Posts Tagged With: travel blog

How NOT to be a travel blogger

It may be a tad premature to write a post on how to be a travel blogger seeing as how I’ve only been travel blogging for about 7 months. Nonetheless, I have learned a lot over those 7 months and want to share that knowledge with other newbie bloggers in the hope that they can learn from my mistakes and create better blogs that I, in turn, can learn from.  SO.  I have put together a little list of how not to be a travel blogger. Just so you know, I’ve been guilty of all of these at one point or another in the last few months.

1.  Make a schedule for how often you have to post a blog and keep to it whether you have anything to write about or not.  Because really, it’s not like (good) writing is an art form or anything.

2.  Make copious amounts of spelling and grammar errors.  Just because it’s kewl and who has time to google the spelling of a word??? You have to open a whole other tab for that shit!

3.  Don’t take the time to organize ANYTHING on your blog/website.  That’s how the madness starts…first it’s “I’ll just put all this budget stuff under one tab” and before you know it, you’re organizing every blog by topic and laughing maniacally in the background! Mwahahahaha!

4.  Make broad political/religious/lifestyle judgements out of the blue.  Obviously, you only want people that think exactly like you to read your blog.

5.  Have a monotone blogging “voice”.  Your blog should sound like it was written by a robot for other robots.  How else will readers know you’re serious?

6.  Do not interact with commenters.  What do they know? After all, they’re reading your blog.

Have any other tips on how not to be a travel blogger? I’d love to hear them! 🙂

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How traveling + blogging makes me a less awkward person

I’m an outgoing person.  Well, not always, but at least 50% of the time.  The other 50%, I’m something of a loner. Not because of any inherent shyness — I just like the time to quietly sort out my thoughts.  

I’m also what you might call a nervous sharer.  I tend to overshare strange details of my life when I’m uncomfortable.  Maybe there’s an awkward silence, maybe you won’t shut up and I’m trying to shock you into silence, or our personalities aren’t jiving, or I don’t know anyone and everyone else knows each other, or I’m overly tired, or overly inebriated or maybe I’m just bored.

Knowing these 2 aspects of my personality, is it any wonder I’ve had some super awkward person to person interactions over the years?  Maybe you would assume that the potential for those interactions would exponentially increase while traveling given how many new people one meets ever day and the plethora of uncomfortable situations a traveler can find herself in.  

Oddly enough, I’ve found the opposite to be true. The more traveling I do, the less awkward I am.  I think it’s a combination of there being less pressure to make a great impression (after all, you’ll probably be meeting a whole new batch of people tomorrow) and due to the necessity of simplifying your initial interactions with people (otherwise you’ll spend your whole trip telling people where you’re from, where you’ve been, where you’re going, how long you’re traveling for, and what you do).

Similarly, blogging has also helped because when I write a post, it gives me the chance to edit my thoughts (whether I actually edit is a whole other matter) into a more streamlined and logical projection than what usually comes out of my mouth.  Obviously, I still have a ways to go…but it is getting better. 

🙂 That’s all, just wanted to share some positive side effects of traveling and blogging. 🙂

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Why travel, indeed…

Recently, I was doing some travel blog “research” (aka reading the blogs of my favorite travel writers) when I came across a post written by Caz and Craig called “So you want to be a travel blogger”. The basic gist of the article is that travel blogging as a full time job is really hard work, but it could be for you, depending on your WHY. 

This really got me thinking about my own whys. Why do I want to travel? Why do I want to go around the world? Why do I want to leave everything that is safe and comfortable? Why do I want to abandon my family and friends (bc sometimes it feels like that)? And perhaps most importantly, why am I so sure this crazy, nomadic, uncertain lifestyle is for me?

If you couldn’t tell already, this is going to be one of those emotional, raw, heartfelt posts, so if you don’t feel like getting sappy, RUN.

No? Ok, thanks for staying with me. 

