*This post was originally published on my previous blog, Kaleidoscope of Fashion
How I became a virtual travel guide in Melbourne
I’m one of those Melbournians who are super proud of our beautiful city. Even though we were recently knocked off our mantel of being the “most liveable city in the world“, there is still so much to love about Melbourne.
So when online community-based travel guide Cool Cousins expanded to Melbourne last year, I signed on to be part of the Cool Cousins community.
What is “Cool Cousin”?
Cool Cousin is basically an online community of locals sharing their individual travel guides for their favourite things to do and places to go to in their home city. The travel guide is designed to feel like you’re travelling through a city with a “cool cousin”, so the guides are casual, fun and a little bit quirky.
Each “cousin” also shares a map of their favourite to-dos which makes it easy for you to follow along and plan your day.
The process of becoming a Cool Cousin took a bit longer than I expected. Why? Because the team at Cool Cousin is super dedicated to offering an insightful experience to the users of the travel guides, so there was a lot of information to be completed upfront in order for the team to create your profile page. Most of the work involved answering questions about what you like to do, where you like to go, what is there to see etc.
Once the profile is up and running, you can also plot your favourite places on your personal map, along with details about food and drink recommendations at your favourite restaurants, and even the best time of day to go to a particular place.
Then comes the best part – a photoshoot with a professional photographer!
The last part in completing your travel guide is a photoshoot around the city. To do this, Cool Cousin paired me up with a local photographer. My photographer was Roberta, a former business analyst at Apple who quit the corporate world to pursue her passions in photography. She now shoots weddings and portraits in Melbourne. You can find more of her work at www.photosbyroberta.com.
The shoot is estimated to take about 1-2 hours but realistically, this timeline is only achievable if you are super prepared. Realistically, I would recommend a 3-4 hour buffer to factor in time for location-planning, outfit changes, food breaks (because posing for photos is surprisingly tiring) and travel between locations.
The travel guide:
My photos were processed pretty quickly but it took a while for the actual travel guide to be up and running. I got an email once the travel guide was live, and it was super exciting to see it all come to fruition!
If you want to check out my travel guide of Melbourne, feel free to head over to Cool Cousin and find me here. I am also updating my guide periodically based on new places that I’m constantly finding around Melbourne.
Here with my photographer Roberta. I’m so grateful to have met her through the Cool Cousin shoot. We had such a great time on the day that we ended up having lunch together and hanging out for the rest of the day! After recently catching up for a double date with our other halves, we are now planning another shoot together (so stay tuned!).