Followers Tag Along on Restless Jo’s Walks

Challenge Host Interview # 11

Good morning friends, and welcome, Restless Jo, to my blog, Always Write. I am honored to have you as a guest on my blog. I met you through my friend Carol, The Eternal Traveler, when I started blogging in 2012. When did you start blogging, Jo? 

Where did it all start?  I began, very tentatively, to blog in September 2011.  I’ve always loved to write, but technology isn’t something I took to with ease.  Ask my long suffering husband!  He’s my IT ‘expert’ but with no experience of, or interest in, the world of blogging.  I simply wanted to tell my travel stories.  Once I got the hang of blogging, I wanted to do it ‘my way’.  

Note: To find Restless Jo’s current posts enter 2021 in the search box.

“Got the hang of blogging,” like this guy? Perfect picture. I’d like to be that good at blogging, but I don’t quite have the hang of it. 🙂

So how did you do it?

This usually involved mooching around in my northeast of England neck of the woods, and sharing what I found.  Although it introduced me to lots of people, I found the challenge method of blogging restrictive.  If I have something to say I value the freedom to say it, in my own way.  I guess most people who start challenges do so because they have control over the subject matter.  I struggle now to recall most of my early posts, but I know that I was always conscious of wanting my own voice.

I think I understand wanting to find your voice and doing it your own way, Jo. I wanted to write, thought I knew how to write, but I remember the days of zero to five readers. I began to question what was wrong with “my way.” I wondered what I should write about that people would want to read. I had a hard time finding my voice. It sounds like you started blogging a mind full of ideas about what to write.

Yes, I did. Back in 2004 we had purchased a house in the Algarve.  Exploring that region, with the addition of my Polish family story and visits to Poland, gave me plenty of material to write about.  I had A-Z pages dedicated to the Algarve and Poland, and used them to share the culture and personal anecdotes relating to those countries.  Looking back, the blog was ‘bitty’ and I felt I needed a direction.  

So how did you arrive at the name of Restless Jo and the Monday Walks?

Wherever I went, I always walked.  I don’t drive, and it was my style of exploring.  And blogging about the walks became a good way to share almost anything.  So, in March 2014, Jo’s Monday Walk was born.  The posts were far from being ‘start here at point A and continue till you reach point B 2 hours later’.  They were just me, doing what I do best- walking and talking.  

I love that – both walking and talking, kind of like this interview. 

What’s Up, Doc? | restlessjo


I found it came very naturally, and people seemed to respond easily to that.  Depending on the subject, I usually included rough whereabouts and direction, but seldom with the thought of anyone walking in my footsteps.  It was my bit of escapism, and was thrown open to the public as just that.  Anyone could contribute what they thought of as a walk.  Sometimes it might only be a couple of photos and a thought or two.  Other times it went into great detail.  I didn’t mind.  It was just fun, and it gave me a way to post whatever or wherever I wanted.

How did you come up with the name of Restless Jo?

I am, naturally, restless.  It goes with the territory.  When I told friends back home the name of my blog they fell about laughing.  It was so ‘me’.  I was never a camera buff, and still am not, though I admire very much someone who can take fine photographs and understand the technical side.  

Can you think of any bloggers that you specifically admire and who helped you in your blogging journey?

Running out of superlatives | restlessjo

Jude of Travel Words is one such, and we met, in Edinburgh, several years ago.  I was amazed at how long she spent getting the shot just right.  With a background in IT, Jude had been very helpful to me with technical aspects of blogging.  Then I travelled to Seville to meet Sue Judd of Words Visual, a lady with a style all her own, and very into dereliction.  I tease her about that.  I have yet to meet with Debbie of Travel with Intent, but I’m sure we will one day.  She is an awesome photographer, currently hosting numerous challenges with ease.  Becky, who I know and love, you have already interviewed.

Yes, I loved visiting with Becky. She pretty much set me square with photos. I just found out how automatic it is in Photoshop. I’ve been trying to guesstimate for months. Now I just click a button and it’s automatically squared. YAY! I have my own technical problems, too, Jo. Tell us more about what motivated you in your blogging journey.

The people you meet and who widen your horizons are so much what the blogging world is all about, and I’m sure you’ll agree.  The walks, for me, are a window into other people’s worlds, while allowing me the freedom to ‘walk’ where I will.  The reason I have so many walks is that I’m always looking for another adventure, even if it only varies a little from previous walks.  Somewhere entirely new is the ideal, but you can always put a new slant on somewhere you’ve been.  A future challenge may well be writing a walk about somewhere I’ve never been.  I gather that virtual walks are popular now.

In a way, you are already doing that, Jo. You’re living in the future! That’s what all our posts are for others – virtual walks. Some we might want to see for ourselves, or we might have seen bits and pieces but most of the walks we will never experience. Probably the only way I will get to the region of Algarve, Portugal or the little town of Tavira, Portugal is virtually through your walks.

Jo’s Monday walk : A back street tour of Tavira | restlessjo

You said that your Monday Walks are not an official challenge. Why do you say that when so many people follow you and contribute to it?

