ÚNA-Minh Kavanagh is a travel writer, journalist, and social media manager. She shares her adventures with her mother on her blog, beforemymamdies.com.
“My blog, beforemymamdies.com, is a travel blog that I write in conjunction with my mom,” Úna-Minh said.
“Though the name may sound morbid, it’s really not — my mom and I are perfectly healthy and, rather, it’s a celebration of life and the time we have together.”
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Pro-tip: when you're in #Vietnam, the chances are for a lot of things you're going to get the "foreigner price" - a lot of things you can haggle for, including tours, boat trips, things in the market and clothes (even things in official shops - seriously). Of course it's important to know that not everyone does try and get the most out of tourists but a general good rule of thumb is aim for 60% lower than what's suggested. The walking away technique works wonders too. For example, initially the boat trip was pitched at 300,000 dong (waaaay too high) and we knocked it down to 120,000 👍🏼) It can be a tricky game at times because you really don't know the original price unless you've Viet friends but we have a good idea of a lot of things at this stage ;)
Úna-Minh’s blog takes the form of a travel diary, but she and her mother also touch on more serious issues.
“We have a diary series from Vietnam, the Wild Atlantic Way, and, most recently, our 100km journey on the Camino de Santiago.
“We also have a section on dying matters and practical subjects, like a three-part series on how to make a will and what happens to your social media when you die.”
Her area is niche.
“My relationship with my mom offers a fresh, new perspective on travel-blogging, teamed with a healthy dose of reality.”
Blogging has given Úna-Minh many opportunities, but she says social media is a bittersweet tool.
“Without my blog, I wouldn’t have had many of the opportunities I’ve had. This year, I represented Ireland in the Kerala Blog Express, where bloggers from 30 different countries were chosen to go on a press trip to India, and my writing has also been shortlisted many times for awards.
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This week, after growing my hair for two years, I cut my ponytail off and donated it to the #Rapunzel Foundation that make wigs for those in need. I also simultaneously was raising money for the @irishcancersociety by shaving the rest off. I am delighted to report that so far we're over the goal of €1000! We're now at €1.5k and counting! If you'd like to donate head along to my Facebook page and scroll down to find the linky link! Let's kick cancer in the arse!
“Social media, on the other hand, is a funny one. Yes, it certainly has enhanced my career and I wouldn’t have work without it, but, at the same time, I miss the simplicity of not having to worry about if my post has impacted my audience and not being so focused on analytics.”
Úna-Minh has found support among bloggers and says they are very professional. “I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers. Blogging is about community,” she said.
“While you may see stories in the news about some bloggers causing controversy, you’ll actually find that that’s actually quite rare.
“The majority of bloggers, who know the rules, stick to the rules. We’re not stupid. I think a lot of people also don’t realise that blogging is also a career. Starting out, many new bloggers are naive, perhaps, but the truth is there’s a lot to learn, if you want to make a career of it,” she says.
“Once you know the ins and outs, the guidelines and the no-nos, you’ll see that most people are actually reluctant to bend the rules, because it’s their reputation at stake”.