My why is simple: Because I have to. No, no one is holding a gun to my head and telling me that this will be my path or else. No, this is not me trying to escape reality (pretty sure this is what my Dad and one of my brothers think I’m doing). No, I don’t have a surefire way to make a ton of money by becoming a travel blogger. No, I’m not doing this to rebel, and no, I’m not doing this because it’s what’s expected of me.

I’m doing it because deep inside my soul there is a fire for travel that will not be quenched. There is a voice inside my head that asks “When is the next trip? The next adventure?”.  When I’m stationary, my mind is constantly dreaming of movement. When I’m moving, doing new things, meeting new people, see new wonders, I’m content.  As Caz puts it, there’s an itch I just can’t scratch, a driving force within me to be more, do more, make a difference.  

To deny this part of myself would be akin to choosing to live without all of my senses, limbs, brain power.  I know this, because I’ve chosen to deny it for the better part (or worse, depending on how you look at it) of the past 4 years. And I have been miserableI’ve felt like a horse that is born to run and win…who is forced to be a pace horse and lose time and time again to build up the confidence of the other horses.  

By taking this awesome adventure I am embracing all of me, the good and the bad, with no regrets. For what very well may be the first time in my life, I am telling myself I deserve to be happy, and believing it.

I know this lifestyle change isn’t going to be butterflies and sunshine 24/7.  There is bound to be a little rain (leaving my brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephews is going to be a downpour), but that’s ok. You need a little rain to make a rainbow. 

Why travel? Because it is what feeds my soul, stimulates my mind, and rejuvenates my body. Why do you travel?

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Ok, I have the blog…when do I become a writer?

When I was younger, I was a good writer. A little unpolished, sure, but strong. Clear. Lately, I’ve felt like I lost my voice.  I reread the articles on this blog and yawn. It’s like reading a grocery list. Where is the passionate voice of my youth?  Where is the descriptive, and yes, even elegant (sometimes) prose of my teenage years? Maybe more importantly, why can’t I seem to get it back?  If I’m going to have a successful travel blog, I need to be able to go beyond telling readers about the places I go, I need to take them with me on the journey.  I want people who read my blog to smell the thick, slightly sweet scent of ozone, rain, and decaying plant life when I hike through the Amazon.  To taste the tanginess of sauerkraut I buy from a tiny shop in Berlin.  To hear the blaring horns and hawking street vendors as I stroll down a busy street in Chang Mai. To feel the Australian sun beat down and the sweat rolling off the tip of my nose when I’m slaving away on a pearl farm near Broome. To experience the spiciness in not only the food of Brasil, but the air, the clothes, and even the way the people move.  

I need to lose the fear of not fitting in that we all tend to acquire as we grow up.  I want to shed it like a second skin.  I’m already doing something with my life that is hugely different from what society tells me I should be doing, so why is it so difficult for me to be true to my inner writing voice?  Maybe because I’ve tamped down the somewhat formal, certainly old-fashioned style of writing that felt so good to me for so long that I’ve forgotten how to write that way.  Maybe I shouldn’t be looking to go back to that style at all, but instead find the voice that is right for me now.

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Day 28

Day 28 of Bootsnall’s “Plan your RTW trip in 30 days” is an ironic topic…should you start a travel blog for your rtw trip?  My reasons for starting the blog are varied. I want a way to keep friends and families informed. I eventually want to monetize.  I’m trying to get in the habit of writing every day so that when I’m traveling, it’s second nature and I can record as much info as possible.  I want to start an ecotourism company when I get back and would love to have a compilation of travel tips and tricks to share with my customers.  I also want to scout out some possible locations, accommodations, restaurants, and tour guides for my business.

Some of the cons Bootsnall gives for having a travel blog include the time it takes to really keep up with it, the hassle of finding wi-fi or computer cafes in some parts of the world, the expense associated, and the fact that it is pretty rare to be able to actually make money off a travel blog.  Those are all risks I’m willing to take, especially as I am looking at this blog more as practice and information gathering for building an ecotourism company, rather than as a money making opportunity on its own.  Ultimately, you just need to take a hard look at what it is you’re trying to accomplish through your travel blog and then decide if its worth it!

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