When and why did you come to Slovenia?
I first came to Slovenia in June 2006 on holiday – hiking, cycling etc. I loved it but didn’t initially think anything more of it than just an active holiday. Then, once home, I found myself booking a long weekend to come back in September 2006, and then again in October – by that time, I knew something was amiss!
I am a very outdoors person and adore hiking, and also enjoy cycling and running, so Slovenia, particularly Gorenjska, somehow felt like the ‘home’ I had yet to find (having moved over 30 times throughout the years, largely due to my father’s work).
Once the decision was made, by February 2007 I was living here!
How often do you go “home”, and what do you miss from there?
I very rarely go ‘home’ these days. At first, I went at least two or three times per year. Now, perhaps once every two years!
I only miss people - my parents, my brother and his family and one good friend. Oh, and one particular brand of chocolate (I know, how sad is that!), but I always get people to bring me some!
What were some of the problems you faced when you first arrived, and how did you deal with them?
The main problem was, and to some extent still is, work. The cost of being self-employed in Slovenia is astronomical and, in the line of work I do (translating from Slovenian to English, proofreading, blogging, etc.), there is no choice but to be self-employed.
The mandatory monthly payments for healthcare and pension contributions (cca. 360 euros per month) have to be paid even if you earn ZERO! Yes, how unfair is that! It’s not like in the UK where you pay a percentage of your earnings. So, what with that plus high taxes, bills, etc., one has to earn a substantial amount to keep your head above water.
Fortunately, through sheer hard work and determination, I now have a lot of clients, the only problem is when they all want translations done at once, and it always seems to be urgent!
When did you start the blog?
I started writing my blog Adele in Slovenia in 2013. Before that I had written a couple of articles for magazines, but nothing regular, and since then I have already published 320 blog posts
What are some posts that were much more popular than expected?
What is interesting is that often posts are much more popular way after they are published, particularly ones about e.g. Triglav National Park, rainy day activities, food, etc., as people search and come across the posts whilst looking for information.
On rainy days, for example, I often register a significant increase in views. In general, however, posts about hiking and food tend to garner the most interest.
If I might take a moment for a short whinge…this is what I find rather annoying/frustrating about blogging in Slovenia. It’s hard to get those who work in tourism (i.e. the Slovenian Tourism Board) to appreciate the value of such a blog. As far as I know mine is the most read blog in English about Slovenia, yet it’s still hard work getting through to those who should know better!
It’s not all about the statistics of how many people read the blog when it’s published, blogs differ from tourism-type websites where information is constantly refreshed, as the information remains ‘live’ forever – well as long as the domain remains active, and therefore by using key words, people can read and discover blog posts in one, two, five or 10 years from now, and the views thus keep increasing. The reach of such a blog can’t, and shouldn’t, be underestimated in my humble opinion.
How often do you update the site, and how to get new ideas after so many posts?
I usually post at least three blogs per month, and I can honestly say that, to date, ideas has never been a problem. I can always find something to wax lyrical about and something beautiful to photograph.
Have you been able to monetise your blog?
To some extent, yes, but I’m sure it could, and should, be worth a lot more! I work with a couple of tourist boards in the area, those who appreciate the value a blog brings.
However, I decided from the outset that I didn’t want my blog to be covered in those ghastly pop-up ads that detract from the value and the reader experience. Hence, I don’t use Google Ads or anything similar, though I could no doubt earn a bit of pocket money from doing so.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start something similar?
What are a few reasons why people should take a trip to Radovljica?
Radovljica’s preserved old town centre is small but perfectly formed! I like the fact that it is a very walkable town, everything is within easy reach, and it’s not too big and not too small.
It is also, thankfully, nowhere near as touristy as nearby Bled, though Radovljica has more than its fair share of visitors these days, but without the traffic jams, over-inflated prices and crowds seen in Bled.
For a small town, it also packs in numerous many sights and attractions, and there is an abundance of wonderful hiking and cycling routes.
Do you think you’ll stay in Slovenia the rest of your life?