Think the Midwest isn’t as exciting as other parts of the nation? Think again! Annie D’Souza is here to show you the parts of middle America that make this wonderful region so unique. After launching her site in September 2014, Annie has proven that traveling in the Midwest is not only doable and family-friendly, but can also be extremely exciting. Along with 23 contributing writers, Annie has chronicled travels throughout Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, and more!
Don’t disregard the Midwestern states as “flyover” country! The Midwestival shows that this region is filled with friendly people, fun activities, and awesome food options. In recent post Tastes Like Chicken: Stroud’s Oak Manner, Annie writes about a Kansas City restaurant that functions similarly to a super club. She explains that this special dining experience is an institution in Kansas City and something that should not be missed when traveling there!
By guiding readers through their Midwestern travels, Annie and the contributing writers demonstrate the true value of exploring our entire nation, including the local, “middle-of-nowhere” hidden gems.
What inspired you to start a travel blog? Was there a specific reason or an event that made you decide ‘I’m gonna start a travel blog today’?
I think traveling is the greatest luxury a person can have. I’ve tried to always make it a priority to explore other parts of the world, and The Midwestival gives me an excuse to explore my own backyard too. I love that this platform gives us (myself and all my amazing contributors) a chance to show off these wonderful parts of the country that don’t get nearly enough attention.
What have been the most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of running your blog and social media presence? Do you keep in touch with your readers?
The most rewarding thing is the community that has grown around The Midwestival. You build this thing and you hope that people respond to it, and when they actually do it’s so incredible. Tens of thousands of photos on Instagram have been hashtagged with #themidwestival since we launched. It’s nuts. And that’s also a challenge — maintaining those personal relationships with readers as the community grows. I wish I had more hours in the day!
What’s your favorite place that you have visited & what’s a dream destination that you still haven’t conquered?
Iceland definitely tops my list. It was like another planet. And someday I’d like to do a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. But I should rep the Midwest, huh? 🙂 There are so many cool places here!
Last year, I had the opportunity to visit Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s a place I might not have chosen to visit on my own, but I had such a blast. It’s a totally underrated city with a fantastic arts scene, good food, great people. And I’d love to do some kind of Tour de Great Lakes in the future, hopping along from city to city along the northern coast of the U.S. That would be a dream.
If you had one piece of advice for people who want to travel throughout the U.S. and around the world but want to stay on budget, what would it be?
Make friends! I always try to connect with people online or through social media before I start putting my plans together, and sometimes I even meet up with people for coffee or drinks. Locals always know the best spots, and it can make a travel experience so much more special without spending a dime.