Seattle-based Geraldine DeRuiter is the hand and mind behind Everywhereist.com, voted one of the best blogs of 2011 by Time Magazine. The blog has also been featured on Forbes, Conde Nast Traveller and several other reputable sites.
She describes her enterprise as "travel blog for the accidentally adventurous" and is known for her self-deprecating and hilarious stories. Once a wary traveller, Geraldine now spends most of her time straddling across the globe with her husband, Rand. She used to work as a content writer and claims getting laid-off was one of the best things ever happened to her. Geraldine has explored and written about several destinations across Americas, Europe and Asia. She pens down her experiences in various forms - blogs, info graphics, photographs, tips, advices, open letters etc.
You are a popular travel blogger. What goal did you have in mind when you decided to become a travel blogger; and has that been achieved?
I didn't really have any goals in mind for the blog - I was unemployed at the time, and just trying to keep myself out of trouble. It seems to have worked, because, since starting the blog, I have not been arrested ONCE.
Would you call your lay off to be the single most important catalyst in transforming you (as well as things) into what you are right now - a successful travel blogger?
I definitely owe credit where credit is due - and I have to admit that if I hadn't lost my job, I likely wouldn't have started a blog. But I've also been very fortunate to have a husband who has supported and inspired me from the very start. And, of course, we've been lucky enough to find ourselves in a financial position that enables me to travel with him and devote so much time to blogging. It's honestly more than any reasonable person could ask of life, and I'm incredibly grateful.
How have you grown as a traveller? What are some of your pet peeves as a frequent traveller?
I think I'm more conscientious than I used to be - I try to remember that if someone is rude to me, they're likely just tired and frustrated and trying to get home. That being said, some things still ruffle my feathers - like when people hog too much space in the overhead compartment (your second bag GOES UNDER YOUR SEAT!) I even wrote The Ten Commandments of Air Travel to address some of the more of the stranger or more annoying behaviors I've encountered. But mostly, I just try to remember that we're stuck on this planet together, so we should play nice.
You have been to numerous cities across the globe. Do you miss home (Seattle) when you are travelling? Is there any city where you would like to stay forever?
If we're ever on the road for a long time, I do start to miss Seattle (but this rarely happens during the winter time - when my hometown is grey and rainy, I'm pretty okay with leaving).
There are so many cities in which I can imagine myself staying! Sometimes it's no big surprise, because those places (like Portland, OR, or Vancouver, BC) have a lot in common with my beloved Seattle. But every now and then I'll find myself positively smitten by a place that is radically different from home (like the time we visited Milwaukee, WI, and I told my husband we needed to more there, immediately).
You recently wrote about your visit to Cambodia. You were deeply touched by the scene at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, and in particular by 'Lucky - the elephant'. What is your view on 'Responsible/Philanthropic Travel' and what other such places have you visited?
I feel like we all have a responsibility to a little bit of research when we travel, and make sure that the places we patronize are ethically run (especially when those establishments involve animals)! I was very fortunate during my travels in Cambodia, because my travel buddy, Nicci, had done a lot of research about ethical establishments and NGOs that were worth supporting. Sadly, I'm not always as mindful as I should be - but I'm doing my best to get better at this.
In your own words, your blog is mostly for your husband, Rand. "So he can remember the places we've visited, the things we saw. So he can know a little bit about what I see when he's off giving presentations and having meetings". How does it feel to have something that you started as a 'love letter' for your husband, to be so popular and even feature on TIME Magazine's Top 25 Blogs and other prestigious lists?
Whenever I think too hard on this point, it always becomes a little bit surreal. I'm amazed to think that people are drawn to the blog - especially when I spend so much time writing about my husband and our ridiculous adventures together. It's a good reminder that you should try to write about the things you know and love - because when you do that, it doesn't matter if one person reads it, or 10,000 people do. It's rewarding, either way.
We came across a 'love letter' that Rand wrote to you on your Birthday back in 2012! He describes you as a person who takes care of millions of things he never would, who is his connection to other people, best partner in crime a guy like him could hope for etc. How difficult (or easy) has it been for you to be so good at many roles - successful travel blogger as well as a lovely wife to name just two?
Ha! This question cracked me up, because I am so incredibly terrible at so many things. I'm constantly getting lost, I'm always forgetting to pay bills on time, I occasionally forget that I need to eat balanced meals and end up making a batch of cookies for dinner. I don't think I've mastered many roles at all. I've just been very, very lucky that I found someone with whom to share my life, and he appreciates me just as I am.
You are a traveller, a blogger, a book author and a wife. Is it a daunting task to be able to strike a balance between these roles? What has been your secret?
Well, the book isn't done yet. :) But honestly, my life is incredibly charmed and easy. I have a supportive partner, and a lot of wonderful people around me who've encouraged my writing (including an absolutely incredible community of readers). I don't have any secrets. I've just been very, very lucky.
You mostly travel with your husband, for his work. How much time do you two get to spend together when you're on the road?
When we're traveling, we usually don't get to see much of each other during the day - he's busy with meetings or a conference, and I'm off exploring a city, taking photos, and finding interesting things to write about. But we often get to have dinner together, and sometimes Rand even has a little bit of free time to have an adventure with me.
You and Rand make a great couple, as the readers can see at Everywhereist. By choosing to become a travel writer you did bridge the distances that were there earlier when he 'wandered around the world'. Wouldn't it have been nicer if you both had same purpose of travel - business or leisure?
I feel like we both are very busy during our trips - Rand has lots of work, obviously, and I,ve usually got an agenda of things that I intend to write about. We are lucky enough to take a few leisurely trips together a year. Though even on those trips, we don't always synch up - Rand just wants to relax, and I'm looking for something to write about!
How often do you two go on holidays that are purely about leisure and being together? And which has been the most memorable destination so far where you two took such a holiday in the past?
Most of our trips are work-related. But we make a point of going to Ashland, Oregon, every year for our anniversary. It's a small town on the Oregon-California border, and it's one of the few places that we actually go to purely for fun. I suppose it's not coincidence that it's become one of my (and Rand's!) favorite places on the planet.
We found out that you are working on a book. Would you like to share few details about it for the interest of your readership?
I am excited and a little bit overwhelmed - it's been by far one of the more challenging projects of my life. It's still a long way from being done, but I feel like I've been making some great progress - I'm hoping to have it completed sometime next year!
This interview with Geraldine is a part of Travel Trolley's ongoing 'Best of the Travel Bloggers' series. We are interviewing popular travel bloggers who encourage and inspire people to travel. Check out all the bloggers we have interviewed and learn about their interesting experiences, adventures, travel stories as well as useful holiday tips. (Photos Credit : Flytographer)