Unlike most travel t.v. shows, Word Travels follows 2 travel writers (Julia Dimon & Robin Esrock) as they travel the globe, looking for their next story. It’s an interesting hook and over the past couple years I’ve become slightly addicted. Shortly after joining Twitter, I started to follow Julia’s tweets. In fact, it was through twitter that I asked her if she’s interested in doing an interview post for my blog. As you can see, she said yes!
A socially conscious travel writer, Julia Dimon has been writing since the age of 12. Her career started with writing a monthly movie review column for the Toronto Star. “Julia’s Flicks” ran for 6 years before she moved from writing about movies to writing about travel. Her monthly travel series “Confessions of a Backpacker” appeared in the Toronto Star for 4 years until the Metro came calling and offered her a nationally-syndicated column with the Metro.
For the next four years, Julia’s nationally-syndicated travel column, “Travel Junkie,” appeared every Wednesday in newspapers across Canada. Her column was also translated and appeared across Metro International, the ‘world’s largest global newspaper’ with 23.1 million readers.
In addition to travel journalism, Julia has worked as a video journalist for CBC online, crafting and hosting pieces on everything from professional pillow-fighting championships to the politicized “Freegan” youth movement. While travelling around the world, Julia produced current affairs pieces that aired nationally on CBC Newsworld, Canada’s most recognized news source.
Julia is the queen of all things travel. I’ve only used part of her bio for this post. If you’d like to read her bio in its entirety visit www.juliadimon.com
I’d like to take a moment to thank Julia for agreeing to this interview. Unlike some t.v. personalities, I can honestly say that Julia is just as nice and gracious in real life. In fact, she’s as eager to connect with you, as you are with her.
What was your first travel experience?
I travelled extensively with my parents when I was a child (through Costa Rica, Singapore, France and Hong Kong) but, in terms of my travel writing career, my most formative experience was off the coast of Italy on the island of Elba. Backpacking with a few girlfriends, I ran into trouble when my credit card was demagnetized, I ran out of money and was forced to panhandle to get off the island. It was a funny story that ended up turning into my very first travel article published in the Toronto Star.
How do you stay inspired while on the road?
There’s inspiration everywhere when I travel. Each new destination brings a sense of wonder. New sights, new smells, new sounds, new cultures, new languages, new people, new ways of things….I’m constantly inspired to learn when I travel and share what I’ve learned with my readers.
What are the strangest things you’ve done while travelling?
I spent a night of ‘torture’ in a former Latvian prison which was converted into a bizarre tourist attraction. This ‘reality tour behind bars’ is where tourists actually pay to be treated like prisoners. The very convincing actors interrogated me, forced me to scrub a dirty latrine with a toothbrush, asked me to stand in stress positions and sleep on a slab of wood. It was an amazing, extremely memorable (albeit scary) hands-on history lesson where I got a glimpse into the reality of life as a prisoner during Soviet Times.
Season 3 of Word Travels has started airing in Canada on OLN. What do you do when you’re not filming the show?
When I’m not filming the show, I’m working on my website www.traveljunkiejulia.com it’s a compilation of my adventures (and misadventures) around the world. It also shares tips and advice for travellers looking to plan their own trips.
If you could go anywhere in the world for a day, where would you go and why?
With the dreary March weather, I’d likely want to choose a sunny beach destination for a day of seaside tanning. My favourite spot is Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Tanzania. If it was logistically possible to get there quickly and hang for the day, I’d love to. Between the white sandy beaches, the friendly locals, the fresh seafood and the unique island culture, Zanzibar remains one of my favourite spots.
What was your worst travel experience?
Travelling around the world four times, across six continents through 80 countries, you’d think my list of terrible travel experiences would be long. In fact, I have very few “worst travel experiences” to share. The only one that I would have rather not had to experience was getting malaria in Eastern Africa. I was taking malaria pills but they’re not always 100% effective. I woke up one day feeling like I had the world’s worst hangover/world’s worst flu. I went to the doctor, had a blood test and was diagnosed with a mild case of malaria. It’s a bit scary being ill so far away from home but after a few pills and a few days of recuperation, I was pretty much as good as new and my malarial symptoms were gone. While I felt like shit at the time, being a travel expert means speaking with authority about all kinds of experiences – from tips on visiting exotic destinations to surviving parasites in your blood stream:) I’m happy to have lived (and lived through) the experience 🙂
If you have some time be sure to read Julia’s blog: Travel Junkie Julia. It’s full of fun and quirky travel tips!
Connect with Julia!!
Facebook: Julia Dimon
Flickr: Travel Junkie Julia
You Tube: Julia Dimon