Interview Series: Meet Jessica Pascoe
In the short time since I have started my blog, my favorite part has been connecting with other people who love travel as much as I do. When I came across Jessica Pascoe’s account a few weeks ago, I immediately loved that she worked full-time and was doing travel writing & exploring as more a side gig – this is pretty much spot on with me as well so I was thrilled to connect with her. And, when I learned she was expecting, I was keen to know about her perspectives on continuing to travel once her baby arrives. Without further ado, let’s meet Jessica!
First off, tell us about your travel site…
I’ve had my travel site since January 2019. Before I launched the blog, I was struggling with feeling a lack of purpose in my day job and had been investigating professional development opportunities. Having studied English Literature at University and having a passion for travel, I decided to enrol in an online freelance travel writing course at the Australian Writers Centre. This course gave me the skills and confidence to start pitching to digital and print magazines. However, I realised I needed an online presence to support this, including showcasing my published articles. jessicapascoe.com was officially launched in March 2019, a way to share all the amazing adventures my husband and I have had in and around Australia. Since launching, the blog has grown in its own right and I’m really exciting to continue expanding it alongside freelance writing. Jessicapascoe.com is designed to be a resource for those of us with full time jobs, who travel when we can, searching for the ultimate luxury experiences to use our precious leave days on.
What advice do you have for those visiting Australia for the first time?
When visiting Australia for the first time, a lot of people tend to venture straight for the East Coast road trip – heading from Sydney up to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, stopping at Byron, Fraser Island, Surfers Paradise and so on. Whilst there are fantastic destinations here, I highly recommend venturing inland to some of regional Australia. Some of my favourite experiences we’ve had have been in regional country towns where we’ve been able to connect with local Australians and experience a different side of this awesome country. I highly recommend Young, a farming town famous for their annual cherry festival as well as Mudgee, a gorgeous food and wine hotspot. I also strongly recommend visiting the Northern Territory and driving from Darwin to Uluru (or at least part way). Our experiences in the Territory have been some of the best we’ve had anywhere in the world and really gave us a deeper understanding of the indigenous history of Australia and a greater respect for the sacredness of this ancient land.
Tell us about your tagline, “Exploring Australia…one weekend at a time.”
We’ve been so lucky to experience many awesome weekend getaways in Australia – I love jumping in the car after work on a Friday and heading to a new destination. If I had to choose a favourite, it would probably be the Southern Highlands and Kangaroo Valley, which is roughly 2 hours south of Sydney. The Southern Highlands towns, including Bowral, Berrima, Moss Vale, Mittagong, Fitzroy Falls and Robertson are some of the most picturesque I’ve seen in Australia. The Southern Highlands is also a renowned wine region with over 60 vineyards and 17 cellar doors, having won numerous awards at national and international competitions. For nature lovers, the Southern Highlands are a fantastic destination for waterfall chasing at the breathtaking Carrington Falls, Belmore Falls and Fitzroy Falls and all three can be seen in one day trip. It’s an incredibly peaceful destination, great for couples, groups or families.
How often do you travel outside of Australia?
Prior to COVID, I travelled outside Australia at least two to three times a year. These international trips usually involved a visit to the UK or Europe to see friends and family, and attend weddings. My husband and I have also been lucky to venture to Fiji, New Zealand and Thailand, all of which are a little closer to our new home. Fiji in particular was such an awesome trip; we spent 5 days sailing the Mamanuca island groups, in a destination we’d never considered visiting from the UK.
What do you miss most about England?
It’s mainly friends and family that I miss to be honest. Whilst there are certain quirks to being British that I will always have an affinity with, I can honestly say if I could just pick up my friends and family and move them to Australia, I’d quite happily never visit the UK again!
What is your day job?
I’m a Technology Consultant for a large, well-known consultancy by day 🙂
Congrats on your pregnancy! How do you see your travel plans changing when your baby arrives?
Thank you – we’re really excited :). I imagine for the first few years of our baby’s life our travel plans will look quite different! We currently have a preference for luxury destinations, hotels and activities, which certainly won’t be appropriate with a baby in tow. I think we’ll do a lot more domestic travel, exploring as much of Australia as we can, which will be amazing, and staying in self-catered AirBnBs. My husband has a plan to slowly but surely drive the entire coastline, one holiday at a time! We do intend to take the baby back to the UK to visit friends and family at around 6 months old, COVID permitting, so we’ll have to see how well they cope with flying!
You have a lot of great food and drink recommendations on your website – anything you have been craving this pregnancy?
Meat, which is ironic seeing as I recently posted a list of my favourite vegan restaurants in Sydney. Aside from meat, I had a really bizarre craving for hollandaise sauce in my first few weeks, which disappeared very quickly. Now, it’s all about cake, which I think is just me being greedy 🙂
What advice do you have for anyone aspiring to do travel writing?
I highly recommend investing in a travel writing course, if your budget allows. The course I completed with the AWC helped me to better understand how to pitch to editors, how to use the right level of descriptive language and hooks, as well as some helpful insights into analysing print and digital magazines and adjusting my style accordingly. From a blog perspective, I always recommend starting with a decent knowledge of SEO – otherwise you’ll be writing brilliant content that no one is searching for and wasting hours promoting on social media.
What is your favorite travel piece you have written and why?
My favourite travel piece I’ve written is probably my first ever published article for the UK Bridal Magazine, Wedding Ideas. I wrote about why you should consider visiting Australia’s Northern Territory for your honeymoon. It’s an 800 word double-page feature piece, with some stunning photography provided by my husband and really showcases this destination. You can see an extract of the piece on my Published Articles page. I’m also really proud of a shorter piece I wrote for Lonely Planet’s website on cooking and camping safely outdoors in Australia, part of a campaign to encourage tourism following on from the bushfires. Whilst Lonely Planet accepted the article and paid me (yay) due to COVID it has yet to be published, so I’m keeping my eyes peeled for it!