I’ve been blogging for the best part of 3 years now, and I still find it a little strange to call myself a ‘travel blogger’. Yes travel and blogging are pretty much all I do and all I think about, but It was just never something I thought I’d end up doing and a full time thing. I’d hardly say it is a ‘job’, as it doesn’t really ever feel like work, and I’m not really making anywhere near enough money from it yet to start calling it that. And yet somehow, over the years, this has become who I am. Everyone who knows me, knows about my blog – I have wristbands, business cards, snap-back hats and even stickers that advertise my own personal brand (if you can really call it that), I spend more time writing posts and designing my site than I do watching TV & movies (that’s A LOT of time), and I’ve ‘met’ more people through blogging in 3 years than I did at school and university combined.
Blogging has opened up doors to me that I didn’t even know were there, and has taught me a lot about things I didn’t even know I was interested in before, things like web design, coding, and SEO. It has proved to me that travel can be a way of life, and writing and communicating my own stories in the online world can be a career if I want it to be. I’m a blogger and I’m proud to shout it from the rooftops. However, as with everything there are always down sides and travel blogging is no exception (as I’m sure my fellow travel bloggers will agree), so here are all the things I love and hate about being a travel blogger.
9 Things I Love
- The Freedom. Blogging allows me to go anywhere I please and tell the tales of my adventures from wherever I happen to be at that very moment. I’m not tied down by a ‘regular’ job and just come and go to my heart’s content. If I fancy jumping on a plane to Thailand, I absolutely can, laptop in tow.
- The Travel. Well duh. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not sure what I love more, the travel or the blogging about the travel. I have been to more countries than I can count in the last 3 years and I have loved every minute of it. Travel comes with its own ups and downs, but I love that when I travel, I’m not just moving around for the sake of it. Blogging about my travels allows me to dissect what I liked or didn’t like about a place and therefore (in my opinion) gain more from the experience than I would have done without writing about it.
- The Freebies. Over the last few years I’ve managed to wangle a few freebies from different companies, mostly products for review (such as my awesome ATOP watch and Olloclip lens), and I’ve actually just been offered my first blogger press trip to India (more about this to come). This is not why I blog, but it’s a nice little bonus that comes with an ever-growing readership.
- The creative thinking that comes with being a blogger is something I have craved all my life. I have quite a vivid imagination and i have always loved to put my thoughts and feelings down in words or drawings, so it’s pretty awesome to have my own online space where I can write whatever I want, whenever I want, without anyone telling me not to or censoring me.
- Getting sit in front of a computer for hours on end or using social media all the time and calling it ‘work’. I’m a massive social media addict and I love that I can spend time updating photos on my Facebook page or an hour on twitter during #ttot and it always be beneficial to my site or future projects.
- Other bloggers. This is possibly the best thing about being a blogger. The feedback and positive reinforcement you get from other people who have the same passions and are doing the same thing as you always works as a pick-me-up when you’re having a bad day or your website has crashed and you want to throw you computer across the room. Other bloggers are my biggest influence – they inspire me in more ways than I can explain.
- The Networking and travel blogging events such as WTM, TBEX & Traverse. This leads on from ‘other bloggers’ above, but in a slightly different way. The travel blogger events allow you to not only meet fellow bloggers, but also to get involved with travel companies and learn from everyone else in the travel world through seminars and workshops. Every blogger and traveler is supportive of everyone there and it’s great to have that network of people you can discuss an idea or collaborate with.
- The cool factor of being able to say ‘I’m a travel blogger’. This one is pretty self explanatory. When eople ask me what I do and I say ‘I’m a travel blogger’, I usually get a response along the lines of ‘oh wow, that’s cool, how did you get into that?’. I agree. I reckon it’s pretty cool.
- How much I’ve learnt and that I’ve pretty much taught myself everything. When I first started out in the blogging world, all I knew about website and design was what I’d managed to grasp from my old myspace days (you know the ones, when you spent hours altering the HTML coding on your profile so it contained pictures of everything you loved), so it has been a MASSIVE learning curve. I’ve had to teach myself about web design, social media marketing, using keywords, SEO…the list goes on and on. The confidence I have had to have in myself these last few years is huge (as are the number of hours I’ve spent trawling the internet for answers and suggestions on how to improve), and, while I’m obviously still learning, I’m finally at a place where I feel like I really know what I’m doing with all of it. Not gonna lie, I’m pretty proud of myself for that.
