A popular topic circulating in the blogosphere is that of the life of a full-time travel blogger. It’s usually a post to dispel any myths about this type of blogger, namely that it’s not a life full of luxury traipsing around the world, and offers very little financial gain. While I’m sure all of this is true and as difficult in some facets of life that full-time travel blogging can be, I think the life I and countless others lead, that of a part-time travel blogger is even more laborious. Here’s why.
Five days a week, eight hours a day, I am working at a job that provides me with a salary and in regards to travel, lets me travel in the lifestyle I prefer and am accustomed to. It may be lost on some, but I don’t scrimp when I travel. No, I don’t stay at Four Seasons hotels or eat at restaurants and spend $300 for two; however, I travel comfortably. I don’t need to watch my money, make budgets/keep a spreadsheet where I tally my daily expenses-I simply get to enjoy myself. My recent trip to Peru was testament of this-I booked numerous private tours where yes, they were a bit pricey but you know what? I earned it.
But back to the job…After working all day and on my weekends, I go to my “other” job as author and creator of this blog. I’ve done this for over four years now if you can believe it. That’s a lot longer than a lot of the popular travel blogs that exist. I generally post new content about five times a week and as I’ve mentioned before, by content I’m talking full on posts, not a paragraph or two. I also am constantly working on writing new material since with posting five times a week, my arsenal of stored content gets depleted rather quickly. On top of creating new posts, I also “work” the social media angle. I try to maintain an active presence on Google +, Facebook, and Twitter. While I love my blog (well, most of the time), it really does feel like I have a second job with all of the work and time I put into keeping it. Did I mention that I also wrote a book? I’d like to see a full-time travel blogger write a work of fiction.
But here are some realizations/pet peeves I’ve come to discover in my four years as a “part time” travel blogger:
-Full-time travel bloggers often don’t think “outside” the box
Since I started my blog, I’ve always written posts on a more editorial level, especially those travel topics that have a more controversial side to them. Last month I posted one on a topic that stemmed from a recent controversy. The very next day one of the most well known travel bloggers essentially published the same topic. No, I’m not saying that topic ideas I cover are mine and mine alone. However, this particular travel blogger never once had posted anything related to travel topics that had been in the news-the person blogged about destinations. The person also liked my Facebook page, followed me on Twitter. Yes, it could have been a coincidence but I think not. What saddened me the most was that the person’s post garnered dozens of comments whereas mine got zero. Since I don’t get to travel full time, I work hard at thinking up content for posts that is somehow related to travel. Full-time travel bloggers are generally narrow where their focus is concerned-they blog about a destination, the same destination other travel bloggers have done before them.
-Full-time travel bloggers are like a clique
Many people have said that the best way to build your blog is to comment on other people’s blogs, really get a circle of interaction going, build upon the idea of reciprocation. I’ve tried this and while there are a couple of blogs I really do try to stay active and faithful with, it’s hard enough keeping up with those few. Full-time travel bloggers can essentially spend their day reading dozens and dozens of blogs. I can’t. Working eight hours a day, I don’t have that luxury, nor do I want to. If you’re a part-time travel blogger like me, you can’t help but feel you don’t belong. You’re just not cool enough to hang with the popular kids; in a blogging context your blog isn’t cool enough to be liked or tweeted or commented on.
-Full-time travel bloggers are not “professionals”
I think it’s somewhat laughable to see some full-time travel bloggers describe themselves as professional travelers. Just because you don’t have a conventional job, that doesn’t make you a professional in my opinion. I planned and successfully pulled off a terrific trip to Peru, all by myself. To me, a professional is someone with special schooling, a degree. Not wanting to work for the “man,” that’s just you.
-Full-time travel bloggers have “killed” good writing
If there’s one thing I’ve learned and realized, it’s that the number of likes on Facebook, the number of followers you have on Twitter, and your blog’s stats are what make your blog popular. It’s not necessarily good writing. I’m not saying that what I write is Pulitzer Prize-worthy (hardly). But some of the most popular travel blogs out there, honestly, I don’t think their content is that great or unique. Their blogs get the attention and accolades they do from popularity and popularity alone. This I find incredibly sad but I know many print journalists feel the same where their profession is concerned in regards to the ever rising popularity and takeover of digital media.
-I write for me and me alone
I didn’t start this blog for monetary gain, nor did I do it to become famous (quite the opposite). I started it since I was finished with graduate school, no longer had wedding planning consuming my every moment, and needed a creative outlet. In the four years that I’ve had a blog, I know that I’ve come a long way-I have over 900 followers on Twitter, my Facebook page has over 500 likes, I’ve graduated from Blogger to WordPress, and wrote a book I am immensely proud of, and know it would not have been possible without the writing and travel experience this blog has allotted me. While sure, I would love one day for an incredible opportunity to come along that was a result of this blog. But realistically, I know that (sadly), that’s probably never going to happen. So in the meantime, I write about everything related to travel and food. I write for me first and foremost, but also for the lovely people who read my blog.
Everything that I expressed here are my personal opinions and experiences.