Inside Travel Writing: An interview with Kathryn Burrington

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Kathryn Burrington is the successful travel blogger behind the blog Travel With Kat. In 2017 she was awarded the British Guild of Travel Writers’ Travel Blogger of the Year Award.

Here she talks to for our Inside Travel Writing column:

What kind of travel related niche do you specialise in and what drew you to it?

I write about things I care about: be that wildlife, human rights or food, and also things I love photographing…architecture, people and once again, wildlife and food. I say the latter two are my favourite subjects.

Kathryn Burrington
Kathryn Burrington in The Gambia.

Which piece of writing are you most proud of and why?

While it’s not the most popular by any means, I particularly love my article about The Wildlife of Canada’s Clayoquot Sound. My most shared post is Top 15 Things to See, Do and Eat on Santorini, while my most read post is Where and what to eat in Italy.

What do you enjoy most about travel writing and photography?

Through my writing and photography, I’ve visited so many wonderful places and I’ve met some very interesting people along the way. These opportunities, such as photographing grizzly bears in the Great Bear Rainforest, are priceless. It’s also wonderful when a reader gets in touch and lets me know I’ve inspired them in some way or that they’ve visited somewhere I recommended and loved it as much as I did.

Do you have a favourite destination?

India has favourite destination for a great many years and while many places have come close, nowhere has topped it for colour and excitement and the variety of subjects for my keyboard and camera.

What would be a typical working day for you?

Long hours on my laptop editing photos, catching up with emails (I never do), scheduling social media posts, sharing other people’s. Figuring out how the latest software, app or gizmo works, and occasionally I even have time to do some writing.

How do you come up with ideas about places to photograph?

I rarely plan in advance. It just happens!

What tip or tips would you offer to anyone entering the industry?

Be prepared for a lot of hard work and long hours. And you must have a very patient partner who knows not to start eating before you have photographed his meal (not at home, of course, or at least not all the time!).

Which writers and photographers inspire you and why?

I love Lucy Dodsworth’s writing on her blog On the Luce and also Abigail King’s Inside the Travel Lab.

The late Mike Bussell used colour in his photography in a very striking way. When I worked as a photo editor and was just starting out in photography, his work inspired me.

In stark contrast, Don McCullin’s photos are so emotionally charged they can almost make me cry.

This book tells the story of Don McCullin’s life:

What do you aspire to achieve?

I’d like to continually get better as both a writer and photographer and also faster as a writer. There’s never enough time to write about everything I’d like to cover.

It’s a tough industry, what do you see as its biggest challenges?

As a blogger you need a range of skills – writing and photography are obvious ones, but unless you can afford to outsource them, you also need to know how to build and design your own website (WordPress makes this a lot easier). Then there’s SEO, all the different social media networks, video filming and editing.

Plus, to really succeed you need to stand out from the crowd. When I started there were a lot less blogs out there. I can’t imagine how many travel blogs there are now. Picking a niche helps here but it has to be something you are passionate about and will want to stick with.

What about its opportunities?

I still can’t quite believe the wonderful experiences I have had and the people I’ve met along the way all thanks to my blogging. It’s taking me quite literally around the world.

Do you have a website where people can find out more about you?

You can see examples of Kathryn’s work on her blog, Travel With Kat and Sussex Bloggers.

Look out for posts from Japan, which is the host nation of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

“Last month I visited Japan for the first time. One of the highlights was walking part of the ancient Nakasendo Way which linked Kyoto to Edo (now Tokyo) in the Edo period when the country was governed by the Shogun and Samurai feudal lords,” says Kathryn.

If you have a favourite travel blogger that you’d like us to feature here on MannedUp then drop us a line or leave a comment below.

Pin Badges, Canada, Great Britain, Canada 150, Canadian Confederation
Pin badges commemorate the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. Kat was one of the UK bloggers who visited Canada in 2017 to celebrate that occasion.

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