Who is Avantika Chaturvedi?
Avantika is a passionate and curious traveller in love with the great outdoors. Her travel style is slow, solo and sustainable across offbeat locations.
She loves being in the water – whether it is chasing waterfalls and scuba diving deep into the ocean depths. She also tries to immerse herself in local cultures and learn about a place through its people and their traditions.
You can check out her amazing blog, wayward wayfarer, to learn more about her work.
Now let's hear what she has to say about her blogging journey:
Can you tell our readers about yourself and your blog?
My blog started in 2017 as a pet project. I had no idea about blogging back then and my parents were my only regular readers. But my passion for travelling and writing about my travels didn't dwindle. But it wasn't until 2020 during the coronavirus lockdown that I started learning ways to grow organic readership on my blog and since then, the growth in my readership has been exponential. My blog has taken me scuba diving in the Maldives, exploring off eat rainforests of Northern Karnataka, living with locals in Bhutan, exploring offbeat parts of Andaman Islands and so much more.
Describe how you first get into blogging?
I have been a writer ever since I was a young child. What started as silly rhymes turned into more mature poetry as a teenager. My first.blog was actually a poetry blog I started when I was 13. In college once I started traveling, it was very obvious for me to start writing about my travels. Only instead of my personal diary – I decided to share it on the world wide web.
How would you describe your blogging style?
My blog is a mix bag of different kinds of writing. I write about personal travel anecdotes, travel guides, itineraries, travel tips and more. All this mostly focuses slow, solo and sustainable travel through offbeat destinations. As I've started focusing more on growing my readership in the past year or so, I've started writing more SEO focused copies on my blog and free-flowing personal narratives have taken a rather backseat. But I'm striving to find that sweet balance between writing about what soothes my soul, while also growing my audience.
What type of networking do you think is better to enhance your traffic to the blog?
I always prefer personal networking over the online kind. Your travel and writing style and your unique energy is most likely to go unnoticed when you're networking online. So I love attending travel events and conferences as much as I can. But that said, online networking has also helped me a lot over the years. Sending out valuable messages and sparking a conversation with fellow bloggers is my way to do it. When it comes to brands and properties, I don't hesitate in sending cold emails to introduce myself and following up if I don't hear back. More often than not, it turns into a positive response. But the sweet spot is making the effort into meeting online acquaintances in real life and flourishing that relationship further.
What do you think is the best service a blogger can provide to his readers?
I believe there is nothing more valuable than honesty. More often than not, bloggers tend to paint a rather rosy picture of every place they visit, even when the situation in real life wasn't as rosy. This is even more true of sponsored posts. Keeping your integrity and speaking (or writing) the truth, even – and especially – when it's not glittery, is the best service bloggers can provide their readers.
How do you manage time to run your blog efficiently?
For me, the process of blogging begins right when I'm experiencing a place. I start taking notes for later by taking photographs, scribbling in my diary and making voice notes of ideas that strike at odd moments. These, cumulatively, then turn into the pieces you read on my blog. To run an efficient blog, I try to finish writing about a destination before I go onto my next travels. This helps keep the backlog small and manageable. It's not always easy to do so, though. And I sometimes struggle with it myself.
How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
I used to be a lot more consistent in the past but lately I've been struggling to keep a steady pace of publishing on my blog. Between freelance projects and caring for my mental health, blogging has been slow. But I'm hoping to get back to it slowly but surely. I'm aiming to start with a one blog per month goal and build from there. I always find keeping smaller, more achievable goals motivate you and give you the confidence you need to grow and expand. I also want to get more into affiliate marketing in the next year.
What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from that?
My greatest failure was agreeing to do more than I could actually manage. When I was a young blogger, I agreed to a ton of deliverables with brands that didn't give me as much in return, just in hopes to close a deal. This left me overwhelmed and overworked and feeling lesser about my self. Not only that, it affected my professional relationships with my sponsors when I failed to deliver due to these reasons. I've since vowed to always take a day to think on the deliverables asked and whether they're worth the service, and whether I can actually manage to deliver them. And learning to say no when I have to has been my greatest learning from this.
Tell me about your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement happened not too long ago – when a beautiful affordable luxury resort offered to host me in the Maldives along with a dive travel company offering the advanced open water (level 2) scuba diving course in exchange for my blogging and content creation services.
