Joni Wedderburn swings into new territory with travel blog
Skydiving in the United States, swimming with sharks in Curaçao and climbing pyramids in Belize – Joni Wedderburn lives for the adventure. But when the pandemic placed a pause on travelling privileges, the adrenaline junkie took her explorations closer to home. These days, she is swinging into new territory as a themed travel blogger.
“I genuinely enjoy exploring new places and trying unique experiences, so a travel blog is a natural fit for me,” the public relations professional told Saturday Living, noting that she decided to shift the focus from highlighting places to establishing a theme that would then align to specific activities and destinations.
As a child, Wedderburn enjoyed swinging in her neighbourhood playground. So much so that mother would have to peel her away from the red and white coloured swing set day or night. It was that passion for swinging that inspired her to kick-start her new blog.
She has already begun her quest, sharing her love for swings at three locations: Chukka Ocean Outpost at Sandy Bay, Villa Elia in Treasure Beach and Campbelton Mountain Adventures in Hanover. “It was very important for me to include diverse experiences in the list as I set out to showcase different parts of Jamaica and encourage others to explore as well,” she said.
Admitting that it was a far cry from her nine to five working behind the scenes, she was happy to apply her own coaching techniques to herself, in front of the camera. And, she did find similarity in the researching and writing aspects, which made the transition seamless. “What’s great is that both PR and travel blogging offer me a chance to promote Jamaican businesses and experiences, which I am very passionate about.”
But travel blogging is no swing in the park. It presented more challenges than what meets the eye. Getting to those thrilling destinations was exciting, but it took going on a winding and sometimes bumpy journey. She dove into the process of reviewing locations, obtaining permission to shoot properties, coordinating schedules, selecting wardrobes, all before a single shot has been taken. Sometimes it felt like she was swimming against the tide of 12-hour long-haul trips of experimenting with light, exploring different angles and holding uncomfortable poses, “In the end, living the experience and producing beautiful images; it’s well worth the hard work.”
She chose to work with photographer Matthew Morrison on the visuals to perfectly capture the experience. “We’re long-time friends as we both attended Wolmer’s High school. When I told him about my plan for the travel blog, he was very excited and immediately jumped on board. Although our shoot days are tiring, we enjoy lively chats during our long drives together; we never take ourselves too seriously and always have fun,” she shared.
Going forward, the new ‘kid’ on the travel blogging block hopes to create high-quality destination content, including videos, from across the island. And who knows, she might venture beyond this island’s shores. “I have some fun themes lined up. And I’m not just setting my sights on Jamaica,” she added.
For more information, follow Wedderbun on Instagram: @islebeaway.