We were lucky to catch up with Stephanie & Mitchell Moulton recently and have shared our conversation below.
Stephanie & Mitchell, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Going back to the beginning – how did you come up with the idea in the first place?
September 2017, we took our first trip to Asia. We started our 15-day adventure on a guided tour through China eating dumplings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then, we visited family in South Korea and spent hours exploring Gyeongbokgung Palace dressed in hanboks. Our trip ended by exploring Tokyo on our own and cheered after successfully taking the metro from Shinjuku to the Tsukiji Fish Market.
In Tokyo, people everywhere were talking into large, adorable phone cases. We had to buy one. With an obsolete iPhone 5, the selection was limited. Stephanie purchased a gingerbread off a neglected rack in Shinjuku. Back in the United States her iPhone case was a hit.
We had so much fun on that trip and wanted to remember every detail. We didn’t like the idea of a journal and wanted to incorporate our photos within the stories. We decided an online blog was the perfect place to store our memories. We just needed a name for our website.
One day at work Stephanie was asked if her and Gingy (her large gingerbread phone case) could stop in the conference room. The Traveling Gingerbread was the perfect name for our blog. A purchase that seemed so insignificant at the time quickly became a huge part of our lives.
We started writing long journal style entries and shared only with a few family members. We loved scrolling through our blog’s colorful photos and reading the small details documented in our posts that one day may be forgotten. When friends asked for recommendations and we couldn’t remember the name of a brewery or sculpture park, we would smile at each other as we searched on our iPhones thetravelinggingerbread.com.
As our love for exploring together continued to grow, people noticed, and wanted to know how we did it. How did we have time, how could we afford it, how did we travel around a country where we didn’t speak the language? Slowly, we shared our blog with additional family and friends. We were shocked by the positive feedback. They loved reading about our adventures.
As we continued sharing, the focus of our posts changed. We rewrote our old content, added more photos, replaced the little details with tips and facts, reformatted our entries into bullets and short paragraphs, and chose a more visually appealing, user-friendly layout. Our focus shifted from telling our stories to providing the tools to help readers create their own.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
We are Stephanie and Mitchell Moulton, a couple with a passion for travelling the world. The Traveling Gingerbread is our place to share tips on traveling to the fullest with a mid-range budget and where to find the best craft beer. We want to show everyone you don’t need a career as a travel blogger, be in your early 20’s, or have an extravagant budget to experience the world. People with average 9-5 jobs like us can too (blogging hobby optional)! We started our travel blog as an online journal for ourselves and with a lot of work and support from family and friends it has evolved into a resource for other travelers.
We aren’t quite budget travelers but are constantly seeking new ways to travel more for less. We don’t stay in dorm style rooms but frequent budget hotels or hostels with private rooms. We love free walking tours but while in Singapore couldn’t miss spending a night in Marina Bay Sands or scheduling a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia next year on our trip to Turkey. We appreciate good food but would prefer street food over a Michelin star restaurant any day. As much as we would love to travel with only a backpack, if we’re gone longer than a week, we need a carryon. We’ve learned our style of travel and interests of hiking, craft beer, and unusual roadside attractions, are more common than we thought.
When we started our blog in 2017, craft brewery trails, passports, and apps weren’t as popular as they are today. As craft beer lovers, we thought sharing different areas with multiple breweries within a small radius would differentiate us from other travel blogs. Breweries are a great way to explore a new part of town, meet the locals, and learn about hidden gems.
We learned a lot on our first trip to Asia. Our biggest takeaway was some preplanning is important. We don’t want to take time away from exploring to research what to do, where to stay, transportation systems, and other things we could’ve learned ahead of time.
We hope to save travelers time researching a destination, share some unique places or experiences that may not have been found in a quick internet search, and show how much you can do in a short period of time with a little preplanning. We are proud of how far The Traveling Gingerbread has come. If one person reads or blog and gains the confidence to travel outside their comfort zone our hard work is worth it.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?
When we open a blank page, begin adding notes, and editing photos it’s exciting to watch it come to life. We aren’t limited to templates, color schemes, or content. We can write when and as much or as little as we want. When it’s finally time to click the publish button and share our post with fellow travelers we stare at our inbox with anticipation for the new email alert.
Travel blogging isn’t our full-time job and it’s difficult finding time to create new content, maintaining our site, and keeping up with social media. We love receiving feedback, good or bad. If someone takes a few moments out of their day to comment or like something we’ve created, they felt our work was worthy of their opinion.
Is there something you think non-creatives will struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can provide some insight – you never know who might benefit from the enlightenment.
Having a travel blog has changed the way we travel. We pay more attention to small details, write down a lot of notes, and snap a lot more photos. We don’t just capture the visual stimulating photos, but also informative images.
Not everyone realizes how much time and work goes into a post on our blog or social media. We don’t post about every adventure and focus more on quality than quantity. Travel blogging is a saturated market. Some blogs have photos with a finger covering half of the shot, no punctuation in their posts, and it’s frustrating to see they have thousands of followers. There’s a lot more to creating a blog for us than snapping a quick photo and jotting down some notes. Technology made capturing and writing content easier but also made it more difficult to create something that stands out. Today content is digested quickly. Not everyone pauses on an Instagram photo to think about the research it took to find the location, getting there, how many attempts it took to find the perfect angle, choosing what photo(s) to share, editing, and tagging. Next time you’re on social media and you see something that catches your eye, take a second to appreciate it and give it a like.
- Website: https://thetravelinggingerbread.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thetravelinggingerbread/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thetravelinggingerbread
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgGLePSVzNb4MarwYB0nhyA
photo of us: Amber Marie Photography