Andrew John Virtue Dobson is the Editor-in-Chief of travel and lifestyle blog, DobbernationLOVES. He writes an art and food column called DobberDates for Metro Toronto and is the newspaper’s reporter during TIFF. Andrew also contributes travel stories for Metro Newspaper Canada, the Vancouver Sun and Xtra.
Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
Media was totally off my radar. I’ve been obsessed with food, travel and photography since I was a young boy so my four years of study at the University of Guelph’s Hotel and Food Administration program made sense to me coming out of high school. After graduation I traveled around the world for three years documenting my adventures online to over 50 countries. I’ve been living in Toronto for four years now and I suppose the rest is history…
Where would you like to be five years from now?
I’ve been working on the development of a TV show with Point Load Pictures and would love to have the opportunity to inspire folks to “Eat Well, Travel Hard, Live Better” from the comfort of their couch. I’ve now had the opportunity to visit over 60 countries and in the next five years would love to hit 80.
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Since I first started my blog seven years ago the “industry” has really changed. I had no clue what I was doing when I first started. The blog platform was a perfect way to develop my photography and writing skills as well as communicate with family and friends while living on the road. Today successful bloggers focus on developing a relatable brand, unique writing style and showcase a strong background as experts in their field. For those looking to focus on travel it helps to have 30 or 40 destinations under your belt so that you can speak to global trends, applaud the current game changers and reference past experiences into your current narrative.
What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? (i.e.: what do you read/listen/watch?)
Globe and Mail, New York Times, Toronto Star, Vancouver Sun, Travel and Leisure.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
Interviewing the President of Ireland in his palace in Dublin during St Paddy’s Day celebrations after sipping and snacking through afternoon tea.
Interviewing a chef in Namibia who had such a thick accent I could barely hear what he was saying. I recall nodding my head a lot and pretending to scribble notes on my pad of paper. He gets points for being enthusiastic.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Pursue your passion every day even when you don’t know how your dreams and goals will materialize.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Adventure outside of your comfort zone.
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Offer up a story worth telling. Know my name. Understand my audience.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro?
As an ambassador for Canada Beef last summer I had the opportunity to travel to Alberta with PR pro Heather Travis. We spent a few days at Sierra West Ranch where I was inspired by her passion for promoting the good work of Canada’s cattle ranchers. Riding into the sunset on horseback after a long day spent branding, inoculating and herding cattle was the cherry on my sundae.
Airports that don’t offer free Wifi.
Being upgraded to First Class.
Toronto Life. This year, I’m travelling on 26 press trips so enjoy catching up on what’s cool at home when loitering on a long haul flight. EnRoute Magazine also keeps me busy.
Best place on earth?
Oddly enough my kitchen. After travelling non-stop I’ve found there is nothing more satisfying than having a friend over for a hot pot of tea and freshly baked muffins.
Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Pool or ocean?
Pool. It’s easier to sip a cocktail and nothing (hopefully) will bite you here.
Voicemail or email?
People actually still voicemail?