1. Can you tell us a little about yourself ,your blog(s)/website(s),and your aspirations and your hobbies!!
Born and brought up just everywhere, my early days of childhood are fond memories of me travelling in the Railways. All my life, I believed this is how my life would be going further until reality happened and I had to stand on my two little feet. Little did my Dad and Mom knew that I would be then crossing borders travelling to 13 countries and 24 States in a short span of 2.5 years of Blogging, Travelling and doing Adventure sports. I am a fun person to be with, I love taking risks in life and I am very passionate about what I do. At the same time, I am very real person .I love balancing my life with more love, more people, more travel, more friends and more adventures. I believe life is beautiful and what you love is what you must do, always .I love inspiring people or people who inspire me.
I write for this crazy fun-filled Travel and Adventure blog called Ankionthemove.com which is about my stories on Travel and Adventure Sports in India and Abroad. My blog contains travel videos which I myself edit and make, stories about people behind Adventure Sports and their experiences, my own Travel and Adventure stories and experiences, Travel meet ups, Style when you Travel, Travelling in a budget, and various other topics out of my personal life. I have been awarded as the best Travel Writer by GCC, best Sports Writer by Indi blogger and have also been featured on Fox Traveler and have many more such achievements in my kitty which my parents now feel proud of.
Being a true Piscean, I am very creative person. So as long as my mind is free and I am willing to do what I would want to, I love Painting, Sewing, Writing, Swimming, Shopping and that’s pretty much it. I no longer get time to pursue all, but time and again when I feel like it, I do those. That defines me.
Blogging came by chance. It so happened that I got so fed up of my daily grind of 9 to 5 in an IT company where I worked for 5 years, went for An All India Road Trip with my brother and then I quit a month after and decided to start a blog. You can’t call me imaginative person because not many things were fore thought, may be more impulsive. When I started, I had a purpose. I didn’t just want people to read because I myself aren’t a great reader, but visualize on what they want to see in a place through photos or videos which are self-explanatory and of course a comprehensive write-up .I am still figuring myself out - tried many jobs on and off - worked for an Adventure firm - now working for Skyriders and Blogging for me is an expression, not a job.
3. What do you find most challenging about blogging/writing about your topic?
Blogging needs patience, a lot. A lot of my friends and family members do not understand the grind even blogging has .From monitoring the number of hits, to wishing that I might get a sponsor, to work around unusual salaries, is what Blogging is about. It’s more about finding yourself in the process and trying to learn to come up with new and innovative things so that people read with much enthusiasm. Many a times, when I blog at home, my husband or my parents would think I am doing nothing, which is irritating because Blogging at the end is work on its own terms. Also there’s nothing called Free Travel which many people these days write in the hope for, each travel is about listening to history, geography, and every possible detail and come up with topics to write back which is not like a carefree vacation which many think it is.
For me, my greatest challenge is editing and shooting the video and of course, the writer’s block. Standing in front of camera and speaking is a challenge when I have no crew. Since I love interacting with people on the go, things become easier but still. I stand with a tripod in a place where thousands stare, and I talk about place which not many realize is a tough task in itself, and I do it solo or with help of people who are around and then editing frame by frame is difficult. Another is writers block, when you start with a topic ,you have full force and enthusiasm behind it. Over the years, you question yourself - what and who are you writing for ,is it worth the time, and sometimes you do not find a topic to write .Travel has evolved and finding the new in the industry is also a challenge in itself.
4. Tell me about some of the people you have met while working on your blog?
The general people are real celebrities aren’t they? The most soul-touching and interesting people I have met are in train, on the way, on the border etc. The stories that interest me is the life of people who randomly start adventure sports, and swear by it even if they have nothing they are putting into initially. For example ,Avi and Anita from Temple pilots or Satish and Rani from High Fly Adventures, they I believe are real heroes. Because High Fly is about training kids on active lifestyle through Bootcamps,and Temple pilots is about Paragliding and when they started, they just had a dream. Working on my blog has made me meet many famous Bloggers who inspire and have been Blogging for as long as 10 years. People like Milind Soman or Mayor of Lebrija,Spain are an inspiration because even though they are two different personalities, they are passionate about their field of work .And of course, a random Soldier in Drass,or a Teetotaler in Train or a Farmer in Bihar, yes those people are the mass and the best of all because they have lived the life you can never imagine yours to be.