I still don’t regard Jo’s Monday walk as a challenge.  Keeping up with the comments is a challenge! Presenting and keeping track of the walks shared can be challenging too.  I’m not an organised person and often am completing a walk late on Sunday night or early Monday morning.  I do try to assemble the walks I receive in a blank post as the week goes by.  Too easy to miss people out otherwise.  Hard to assess the time involved.  Sometimes I add links and background information, depending on the subject and if there’s history involved.  I don’t compile the walks swiftly, but read and reread my words till I’m satisfied with them, and the same with the photographs.  I mind very much how my work looks.  Too much, perhaps!  

Proofreading and editing photographs is an important lesson to learn. Do you have trouble keeping up with your walking schedule?

Still up on the roof! | restlessjo

Posting a weekly walk I find constraining, but that’s partly because I have a very enjoyable outdoors lifestyle in the Algarve.  My planning is minimal and I don’t tend to schedule walks.  I do, however, often find my head full of stuff when my head hits the pillow and words stream backwards and forwards.  I just hope that I’ve held on to the best ones when I wake up in the morning.  I’ve never properly hosted a challenge, nor do I want to.

You have never posted rules, but you definitely host an informal challenge. You are a natural hostess. I love that you also post on other people’s challenges. Has there been a time during the last ten years where you’ve needed to get away from blogging?

Still up on the roof! | restlessjo

I do try to take breaks but it’s sometimes difficult to tear yourself away from the blogging world.  I never write posts whilst away on holiday, but I will pop in on other bloggers and often answer outstanding comments.  It stops them from building up too much and I enjoy the interaction.  There is such a warm feeling when you get a great response from a reader.  It’s addictive.  I planned to step away for a while and possibly reinvent the blog last summer, but somehow Covid-19 and the need to share with and support others seemed more important.  

 COVID-19 has impacted the world, there’s no denying that. If things clear up, what are some of your goals for 2021?

A Call to place : the Azores | restlessjo

2021- most important is to be able to visit my youngsters in the UK.  Hopefully at Easter.  Beyond that I would like to spend more time exploring this country I’ve chosen to call home.  I know very little of the area beyond the Douro, in the north of Portugal.  I would love to return to the Azores– a love affair if ever there was one, but that’s for the future.

Thank you again, Restless Jo, for a delightful look into your beautiful blog and fun non-challenge. We’ve been all over Europe in this short virtual visit. Whee!

Attention Photographers

A friend of mine, Frank, is looking for photographers to collaborate with him on his website. He writes but wants to promote your photographs. It’s a great opportunity for fun and exposure. Contact him here. Collaborators – Beach Walk Reflections: Thoughts from thinking while walking (  He will be host #WQWWC on February 10 – LOVE!


  • This month our  Story Chat features author Anne Goodwin and her short story, “A Post Card from the Past.” Join in the conversation and give us your perspective. We’ve heard from writers, teachers, social workers and clinical psychologists each with their own theories. What’s your take?
  • I’m super excited that Carrot Ranch ran an interview about Story Chat in the Saddle Up Saloon.
  • Autty Jade, A Day in the Brine hosts this week’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing Challenge – Change. There’s still time to write your post and link to her blog. She’d love to visit you, and so would I. Look for a new #WQWWC topic tomorrow back on Always Write – encouraging bloggers in their endeavors worldwide.

Author: Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

105 thoughts on “Followers Tag Along on Restless Jo’s Walks”

  1. Thanks so much for this, Marsha! You’ve made what I thought might be a painful experience fun. You have a natural, bubbly style all your own, and I’m enjoying following along. Best of luck to you and I’m sure you’ll join me with a walk one day 🙂 🙂 You won’t be able to resist!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I walk all the time and I will definitely be joining in more often than I have in the past. But like I said earlier. I always think of you when I am on a walk.


          1. That ego of mine – always in the way! I had a smile on my face when I wrote it, you know. Not off-putting at all. So, there’s about 3-4 feet in front of my window, so I think I’ll wait. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, challenges are the main way that hobby bloggers connect. Professional ones have their products and services. Challenges are the hobby bloggers’ service. The nice thing is that it works both way. The challenge provides a meeting place to gather together. The challenge player comes to the party and makes it fun. They all build up each other’s skills and act like a blogging group therapy session.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I did too! I do these interviews for partly selfish reasons. I want to go deeper in my relationships with the wonderful people who work so hard on their blogs and have interesting things to say. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Fabulous interview with Jo … and love the supporting pictures she provide. Surprise Jo … my favorite is the one of Florence. Get eye on that one! WOW!

