An Interview with Cynthia Graner

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Cynthia Graner

On her blog “Two Day Travels”, blogger Cynthia Graner shares her explorations and how you can travel for 2 days and $200 at a time!

What is your blog/web site niche?

Finding ways for a person to take a vacation in 2 days time, for (around) $200.

Why did you decide to start a blog?

As someone who works freelance, I often hesitate to book a trip because I’m afraid of being gone too long and missing a work opportunity. I also find it difficult to spend money on travel when I don’t always know how much I’ll make in the year. But, I love to travel, so the thought of not doing so makes me sad.

I think many people face this same core issue: they stay away from travelling even if they really want to do it because they don’t feel they have enough resources. So, I wanted to find a way to face head on the 2 biggest obstacles people give for not traveling – not enough time and/or not enough money.

What is your goal for your blog/website?

My hope is that the blog and my experiences will inspire people to find ways within their own lives to travel and to show that it doesn’t have to be expensive.

How long did it take you from the time you decided to start a blog or website to launch?

It took me about 3 months to start the blog from coming up with the idea to launching the first post. Partly, because I had to take a few ‘practice’ trips, to make sure I could actually do them with a $200 budget!

Was it harder or easier than you expected?

Slightly harder – I stumbled a little at first with the format and how to make the blog page.

What was your proudest moment or biggest accomplishment along the way and why?

Getting my first ‘stranger’ sign up for my email list was a fun moment! I’ve received wonderful support from family and friends in regards to the blog, and many of them follow it, but it’s feels really good when I get comments and follows from people I don’t know!

Tell us about a specific moment when you wanted to pull your hair out or throw the towel in. Did you ever consider giving up, even for a moment?

I like to think I’m smart and web-savvy, but although I was using a template based ‘anyone can do it’ website builder and host, it took me awhile to figure out the structure, the templates, and how to use it do to what I wanted.

What was the biggest technical challenge you faced in launching your web site and how did you overcome it?

Learning how to design a webpage. Probably because I had a few too many people around me saying how ‘easy’ this particular system was, that ‘even a dummy could do it’, so when I couldn’t figure it out immediately, it was a little frustrating.  I spent a great deal of time Googling and looking to different forums to find the answers!

What new tools did you have to learn?

I’ve been learning more about photography – and specifically using my smart phone for photography. It’s also been a lot of fun learning to make graphics with Canva!

Favorite tools or resources that you recommend to others just starting out?

I find Canva to be very helpful, to make graphics and photo collages to put on the blog site.

I found a few Facebook blogging groups – one specifically to travel and two that are more general, including Blogging with a Smile – that are really helpful to answering questions, finding tools, etc., plus they offer a great deal of support and camaraderie to a blogger sitting at home alone staring at a blank computer screen!

And, for me, right now, Pinterest and Instagram are the best tools for sharing my blog with social media.

What was something you learned about yourself in the process?

I learned both how to be a better travel companion, and that I actually really like solo travel, which I never thought I would! Also, I’ve learned how to be a better photographer.

What do you wish you would have known before you started?

Turns out the web-hosting site I have is not as friendly to connecting to social media (specifically, Pinterest) as I would like, nor does it offer as many options for ads & affiliate marketing. I wish I had understood more about those things before I started and how to match a website host to that, but then, you don’t always know what you don’t know until you get started!

What advice would you give someone just starting now?

The best thing you can do is start. I knew myself enough to know that I could get so caught up in trying to make it perfect that I would procrastinate it away until it never happened. Also, by starting it, I was able to get a better handle on what my questions actually were, see what actually worked or didn’t. You don’t always know what questions to ask until you’re in the middle of things.

How did being a part of the Blogging with a Smile community help you?

Blogging with a Smile helped me get through a lot of bumps in the road. Anytime I felt stuck or couldn’t figure something out, this group was there to lift me up and point me in the right direction. Chantel Arnett, is always full of amazingly helpful resources and willing to help at any time. There were times being a part of this group actually kept me from pulling my hair out and walking away from this venture all together. Thank you so much Blogging with a Smile!

Anything else you would like to share?

My new favorite quote, is:

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” ~Confucious

Whether it’s to a place, a job, a creative endeavor, or a state of being, do it with all your focus, attention, and strength. You and your time are precious; so don’t squander them with the mediocre. If you have decided to do something, to go somewhere, go there with all you’ve got!

How did being a part of the Blogging with a Smile community help you? 🙂

Blogging with a Smile has been a great resource for tips and tricks, for introducing me to new tools to use, and has been very supportive whenever I (or, anyone else) asks a question.

How did you hear about ‘Blogging with a Smile’?

I found you on Facebook!


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