In Conversation with: Ashleigh
Everybody calls me Ash, so you can too! Born and raised in Zimbabwe, I'm currently based in Johannesburg. I work as an account manager at a financial news and data company. Outside my 8-6, I love dancing (as a form of fitness) photography and of course, travel!
What made you want to start blogging?
The blog came about because each time I traveled, I had to retell the tales of my trips over and over again to friends and family, so I figured if I had it all on a blog I could just give everyone links instead so they could read the stories from there!
How did your blog come about and what does Thingu mean?
When I lived in the UK, I explored Europe extensively. I remember being very sad about moving to South Africa because I thought I was not going to be able to travel much anymore. When I eventually snapped out of that, I resolved to travel across my own continent more. But I quickly realized there isn’t much information available on travel in Africa (compared to other continents), and the information was very limited to safaris. I chose to focus on blogging on African travel, so I could aggregate useful information about the variety of things there are to do on the continent. I also wanted to show a local’s perspective, as opposed to content created by travelers from overseas who tend to have larger budgets than we do.
The blog name Thingu (pronounced Tingu) is derived from the Shona word “kutingura”, which basically means galivanting. So, my mum used this word often to describe my brother because he was always out and about. Then eventually it spilled over to me. So, I called the blog Thingu (the domaintingu.com was taken hence the H) because I like to travel a lot, and I wanted a name close to home.
What do you hope people will take away from reading your blog?
I want people to be encouraged to travel across the continent more often. There’s more to this continent than the stunning Cape Town beaches in South Africa and the Great migration in Kenya. I hope to get more useful resources that can help people plan their trips on the continent. But that’s work in progress!
How would you describe your blogging routine?
I plan my trips well in advance, because I need to book early to get good deals. So, I draft a calendar of what I’m going to write about each week, then when the time comes, I get the content together ready to publish on the respective dates. Sometimes I’m swamped with work and I can’t post on the blog, but I try to stick to the schedule.
What would you say to someone new to blogging or considering blogging?
There’ll never be a better time to start than now. Don’t wait until you have the perfect website, or perfect pictures for social media. Just get started, you can make changes as you go along and learn new things. Building an audience must always be your primary focus, but don’t despair if you don’t have many readers in the beginning. We all have to start from somewhere!
Do you have bloggers you follow, if so who and why?
Not really. I will read other blogs if I’m searching for something and it comes up. I always watch travel videos on YouTube and Facebook though. I’m still trying to get that right, so I try and expose myself to as many different types of travel videos as I can, so I can make better travel videos.
Would you say there are downsides to blogging, if so what are they?
The only thing that can be stressful is creating good content i.e. videos and photos. You’re always thinking, “how can I capture this in an interesting way for my readers”, and sometimes you forget to just have fun. Carrying equipment all the time can be annoying, but a good bag quickly resolved this one for me!
From your travels, what have been the most memorable place you visited and why?
Can I pick two?! I’ve only been to 9 African countries so far. Check out the blog to see which ones! My favourites would have to be Zanzibar in Tanzania and Morocco. Zanzibar has the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, and the diving spots are stunning! I also loved the food and the rich history the island has. Morocco, the home of the golden oil Argan! I loved walking in the souks and shopping for clothes and organic skin products. I also loved their ceramic and brass work. When I buy a house, the décor will have a lot of Moroccan influence! The food and entertainment was also top notch.
What/who do you treasure the most in life?
Family. My mother and brother are very supportive of me, and a lot of what I do wouldn’t be possible without them. Our family will always be there for us, so we must nurture our relationship with them, no matter how far away we are.