This week I’ve been chatting to a very inspiring friend of mine, Lisa Francesca Nand. A travel journalist, writer, filmmaker and regular on radio and TV in the UK, Lisa has a long list of accomplishments!
She is also a brilliant, kind friend, mum of two gorgeous boys and the creator of what has become one of the top rated podcasts on iTunes around the world, ‘The Big Travel Podcast’.
Drawing in thousands of listeners every week, Lisa interviews all kinds of people (as she mentions below) about how travel has changed their lives, been there at a moment of intense joy, pain and fear or simply it has made them realise something about themselves which they have never forgotten.
Each episode is not just a travel diary to inspire you to visit a new destination. It shows us the power travel has to enrich the patchwork of our lives with experiences, cultures, new people and to give us some great stories to tell!
So Lisa, tell us about the idea behind The Big Travel Podcast?
The Big Travel Podcast explores life-stories through travel and is partly inspired by BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, one of my favourite radio shows. I’ve always worked in radio and travel - I was at the BBC and talkSPORT before going freelance 12 years ago and have specialised in travel for ever since - so combining these two things into a podcast seemed like a great idea.
Did you imagine it would become as popular as it has?
It’s something of a passion project and I get to talk to the most fascinating of people about their lives so the fact that it regularly charts high in iTunes places and travel in the UK and in many of the 130+ countries around the world we now have listeners is a real bonus. We’ve been reviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Podcast Radio Hour and I’m often talking about the podcast and indeed podcasting on radio and at events so it’s lovely to be getting some recognition.
How do you choose your guests/topics?
I would love to say I’m highly organised with targeting guests but it’s a bit of a hope for the best approach. I try to release a new episode every week so have to find people pretty quickly. I spend a lot of time chatting to people on twitter and asking them to come on. That said they have to be right for the show. We’ve had many well known people on including Jane Garvey, Kirsty Wark, Edith Bowman, Giles Coren, Eamonn Holmes, George Galloway, John Simpson and I also combine these with seriously prolific travellers such as Levison Wood, Simon Calder and travel journalists as well as sportspeople, paralympians, bloggers, authors, musicians, DJs and anyone who has a great travel story to tell.
Travel is the main topic but you broach it in a very different way to other shows…
It's travel yet so much more - Clive Stafford Smith talks about travelling the world fighting to get people off death row, Dame Helena Morrissey talks about her campaigning for women in business, DJ Fabio talks about his partner Grooverider's imprisonment in Dubai, Royal Wedding make-up artist and YouTuber Hannah Martin talks about injecting IVF drugs at New York Fashion week and the pain of miscarriage and Nihal Arthanayake talks about British Asian gangs and more. Along with plenty of light-hearted travel chat of course.
Has anything changed from when you started producing? Is the show different to how you first imagined it would be?
I personally have become more used to the process. Even though I was used to being on the radio as an expert guest, when I first started the podcast it had been a while since I was the main presenter of a show so I had to dust off my interviewing skills. Now after more than 62 episodes I really enjoy the conversation and feel that generally things flow very nicely but it took me a few to warm up.
Do you plan in advance who you would like to feature? How much input do you get from your audience?
Securing the right guests can be quite time consuming and I find I’m often up late at night firing off random emails and tweets to people. Thankfully it does seem to work. Book PRs often find me too and I’m happy to promote someone’s new book or TV show if it’s relevant. I also like to chat to my listeners on social media and hear their suggestions for guests and hopefully try to persuade a few of them to come on.
What do you think your background and career in travel journalism brings to the podcast?
Before I had kids I used to do a lot more worldwide travel and have been to over 40 countries. I’m travelling less now and doing more travel expert slots on radio and sometimes TV but it certainly helps that I’ve been around the world and know what I’m talking about when it comes to travel. I also spent a long time making travel films for the national press and magazines so the skills and experience I developed with that comes in handy when I’m editing audio too.
Did you know how to create a podcast when you started?
I had no idea how to create a podcast and like many self-starters such as bloggers, have up until now been doing it all myself. There have been a lot of late nights when I’ve been frantically googling how to do some technical thing or other. As someone who’d worked in radio for a long time before starting the podcast I did however have quite a few of the skills needed so it was just a case of adapting these to podcasts.
Is it your day job? How do you juggle it with everything else in your life?
Podcasting is rapidly becoming one of my main day jobs. Although the Big Travel Podcast is as yet unsponsored and therefore something I don’t get paid for, it has acted as something of a shop window for my podcasting skills and I am now making three additional podcasts for other people including the World Travel Market Insights Podcast (WTM), a podcast series for a high profile guest I had on (all will soon be revealed) and a podcast related to a business. I do however also still write, appear as an expert guest on radio and TV, do a spot of podcast lecturing and much more. I’ve just written my first novel and hope to soon be sending that out to literary agents to see how I get on. It’s what might be called a portfolio career I guess! I like to travel in the school holidays so it’s nice to be able to have work that’s as portable as possible.
How can we support you and listen in?
You can find the podcast on all the usual podcast apps plus directly via the website www.thebigtravelpodcast.com.
Come and join in the conversation! Do also hook up with me on social media too I am on:
Thank you to Lisa for chatting to us!
Are you a listener of The Big Travel Podcast?
Which podcasts do you enjoy right now?