About Postcard Valet
Arlo and Oksana Midgett had been married for 8 years before they were finally able to set forth on a long-planned, once-in-a-lifetime experience: A backpacking trip around the world! They quit their jobs (Digital Media Specialist at a state University and Comptroller at a 6-brand automotive dealership) and left Juneau, Alaska on July 1, 2010. After traveling across five continents, they’ve settled down for a year (2012) in Brisbane, Australia.
Postcard Valet (www.postcardvalet.com) is their travel blog and podcast.
Our primary goal with the Postcard Valet website is to offer outstanding videos of our experiences while traveling. If you take the time to view one or two of our podcast videos, I think you’ll agree: Our videos share far more about a tour than almost any other travel site on the web. We’re not interested in simply posting random video clips online. We take the time to give them a personal touch by recording voiceovers, editing together only the best footage in service to the story, adding in music… and polishing everything until it shines!
Beyond the high-quality videos, we also strive to showcase our professional-quality photography and engaging writing style.
We have everything we need to produce content like this while traveling: Multiple cameras (video and photo), microphones, laptops for editing… we even have an underwater camera case!
Interests & Abilities
Beyond anything else, Oksana and I have discovered that we’re most interested in seeing the natural wonders of the world. While cultural displays are fascinating in their own way, we quickly grow bored of “senior citizen” walking tours to every museum and church in a city. We’re not avid campers, but we’d much rather spend a night outdoors than surrounded by the pounding music of a local discotheque.
Strict-itinerary, large group tours, are not typically the “backpacker” method of travel, but we’re not necessarily opposed to them. However, our preference is to always look for smaller, more flexible group sizes.
Both of us are in our thirties and in reasonably good shape. In Peru, we hiked in and out of Colca Canyon, around Machu Picchu, and we’ve done okay at altitudes up 4700 meters above sea level. While we’re not up to scaling Everest, we wouldn’t mind taking a crack at Kilimanjaro!
We spent a week living aboard a boat in the Galapagos Islands, enjoyed a day-trip on the waters of Lake Titicaca, and got up close and personal with a 3.5 meter Great White Shark in “Shark Alley,” South Africa. It’s safe to say that we don’t get seasick. We are also avid SCUBA divers, Advanced Open Water certified with PADI.
We would jump at any chance for more wildlife and nature photography – from jungle to mountain to desert – we’ll never get enough! The more unique and special the landscape or the animals, the better.
We’d also like to challenge ourselves with more adventure sports: Bungee jumping, white-water rafting, paragliding, skydiving, downhill skiing – anything that gets the heart pumping!
We hate visiting websites that are filled with advertisements or are chock-full of SEO content, so why would we design the Postcard Valet website to be a place where our own visitors would have to wade through the same kind of junk?
It would be easy to fill Postcard Valet with a bunch of “top 5 beaches in Central America” articles to attract Google hits, add in a ton of advertisements, tweet and retweet every post, and then watch the pennies roll in, but we would much rather concentrate on producing good content that shares our amazing travel experiences with other, like-minded travelers.
The truth of the matter is that we have already set aside enough money to travel around the world for an entire year – we’d be posting the same stories and videos about our adventures regardless of any income we generate from our website. But we are on a budget of $100/day (for the both of us) and that can be quite limiting when it comes to the bigger excursions.
With that in mind, we hope to offer our services as quality travel bloggers and video producers in exchange for complimentary tours. We believe this is a win-win situation: We get to see and experience tours we wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford and in return, tour companies get high-quality content they can use on their own websites and word-of-mouth advertising on Postcard Valet.
The Travel Blogger’s Dilemma
We struggle with the Travel Blogger’s Dilemma every day. Any time we spend updating our blog is time spent sitting in one place, that is to say: not traveling. On the other hand, when we’re getting the most out of our travels, we’re not updating our blog!
Priority number one for us this year is seeing as much of the world as we’re able, so blog updates are the first thing to go when we’re strapped for time. That said, we get a huge sense of satisfaction when we share our experiences with other people and we’d like nothing more than to encourage more people to travel!
Rest assured, any travel agency, tour operator, or company that provides us with a complimentary excursion will receive the benefits of our labor within a week (or less) from the completion of the tour.
Examples of our work
The Postcard Valet website stands on its own as a testament to the quality of our work, but that’s a lot of content to wade through for the first-time visitor. Here are some of the highlights (in our minds) and how they can serve as examples of our varied skills:
The Salar de Uyuni (15 minute podcast video episode)
A bit long for an internet video, but one of the works of which we’re most proud. This episode showcases our ability to seamlessly weave together many interviews and also serves as a great example of the natural wonders that fascinate us.
The Ecuadorian Jungle (podcast video episode)
Just about the right length to keep internet viewers interested, this is a typical of our “tour review” style. We paid for a jungle tour, things didn’t go quite as we’d planned, but the story conveys the good time we had anyway.
Transient Books and Tagua de Wilson (podcast video episodes)
We think of these two videos as “business profiles.” Notice that our opinions are largely absent as the proprietors tell us about their own businesses, in their own words. We can offer to make this sort of video for travel-related companies, but it will take more time and effort on their part (usually in interview sessions.)
NASA STS-132 Tweetup (podcast video episode)
Another podcast video I created to demonstrate what it was like to attend two NASA Space Shuttle launches. After posting this video online, NASA asked if they could use this video on their own website.
Baños de Agua Santa and Diving in Culebra (music videos)
Sometimes all a company wants is a high-impact music video that they can play on a loop. These two videos serve as examples of our ability to match imagery to music.
SmugMug / The Postcard Valet Gallery (The very best examples of our photography)
We have been uploading our favorite pictures to country-specific galleries in our SmugMug account, but we spend a lot more energy highlighting our “best of” photographs in the “Postcard Valet Gallery.” Keeping with our philosophy of not simply dumping everything we shoot online and letting our viewers sort through the mess, every photo in the Postcard Valet gallery was hand-selected and has a story written to go along with it. Story links are below each photo in the gallery and will take readers back to the Postcard Valet website.
The Scariest Bike Ride to Baños and Vieques’ Bioluminescent Bay (blog entries)
We strive to never fall into the amateur travel blog trap of only writing “we did this, and then this, and then this…” Rather, we attempt to tell an engaging story, with a strong lead, while also trying to slip in some of the pertinent information about the tour (location, duration, cost, etc.)
These two entries are perfect examples of how our writing style can be both engaging and informative at the same time.
Tour Recommendations (Static/Permanent Page)
We’ve set up a page on our website to highlight every tour that we have enjoyed. Each short entry tells a bit about why we liked it before giving our readers all the information they need to book the same trip for themselves (cost, location, website links, etc.) These endorsements are a minor part of our website, but some tour operators value them most of all.
If you or your company are entertaining the idea of exchanging a complimentary stay or tour for our services as travel bloggers and/or video editors, please use our Contact Page to get in touch with us today!