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Featured Friends: Juliette & John from Snorkels To Snow

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I'm overly thrilled to introduce you to September's Featured Friends, Juliette and John from the amazing travel blog, Snorkels to Snow. I've 'known' them for at least a year now, if not more, and have enjoyed reading their blog and getting to know them quite a bit. They have one of the best blog user experience ever with a clean, easy to navigate page with absolutely stunning photos that will have you wanderlusting for days. Since I'm off to Fiji for my honeymoon early 2018, I can't tell you how many of their pages I've bookmarked and they've kindly offered to give me tips for when I go.

While I thought I knew a lot about them, I learned a lot more from interviewing them. I hope you enjoy getting to know them as much as I did!


1. Tell us about yourself!


Hi! I’m a Broadcast Journalist from New Zealand and John is a Construction Manager. But we share a love for two particular things - scuba diving and skiing/snowboarding. We’re not a couple who take long walks on the beach and picnics at sunset. We’re more likely to be exploring underwater, skiing and snowboarding down a mountain, hiking through dense bush and taking questionable 4WD tracks in questionable 4WD vehicles!


We love to travel but we’re not full-time travellers. John has full-time work in his industry and nowadays I do a mix of freelancing writing most of the time (including running the travel blog) and part-time work at a radio station as a journalist. I’ve worked in the media for about 10 years as a journalist, producer, sub-editor and newsreader.

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2. Tell us about your blog, Snorkels To Snow.


I’d like to think I was born a storyteller. I love writing (and talking)! I guess that’s why I went off to study broadcast journalism. I had often thought about starting a travel blog as a chance to share some stories and spin some good yarns. At the start of 2016, I started taking this dream seriously and together with John we came up with the concept of a travel blog with a strong focus on our favourite activities to do together - snorkelling and scuba diving, and skiing/snowboarding. And so Snorkels to Snow was born!


In June 2016, we were presented with the opportunity to move to Fiji for eight months. It worked out well with the launch of Snorkels to Snow and the blog became a platform for us to share our Fiji life with the rest of the world.


I’d like to think our blog has a strong narrative storytelling style to it. I love creative writing, so I try to help paint a picture in most of our blog posts to help our readers feel present with us during our travels. We’re not here to tell people 101 travel hacks, or how to quit your job to travel full-time. We’re here to inspire people to travel to new places - preferably with a scuba diving suit on or with their skis and snowboard on their feet! We think underwater and from the mountain tops are the best places to view the world!

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3. How did you and John meet, if you don't mind me asking? Everybody loves a good love story, especially when it involves travel!  


And we do have a good love story!


Back in 2011, John was working on the tiny Pacific Island of Niue, on a building contract. It just so happened to be that my sister Rosemary and I decided to take a holiday to Niue early December that year. I had some annual leave from my work that I had to use up before the end of the year and Rosemary was working in travel herself, and wanted to head somewhere in the Pacific that she had never been to. So we chose Niue.


On our first evening, as we lay on the sun loungers sipping cocktails while watching the dolphins play in the water, two rather dashing lads wandered up to us and introduced themselves. One of them was John.


By the end of our chat, we’d scored an invitation to ‘The Rugby Club’ - Niue’s only night club. By night club, we mean that in the loosest term possible. It was a rugby club. On a Saturday night, they rolled in a fridge full of beers, turned the lights out and played music. That was our first date!


As he was living in Niue at the time, it took a little while before we properly started dating, after he moved back to NZ and eventually we tied the knot at the start of 2016 in Karioitahi Beach, New Zealand.

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4. You're from beautiful New Zealand. What are your favorite things about it?


So many things! The landscapes between the islands are so diverse. I grew up in the South Island and I love the crisp, alpine environment in the southern part of the country and the majestic fjords and mountains. The North Island has its own beauty with a warmer climate, more sub-tropical and lush and of course the great beaches around Auckland and the Bay of Plenty.


I love how you can drive from the mountains to the sea in a couple of hours, from nearly anywhere in the country. And it is a true adventure playground! It’s home to one of the best scuba diving spots in the world - Poor Knights Islands, as well as all the adventure and ski resorts around Queenstown/Wanaka.


It’s beautiful, relaxed, a little bit hipster in the big cities and everyone is friendly.

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5. Everyone loves reading about your Fiji life. Why did you move to Fiji? How has expat life changed you?  


Fiji was an incredible experience and we’ll treasure it for the rest of our lives. John was offered a contract for a construction firm which allowed us to pack up everything in NZ and move to Fiji for eight months. It was a pretty unexpected move but one that we’ll never regret.


Being an expat in Fiji made us much more aware of what we should be grateful for in life. We learnt to live a slower pace of life and to explore the outdoors at every opportunity.  It taught us a lot about independence, but equally, what connections are important to have in life too, such as social connections and regular contact with family.


