We chat to one of last year’s winners about the world of travel blogging and the future of travel after Covid-19
Congratulations on your win! How did it feel to win a Travel Media Award?
Thank you! It’s always great to have your work recognised, especially in such a crowded space as online media, among many long-standing, traditional publishing names.
The judges loved your series covering Japan. Can you tell us some more about that project?
Japan is almost a second home for me and my partner Elly as all her family are from there, and it continues to be the destination we’re most inspired by — we’re constantly dreaming up plans for the next time we can travel there. In early 2019, I wanted to create a premium video series documenting rail travel in the winter. The whole project and 21-day itinerary was self-planned and self-funded, with our utmost attention given to producing the highest-quality video we could. The Japan Rail Series is easily my favourite we’ve made for the channel! Hopefully we can make a second series soon.
What’s the story behind the creation of your platform, Jelly Journeys?
Jelly Journeys started as a way to separate out the content on my YouTube channel and blog from the personal travel stories of Elly and me. Joe + Elly = Jelly! When we first left the UK to go travelling in early 2016, we just wanted to create a blog to document our personal memories and our art and to candidly share our stories through photography; it wasn’t our intention to create guides. As time has gone on, my YouTube channel has become the main home of our joint adventures and video projects, and Jelly Journeys is now the home of behind-the-scenes content, where we take a more informal approach.
Is there a secret to your success that you could share with someone looking to start out in blogging?
The number-one tip I give to everyone is to make the content for yourself first. That way, you’ll maintain your enjoyment for it and continue to make things for all the right reasons. If you’re an audience for your own content, there’s a chance it’ll appeal to others and things can grow from there.
What does a travel blogger do when there’s suddenly no travel?
Reflect and organise. In many ways, it’s been liberating to have a chance to slow down. It’s also been a great opportunity to get a lot of admin completed and work on some of the extra videos we filmed but never edited due to the time required to edit and publish in our normal schedule.
Do you think the Covid-19 crisis will affect the way you approach travel in years to come?
If anything, I think it’s re-confirmed our existing approach from the past few years. We always prefer to travel around a destination for a good amount of time, rather than a quick in-and-out approach, and always aim to do it on our own terms without too much external involvement. This gives us so much more flexibility for when circumstances change, and allows us to settle into a destination and appreciate the culture on a deeper level.
I don’t think travel will be the same again for quite some time, if ever. But I hope one positive we can take away from it all is to create a larger level of respect for the destinations we visit and think more inwardly about how our personal actions can affect the greater community.
Where do you keep your trophy?
The trophy sits on a shelf alongside a few other reminders of how far we’ve come in this journey.
Follow Jelly Journeys on Instagram @joeallam and @ellythings, or visit the YouTube channel and website.