Michele is an Australian language and travel blogger and ‘guide’ behind The Intrepid Guide. She is also the author of the 5-star rated book on Amazon How to Learn Italian FAST. She shares her passion for languages and travel by bringing them together in detailed destinations guides and free travel phrase guides available on her blog. Michele inspires and helps travellers include language learning in their travel preparation as a way of enhancing their travels. Follow Michele on social media – blog / Instagram / twitter / YouTube / Facebook.
What inspired you to start blogging?
I created my language and travel blog, The Intrepid Guide, as a way to spend more time on my two passions in life outside of my day job.
We all love to travel, but no one talks about the importance of learning and speaking languages when it comes to travelling to foreign countries. This is something I feel quite passionate about.
Even learning to use just a few keywords and phrases can do wonders for enhancing your travel experiences. It’s a great way to show respect and make a good first impression when meeting the locals.
This is why I not only write detailed destinations guides and produce videos, I also create free travel phrase guides to help travellers get the most out of their experiences. I recently spoke at the Language Show in London about how to be travel fluent, where I received a lot of positive feedback for my easy step-by-step language learning methodology.
You don’t need to be fluent to make a difference, knowing a little can go a long way. Just by showing that you’ve made an effort to learn some of the local language brings out the best in people.
By learning another language, you gain so much insight into the culture of the people who speak it. For example, before travelling to Egypt, I studied Arabic. I learned that when you say ‘See you soon’’ to someone, the other person will respond with ‘In shāʾ Allāh’, which literally translates to, God willing, or if God wills it. This means that, yes, I hope to see you again, but it’s up to God if we will. Just by learning this simple phrase you gain a lot of insight into how significant of a role religion plays in the Arabic speaking culture.
What are your blogging and travel plans for the next 12 months?
My goals for the next 12 months are to expand on my language learning content to make it as easy and accessible as possible for travellers to learn the local language.
In terms of travelling, I’m looking forward to visiting eastern Europe, something I haven’t done much of, and going on another language holiday – my favourite way to travel.
Where is your happy place? Your favourite destination in the world?
My favourite place in the whole world is Rome, Italy. I lived there for three years and with all the tours I joined, the local recommendations I received, I still didn’t get to see it all. I definitely left my heart in Rome. There’s so much more to it than the Vatican and the Colosseum, which is why I wrote a guide to truly unique things to do in Rome.
Which blogs do you love to read for inspiration?
The Blonde Abroad – When it comes to travel blogging, I love Kiki’s photography, her honest reviews and humour. She’s such a lovely person too and is blogger goals in terms of her huge success.
Lindsay Does Languages – Lindsay provides excellent language learning resources and learn less mainstream languages such as Guaraní, which is really inspiring.
Fluent in 3 Months – I love Benny’s approach to language learning. He’s a big advocate for speaking right from the beginning, even if you make a tonne of mistakes – because that’s how you learn quicker!
Can you share the three most popular posts on your blog?
After visiting Tromsø in Northern Norway for the second time in 2018, I decided to create a bunch of content to help people travel there during winter. My detailed Tromsø city guide is very popular along with the individual articles I wrote about each of the wonderful tours I didn’t include the Northern Lights tour I joined, the Samí experience trip where I learned about the indigenous peoples of the region and an arctic fjord road trip where I saw gorgeous landscapes in the Tromsø area.
Having spent some time in Berlin, I wrote what is now a popular 3 days in Berlin itinerary – perfect for those visiting for a long weekend.
Something I’m very proud of is my super in-depth guide to Sāo Miguel Island in the Azores. I created a 5-day São Miguel island itinerary which leaves no stone unturned. I’ve received some really lovely comments on this blog post which I really appreciate.
Can you share any tips for newer bloggers who would love to set up a travel blog?
If you feel overwhelmed by the talent or the skills that others process, just remember that there’s nothing you can’t learn. You can do it too! It just takes time and dedication. We may all have had different careers, but we all started with very little knowledge and learned things along the way. I knew nothing about photography so I joined a few courses, photography walking tours and watched a bunch of videos on YouTube. Now I have people commenting on how much they like my photography. You can do the same.
If you could go back in time to when you first set up your blog would you do anything differently?
Looking back, I don’t think there is anything that I would do differently. I learned things progressively which was key to not getting overwhelmed with too much information in the beginning. The learning curve has been steep but I’ve enjoyed the slow and steady growth over the years. As long as you keep learning, you will continue to grow and improve.