We met up with blogger Ben Holbrook, a Welsh native living in Barcelona since 2009. His blog, Driftwood Journals, is a ‘guide to the good life in Barcelona.’ Holbrook is a self-avowed foodie and a keen promoter of the craft beer revolution taking place across the city. Find him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
What is the most unusual request you’ve had?
Typically, I get invited on tours and to restaurants and bars etc., so it’s rarely unusual, per se. However, I was once hired as a copywriter to write a huge amount of content for a Spanish fishing tour company. I know far too much about fishing in Spain for someone who has never been fishing.
What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the business?
As a travel blogger/writer/copywriter, you have to really master your craft. There’s so much competition that you have to be exceptional to catch the attention of potential clients. I also suggest specializing: be the expert on your niche. Although I still write about various countries around the world, I found my blog really took off when I started focusing on Barcelona.
I’m just finishing up the Barcelona book for The HUNT Guides. It’s consumed me entirely over the last few months, but it’s really exciting to think it will be on sale in book shops around the world. Then, Ryanair are sending me to Valencia for a little bit to write about the food scene there. I’m still taking on new clients too, so there are always new and exciting projects popping up. And there’s still an infinite amount of things I want to cover on my blog. It’s a hard life.
What is your dream project?
I have a dream of cycling from Barcelona down to Seville and writing a book about it. I’m thinking of doing it on my little fold-up bike; the longer it takes, the better. If there are any book publishers out there looking for the next Bill Bryson, please get in touch.
If you could only bring three things to a desert island, what would they be?
Definitely a guitar, a Kindle packed with new books, and one of my cats.
How would you describe Driftwood Journals in 80 characters?
Your essential inside guide to living the good life in Barcelona (and beyond).
Apple or android? Apple
Picasso or Miró? Miró is my all-time favorite
Coffee or tea? Coffee a.m., tea p.m.
Fame or money? Money, though I’m more motivated by freedom
Love or friendship? Love (I love my friends too)
Train or plane? Train