Stephen Andrew Stepaniuk is an exciting travel writer who takes his readers on journeys around the world. His dual skills in writing and photography combine to bring his work authenticity. Stepaniuk got his start in travel writing while he was working for a large consulting firm in Boston. He used his generous vacation time to travel the world, and he wrote a blog for his friends and family. A friend shared his piece, and his blog readership grew by leaps and bounds.
Stepaniuk is a lover of language who speaks German, Italian, Polish, and French. He is also working on learning Esperanto. He hopes to study Japanese and Chinese as well. He gained a passion for travel as a high school exchange student in Munich, Germany. His host family took him to a variety of cultural and historical sites around Germany, France, Italy, and Austria.
Stephen Stepaniuk has a particular interest in food and cooking. His expertise in the kitchen means that he is sought after as a dinner host. When he returns from his trips, he always has new recipes that he has collected from around the world. He frequently writes about food and restaurants on his travels. Stepaniuk’s travel blog is a leader among others in its field. His thoughtful exploration of the world, coupled with his amazing photography, allows readers to take worldwide journeys while sitting at home with a cup of coffee.
Where did the idea to become a professional travel writer come from?
I started a fun little blog for my friends and family to share my travel experiences. I never expected it to take on a life of its own. One day, I had fifty views and the next day, I had a thousand. It only grew from there. I’m still in awe that my work is read by so many people.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My days break down differently when I’m traveling versus when I’m at home. When I’m on the road, I tend to get up early and find a local hot spot for breakfast. I spend the day exploring the city and taking photos. In the evening, I return to my hotel or bed and breakfast and write up my findings.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It’s easy to bring ideas to life. I start by taking photos. The photos coupled with my notes help me to outline each blog post.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am excited by the rise of video in travel blogging. Writing and still photos are great, but with video, it can become a truly immersive experience. I’m taking some classes to become a better videographer. I plan to post YouTube and Instagram videos on my blog.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I never stop working until I’m satisfied. I don’t stop when I feel like something is “good enough.” It has to be excellent.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Learn more languages! It’s so much easier to learn them when you’re in high school and younger. I have a reasonable facility with languages, but I’m not nearly as quick as I would have been as a teenager.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
Quality writing and photos are more important than fresh content. I realize I’m contradicting myself, but if you put out slapdash work, people are going to be turned off. You have to outdo yourself, but you can’t be sloppy.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Read widely. I get so many great ideas from my reading. Too many business people think they’re too busy to read, but they are missing out.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Video posts have helped me a lot. A few of my videos have gone viral, and this helped to drive my subscriber count higher.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
A while ago, I tried posting in different languages. I lost some blog readers because they were bored with the language experiment. In the future, I’ll save my languages for guest posts on others’ blogs.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
It’s okay to say no and decline a business offer if you don’t agree with it or feel good about it. In order for your business to grow you have to be picky.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently bought a language learning program for Chinese. It’s been so much fun. I can’t wait to go to China and try out my new skills.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I tend to use the basics for software. Google Docs is my favorite. Since you’re working online, you don’t have to worry about your work being backed up.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would recommend anything by Bill Bryson. He is hilarious and thoughtful.
What is your favorite quote?
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain
• Never stop working until you’re satisfied.
• Video is the best way for bloggers to enhance their content.
• Learn as many languages as you can and never stop exploring.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.