By: Sandy Nene
What inspired the name of your blog? Actually something that still causes confusion is that my blog is called Ceeces Travel and so are all my online platforms, but my blog URL still say’s Ceeces Taxi, which is what I originally started out as. I love travel and I had started feeling caged and travel deprived, so I started writing about my daily adventures around my own city, which funny enough were mainly done by using public transport. Here we call it a taxi but it’s more commonly known as a mini bus abroad.
How long have you been blogging for? I have been writing my entire life, I read a lot as a child and I have always written. My father was a journalist and my mother a teacher so that explains a lot. It’s called blogging now because I put it online and people can read my thoughts and laugh along to my stories and adventures, so in terms of being online since November 2014.
What difficulties did you come across when you first started blogging? Other bloggers, wow people can be feisty when it comes into fresh blood on the market. I watched as bloggers would attack or hide behind words in regards to another blogger/writer and it would always bug me. We’re supposed to be lifting people up, encouraging each other and working together. Not stepping on each other to climb to the top, especially those already at the top in South Africa.
While blogging, content writing and the likes are understood well abroad, SA still has a lot to learn, especially brands who want to work with bloggers or writers. Let’s just get this out there first and foremost. EXPOSURE does not pay the rent. No seriously, I tried to order pizza with it the other day and the app didn’t know what I was doing.
If you want ANY type of marketing done for yourself or your brand or your company then like anyone else you need to pay for it if you’re not doing it yourself. There are HOURS of work, editing, effort and talent that go into creating any form of marketing and advertising. Unless your exposure comes with a house, food, a car, petrol and so on then please respect what we do and respect yourself as a brand. It’s insulting and exploitive to abuse people’s talent, time or craft in any industry.
And lastly tech support. I started my blog without even having a cell phone. Honestly, it’s been a very very difficult journey financially and still to this day as I write to you, I have a laptop that has no backlight I have to carry a monitor around to be able to work. The screen switches off every 10 minutes if not more often and the machine is just plain overworked and so shuts down immediately without being plugged in, which is a tricky setup because the port to plug in doesn’t fit properly anyway. Lol. Yet I am grateful for the laptop, I am grateful that I can work, but as you grow and as a brand grows, it’s becoming an increasing issue and harbours a lot of my mobility.
What do you think new bloggers need to know about blogging that most people don’t? It’s not all sunsets and islands, its work. And it’s your passion that drives it, so if you’re not passionate about photography or travelling or whichever subject you’re writing about then that’s going to be hard in the long run.
However, there are amazing amazing amazing benefits to blogging and meeting people from all over the world. To sharing your thoughts, your passions, your adventures, your losses, everything with the world, and not knowing quite what you’re going to get back.
I had a past 10 year career in hospitality both here in SA and abroad. I also studied event management. I have lived and worked on game reserves, lodges, spas’ and travelled. I have run more than 100 weddings, relocated crocodiles, tracked elephants and almost set fire to someone’s dinner once, but I have never regretted any of it and I have never been more happy or broke as I am now.
What would you say has been a highlight of your blogging career thus far? Turning my passion and love into a career and a business, with all my experience and events knowledge before I moved into this industry when brands started approaching me to work for them, review something, write them something I wasn’t going in blind. I had no capital to start with so I had to do a few jobs for free but I made sure they were the ones that would help grow my brand and create long term relationships for future networking.
Through this I met my business partner Al Nicoll, who I now Co-Own and Co-Direct a company with that allow us to both express our passions and experiences one on platform in one package. We are able to provide an entire social media and photographic experience to our clients, specialists in both our own fields coming together as one.
It’s taken us into some amazing adventures and events. Choosing a name was hard and took us forever but when it came to us, it made us both smile. We both have a love for Wildlife and Nature and both our crafts depend on creativity and the ability to weave. So we’re Weaver-Bird Communications (PTY) Ltd.
We still both operate our independent brands as well as run WBC. My highlight so far would most likely be that our company were the company behind the official photography of the Loeries 2016. We were able to put together a team of some of SA’s finest photographers and editors and place our team in and at all the venues, during Loeries week. It was hard work but very rewarding and an honour to have that on our portfolio.
Who are your favourite bloggers? That is SUCH a tricky question! Wow! I actually can’t even answer that, I follow and read many blogs both from writers here in Southern Africa and many abroad. I can tell you that I just LOVE following Scott Eddy’s adventures around the world. I love what he does with the Star Alliance team. I also think that Durban writers/bloggers need some love and attention. The Durban scene is hot with talent and unfortunately we don’t get the same treatment or opportunities that are made for bloggers or freelance writers based in JHB and CPT.
There is so much one can do here and something I am trying to work on through WBC is bringing awareness, and campaigns and trips with media and bloggers to KZN. Brands take note we are here, we are fierce and we have some serious passion. I have been asked to move to JHB and CPT several times this year but I just can’t do it. I love my entire country but KZN is my home. I need my beach, my bushveld, my berg and so on. This is such a diverse province, it’s unbeatable.
Which is the most read blog post on your blog and why do you think people like it? Since I started? I’m not sure. In the last few months though? The Splashy Fen Revival Post was enjoyed, people would tweet me after reading or send me emails, and it was most certainly one of the most popular. I am VERY excited for next year, be sure to keep a watch for all Splashyfen news on my twitter page, I like to keep you all in the know.
Before that though I think people really enjoyed my BLOG EXPOSURE SERIES which were interviews I did with fellow travellers from around the world, and of course the reviews. I LOVE reviewing products, gadgets, wines, spirits, clothes, it’s an interesting side of my work.
What else do you do besides blogging? Besides the past career I have already mentioned. After doing some further studying after I started Ceeces Travel, I am quite actively in the digital marketing realm. I offer social media management and consultancy. I do quite a bit of content writing for brands and companies abroad. I have recently started writing for a few print publish magazine’s and guest write on several Durban based online sites. I am also the Durban Chapter Leader for Travel Massive in KZN. And of course I do all the admin, networking, sourcing, and campaign management, for Weaver-Bird Communications (PTY) Ltd. Which includes building relationships with brands, tourism departments and offering our services, like event coverage and creating brand activations.
Where do you see your blog in the next two years? Wow. Hopefully I will be blogging from a plane on our way too or back from some adventure, somewhere in the world. A huge part of what we do is to create opportunities for us to travel this amazing world we all share. Travel is a HUGE passion and part of my life and who I am. There is so much to see, do, on planet earth and if we can work while experiencing it all then why not?
Do you look at your blog as a business, hobby or as a portfolio? Having answered all those questions, I think both. It started as one and blended into another and now the wheel turns through all three. And that’s just fine with me. ☺