5. How would (someone) describe your blogging/writing style?
I love conversations so when you look at my blog, its very conversational .It isn’t polished English which general people do not understand but hey, was sup? Type of daily lingo which is more what I use in day to day life. Plus my writing style is about me being first person who is experiencing it,so it has more personal touch to it.
6. What do you do when you are not working on your blog?
When I am not working on my blog, I do things which when people do not blog do. My life neither starts nor end on a blog - I have a whole lot of people in my sphere who I love talking to, being around with. So outside the blogosphere, I am just a girl next door who loves doing her own stuff - be it cooking - or taking a walk - or dressing up nicely - or going to a pub. Small little things give me pleasure.
7 .Where do you see yourself blogging/writing wise in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?
The time will tell where life takes me. I do not plan so much, and most of what I do is rather impulsive.6 months down the line I see myself more comfortable with the idea of Blogging since it’s going to be 3 years of Blogging in 6 months. I plan to expand it more to people, to sports, to style, and I am working on the improvisation of my blog template wise.5 Years definitely is a long time to plan, but I see myself comfortably settled with writing, and travelling more as part of a travel job with a fixed income, and continuing Blogging as a hobby side by side, and also of course by that time I might have travelled a lot lot more countries than now, so I might have a lot more than usual stories to share.
I also see myself doing more on volunteering and work for the society. Even though I am not finding enough time now ,I still have that as part of my plan which keeps changing.
8. What networking do you do that you feel helps your blogging/writing business?
I believe the choice is personal. I think I am more of a Facebook person than a Twitter person but I am expanding my network more on Twitter because it helps to connect people randomly or Tag your posts in to people who are in your field and that definitely is a boost. Indiblogger I believe is the best platform for networking because when all bloggers are together, they spread word, they comment, they are more friends than the virtual bloggers in the internet world. So Facebook.Twitter and Indiblogger
9. How do you keep coming up with material/content for your blog? Many people struggle with coming up with different articles/posts and they only have one blog.
When you travel 4 countries in 6 months, you would never run out of a story for sure. It’ll be there, always. But the lack of interest is what creates a barrier in not getting out in the world open. I believe that you must choose a topic which you are comfortable writing than choosing a topic which is a trend. Because trends might go and come, but if you are passionate about what you write ,except from occasional writers-block, there’s not much that comes in between.
10. Whats your strategy with your blog in general?
I do not follow any particular strategy. If I feel like writing I write, which comes out to be twice a week on most occasions. Most of my time goes in video editing, or processing information about a country in more detail. I write not to write daily, but I write so that people come and find a whole repository of things to help them with. I do not write for headcount, I write for a purpose, so my strategy would be to help people with places, not intimidate them tons of photos.
11. Any specific tips you have for newbie bloggers who want to make it in the blogosphere?
Carve your niche. Mine is Adventure Travel, Travel Videos, Budget Travel, Style while Travel, international Travel ,Indian Travel what’s yours? For all newbies, I would say choose your topic of blog and then expand .You never know what you will like along the way. Be open to new possibilities and most important stay connected to the world through Social Media. Do not dream of high money because unless you work for 2-3 years dedicatedly on a blog, you can’t survive on a blog alone. Blogging is all about it.
12. What would you prioritize? Content? SEO? Traffic? Readers?
Content and Readers for me. When people like what you write, the more people come to your blog. So that’s where SEO and Traffic automatically increase.
13. Whats the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?
The First Hand Experience and Genuineness which many online sites lack. Apart from that a chance to Socialize and share ideas. As they say there’s much to a blog than just a template.
14. A lot of people are interested in blogging/writing for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from blogging/writing? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?
To the people who look at blog for the money earning potential, there’s a whole lot of world out there. However, I would suggest not to dilute a content for the greed of money. Because often it happens we end up recommending a product which we would rarely use, so that is more of an endorsement than our own personal liking. Collaborate with companies which you believe in - like for example for me it would be if in future Kiehls for Skincare, Splash and Zara for Clothing ,Puma and Reebok for shoes, Wildcraft for Backpacks,etc .And never ever divert your blog’s main topic for the money providers - it annoys the readers.
