Who is Christopher Mitchell of Travelingmitch?
Always looking to provide travellers with top trending, influential information and allowing you to ‘stay connected’ before and while you travel, Wise Traveller profiles up and coming travel blogger Christopher Mitchell, who is behind ‘Traveling Mitch’. Our profile series allows you to get to know the person behind some of the most popular and influential travel blogs.
Christopher Mitchell is a Canadian travel writer and photographer based in Toronto who has been to over 75 countries. He loves to share stories and travel tips on his blog, Traveling Mitch. “I want to share my successes and my failures in an honest way with my audience,” he says.
He started his blog because of his inherent drive to document his travels. He says it forces him to critically examine his surroundings and reflect upon what he finds most important. Traveling Mitch features travel trips, personal stories, and interviews with top figures in the travel and adventure industries.
When he’s not travelling, he’s working on his freelance writing or catching up with friends and family.
Let’s Get to Know Christopher
We asked Christopher a few questions about his life as a traveller.
What is your favourite destination and why?
It’s a difficult question, but I’ve always felt a special connection to Kyoto, Japan. For one, I love Japanese culture. I find Japanese food to be perfectly varied, diverse, and delicious! I also love Japanese art, particularly artists such as Utagawa Kuniyoshi from the early 19th century. Lastly, the ancient buildings and structures, especially in Kyoto, offer another level of aesthetic appeal, at least in my humble opinion.
What is your scariest or worst travel experience?
I’m fairly sure that I’m certified to write a book about scary travel experiences at this point, but it’s difficult to pinpoint just one. For ‘scary,’ I’d say the little ferry I took from Lombok to the Gili Islands is up there considering it was swaying back and forth taking water, and I know we weren’t far from capsizing. That being said, Indonesia is one of my favourite countries on the planet.
Worst travel experience? Probably when the volcano erupted in Iceland a few years back (2010) and all flights were cancelled. I had an exam to take at the University of Oslo and had to get back, so I ended up taking a 40 hour bus ride from Zagreb to Oslo that was memorable for all the wrong reasons. That being said, it’s a good travel story in retrospect, and I was among good friends.
What was is your most memorable, inspiring or life changing travel moment?
I’d have to say the time I spent in the small community of Pearl Lagoon in the Autonomous Atlantic Region of Nicaragua would be up there. The people there were so full of life, and I recall all the exteriors of the houses as vibrant and colourful. I was there for about a month, teaching at the local school, and everybody called me “Prof,” a nickname that still puts a smile on my face. Mainly, it was a kind reminder that there’s so much to see and experience that you won’t necessarily find in a guidebook.
If you could only give one single travel tip, what would it be?
For me, it would have to be something that I think a lot of people have forgotten and that’s learning a few words of the language before arrival. In today’s day and age, I’m not sure it’s even considered a prerequisite anymore. Yet, when you arrive and make the attempt to speak some of the language people understand that you’re committed to learning about and engaging with their culture. I can’t possibly describe the amount of opportunities I was given in Turkey because I spoke passable Turkish. Even just saying thanks in the local language can put a smile on someone’s face, and that’s worth a fair bit.
What is your favourite travel-related quote?
I suppose that’d have to be the one that’s tattooed across my ribs, ‘man cannot discover new oceans, unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.’ – Andre Gide
Who are your three favourite travel bloggers and why?
The three travel bloggers I’ll mention are actually friends and acquaintances of mine, but, in my opinion, they’re top notch in the industry.
Firstly, Dave and Debra from The Planet D, who are fellow Canadians. I really appreciate them because they produce incredible content in all respects, but they’re so humble, and they’ve never shied away from offering me helpful advice when I needed it.
Secondly, Gary Arndt of Everything Everywhere, because he’s a character and a half. He’s one of the most unique guys I know, and he’s got incredible insight and conviction. He also happens to be one of the best travel photographers on the planet, so that helps.
Lastly, Carol Cain from Girl Gone Travel. She’s a good friend, but more importantly who she is in person is who she is online. She writes with truth and passion that comes from her heart, as opposed to writing to get traffic etc. I respect Carol a great deal.
What advice you would give someone wanting to become a travel blogger?
Honestly, it depends whether they were aiming to do it as a personal side-project or more as a profession. As a fun way to recount your journeys, it’s fantastic and I couldn’t recommend it more. However, if you’re looking to become a travel blogger as more of a career path, then I would let you know that it is a TON of work behind the scenes. A lot of days when you wish you could be out exploring the city you’re in, you’ve got to stay in and catch up on work. Furthermore, you’ll likely need some side income coming in whether that be from renting out an Airbnb, freelance writing for magazines or websites and so on. Also, if you’re doing it right, then you’ll be working a heck of a lot more than a 40 hour workweek, but that is worth it to some people so they don’t have to work a classic 9-5 style job.
Summary of TravelingMitch
Christopher blogs to help other travellers have the best experiences possible when on the road. He’s received a Leibster Award for Blogging and Easy Planet Travel listed Traveling Mitch as one of the 50 Best Travel Blogs of 2017.