10 Questions For (9): Erica Johansson of Travel Blissful

Happy to present Erica Johansson to you. It took me some time to figure out which portrait to use. I decided to use her Facebook avatar, as she is a bit elusive…or simply shy 🙂 (However, see also the update below.)

1) Who Are you?
My name is Erica Johansson, I’m 23-years-old, was born in Halmstad on the Swedish west coast and grew up in Sweden.

Work wise I’m the founder and editor of Travel Blissful, a freelance writer and photographer.

Personality wise I’m always an optimist.

2) What do you like about what you do?
Everything. That I’m being able to travel in my job, meet new people (both those I interview and fellow bloggers I “meet” online), the writing of course. I love the independence and flexibility that comes with the work. I can choose when to write, where to work (inside, a local coffee shop, the library etc.), what to write about.

3) What don’t you like about what you do?
If there’s something I don’t like, I either accept it or change or improve the situation – rather than complaining. So I can’t say there’s anything I don’t like.

4) Please tell us all about your blog and your aims with it.
Travel Blissful is a place to be inspired to see more of the world – whether you’re on the road, at home or just returned from your latest trip. I like variety and write about both luxury and budget travel, the outdoors and city life, Europe and far-flung destinations. It covers the positive aspects of traveling, with travel news, tips, videos, information, thoughts and interviews. Recently I interviewed David Stanley, the author of A South Pacific Travel Blog. Later this fall I will do an interview with travel writer Rolf Potts.

Until I’ve created a portfolio based site, it also serves as an outlet where potential publishers can see samples of my writing.

I launched Travel Blissful in August 15, 2008, after having blogged at blissfultravel.wordpress.com for more than a year. I wanted to have my own domain and the freedom to work with plug-ins, the design, and sponsorship.

I have an idea of what I want Travel Blissful to be in the future. I believe showing is better than telling though.

5) Your top 3 destination experiences you’ve ever stayed to date and why?
My first time in London – This was in 2005; I went there by myself over a long weekend. As soon as I stepped out from the train station, I thought “I feel at home here, I want to live here.” I had a great time discovering all the neighborhoods – especially liked Notting Hill. A couple of months later I moved there.

London: Canary Riverside

Paris – For the same reason as London. I loved every minute of it and felt immediately “at home” in the city. The view from Sacré Coeur an early morning, window-shopping in Triangle d´Or, strolling along the Seine, visiting Notre-Dame Cathedral, taking a break at a café in Saint German, a walk through Bois de Bologne, the view from the Eiffel Tower at night. How is it possible to not love Paris?

Cedar Point

Third I’d have to say Cedar Point, where we spent my 19th birthday, because I love amusement parks. And riding Millennium Force – one of the fastest and tallest rollercoasters in the world – was incredibly fun. If they weren’t about to close for the day, I’d have gone at least two more times.

6) Your top 3 accommodations you’ve ever stayed to date and why?
Blakes, London – I stayed in The Corfu Suite, the most beautiful suite I have ever seen, inspired by designer Anouska Hempel’s travels in Provence. I especially liked the romantic four-poster king-sized bed and the extremely tall ceilings. And the suite felt really, really peaceful. If I could afford it, I’d probably live there for a month.

Corfu Suite

Della, Parga, Greece – Della is a family owned budget hotel located a bit outside the center of Parga. Loved everything about this place and didn’t mind at all it had sparsely furnished rooms, no pool and no restaurant. The owner was super friendly and gave us good recommendations on what to do in the area, every morning we ate breakfast in the hotel’s gorgeous private garden, only had 800 metres to the nearest beach, and no crowds to be seen. It was perfect.

Milford Plaza, New York – My travel companion and I had lived in different hostels during almost two weeks and wanted something more luxurious. We found a good deal on Milford Plaza – only one block from Times Square – through Expedia.com. Even though our booked room was on the tenth floor my friend managed to convince the receptionist to offer us a room on a higher floor. We ended up on the second highest floor and got an incredible view over Manhattan. I must have stood by the window looking out for at least 15 minutes.

7) Your top 3 most memorable food experiences to date and why?
Hiltl, Zurich – The first vegetarian restaurant in Europe. I went there when working in Zurich a few years ago and tasted Indian food for the first time, could barely get enough of it. Besides terrific food, Hiltl serves the most delicious brownies in town.

The Conservatory, London – Had an outstanding three-course dinner there while researching an article on vegetarian food experiences in London. The main course, lemon ricotta gnocchi’s with asparagus, rocket, and parmesan, was like nothing I’ve ever tasted.

Lemon Ricotta Gnocchi at the Coservatory in London

Bistro 190, The Gore, London – The dinner I had there was excellent, the breakfast even better. The spinach and goat’s cheese omelette I ordered made my day.

8) Your 3 worst destination/ accommodation /food experiences to date and why?
Destination: I can’t think about any destination, but I do remember one travel experience that was far below expectations. A train ride from Zurich to Vienna, via Innsbruck and Salzburg. We were really looking forward to see the beautiful Austrian countryside, but because of the extremely foggy weather I could only see a mix of grey and white when looking out the window. I remember I tried to imagine what the landscape might look like, underneath all the fog.

Accommodation: A hostel in Bayswater, London. I don’t remember the name of the hostel, just that I shared a 12-bed dorm room with 12 other people including someone who stole my USB memory and one guy who snored really loud all night.

Food experience: My first charter trip to Grand Canary at age 12; in the evening we went to this restaurant in a shopping mall in Puerto Rico to have dinner. I have no idea why we chose that particular place because we were the only guests, they handed us a plastic menu with pictures of the food (most people know that’s usually a sign of low quality and/or over priced food). After ordering, they returned with our food in about ten minutes – as if they had just brought everything from the freezer and put it in the micro oven. All of us agreed that was the most tasteless food we had ever eaten.

9) Can you offer the readers 3 travel/ food / accommodation / things to do tips about the city you are currently living in?

Linköping in southern Sweden has about 140,000 inhabitants.

If you enjoy theater I would recommend The Östgöta Theater on Platensgatan 12, there they have regular performances throughout the year.

Ågatan – the street with more restaurants, bars and clubs than any other street in the city. A perfect place for all foodies, night owls, or movie lovers (the city’s only cinema can be found here as well).

Sol och Ris – The best Asian restaurant in the city, located opposite Linköping City Library. Friendly staff, reasonable prices, a cosy minimalist interior, and excellent selection for vegetarians.

10) Any Question(s) you’d expected me to ask that you would like to answer?

Nope. Your questions were great.

Thank you, Erica. Hope to see you in London next month!

Update: Just after publishing this post, I received an e-mail from Erica asking me to rephrase her first answer. She promised to send me a new portrait, although I like the one I found:-).

3 thoughts on “10 Questions For (9): Erica Johansson of Travel Blissful”

  1. Hi Alexia,
    Most of all, the purpose of Travel Blissful is to inspire people to travel and to offer news, tips, information and thoughts on different destinations, countries and travel in general.

    For the last year I’ve actually only traveled in Sweden, soon I’m off to London again. The best thing with freelancing is that one can do it from anywhere.

  2. Hmmm, In regards to worst place you’ve stayed at…I think I may have stayed in that same hostel in Bayswater, London! Was it one that was recommended by Lonely Planet? That hostel was so bad we only stayed 1 night and ditched them the rest of the week for an equally-bad hotel (we were so desperate), but at least we had our own room!

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