There was a mystery to the Mister Weekender Instagram feed that first sparked my fascination. Scrolling through artfully curated tiles of landscape images I would rarely see founder, Jaharn Giles’ face. Here was someone among a sea of selfies who seemingly preferred to showcase what she saw through the lens, instead. It was refreshing. I soon found out Jaharn’s passion for nature and the outdoors not only shapes the aesthetic of her Insta-gallery, but it also inspires the stories she features on her travel blog, Mister Weekender.
Where are you right now and what do your surroundings look like?
Right now, I am sitting in my studio at home; it’s a small space with two timber trestle tables, lots of potted plants, with my goals, pieces of artwork and the plans for my house on the walls surrounding me.
Do you have any quirky travel habits you can share?
I always wear compression socks when I travel.
Do you have a morning routine while travelling?
It depends if I my head is in a cloud of jet lag or not. However, for the most part, absolutely. When I travel, I get up at the same time I would at home, exercise, eat a healthy breakfast before I set out for the day.
How did you stay healthy while travelling?
Depending on my schedule and how much jet lag I have, I will always try to exercise in the hotel gym at least once a day. If my schedule is packed, I try not to give myself a hard time if I have to skip the gym. However my travel days are mostly filled with a lot of walking, hiking and exploring, so I am always on the move which is great. I am also mindful of what I eat. However I don’t like to be too strict as it’s important to get amongst the local culture and food.
What is your favourite foodie destination?
Vietnam – without a doubt.
What’s the first thing you do when you get home from a trip?
Give my better half Jason a kiss.
Sometimes as travel writers we can make everything appear a little too perfect. Do you have any nightmare travel stories you can share?
That’s so true. I had boarded a flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, and two hours into the flight I took my first sleeping tablet ever. Then about 30 minutes later the Captain announced we had to turn back to Los Angeles because there was a crack in his windscreen (which is very, very dangerous). As I walked off my flight, the sleeping tablet kicked in and I was an exhausted zombie. As there was a huge event in Los Angeles that week, there was little to no accommodation in the city. Four hours later and still in my knocked out haze, I was escorted through the airport by security with a group of travellers where we were taken to a hotel to rest until we were due to be back at the airport later that evening. I pretty much had to be carried to the car and needless to say, I’ve never had another sleeping tablet again.
If you could take someone somewhere for the first time to see their reaction where would you take them?
Oh that’s easy – to Peyto Lake in Canada.
Who are your favourite travel writers and which are your favourite magazines, blogs and websites?
I love Bon Traveler and The Wandering Lens; I could sit and read their blogs for days. I religiously buy The Collective and Real Living magazines in Australia and my guilty pleasure is checking The Daily Mail Online every other day.
Do you have a favourite photographer?
Is there a book, podcast or website you would recommend to people who want to become a travel blogger?
Can I say Mister Weekender? I love sharing my experiences about blogging and have written a lot about it.
Do you have a mentor you look to for advice or inspiration?
I love listening to the Being Boss podcast; it’s a weekly podcast sharing stacks of information for creatives.
You have a love of nature. Was that born out of your travels?
It was actually. I had been living in London for two years before I returned home to Australia and I noticed my friends would do the same thing every weekend – surfing in Manly. Which is great if you can surf, but as I was hopeless, I found it a little boring. It was then I decided to stop following my friends around every weekend and start going on my own solo adventures – road tripping, hiking trails, ocean swimming. It was these little adventures which cemented my love for adventure and nature.
You now have a focus on adventure travel. What’s on your outdoor bucket list?
Are there any destinations you don’t think you’ll ever get to and why?
I hope not because I want to explore the whole world.
Where did your love of cabins come from?
Being in the outdoors and having a cabin in the middle of the wilderness is the perfect lifestyle for me.
Describe your dream cabin…
My cabin would be one level and be made from timber cladding. It would have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large open space lounge/entertaining area, a kitchen and it would have a fireplace and an outdoor bathtub, of course.
Your photography has really evolved over the last couple of years. Is that something that just developed with practice or did you consciously work at it?
Before I went to an Instameet in New Zealand in April last year, I very much was a point and snap kind of photographer. However, at the beginning of last year I wanted to skill up and learn how to photograph the stars and moving water. I met several amazing photographers in New Zealand who taught me how to do both, and from then onwards, I decided to consciously work at it. I’ve still gots lots to learn.
Which are you favourite travel photos and why?
That’s a very tough question for someone like me so I am going to show you some photographs I’ve taken this year, which I really love.
What is your camera kit?
I use a Canon 70D with a 18mm to 135mm lens for everyday shooting or my 16mm to 35mm wide lens for vast landscapes and astrophotography. I’ve been using this gear now since the beginning of last year and I am starting to outgrow it. So, I am currently doing some research to find some other Canon camera kit to work with. I am a big fan of their products.
What’s coming up for Mister Weekender over the course of the next year?
This year, I am being more strategic about the places I visit. Last year, I said yes to pretty much everything where I could and I ended up extremely burned out and exhausted by Christmas. I almost threw the towel in. Thanks goodness I didn’t because this year I’ve been lucky to visit Hawaii, Sri Lanka, Greece and the Maldives, as well as Tasmania. In the spirit of spending more time at home, I am hosting more Instagram and blogger workshops in Brisbane and Sydney. I also have some exciting brand collaborations in the works, so stay tuned for more news on this.