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Carrie Cochran’s core company is Cochran Writing & Editing. She works as a freelance copywriter, writing marketing copy and editing documents for a variety of clients, but her niche is in the travel and Christian industries because she is the most familiar with those. Carrie’s travel blog, The Mandala Traveler, is an extension of her company where she shares travel tips, important industry trends, and fun itineraries of places to visit.
“It’s honestly my favourite part because I can break away from embracing my clients’ voices for a while to write about fun topics in my own way”.
Carrie's interest in travel and travel writing goes all the way back to when she was a child.
"Some of my earliest and favourite memories involve splashing around on the beaches in Biloxi and Galveston Island with my family after long winters spent in Wisconsin. I always loved the change in pace and scenery and the chance to learn something new".
As she got older, Carrie continued to travel as much as she could on her own and with friends. After receiving her writing degree, travel seemed like the perfect category to specialize in because she already had knowledge of this. "I knew I would never grow tired of learning and writing about it".
Carries states that she actually did not want to start The Mandala Traveler blog! "I have a few friends (and my husband) who pestered me for years to start a blog, but I was afraid. A couple of my earliest publications were visited by the dreaded “comment trolls,” and that hindered my desire to put my writing out under my own name".
She finally realized that it wasn’t the haters who mattered, but the people that would appreciate her writing and the advice she could share through her travel blog. So in mid-2019, Carrie started The Mandala Traveler, so that she could have a place to share her many adventures and educate people about different areas of travelling in a fun way.
As we speak to Carrie she has been spending her time during the COVID lockdown in Chesapeake, Virginia where she feels 'lucked out' compared to some travel writers because the Hampton Roads area is a pretty popular tourist destination. "When I wasn’t editing, my husband and I spent our time exploring some of the beautiful outdoor destinations in the area, like First Landing State Park and some cool public art tours".
Of course, like many other travel writers, she has been affected. Most significantly is the drop in her travel-writing clients.
"I went from writing several articles a week to one to nothing! It was a little terrifying at first, but thankfully, I was able to pick up some clients outside of the travel niche to fill in that time. However, I worry that some of those clients won’t be able to recover after four months of lockdown".
Eco-tourism is something that Carrie has noticed showing up more and more in the media over the past couple of years. Her thoughts are that "it’s fantastic when done responsibly".
"I understand that there are companies (and visitors) who don’t appreciate the responsibility they have to protect the environment, even in those situations, and that’s really terrible. But I also believe that those eco-vacations can be absolutely beautiful and immersive and provide visitors with a new appreciation for nature and why it should be protected".
The Mandala Traveler advises others in the travel industry to be flexible. Everyone has had to make changes over the past few months and she understands that for some destinations and travel services, it will be exhausting and overwhelming to cater to the new COVID-aware crowd. "But if we’re going to get through this, we have to do so by working together and making everyone out there feel safe. So do what you can, let visitors know you’re glad they’re there and happy to help and try to focus on the positives".
Phanganist's location of Koh Phangan has not yet been visited by Carrie and her Mandala Traveler Blog but one destination she can recommend would be Paris after COVID. Aware that it is a cliché destination but with reasons for why it’s so famous, "the variety of activities is absolutely amazing! Plus, it’ll be a nice change of pace after so many outdoor destinations over the past few months".