An Interview with Stefanie Michaels of AdventureGirl.com.
Tell me about Adventure Girl?
Adventure Girl began out of my passion for travel, and people. I love having the opportunity to share my experiences and sometimes be able to take people along on real adventures. I have swam with sharks in the Bahamas, gone Zero Gravity with Buzz Aldrin, and one day hope to trek and summit Everest. I hope that through these adventures, I inspire people to get out there and live life adventurously, whether you choose to find adventure outside your own back door, or at the top of the Andes.
I have a favorite saying. If someone asks you on an adventure… don’t refuse. I try and live my life by that mantra.
What was your first blog?
At the birth of the “world wide web”, my site travelpartners.com was one of the first 1500 (so I am told) websites on the internet. I ran a contest and brought a “normal person” – not someone from the entertainment business, with me to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. I actually did a photo log and blogged about the adventures. But, of course then the term “blog” hadn’t been coined. It was in the early 90’s.
Where do you see growth in the travel blogging field?
It took a really long time for people to catch on to the internet- and when it finally hit- it hit big. But, I think a lot of companies like a Conde Naste- weren’t so ready to embrace the internet. Now we know why- look what’s happening to print media. So, with that- I think now is when I am seeing more growth out of survival of these kind of entities, hence an explosion of travel blogging.
What’s a great travel destination you see for the summer of 2009?
I think locales that are not on the Euro- like Croatia, Slovakia, and Iceland- great Europe destinations to look at. Also, Estonia and Lithuania are just now starting to heat up on the radar. I’d go there now before they really get over exposed.
What is the biggest tip you would give to a newbie blogger?
This is really hard, because I come from a journalism background, where fact checking and traditional journalism values come into play. I rarely see this among newbie bloggers, and it seems that anyone feels they are an expert these days. My advice, get some legitimate training under your belt. I only say this because a lot of these newbie bloggers are going to be hitting against amazing journalists, former newspaper, and magazine editors currently out of work due to the death of so many publications. These are people that all ready have reputable careers and are experienced.
What do advertisers do that you wish they wouldn’t?
I am not sure I am clear on this question. Advertisers are there for a reason- their job is to get their messages across so we hear them and decide whether their product is right for us as individuals.
What do bloggers do that you wish they wouldn’t?
Make inaccurate statements, spread rumors, give inane and boring information like “what it took for me to feed my cat.” I actually don’t follow a lot of bloggers because of this. I only follow legitimate press online and through Twitter for accurate and up to date information.
What new ideas are advertisers coming up with to take advantage of new trends?
Social media. It’s huge business.
What do you do (in hopes) to improve the world?
I am Operation Smile’s new Smile Ambassador. Operationsmile.org works with surgeons around the world to help under privileged children by correcting their facial deformities. So, I am on board with a new Twitter based campaign- 140smiles.org– we’ll be raising monies to help 140 children get their new smiles, and in November I will join a team of doctors in India to help some of these children and families on an Operation Smile mission. I’ll be blogging about this for Twitter and some other outlets to share what these children go through and the magical transformation that happens to them.
I also help rescue abused and abandoned animals- I have 7 of my own, and work on spreading environmental news and write on being green for the Huffington Post and Tonic News Network.
What do you do that is green?
I’ve been environmentally conscious my whole life. My parents best friends were Sierra Clubbers, so I was exposed early on about our amazing planet and protecting it. I have recycled before it was en vogue, and use products that are eco-friendly. I think now more than ever, we have more options to be green, and I will be changing over to things like salt cleaning instead of chlorine for my pool, and looking into a more fuel efficient vehicle when my lease is up. Things like that- little things that when we all do something- it adds up to be something big.
What is one thing about you that not many people know?
LOL! That I am a homebody. I know- I know- Adventure Girl who gets out there and kicks butt, travels the world extensively, likes to be home curled up with my animals. It’s this weird little piece of “shy” in me that I don’t really let anyone see. I prefer home to a Hollywood premiere any day.
What ís your favorite book?
Well, Adventures with Adventure Girl of course! LOL! I have many, but I have to say “Le Petite Prince”- The Little Prince. I love the story of this little fantasy adventurer. In fact, where ever I travel to, I pick up a copy in that language.
What is on your iPod?
Cold Play, The Frey, Carrie Underwood, The Rolling Stones, A great lounge mix by my French DJ friend, some rap.
What are your contact details (email, company, blog, facebook, myspace, forums, etc)?
You can always e-mail me from www.adventuregirl.com and of course http://twitter.com/adventuregirl. I also have a fan site on Facebook and Myspace, but I don’t update those often because I am a Twitteraholic.
What events do you go to?
I was just in Switzerland and experienced the Burning of the Boog. The Boog is “winter- the bad guy”- and they burn him to bring in Spring. However long it takes him to burn, will determine how long their warm season will be. The whole time, I just kept thinking- well, that’s not very “green”. LOL!
I get invited to a lot of red carpet stuff and openings from boutiques to movie premieres, but mostly opt to stay home. I prefer the comfort of my couch and pay per view.
How do you prefer to communicate?
Via e-mail hands down. I just don’t have time to sit and talk on the phone. Oh, and Skype! I love Skype, because I can be almost anywhere in the world and be in contact.
Who would you recommend, and why?
For Twitter? Well, @operationsmile of course,
@Jason_Pollock, he is this young amazingly passionate documentary filmmaker out of NYC,
@entirelykiwi, because when we needed a trip for 140Smiles campaign, she got a hold of me straight away and offered up a all expense paid trip to New Zealand we could donate. It’s not just because of the trip, tho- it’s because she is so willing to get behind something and I like her passion
@deniolan because he is just the nicest person and a real cool techy guy I learn from,
@patientZeroBand because I support their passion and love their music,
@BJMendelson for his love of community and his fundraising efforts that he gets behind- he is an incredible human being,
@spotscott the former astronaut turned Everest guy, he just made the Summit and to me, from space to Everest it doesn’t get more adventurous than that!
@savefurfriends because it’s this one little gal going up against the world passionately, trying to raise awareness on animal abuse and her dream is to eradicate this all over the world- I like her spirit.
@FEEDProjects makes products to help feed the world,
@super_josh because he is incredibly talented with his Current.com videos which make me laugh,
@nokachocolate because I am a chocoholic and love their dark chocolate.
What is one thing people can do for you?
Get off your couch and get out there and explore the world. Be curious, because there is a lot more out there than where you are right now. There is so much to see, people to meet that are different than you and I, people with stories that will enrich and change you. It will be the biggest gift to you… which will make me happy. Also, please consider getting involved with a charity like OperationSmile.org. That will really make me smile. ;0
Thanks to Stefanie Michaels of AdventureGirl.com !