I had the honor of interviewing Veronica Pototska, author, photographer, world traveler and founder of siniciliya.com.
Veronica has created the dream job for herself and shares a little about her experience.
TLP: Hi Veronica, please introduce yourself to our readers
Veronica: I am a travel blogger at www.siniciliya.com , photographer, and Instagrammer at www.instagram.com/siniciliya. I show how beautiful this world is and I inspire others to travel and experience it. I travel the world, photograph my experiences and show the pictures to my readers and followers.
TLP: How long have you been blogging about your travel experiences?
Veronica: I started my blog over 3 years ago and only one year ago I made a decision to become a professional blogger.
TLP: When did you first start traveling? Have you been traveling your whole life?
Veronica: I was born in the Soviet Ukraine. When I was little, I knew that only some privileged people could leave the USSR and go abroad. But I read a lot of books and dreamt that someday I would too be able to travel. So my first trip abroad was to Hungary when I was 12. I loved it so much, and I knew that someday I’d be able to travel nonstop.
TLP: There are people that would love to travel but don’t know where to start. Is it about taking a leap and booking the first plane ticket? How would you recommend someone with little money, follow their travel dreams?
Veronica: If you dream to travel then just go for it! Traveling is a state of mind. The size of a bank account should not define whether one should be travel or not, the money only defines the quality of the travel, and that’s it. There are so many services that allow travel for free and even earn on the go. Use services like Blablacar to get to a destination really cheaply, volunteer at a winemaking farm in Italy to experience a new country, get paid to stay at people’s homes to take care of their pets ( TrustedHousesitters.com, House Sitters America, The Caretaker Gazette, Mind My House), teach something that you are good at, the world has endless possibilities for you.
TLP: How many countries have you visited? Which ones have been your favorites/least favorite?
Veronica: I traveled to more than 50 countries. My favorite ones are India, USA, and Nepal. I can’t say that there are countries that I liked the least, but surely there are cities that I don’t like.
TLP: As a blogger, how do you structure your weeks since you are always on the go?
Veronica: When blogging became my job I realized that I needed a structure, a schedule, and a plan. So basically I work for a week or two, take images and make some videos, post some of them on the social media and then I I take some rest and also some time to retouch the photos and put them up on my blog. Also, I have more and more collaborations coming up with TV shows, travel media, etc, so this means that I have to take away some time from my travels and from my rest. However, this is the next step every blogger goes through when the personal brand is growing.
TLP: What role does photography play in your travels?
Veronica: Photography plays a very important role not only in my travels but also in my life. It is my means of communication with the world, this is how I can show other people how beautiful our world is. Once I went to Singapore and all the photos that I took were accidentally deleted. I felt like I didn’t even visit Singapore.
TLP: How do you stand out from other travel bloggers? What makes you unique? How does your Instagram stand out?
Veronica: Before I take my pictures, I stop, close my eyes for a moment and listen to what is happening around. I want to hear the sounds of the city or nature, people talking or laughing. Then I look around to see what’s happening, who is around me. I want to feel the moment and then take a picture of it. Apart from that, I pay a lot of attention to the aesthetics of my photography.
TLP: Do you take actions to grow your Instagram or has it happened naturally from your amazing travel photos?
Veronica: To be honest, it is not possible anymore to grow your account without taking actions toward growing it. Your content has to go viral, it has to be noticed and shared by others, people have to like it and relate to you to follow you.
TLP: How do you decide where you are traveling next? Is it random?
Veronica: There are travels that are passion and there are travels that are jobs. I try to plan my personal travels and always visit the places that I have dreamt of visiting. And then there are companies that hire me to create content for them in different countries. Those types of travels often happen randomly.
TLP: After seeing many different countries and cultures, how has the experience shaped you as a person? How has traveling shaped your views of other countries?
Veronica: Traveling has changed so much from an immature girl to a person who can feel other people and their emotions, empathize them, accept cultures and traditions. But most importantly, what I learned is that there is no right or wrong, there are no rules. I’ve seen people living lives that shocked me so much, but they were happy. And then I understood, that every tradition, every decision can work as long as the person is happy.
TLP: What are some of the major challenges that you have overcome? What important lessons have your learned?
Veronica: My biggest challenge was my first trip to India. I went there as a very young, inexperienced girl. I had my own set of rules and stereotypes, and they all crashed. I saw a totally different world.
By accident, I ended up in a very dirty hotel in the middle of the slums in New Delhi. There were no bedsheets, but instead, some excrements in the toilet, shower, and sink. I was horrified and I didn’t know where to go and what to do. It was in the times, when we went to Internet cafes to get internet, so that of course, wasn’t an option. I was afraid to eat and drink, I used my beach towel to sleep there. I knew that at some point I would have to sleep and eat, so I just had to overcome my fears and destroy my own stereotypes, which I eventually did.
After that, I visited India five more times and I am looking forward to our new adventures together.
TLP: Who or what are you inspired by?
Veronica: I often watch speeches on TEDx. They are such a source of inspiration to me. What I love the most about them is that I could listen to a story of some people who are not world stars, but their stories are so inspiring. I watched a speech from an African boy who invented a light fence to protect the cows from the lions in his village. He saved the cows and the lions. After everyone in the neighborhood knew about him, he was given the scholarship to go to a good school and an opportunity to travel. This is so inspiring.
Or there was a speech by a woman from India who was the first female police officer and how she taught the prisoners to play. People like them are my everyday source of inspiration.
TLP: What is your best advice on handling criticism?
Veronica: There are only two conditions when one should pay the attention to criticism.
1. The person is an expert in the field.
2. The person does that because he/she wants you to improve your results.
If these two come together, then yes sure, go ahead and listen to the criticism and then make your own decision whether you want to accept it or not.
However, if the criticism is based on someone’s taste, then just respect that person's right to have and express an opinion. This opinion has nothing to do with you.
TLP: You live the dream life! Have you ever felt scared of the future or worried that your dreams won’t work out the way you hope they will?
Veronica: I do this all the time! Sometimes I feel myself being really successful, and sometimes I get scared like a little girl. I guess it happens because it is in our human nature to doubt ourselves. And then I also compare my results to other people’s which is completely wrong to do. I should only compare the results that I have today to the results that I achieved in the past. I wish this were something we all learned at schools.
TLP: What is the best advice that you have ever received?
Veronica: The best advice that I had came from a very wise friend of mine. She said that this world doesn’t need standards to develop. It only needs uniqueness to evolve. And then she told me that I am that uniqueness, and everyone else in the world is too. If the world needed standards, we’d see a majority of people being similar to each other. But we are not the same, we have different shapes, heights, skin, hair, etc. We should just be grateful for being who we are and accept ourselves.
TLP: What advice do you have for people who want to start traveling?
Veronica: Start traveling! That’s the best advice really. Dream big but begin small. Do some research, save some money, plan your trip ad go. And then repeat
TLP: What advice do you have for photographers who may want to travel for work? Is it achievable to make a living while traveling the world?
Veronica: This is definitely achievable. I would recommend to develop your own style, build some following in social media, work on the quality of the images and know who your clients are and what they need. If you can give them what you need, then the job is yours.
TLP: What’s next for you? Do you have any big future plans?
Veronica: I feel that I have enough stories and knowledge to write a book about my travels and inspire others to travel the world.
TLP: How do you want to be remembered when you leave this earth?
Veronica: Veronica spent every day of her life showing us that the world we live in is a magical place and we are lucky to be here. ♥
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