Launching “This Island Life” blog over 7 years ago, Laura McWhinnie a copywriter turned travel blogger, has made a career out of conquering the globe, showcasing her exciting and picturesque lifestyle with her tens of thousands of followers. We spoke with Laura exclusively discussing her recent travels and fashion style.
What made you decide to become an influencer/blogger?
I started This Island Life in 2010 – at the time I was a copywriter at an advertising agency. I loved having a job where I could write all day and be creative, but I needed another outlet. This Island Life was born out of my passion for summer travel and everything that goes with it – the sun, the ocean, the bikinis and the adventures. I started it as a hobby, so I never dreamed that I would get to travel the world and share my experiences with island lovers from all over the globe.
Tell us about your career in advertising and how this has influenced your career as an influencer?
I’ve been working in advertising for 13 years as a copywriter. My advertising career has influenced my career as a blogger, just as much as my blog has influenced my career in advertising. When I started out as a copywriter back in 2005, I was a digital specialist. Since launching my blog, I’ve been able add my social media expertise to the mix.
Advertising has also given me a strong work ethic and high standards. Since starting This Island Life seven years ago, I’ve put in around 30 hours a week. Most of that time I’ve been working full time as a copywriter – so it’s been hard work getting the blog to the point where it is today, but I’m really proud of what I’ve created.
What is it about This Island Life, that you believe sets you apart from other travel bloggers?
I think it’s the authenticity. When I started This Island Life it was because I was so passionate about the island lifestyle and everything that goes with it – the travel, the adventures, the beauty and the fashion. I was flooding my friends’ Facebook feeds, so I felt like I had to create something to house it all – a place online where I could share my love of summer travel and fashion with likeminded people. Back then there was no such thing as Instagram or ‘influencers’ – no one was earning any real money off a blog. So I think when you get into it for the right reasons, people can see that authenticity and they want to be a part of your journey.
Where has been your favourite destination to date and why?
Oh wow – you’ve gone straight in there with the tough questions. This is the hardest question to answer because I’ve seen so many incredible destinations and each island is special in its own way. The best I can do is narrow it down to the top three islands I’ve visited this year.
The Ionian Islands
The Ionian Islands holds a special place in my heart. I’m actually half Greek – my grandparents are both from a beautiful island in the Ionian Sea called Ithaca and one of my great grandfathers was from a little port town in the north of Kefalonia called Fiscardo. The Ionian Islands are also home to the famous Shipwreck Beach on the island of Zakynthos. This recent trip was my first time to Greece – I just couldn’t go another year without seeing my family’s home island. I’ve spent my whole life hearing about Ithaca, so to be there jumping into the salty sea for the first time off its coast was a moment I won’t forget.
My trip to Sardinia was a surprise! After Greece I knew we were flying into Bergamo and then out of Rome two weeks later, but my boyfriend Jason was keeping where we were going in between secret. We road tripped to Verona and Venice and I thought that was the surprise. I’d shown Jason a photo on Instagram of a beach in Italy months ago – I didn’t know it was in Sardinia. He researched where the photo was taken and surprised me at the airport as we left Venice. The beach was Cala Goloritzé – it has incredible limestone formations and the most crystal clear aqua water you’ve ever seen. It was one of the highlights of our European itinerary and we’re already planning to go back again next year.
I knew the Maldives would be beautiful, but I was blown away with just how picture perfect this island destination really was. In the Maldives, the luxury resorts are all on their own private island. I had the option of reviewing a few different resorts, but in the end, I decided on the Shangri-La's Villingili Resort & Spa. It’s a 1.5 hour domestic flight from Malé International Airport and the only Maldivian resort located south of the equator, making it a super exclusive destination. I was there with my boyfriend Jason and we celebrated his birthday on the island staying in the most luxurious overwater villa I have ever experienced. These villas on Villingili are enormous (even by luxury standards) and are some of the biggest in the Maldives. The island also has two kilometres of powdery while sand beach, and a lush palm tree jungle you can cruise through on your bike or in your golf buggy.
What destinations are on your bucket list?
Tahiti, Mauritius, Lord Howe Island and Galapagos Islands.
How would you describe your style?
My style is very beachy, summery and relaxed – if I could live in a bikini I would! I bought a lot of linen pieces while I was in Italy, so this summer I’ll be wearing a lot of linen dresses and tops paired with denim.
What items are you currently coveting?
A Dr Woo Tattoo, A baby Banana Tree, A James Read Tan and everything from Cecile Copenhagen.
Where to next on your travel calendar?
It looks like Mexico and the Cook Islands might be on the cards for early next year. I’m also going to be spending a few months, island hopping in Europe mid-year – we’re going back to Sardinia and hopefully to see Corsica and more of the Greek islands.
For more information go to: www.thisislandlife.com/