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Blogging, a common profession in some parts of the world, is relatively new in Pakistan. Travel blogging is even rarer. What exactly is travel blogging and what do travel bloggers do? Travel bloggers, well, travel. And upload images and pictures of themselves on social media and blogs. In return, destinations and hotels that may notice them invite them for partnerships and hence travel bloggers receive perks and privileges that normal travelers would not receive. Several bloggers have gone on to make blogging their full-time careers.
Solo travel is extremely uncommon, especially in Pakistan where many girls would be afraid to venture out into an unknown country completely on their own.
We have found the first female solo-travel bloggers of Pakistan. In a country where women do not even leave their houses alone at night, these girls are breaking all stereotypes. They’ve been solo traveling countries for the past two years but only just entered the blogging scene. And by solo, we don’t mean they travel as a pair. They travel alone. And what’s more is that they fund their travels themselves. Maintaining the spirit of travel blogging like foreign bloggers do, they are entirely self-funded. For 21-year-old Pakistani girls, this is a huge deal and a reason to feel proud.
Running separate Instagram blogs by the names of @miss.jetlagged and @globewanderess, these twins (yes, they’re twins!) are documenting their travels via beautiful Instagram pictures. Just take a look:
Despite being twins, they travel separately – and we decided to find out why! We had an opportunity to chat with Tuba and Aqsa even though they were both extremely busy with their travels (can’t blame them!).
How do you manage to fund your travels on your own?
Tuba: A lot of it is covered by freelancing. There’s a lot of money in freelancing if you really get into it. The rest is covered by sponsorships from hotels and destinations that wish travel bloggers to work with them. This is just the start so let’s see what other means of funding travels will come up later. We were quite overwhelmed by the partnership offers we received from destinations so far.
Why do you solo travel?
Aqsa: Solo traveling is different from traveling with friends or family. You get to meet more people, make friends with locals, push your boundaries and learn how to handle situations for which you would otherwise have relied on friends. It’s an amazing experience and one that everyone should try at least once in their lives. Once hasn’t been enough for us though. Solo traveling can also be an introvert’s haven.
Who takes such beautiful pictures of you two?
Tuba: We take them ourselves. We use camera equipment like tripods, mini pods, and gorilla pods, with a Bluetooth remote or timer settings.
Where did you get your inspiration to travel and blog about it?
Aqsa: The inspiration was always there. I’ve always had a yearning desire to see the world. The idea of a travel blog came up after the success of our book blog, @thenerdtwins on Instagram. It’s the age of social media and since you’ll be taking pictures while traveling either way, why not make a blog out of it and reap its benefits?
Where do you stay while traveling?
Tuba: Airbnb and Booking.com are a traveler’s best friend. There’s also Couchsurfing, which can be an amazing experience, but you have to be very careful. It’s definitely not recommended for first-time travelers, especially not first-time solo travelers.
Do you plan on giving your valuable knowledge about traveling to other people?
Aqsa: Not yet because we’re in the process of learning ourselves. But maybe one day when we’ve established travel bloggers, we would want to help other bloggers out.
You said you have partnerships with travel destinations. How does that work?
Tuba: Travel destinations are always on the lookout for bloggers who can market for them and increase the inflow of tourists. Instagram is a great way to do that and has shown more results than Facebook or other means of blogging. When a travel destination or a tourism company sees a blogger they feel might be suitable for them, they contact them and invite them to their hotel or for tours – free of cost.
Are beautiful images all it takes?
Aqsa: No, not at all! It seems simple enough – take pretty pictures and get sponsored. But it’s a lot more than that. A lot of research and effort goes into one picture. Then there is also all the information you have to collect in order to be credible. You have to get brands to trust you – and most importantly, you need the trust of your viewers and followers.
Have you both ever traveled together?
Tuba: Until now, no. We have never traveled together because we love solo traveling so much. But next month, we plan to meet in Thailand. It would be our first time traveling together!
What destinations do you have in mind for the coming years?
Aqsa: We don’t usually plan in advance. We also plan on traveling around Pakistan and exploring our own country. After solo traveling to so many countries, we’ve realized that we might just be missing out on the beauty of our own.
Your bookstagram @thenerdtwins is doing pretty well. Do you read books while traveling?
Tuba: Yes! People often ask if solo traveling gets lonely sometimes. Well, who can get lonely when they have a good book?
Lastly, would you recommend solo traveling to other women of Pakistan?
Aqsa: Absolutely! It’s definitely not for everyone, but those who find it appealing should go for it. One of the reasons we document our travels on Instagram is so that we encourage other women to start traveling too. Traveling is a lot cheaper than most people imagine. And if you want it enough, you’ll work to make it happen like we did. You don’t have to wait for your family or friends to join you. If you go solo once, you’ll understand the charm of it.
We know you all probably have a lot more to ask these twins! Well, head over to their Instagram blogs (@globewanderess and @miss.jetlagged) and ask them all the questions you want. They have been very interactive with their followers on their bookstagram @thenerdtwins, and we are sure they would keep up the same spirit for their travel blogs.