    A short Jo story. She and I only had occasional contact on my old blog – and actually connected a bit during my closing series. By the time I was ready to open Beach Walk Reflections, she was more than happy to promote the new venture – and has aided me in various ways ever since … so I appreciate her helpful nature. Thank you, Jo!!!! However, therefore was one word I was surprised not to see in this interview …. cake.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. she never mentioned it. That’s one of my favorite desserts, too -especially if it’s coupled with pudding inside where the frosting goes, then slathered with fudgy chocolate frosting. mmmm

      Liked by 2 people

    1. When these invitations come in, Jill, I usually say no thanks! The main reason being I like things done my own way and it’s easy to be misrepresented. Marsha was persuasive and she comes over as such a bubbly, nice lady. Who could refuse? Many thanks for being a loyal blogging friend. 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I had fun rummaging through her posts looking for most of them, Jill. She sent me the first three, but I couldn’t resist. They are like potato chips. You can’t eat just three. 🙂 Thanks for coming by, Jill and leaving such a nice comment. I’ll be out visiting soon. One more post to write today, so probably tomorrow. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is lovely. And though I’ve got to know you a bit through blogging these last months, Jo, it’s been lovely to find out even more about your generous and engaging personality. And thanks, Marsha, for an interesting and revealing-without-being-too-revealing interview. Nice to meet you too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A walking challenge sounds very interesting, Marsha. My walks are currently all around and around the garden. It is a bit boring now and I listen to audio books while I walk to pass the time. I like the idea of exciting and different walks.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I bet you have walks in your archives, Robbie. Right now I’m stuck in my office. No boots and up to 3-4 feet of snow in places, and that’s just to get out the door. 🙂 Talk about a boring walk!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It might be boring to you, Robbie, but bear in mind, we’ve never seen your garden! Does it have flowers? Any cosy corners or a bench to linger with a book? A nice view or good neighbours? (I don’t min a peep over the fence 🙂 My walks are about your imagination as much as your feet. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My garden goes have lots of flowers and birds, nests, insects and other things. I recently found and photographed a spider’s nest. I watched it for a few weeks and the babies are all gone now. I have just been walking around it relentlessly for 10 months now, every day, and so sometimes I need some inspiration. Some days I just wander around taking pictures of new flowers and insects which I post to my Instagram and some days I just think and write poems in my head.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you, Marsha, for such an engaging interview. I love how you included some of Jo’s walks in the post. I’ve followed her walks and contributed some of mine in the past. Jo’s desserts are enticing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are making me hungry, Natalie. We didn’t even get into the dessert discussion. I guess that will be another interview. 🙂 I know that food bloggers do interviews, too. Different hobbies, different interviews. 🙂 Thanks for your lovely comments. Send me a link to one of your featured walks. 🙂


  6. What a delightful conversation you had with Jo. She is such a wonderful person and always so nice to me. 😀 😀
    Marsha, you are getting so much more relaxed, I can see you really enjoying doing your interviews 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do love the all the interviews. It is especially fun when I know a little bit about the person ahead of time. I’ve known you and Jo probably the longest of any blogger that I’ve interviewed, and yet there’s always so much more to learn and get the relationship moving along at a deeper level.


      1. I’m just now getting to know Jo better. I’ve known of her for ages as a blogger, but didn’t really know her. This past year, I started playing in her challenge every now and again felt so welcome. Then I got Covid and am no longer walking. Just not recovered enough nor do I have the energy. Although I continue getting to know more about Jo and she is just so sweet.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh Cee, I didn’t realize you weren’t walking, I guess. That is awful. It’s temporary, I hope. I’m so sorry. Yes, I enjoyed getting to know Jo more.


          1. I can walk …. just not too far. Covid has really kicked me in the butt regarding breathing and exhaustion. Covid really lingers on and on. I’m slowly getting better though.

            Liked by 1 person

    2. Hello again, Cee! It’s funny, isn’t it? You can ‘skirt around’ another blogger for years without properly making contact, and others you spot something in common and you’re off and running. 🙂 🙂 I was always in awe of you as a photographer, with so many challenges! Now I know you as a thoroughly nice lady. Thanks for the friendship.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. How wonderful to read your interview with Jo, Marsha! I’ve contributed to a few Monday walks but just sharing my daily dog walks in my former suburban (boring) neighborhood wasn’t going to happen with much frequency. It’s great to read she started the Monday Walks in 2014, and she is right about having loads of likes and comments to deal with! And her photography is excellent and I always enjoy seeing her images of Portugal.
    PS we are moving into an RV park with reservations starting tomorrow. If the roads stay clear we can move and get the heck out of this situation we’re in. We literally got the last campsite!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We have our 27-ft trailer here being stored at our nephew’s. We go to pick it up today or tomorrow depending on road conditions. Found a wonderful RV park with great monthly rental rates and we’ll be closer to the new home. It’s all good!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds dire, Terri! All you want is to start making a new home but the situation conspires against you. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the weather. 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. It’s wonderful to see you here, Jo, and learn a bit more about you. I like the photos you chose for the interview, the fact that you run a non-challenge, and that you enjoy blogging and all its interactions. I hope 2021 brings you a trip – or more – to the UK!

    Thanks for featuring our friend, Jo, Marsha!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is a lovely interview with Jo and so typical of her to be very modest about her wonderful blog. I’ve often participated in her Monday Walks and it’s always a thrill when a post is included. Well done Marsha and congratulations Jo.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. How fun to learn more about Jo’s beginnings and her fabulous walks. I agree with other comments about her modesty. such an engaged and loyal following Jo has. I think her genuine warmth and kindness radiates from each post.

    Liked by 1 person

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