10 years ago: The adventurous soul within you was battling with the desire to explore remote geographies’ but was subsided by the high cost of making phone calls and erratic nature of internet connectivity, only medium to keep you in touch with closed ones then. And today you find yourself occupied amidst family chaos that rethinking about that lost time with all facilities available in not in your hands.
But Luc Levesque (aka Lucky) created a different history and decided not to compromise on his desires. It was in 1997 that Luc designed a solution that could offer a conversational bridge between people sitting at remote corners of the globe. Travelpod, something that started as a dirty web site has undergone through various stages since then to evolve not only as a mere travel blog but an absolute The Web’s Original Travel Blog Community.
Having unveiled 16% of the world, Luc’s Travelpod is populated with 40-50k travel experiences on weekly basis. If figures make a difference to you then till date Luc has posted 1666 photos and 125 entries across 11 travel blogs and shares that Travelpod is a storehouse of around 3 million travel experiences. Out of my curiosity, I asked Luc about his most memorable vacation and he smilingly said: 9 month solo trip to Asia and the Middle East.
Jump further to know more about Luc and experiment with ways to reap benefits from a product like Travelpod.
Introduce yourself to my readers and take us to the usual/unusual flow of the day?
On a typical day I’ll start off spending a little quality time with my new born, Tristan (around 6am) and then check my email and RSS feeds before going to work. At the office I try to touch base with everyone on the team and to work with our developers on new features for the site. We’re always growing the team so interviews with candidates and looking for a new (bigger) office has been taking a lot of time recently.
I try to reserve time to report all of our stats, reports and make sure everything is still on track, and if it’s not, make the adjustments where we need to. We’ve got a great team so I don’t need to get too involved in the support, community work or other day to day stuff but I try to keep my hands in everything a little bit. Then it’s back home to spend more time with the family or out to spend time with the startup community at local events.
How frequently you travel? What percentage of the world is still left untouched?
I travel about once per month, it used to be for pleasure, but now, it’s mostly for business. I have traveled to I have traveled to 16% of the world, so there’s lots left to see.
How easy or difficult is it to be a blogger and a traveler at the same time? Your trait of travel Blogger is inherent or is developed?
It’s very easy to be a travel blogger, if you love writing and you love traveling, you can have a blog. The trick is creating a quality blog. Developing the craft of writing is a lifelong commitment. Our best travel bloggers take it very seriously, and the quality of their writing reflects that.
Travelpod’s inception in 1997 marked the entry of Web’s first site allowing travelers share their experiences’. What led you create such a platform and what turning points have you come across in its evolving span of 10 years?
In the early years of the Internet, I was backpacking across Europe and wanted to be able to keep in touch with all of my friends and family, in “real-time”, to let them know where I was and what I was doing. Expensive long-distance calls weren’t an option, mail was too slow, and email just didn’t cut it.
To make my life easier, I thought up, and built a quick and dirty web site that let me login, upload some stories and email the link to the site to my friends. The site was an instant hit. In fact the feedback I received was so good that when I returned, I decided to build a much more advanced and feature-rich online hosting system for my fellow travelers. With that, TravelPod was born.
Since TravelPod’s inception, the website has gone through many changes and many improvements. Our most exciting changes include an easy to use photo uploader and the development of the social network game, Traveler IQ.
Your current tagline reads The Web’s original travel blog. Considering Travelpod has taken the shape of a community, if you are asked to revise the tagline what would that be?
Adding Community to the end of the slogan wouldn’t be a bad idea now that I think about it: The Web’s Original Travel Blog Community
What is the business model of Travelpod?
We provide free blogs for travelers and try to pay the bills by showing ads in places that our members don’t mind.
Was Travelpod’s singular persona not enough that you ended up being a part of TripAdvisor or Expedia? With this acquisition can we expect any changes in terms of age-old brand and strategy followed by latter?
TravelPod will only get better, because we now have access to more members, who are creating more blogs. More information about travel destinations can only make the travel industry better.
Your site says it aloud that it features around 40-50k travel experiences from across the world. If I can ask a rough count of the total travel experiences shared here till date since its evolution?
Well over 3 million
If asked for giving three tips to a greenhorn travel blogger, what would that be?
1. Use all of your senses. The best way to describe a place is to describe it using sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. This gets your message across very effectively. Your readers can travel along on your trip with you, and they will keep coming back for more. If it’s interesting to you, it’s probably interesting to a lot of other people. So write about it, chances are, someone else will be interested in what you saw or what you did on the road.
2. Be honest: Traveling isn’t always happy and fun. Things go wrong all the time, you probably will miss a bus, or lose your luggage. There is no reason to ignore these inherent risks of traveling.
3. Think deep! It’s great to tell everyone what you did on your trip. What’s even more great, is sharing what you learned about the place that you went. How did it change you and what did you think about life in this place? It’s great to enlighten other people with your first-hand knowledge of a place. Not everyone can travel as much as you do, share your thoughts with people who don’t have that luxury.
Can my readers know: Which are those three must-carry things that you always carry on your trip?
Aside from the usual (passport, credit card, etc)
1. A pocket atlas for quizzing travel mates and passing time
2. Travel Journal for taking notes (to be added later to my blog)
3. An adventurous spirit!
Tell us about your ‘must-read’ or favorite blogs?
Provide us with your five favorite posts you have written to date.
It’s hard to pick a favorite:
When good nights go bad
Over the frontier, the road to Georgia
T-minus 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
Touch down in Paraguay
How would you like to be known as:
5. Adventurous Soul
Hours you invest digging net: 15-20 hours per week
Biggest blogging mistake you did: Waiting too long to blog about a trip it’s always better when it’s fresh
If asked to post only on one blog (not Travelpod), which one would that be? Vagabondish
Advice you would have given yourself five years ago? Don’t let go of your dreams, anything is possible
If not a traveler or a blogger then. I would probably be doing techy stuff most likely from some other country.
Life without Travel: Is empty!
Once memorable vacation: 9 month solo trip to Asia and the Middle East
How beneficial are these travel experiences for a prospective traveler thinking to visit an unknown land?
TravelPod is a great place to go to get started on your research. Once you have picked a destination, you can read through personal blogs. If someone has done something you find extremely interesting, you can contact them directly and find out even more information. It’s a lot of fun and you can make some great friends along the way.
Tell us some weird things about you that most of the people don’t know.
I have a long middle toe monks at a Sri Lankan monastery I stayed in called it my lucky toe, that’s what I’ve been calling it too ever since. I’ve had a pretty good life so far so I guess it must be lucky.
In terms of growth, where do you see travel industry by 2018?
Travelblogs will be much easier to navigate, you will be able to blog everything you see, instantaneously, from your cell phone or digital camera.
Whom would you recommend as my next Elite Blogger and why?
Mike Richard of Vagabondish
Give us your views on EliteChoice
Sorry but I’d never heard of it before.
Your turn! I am ready to answer a question for you.
What do you think online travel will look like 10 years from now?
Online Travel has a potential to turn that imaginative and impossible way of travelling to remote geographies possible. Thanks to platforms like blogging that has made this otherwise isolated arena quite interactive to the extent that it seems no less than a child’s play. I can foresee a day when people would throw their anniversary party at their favorite travel destination.
We wish good luck to Luc for his plans with Travelpod and look forward to new-features and expansion of Travelpod.