Each week A Bit on the Side features an inspirational women, who manages to juggle a ‘day job’ as well as A Bit on the Side. This week we’ve been talking to Emma from Wanderlust and Wet Wipes:
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Emma. I’m a recovering corporate insurance broker which I quit 3 years ago to move to the Middle East with our family. My husband’s job has moved us around quite a bit over the last 9 years. In previous locations I was able to move my job too but the move here was a step too far. It was the first time we had done a move with 2 kids and the market here is very different to the ones I knew in Europe and North America.
I have 2 kids who are 6 and 4 and a dog who has travelled with us from Houston to London and now to Doha! I’m travel mad – I’ve lived in 9 cities in 5 countries and on 5 continents not to mention as many holidays as I could ever afford to go on. My husband and kids are equally travel mad so that’s our favourite thing to do as a family!
Tell us about your day job and your bit on the side (and do you keep it a secret?!)
As I mentioned, I used to have a “real” job but since moving to the Middle East my day job has been split between . I started off being a full time stay at home mum when we arrived as the kids were 3 and 1 and there was a lot of driving and kids entertaining that needed to be done. Now they are both in school from 7.30am to 2pm and I find myself with some more time on my hands. We had agreed that I would take some time while we lived here to figure out what I really wanted to do. I really wanted to share tips with people who were previously travel mad on how to travel as a family. So I started my travel blog – Wanderlust and Wet Wipes – in early 2017. Now I would say that SAHM and blogging are both my day jobs – I spend a good chunk of my time blogging now and try to treat it like a job.
How did your bit on the side come about?
After an amazing family holiday in Bali in 2016 (which followed some pretty tricky holidays!), I realised that I needed to do something travel related. It was obvious when I realised but took me 18 months (well, 37 years!) to figure it out! I guess you can’t force these things and the answer comes to you when you’re ready to find it.
What’s the best part of having a bit on the side?
Personally I really struggled being a stay at home mum. I love hanging out with my kids but as they started becoming more independent and I found myself with more time on my hands, I wanted to start doing something more. I wanted to do more for myself because I didn’t want to get to the end of our time here and have spent my whole time at coffee mornings or playing tennis. But I also wanted to do something to show our kids that you can do anything you want to if you work hard and with determination. It’s great that what I am doing ticks those boxes while still allowing me to hang out with them after school (while they’re young and still think I am cool enough to do that!) and look after them when they’re ill.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
It has been a pretty steep learning curve. It has been a long time since I really had to learn something new rather than picking things up as you go along, adding to what you already know. I had no idea about all the technical stuff that goes along with blogging. Contrary to popular belief you can’t just write a post and hit publish and wait for people to read it. It has been good to engage my brain but most of the time I find it so overwhelming!
What’s your advice for others looking for a bit on the side?
Just do it!
But make sure it is something you really want to do because it will take lots of hard work and determination if you are going to make it work. I have done other things that I thought I would like doing including events planning and making jewellery. Both turned out to be not the right thing for me for various reasons. I’m glad I did them because they both taught me different things. Just because you love something, doesn’t mean you’re going to love doing them as a job or that they are going to work with what you need.
But if it is something that really lights you up then you are doing the world a disservice if you don’t go for it!
What are your hopes for the next 12 months?
Funnily enough that’s one of the things that I’m trying to figure out right now. I definitely want to build the blog – get more readers and followers on social media. I want to help more people so that might mean setting up itineraries for families. It could mean writing more posts with travel tips or getting discounts for my readers. Eventually I need the blog to make me some money – that could mean partnering with brands or writing sponsored content or writing for other publications. My dream is to be recognised as an expert in my field and the great news is that I already feel like I’m on the way to achieving that.
Emma’s a pushing 40, travel-mad mum to 2 young kids (aged 6 and 4) and a crazy dog. Originally from the UK she’s lived in 10 cities across 5 continents all over the world. She currently lives in Doha, Qatar. Emma started blogging about her family travels in 2017 when she had an epiphany about how to have successful adventurous family holidays.