your blog as a business, not a hobby. This mind-set switch is crucial if you choose to make travel blogging a career. Time management, online and offline networking, content-building, and sales and marketing skills are essential for success.

How do you fit in blogging while on the road?

I always ensure I have some posts in my Drafts folder before I go on a trip. I publish these when I’m on the road.


What’s your most epic travel story?

That would have to be my five-month round-the-world trip in 2008. In addition to seeing many parts of the world I’d not not been to before, the trip was an incredible leaning experience that laid the foundation for my transition from banker to blogger. I wrote about this experience in my ebook, Travelations: The Trip That Opened My Eyes.

What is your favourite destination so far?

That’s a tough one. There are simply too many to mention. Spain and Italy rank high, as do Argentina, Chile, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and yes, South Africa for its enormous diversity.


What are your top gadgets that you always take travelling?

My iPhone. I never leave home without it!

What’s your favourite phrase in a foreign language?

Hakuna matata. I love its meaning and the way it sounds. Oh, I love the song too.

Would you ever do any other job?

Probably not but who knows what this blogging profession will evolve into.

What’s next on your bucket list?

Antarctica is number one on my bucket list – I’m looking forward to the day when I can say that I’ve been to all seven continents!



Follow Keith Jenkins on Twitter @velvetescape and read his travel blog

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