Stephen Andrew Stepaniuk is a successful travel blogger based in Massachusetts. He received his undergraduate education from Northeastern University, and he loves exploring the little-known cities and towns around New England. Stepaniuk has a background in consulting. After several years in a high-powered company in Boston, he found that he wanted to make travel a lifestyle, so he worked to build his blogging business into a full-time endeavor.
As a polyglot and dedicated world traveler, Stepaniuk is fluent in German, French, Italian, and Polish. He is learning Esperanto and plans to study Chinese and Japanese in the years to come. Learning the native language of the places he visits helps him to understand the day-to-day life of the local people. He values cultural and experiential travel more than simply seeing the most popular sights.
His travel experience began as a high school exchange student in Germany. He built a network of friends throughout Europe. When he travels for the blog, he frequently has places to stay and people to socialize with. This makes the life of the professional traveler a little less lonely.
Stephen Andrew Stepaniuk has a unique voice as a travel blogger. He takes his own photographs for the blog and has also taken photography assignments from travel magazines. His interest in food and cooking gives his blog another dimension. He often shares restaurant reviews and recipes with his readers.
What was your best/favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject in school was history. I loved reading about historical events and people. I read a lot as a kid, so English was my other favorite subject. I developed an aptitude for writing nonfiction when I was part of my high school newspaper.
What was your first job?
I worked in a fast food restaurant as a teenager. That was backbreaking work and I respect anyone who does it full-time. It was a good job for a teenager with lots of energy, and it taught me the value of hard work and a solid paycheck. It caused me to lose my taste for American fast food, however. This is probably a good thing considering how much I travel as an adult.
Where and how did you first get into the industry you currently work in?
I had been working in a big consulting firm for a few years when I started my travel blog. At first, it was just a simple personal blog where I shared stories and photos from my travels. Honestly, at first I didn’t think anyone but my mom would read it. It started to gain a following, and I was eventually able to quit my day job and become a full-time blogger. It helped that I was able to save up a nest egg while I was working.
How have those jobs prepared you for what you do now?
Consulting made me think extremely quickly on my feet. It also made me more able to concisely present information to the public. If the fast food job taught me anything, it was that I needed to go to college and get a good job so that I wouldn’t have to try supporting a family while working at minimum wage.
Describe the best day of work you’ve ever had.
I’ve had many outstanding days. My most recent was when I was in Istanbul. I had a wonderful time photographing the famous Hagia Sophia, and then my hosts took me out for an amazing Turkish meal with all of the local specialties. They wouldn’t hear of me paying my own way. The Turkish are some of the warmest and most hospitable people you will ever meet.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I don’t have to do anything special to keep myself motivated. When I’m deciding where to go next, I feel like all of the world’s possibilities are laid out before me. It’s a thrill to know that this is really my life.
What kind of business ideas excite you most?
Online translation services are great, but they could be improved upon. I would invest in a company that revolutionalized translation apps in the future. People should not feel intimidated by traveling to new countries because they are ashamed of their language skills. Of course, I believe that travelers should learn at least a few words in the language, but when they’re first-time visitors I want them to be comfortable.
Have you ever tried any unorthodox techniques to attract attention to your business?
I once threw a party at a bar in Boston. I invited other local travel bloggers, photographers, and chefs. We were able to share professional information, and we all made friends to boot. Promotion is much easier when you have a network of like-minded business owners to share ideas with.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of achieving full-time status with my blog. There were times when I doubted it would ever work out and that I’d have to crawl back to my consulting job. Luckily, my fortune seems to be secure. I have a lot of sponsorships from companies and visitor’s bureaus. I rarely travel lavishly, so I can save my resources to be used wisely.