Spaces #001: Q&A (St Mary’s School, Astley)

I'm standing on a boulder in the countryside, in front of a long landscape behind with distant hills and bushes. I'm wearing a hat, a t-shirt, knee-length denim shorts, no footwear, and a large backpack.

Welcome to the first recording of my Twitter Spaces.

This is not, strictly speaking, a Podcast episode, although it’ll be the first of a regular series.

As you may know, a couple of months ago, an old friend from Primary School days approached me with a thought. She’s now a schoolteacher herself and her class was looking at travel writing, so she asked if I’d be willing to answer a few questions that her class would put to me, to help them in their lesson. I of course agreed, so they all went away and researched me, and she came back to me about a week later with a list of questions that her class were curious about, regarding my travels, why I started travelling and writing, and about interesting things that had happened to me along the way.

I wasn’t sure the best way of answering them, whether in a specific writing to them, or a blog post, or something. But then my VA had an idea. She’d been looking at the idea of Twitter Spaces for a while. These are akin to audio discussion panels, with a host and speakers, broadcast live on Twitter so people can listen in to them and join in if the host allows. Because I have a podcast anyway, she thought that doing something audio-wise would be the most comfortable way of answering the questions, and we could check out this new social media while we do. Two birds, one stone, kind of thing.

This, then, is the recording of the first Twitter Space we did, answering the questions from my friend’s school class. When editing it I noticed at times the quality of the recording dips slightly in a couple of places when I speak, but hopefully it won’t affect your listening pleasure, and be aware too the original Spaces conversation took place over a mobile phone rather than through the computer.

I was interviewed by the lovely Victoria, but you can call her V.

Hope you enjoy!

Topics discussed include:

  • What prompted me to become a travel writer/podcaster
  • Obligatory subtweet to my mother
  • Why I had a gun pointed at me in Palestine
  • I remembered Timor-Leste as a student so it was nice to see what we were fighting for
  • Why it’s taken me 9 years to write about Middlesbrough
  • Travelling and exploring locally
  • Tea, Marmite, and Greggs: food and drink while travelling
  • Where would I like to go next? Obligatory ‘I will get to Bolivia one day’ reference
  • Kiribati and the stereotype of the South Pacific
  • How I cope with social anxiety when arriving in a new place
  • What is a penpal and why did I visit one in a warzone?
  • Crossing a border illegally. Once by accident
  • Why I like Benin. And Voodoo.
  • Places where I had to wear closed shoes
  • Barefooting in Belgium, West Africa, and through mud

You can listen via the feed above, or via Spotify, or on your podcast app of choice. Let me know if it isn’t, by the way, and I’ll see what I can do. In addition, a PDF transcript of this episode is available by clicking here.

As always, if you have anything to say about the topic, or indeed about my podcasting in general, leave a comment or let me know.

I also now have a Patreon! If you like what you hear, and want to access exclusive content (or just to show your appreciation), then head on over to my page and donate to me!

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