6. What do you think are some difficulties of traveling as a couple?  


I think the hardest thing is having to be reliant on one another. And sometimes that’s not always a good thing. You cannot expect your spouse to be your everything. I think you have to have other good friends and hobbies or activities to retain a little independence. In Fiji, John was my everything as I was working from home so I didn’t have workmates and I didn’t have a vehicle of my own to go and out explore while John was at work. And, like any relationship, when things aren’t smooth sailing, it’s a lot of pressure to expect the other person to still be your everything. I don’t know if it is different for blokes, but definitely for women - make good girlfriends because they can fill a need which your spouse isn’t always able to do, through no fault of their own.

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7. Looking back on your travels, tell us 3 places you would happily return to and why.


Japan! Definitely Japan. Loved every second. Fun, efficient, clean, technologically advanced, quirky. It’s hard to describe it.
The next one is Norway! And I’m going back there for a third time in October. It’s the home country of my grandfather so I have a strong connection to the place, but it is also ridiculously good looking. Those fjords are majestic.
And finally - Niue! Because it’s where we met. I haven’t been back since and John left the island about three months after we met. We should do that for a significant wedding anniversary one year.

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8. What goals, travel or otherwise do you have for the next year?


This is a tricky one because we’re caught between wanting to travel and wanting to settle.
We’re hoping to move to Queenstown soon and set up a base there among the mountains so we can ski every day in winter!


For the end of this year, I’m off exploring solo around Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Denmark - some bucket list countries being ticked off!


As for next year...I don’t think we’ll get to the northern hemisphere winter, but it would be a dream to travel to Chile for the next ski season. We’ll certainly be travelling more around New Zealand, especially as we hope to move to Queenstown.


And potentially I’ll try and get to Quebec next year too (I’ve dreamed of visiting Canada for two decades) to attend the Wanderful Women In Travel Summit, but we’ll just see how we go and how it fits into our ‘adulting’ plans of buying a house!


The Pacific Islands are always on our doorstep too, so if we need a scuba diving getaway mid-winter in NZ, I’m sure we can make it work.

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9. What do you hope to accomplish through your blog?


My blog is a creative outlet as much as it is a business. I love storytelling so I want to use it as a way to improve my writing skills and travel writing. I also want to use it as a platform and portfolio to showcase my work. Even though I’ve worked as a journalist for ten years, most of my work has been on the radio, so I don’t feel like I have a great portfolio online of the hard work I’ve completed!


I make a bit of money from blogging each month through sponsored posts, affiliate marketing and brand collaborations but I do want to grow this income stream more.


I’m also starting my own consulting business to help teach other bloggers and online business owners better presentation skills for video or audio such as Facebook Live, YouTube, podcasts or broadcast media interviews. I’ve got ten years of skills to pass on to others!

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10. Any other facts or a message you'd like to share with my readers?


In my other life, I’m an ice figure skating coach! I teach kids and adults how to ice skate. I started figure skating in my 20s and went on to compete at a regional, national and international level in Adult-grade competitions (anyone over the age of 18).


I’m not competing right now as it takes a huge commitment, but I take a few beginner classes each week from little 5-year-olds to fully grown adults who never dreamt it was possible to learn to ice skate at their age! It’s such a joy and adds some variety to my life where I’m otherwise glued to a computer screen.

Follow Juliette & John everywhere! 

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/snorkelstosnow


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Thank you Juliette & John for gracing your presence on my blog! I've been following you two since I first started blogging and I'm so glad we've kept in touch. I loved getting to know you through the interview!   

Want to read other Featured Friends? Click here.  

Want to be the next Featured Friends? The next available month is November. Due to overwhelming response on interviews, I now have a section dedicated to bloggers wanting to work with this blog. Click here to find out more.

10 comments

  1. Aww what a lovely post and a lovely couple - I'll definitely be checking out their blog. The chance to live in Fiji for 6 months - well jell! ;) #FlyAwayFriday

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  2. I love Snorkels to Snow! It's so nice getting to know them a little better through this interview. :) #FlyAwayFriday

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  3. I love learning new things about fellow travel bloggers that don't come through in their blogs. #FlyAwayFriday

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  4. Great interview! Nice to learn about your guys travel style and I will be checking out your blog! Thanks! #flyawayfriday

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  5. I really enjoyed reading this interview. I love Juliette and John's energy and dedication to their two loves - scuba diving and skiing/snowboarding. I also love that Juliette is a figure skating coach (quite the opposite of snowboarding!) and uses her blog to hone her creative writing skills. Fascinating couple. Beautiful and inspirational pictures. And I hope to have the pleasure of meeting them if they ever make it to Quebec, as it's my hometown province!

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  6. A beautiful couple with an amazing story. You two are blessed. I can't wait to check out more of your blog. #FlyAwayFriday

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  7. Wow! You guys met at Niue? That is a great story. Who can say that they meet there and ended up married? So awesome. I felt great learning more about you. It was like I had a chat with you. Best wishes! #FlyAwayFriday

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  8. Amazing feature! Love their website title and their interview. Going to check out their website now too. I can relate to the traveling with spouse challenges haha there were a few times where we got lost together ;D. #FlyAwayFriday

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  9. Love their story! I had no idea you could start skating as an adult and actually compete -- that's pretty cool!

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  10. What a great feature! It is always good to learn more about other bloggers :) #FlyAwayFriday

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