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Life & Work with Stephanie and Mitchell Moulton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie and Mitchell Moulton.

Hi Stephanie and Mitchell, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
We are Stephanie and Mitchell Moulton, a couple with a passion for travelling and experiencing the world. Our first trip together was in 2013, only a couple months after being introduced to each other. We didn’t know it at the time, but that was the first of a lifetime of adventures together. We started our travel blog, The Traveling Gingerbread, in October 2017 for ourselves. We loved scrolling through our blog’s colorful photos and reading the small details documented in our posts that one day may be forgotten. When someone discussed future travel plans and we couldn’t remember the name of our favorite restaurant or unique bookshop to recommend, we would smile at each other as we searched for on our iPhones.

After a while, we shared our link with friends and family and were shocked by the positive feedback. They loved reading about our adventures! As our love for exploring together continued to grow, others began to notice. When asked our next free Saturday, sometimes our response was a month or more away. People starting asking how we did it. How did we have time, how could we afford it, how did we plan everything and travel around a country we didn’t speak the language by ourselves? So, we rewrote our content. We added more photos, replaced the little details with tips to avoid our rookie mistakes, reformatted our journal entries into bullets and short paragraphs, and chose a more visually appealing, user-friendly layout. Our focus shifted from telling our stories to providing the tools to help someone create their own story.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
A challenge for us is growth. Because our travel blog is a hobby, everything from web design and creating content to social media posts and photo editing is completed by the two of us. We have stumbled upon travel blogs with a lot of followers, views, comments, and sometimes sponsors that have posts with half-written sentences and three photos of someone’s foot. How did they get there and we aren’t? Having a travel blog has changed the way we travel. We pay more attention to small details, write down notes, and snap a lot more photos. We don’t blog about every location we visit and focus more on quality than quantity.

We are very proud of our content, photos, and how far The Traveling Gingerbread has come. We are consistently increasing our views and visitors and have continued to gain new followers over the last four years, but aren’t growing at the rate we expected. Between the two of us, we are aren’t able to dedicate the time needed to achieve the growth we want which is our other challenge, time. In addition to our jobs, social life, planning and going on trips, organizing our notes, and editing photos, it can be really hard finding time to blog or motivation to spend more time in front of a computer screen. We aren’t sure exactly what our vision for The Traveling Gingerbread is. We currently are working on reaching a larger audience to gain sponsors to enable us to continue doing what we already do, but maybe one day it will be taking a leap and turning it into a full-time career. For now, if our blog has inspired one person to travel somewhere new, it’s been a success.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
As we researched travel blogs to find the right look and interaction we wanted for our site, we were astounded by the amount of full-time travel bloggers with sponsors and lavish budgets. We both work full time, requiring us to schedule around our vacation days and with our personal savings. Budget travel to us isn’t traveling for the least amount of money but how to maximize our time and money. Someone with a larger financial budget could repeat one our trips and order a more expensive meal, stay at a more expensive hotel, and have a very similar experience. Tips on how to travel to the fullest quickly became our niche, but in a saturated market, we wanted to have something more. We always try to find a craft brewery in any place we visit. We were most surprised to accomplish this on our honeymoon in French Polynesia. When we started our blog in 2017, craft brewery trails, passports, and apps weren’t as popular as they are today. As craft beer lovers, we thought sharing different towns with multiple breweries within a small radius would differentiate us from other travel blogs. Finally, we found our tagline, Travel Tales and Brewery Trails.

We do a lot of research before traveling and sprinkle some of the interesting facts throughout our posts so readers aren’t just learning about our experience. We hope to save travelers time researching what to do in a destination, share some unique places or experiences that may not have been found in a quick Google search, and show them how much it’s possible to do in a short period of time. We create our itineraries around experiences unique to each place we visit and always include a brewery or two. The Enchanted Highway in North Dakota, the Cathedral of Junk in Austin, and Toadstool Geologic Park in Nebraska may not be found in a quick internet search but are unique places and we want to share them others. We recently added The Traveling Gingerbread Tips page to our blog. We created a list of tips for select countries to share with others what we learned the hard way. Tips might include what to pack, helpful websites or apps, public transportation, money-saving, etc., to help someone feel more comfortable taking that first trip to a country that may seem intimidating. We want to show others you don’t need a career as a travel blogger or an extravagant budget to experience the world. People with 9-5 jobs like us can too!

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
Mitch is a Multimedia Marketing Specialist and freelance video producer, editor, and photographer. Stephanie recently joined the Digital and Technology industry as a Field Support Technician, a fancy word for IT support. Previously she worked in human resources and finance. It often comes as a surprise to friends and family that Stephanie handles the majority of photo editing and maintaining the blog while Mitch is the man behind the camera on our adventures. With degrees in Marketing and Human Resources, she had no experience in web design prior to creating a WordPress account in 2017. We both have learned a lot since that first blog post and are excited to continue expanding our knowledge. It’s all part of the adventure.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Personal photo by Amber Marie Photography

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