15. What motivates you most in life?
The Change and My Ability to See beyond Negatives. Many of us fall, and never get up. While I fall,I ask, now what! So that’s me, these things have driven me to do things which I have never imagined in such short span of time.
16. What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?
As I said there’s no strategy but I do update my blog twice every week and I do update it on Indiblogger and other Social Networking sites. I make it a point to interact with readers/comments and that spreads the word. Apart from that I have travelled with Tourism Boards of various countries and sometimes they help promote the blog. And plus collaborations with brands such as Tanishq, Splash, Four Seasons and plus awards and being mentioned in newspapers or magazines or Top 10 bloggers to visit in 2014 etc helps gain visibility
17 What was the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?
The most challenging moment in my blog content development process is coming up with topics which engage people more. Every time , every three days. So suppose I do not like history, but I am writing history, so I must write it as a story so that people do not view it as information. That’s a task!
18. Everyone has a favorite/least favorite post. Name yours and why?
The favorite post on my blog which is close to my heart is my blogpost on Bihar and then followed by Maldives.Bihar is closest to my heart because I believe it’s the most neglected state and when I interacted with people in the villages, made a video, crossed fields, I realised its a hype of sadness created by the world which has to be spoken of positively. And since it was a village of my late Grandma,It had a personal purpose to it, and I completely love the post. Another is my backpacking trip to Maldives which has the best video and writeup for me. Worst is, its difficult to figure out, may be my readers would know more about it.
19. Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?
I really like Shivya’s way of writing in The Shooting Star because when I met her I thought she’s a very introverted person, but her way of writing is very open, very personal and I like the boldness she has when she writes ,and of course, her writing style is very crisp and clean .I like BigHairLoudMouth and StylishByNature because standing in front of camera and posing is a real big deal. I like Sonia Nazareth and Inder Raj who are writers, they both are extremely fun to be with and at the same time, extremely gifted people.I like Mridula’s Blog for her daily updates,its like my daily dairy,I get up and read her first.I like Vikram Karve and his sense of Military Humour, I like Arvind Passey for his stories at his age. There are many people I like in the Blogosphere, like I look up to you now, because you are interviewing me :)
20. What is the story behind the name of the blog?
Ankionthemove is pretty much self-explanatory isn’t it.A bugger named “Anki” who is “Always on the move” is what it is!..And the story is of a girl who is travelling all her life, and thought why not just help people travel more. The End.
21. Your connection with any Blogger Network like Indi blogger or Writeupcafe or any other and the experience?
I have been very dedicated to Indiblogger,Its I believe the best platform for networking of Indians blogs. And the contests, the meet ups, everything is very very well organized, even their ranking system is unto the mark.So no grudges on this one.
22. Which genre do you feel gets the raw deal?
I think the field which is currently hot is lifestyle basically Food and Fashion which people do check every day. Picture speaks a thousand words in both the genre and there’s not much to read either except recipes or latest trends .And then comes Travel, Reviews, Humour.
23. Which one plug-in would you suggest all bloggers to have?
I think “Search” must and must be installed. It makes life so much easier when you are not pondering over where to find a topic.
24. Five adjectives that describe you.
Crazy, Adventurous, Traveler, Creative, Extrovert
25. What book would you say has made the biggest impact good or bad on you?
I have grown up on Lonely Planet,Sidney Sheldon,Mills and Boons,and Femina. Rest is secondary. Nowadays I do not read books, but I think the worst impact books had on me was my Algebra and History books. I hated it then, I hate it now.
26. Do you get easily provoked by positive/negative comments??
Not really. Of course, initially it did make me upset specially if there was negative comment. But now,I take it in my stride. If people talk Negative, let them be. I do my work 100% and that’s about me. If there’s a positive comment, it makes my day :)
27. Do you plan to write a book, as every bloggers dream it is?
I do plan to write a book, not on my travel stories but on my personal life when I get old. Because then, I wouldn’t be accountable to anyone but me. Otherwise, I do not see writing a book in the near future, not now to speak of any I have in my mind. I am living and loving my life ,and I am still young,so..