9 Things I Hate
- The never ending hunt for wifi. This is a biggie. For a blogger, the need for wifi is like the need for air, food or water. If I can’t get wifi, I cant update facebook, or send any tweets about my location, let alone post a new blog or review. If I can’t find wifi at least every few days, I suddenly find myself WAY behind on everything I need to do and then I have to spend a day or two solidly online, catching up of everything I missed. It’s exhausting.
- The fact that my brain never stops and I’m sometimes not able to quite fully enjoy a place because I need to get the perfect photo or I’m thinking about how to write about my experience. Even right now, while I’m writing this post, I’m think about the next post, or what my photo of the week is going to be. When I explore a new place, I take a heap of photos, and make a million mental notes, so much so that sometimes I find myself not really taking in the new place at all.
- Having to use social media all the time and not be able to switch off incase you miss something. This is the flip side of the social media coin. The part where sometimes you almost hate this weird über-connected world we live in, a world where you feel like you might miss out if you log off for just a few hours.
- The money struggle. If anyone ever tells you being a travel blogger is a sure-fire way to make a quick buck, they’re lying. Sure, there are a few select (amazing) bloggers who actually make a pretty good living from their blog. But these people are a rarity, and they have usually been honing their craft for many, many, many years. I make very little from my blog, and while that’s not really an issue because money is not the reason I blog at all, sometimes it can be a struggle to maintain the blog and try to have a source of income from another avenue at the same time.
- The endless emails. My inbox is always so full that I can take a good few hours to empty it and deal with the various random requests I get on a daily basis. I try to set aside a certain amount of time per week to answer emails and then be done with it, but sometimes it just takes longer than I want it to.
- The travel burn out. I think every long-term traveller has had a ravel burn out experience. That moment when you find yourself not really loving the nomadic lifestyle anymore and wanting to just stay in one place for a while. To prevent this, I usually try to travel quite slowly and live like a local everywhere I go, making a ‘home’ for myself and just living for a while. It’s nice to get a little break from the road every now and then, to recharge the batteries and regain the travel stoke for the next trip.
- The fact that everyone thinks it’s just a hobby and in actual fact you’re trying to make it your career. It can be frustrating when people don’t really take you seriously, and when there aren’t really that many jobs in the specific area you want to go into (social media for travel, if any recruiters out there are reading this!), it can be hard to stick at it and keep going, but I suppose the only way to deal with this is know that as long as you love it, then that’s all that matters.
- Never having a home and not being able to settle down in one place with one person. This is one that has only really recently come to light for me. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m getting a bit older, or because I feel like I’ve been on the move almost non-stop for the last few years, but every now and then I dream of settling down somewhere – having a stable job, buying a house (with what money, I know?!), getting a puppy, moving in with someone I love, having kids, the whole deal. It can be hard when you don’t really know what your next move is, or you can’t plan beyond the next 3 months of your life. One day I’d like to be able to say to someone ‘yep, this could have a future, cos I’m actually not going anywhere‘.
- The number of hours spent staring at a screen. Yes, I’m a total geek and I love all forms of technology, but I also love being outside. I love to skate down the streets of a new city, or bomb it down a snowy mountain with a board strapped to my feet. I love to switch off every now and then and not be sat in front of a falsely lit screen with a daunting empty page staring back at me, waiting for my brain to produce some magical travel words of wisdom. I love to leave my phone at home and lose myself in the outside world. But sometimes I feel like that’s almost impossible, and maybe it’s my own lack of will power, but I often find myself sitting at my computer for hours and then, without realising, the day is over and I didnt even go outside.
When I look at all of these love and hate things about being a travel blogger, laid out in black and white in front of me, it’s easy to see that, for me at least, the positives far outweigh the negatives, and really the things I hate aren’t really bad things after all. The bumps along the journey just make for a more interesting adventure. I love to travel, I love to write, I’m a travel blogger through and through, and if I didn’t enjoy it, I just wouldn’t do it. Simple as that.
Are there any travel bloggers out there who have any different positive or negative thoughts about their blogging lifestyle? I’d love to hear your thoughts!