Who has impacted you most in blogging and how?
My father has always been a strong advocate of doing what I love and doing it passionately. His hand on my back and willingness to always help me out financially when I hit rock bottom has helped me to reach here first and foremost. Secondly, bloggers like Alex Reynolds, Shivya Nath and Eva Zu Beck have inspired me to travel raw, to be mindful of the environment and to speak my truth unabashedly. Lastly, I will always be thankful to my mentors who graciously answered all my questions whenever I had blogging related doubts.
What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?
Outside of blogging, (one of) my greatest achievements has to be my journey with the ocean. In less than a year, I was a certified scuba diver and freediver and exploring the depths of the ocean, and learning so much more about myself in the process.
What do you do in your spare time?
I love to hike, spend time in nature as much as possible. I also love to dance and bust out a few moves when the music is right. Swimming is my favourite hobby however because the peace I feel when I'm in water is unmatched.
Where would you like to be in blogging five years from now?
I haven't thought as far as five years, honestly. I've always liked to focus on the here and the now and ensure that I'm enjoying the process. Who knows if I'll want to continue blogging five years from now? Maybe there is something else that I might find more intriguing. This is the reason why my growth has been slow as compared to my peers. In my past five years of blogging, I could've reached far greater heights by turning my blog (and myself) into a content churning machine. But writing is sacred for me and I always want to ensure I'm in the moment instead of thinking where I'll be five years later. I just hope I'm happy and fulfilled wherever I am, five years from now.
What was the most challenging moment in your blogging journey so far?
Setting up a website, troubleshooting errors, website maintenance, host migration, learning about design and PHP and HTML and other technical jargon that I otherwise wouldn't have dreamt of stepping into. It's been a rollercoaster journey but I like to believe I've somewhat figured it out – even though I'm still learning every day.
Can you name some of your favorite bloggers and explain why they are your favorites?
I love Alex Reynolds for her honest and witty writing.
I admire Shivya Nath for her hard-hitting, thought provoking pieces.
Lastly, I also look up to Kaushal Karkhanis for trying out different things, and not chasing the race and the numbers and choosing to enjoy the present moment to the fullest.
How do you motivate yourself to keep the blog up and running?
Each time I see my blog pop up on the first page of a Google search, each time I receive a kind message from a reader about how my blog helped them shape their vacation, each time I'm invited to visit a new destination because of my writing, I am motivated to keep my blog up and running.
Can you tell me about a few sources from where you get products for review on your site?
Instagram has been my biggest source for product reviews so far. Scouting through media Facebook groups is also a good way. And I also don't hesitate to reach out to a brand if I think their product would be a right fit for my blog and my readers.
What do you find the most frustrating aspect of blogging?
SEO. While it helps you grow and rank on Google and get more viewership, I find it to also really break the natural rhythm of my words and clouds my creative thinking abilities.
What is the biggest difference in your life post-blogging?
The community of like minded people I've been able to create are opening up new avenues (and experiences) for me on the regular.
Did you have any professional help or did you create the blog yourself?
I did it all by myself, from scratch. But I had help in the form of fellow, older bloggers, patient customer service from my host provider, and of course the kind souls who've created in depth article and YouTube videos on a things blogging.
How active are you on a weekly basis? How often do you communicate with your followers?
I'm trying to write once a month after a long hiatus. I communicate with my followers on a daily basis through social media.
How much time do you spend blogging?
It takes me up to 3 days to actually sit, write, edit and publish an article on my blog.
What do you think is the best social media strategy for getting more visitors to a blog?
Creating high quality, short form content that piques interest and linking it to your blog for a long form and in depth version.
Would you encourage other people to make their blog?
Definitely. If writing is your forte, there's no reason you shouldn't go for it. Make sure you carve your own niche and stand out from the crowd. People always say written content will die soon and video will take over but I really think that's untrue. Written content will never die – regardless of whatever new thing that comes up.
Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
A lot of people think that blogging is an easy way to make money online. Do you have some tips for those people who are interested in making money from the blog?
It's definitely not an easy way but it is fulfilling and exciting. It takes a lot of effort and time before you can start earning any substantial income from your blog. The first step is to learn about SEO and implement it well to gain a steadily growing readership. Then, affiliate marketing, ad placements and sponsored posts are the top three ways to make money from blogging. Even then, this income stream can be unsteady and unreliable at times.