28. Are you a judgmental person, do you prefer to take sides instead of standing neutral?
No,I am not a judgmental person. I take right sides, and I have a reason every time. I do not stand neutral and I do not talk diplomatic .I wouldn’t judge a person on first glance ,religion, backgrounds, all those stuff. Even if people confide in me their worst disasters, I do not sideline them. Because I know it can happen to you,to me,to anyone.
29. Your collaboration with other bloggers, are you much into social networking, tell us everything about it?
I haven’t yet collaborated with any bloggers and even though I am open to the idea, I am looking for the potential bloggers I should collaborate with .I do attend local events in town for example Black Dog,Four Seasons, Tanishq and that’s all where we interact or through Twitter, Facebook and their Blog comments. And that’s all I know about them. Most of the bloggers I have met are added in my friends list and yes,I do interact with them mostly as friends than peers.
30. What genre attracts you the most and which genre you avoid?
I think I am partial towards the youth - the experiential travelers - the upcoming destinations - the Gen X.And even though I do not avoid a Genre per se,but my blog is not about closed mindsets. So I write with a open mind, and even if you are 8 or 80,if you are open, you will like it.
My personal choice of Genres would be Travel,Food,Fashion and Humour.I do not avoid any genre,if It is well written, I read it, else I move on.
31. Your Views on Contests and increasing plagiarism?
Aren’t we all upbeat with the idea of Contests? It’s interesting that all of us desire that we win a lottery someday, to some place and we travel for free. But for me, I haven’t run a contest yet on my blog, because I am not finding the perfect giveaway to people that makes sense to me. But otherwise Contests are great way to increase SEO ,build up traffic and give the readers a feel Good factor. Also participate in Contests as much as you can, because sometimes you just win out of the blue, so its interesting to try your luck and know how lucky you are. Coincidently the more you participate the more lucky you get.
Plagiarism must be avoided at any cost, because what may be another person’s hard earned work, it could be just your Ctrl C-Ctrl V. And plagiarism is increasing because many people believe that if they write a few posts from here and there, they might get a huge earning potential or a free FAM trip which is far from reality. I think there isn’t pretty much we can do about it,but people who do so will learn eventually and even readers would get to know. So its their loss and must be avoided at any cost.
32. Words for me and my blogs Desire v/s Destiny and Blogger Interviews and my Website www.MyMagicJobs.com
I think it’s a great initiative to interview Bloggers because I feel we all are pretty much left out somewhere. I mean people think hey we are bloggers so what! But there’s lot which goes around and heads up to you for your initiative. From your blogs Desire v/s Destiny ,it’s a great blog.For MyMagicJobs.com I think we needed a platform like that and you fulfilled it with perfection. So applauds.
33. On winning the Award/s , Are they Really necessary.
I remember the first time I got an award in Class X for being the runner up topper, I liked the feeling of holding onto the trophy. The feeling still continues to be as Childlike. When we work hard, we do not know if we ever get an award. But when we get an award, its a huge morale boost, we suddenly start liking our purpose in life, the goals looks more streamlined, we have the final word that we were on the right path. Necessary “No”. But I wouldn’t be hiding the fact that every time my name appears in a newspaper or every time I am featured in a video or every time I win the award I have that 180 degree smile .I am strong believer in Karma and I believe if you do good, even if you fail once or twice, the third time would be your Award luck, but stay persistent which many of us give up by the time we are about to get one.
34. So whats Next in your list?
I have Turkey and Greece both as part of my plan for the coming 6 months. I plan to attend TBEX 2014 to spread the good word about my work. Not many people know! And apart from that I plan to travel North East in winters and Goa next month. I also plan to do more on Fashion and Sports ,so more work on Blog coming up thats keeping me Busy.
35.Words for your readers and why they should follow you?
You know Guys, when I started the blog, it was for you.2 and a half years down the line, it is still for you .Even though I live in virtual space of anonymous, I strive to do my best for you to know what Travel means today and what Adventure Sports is about .I can’t force you to follow me ,I secretly wish that you all do and hope my words carry weight and inspiration. So do follow me,I am right here, blabbing about my Travel Tales or listening to yours.