27th January 2016
Pursuing her dream job has scored one Carterton woman the trip of a lifetime.
Travel blogger Anita Dykstra has been chosen from thousands of applicants around the world to take part in a sponsored trip to Kerala in India.
One of only 25 international bloggers chosen for the “Kerala Blog Express”, Miss Dykstra will be representing New Zealand on the two-week trip, which includes travelling on a luxury coach and staying in leading hotels and resorts.
Raised on a Parkvale sheep farm, Miss Dykstra studied design before beginning her travels in Britain.
She began blogging as an 18-year-old but only redesigned her website anitahendrieka.com as a travel blog a year ago.
The site now has over 6500 followers and more than 8000 page views a month.
Although the blog has quickly grown into a full-time job, Miss Dykstra said she was still blown away to be selected for the Kerala trip.
“I’m still in shock. I actually screamed. I rang my sister and screamed. It’s so amazing.
“It’s pretty amazing for a Carterton girl.”
While she put in long hours, the success of the blog still surprised her, Miss Dykstra said.
“I never thought it would turn into a big thing. I always wanted to turn it into a full-time job but I never expected it would turn into anything … it’s mind-blowing, it really is my dream job.”
Now 22, she has already travelled to 17 countries, including Japan, Spain, the United States and Italy.
The February trip to Kerala will be her second time in India.
Being able to turn her passion for travel and writing into a job was largely due to savvy marketing, she said.
“It’s definitely about marketing — I got told once it’s 70 per cent marketing and 30 per cent writing.”
Miss Dykstra also supplements her income with nannying work and plans her travel expenses carefully, drawing up a budget for each day’s travel.
Blogging was an extension of her love for writing and her natural habit of relating her exploits to friends, she said.
“I love to tell my friends what I’ve been doing anyway, and I thought someone else might be able to get something out of this.
“I might as well write about it and share it.”
Her “constantly-growing bucket list” of places to visit includes South America and the Philippines.
“You know when you’ve found a job that you love, it doesn’t feel like working.”