The life of a part-time travel blogger

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.

The Red Headed Traveler

Even when on vacation in Hawaii, I’m still working in some ways.

Everything that I expressed here are my personal opinions and experiences.


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  • Reply
    September 26, 2014 at 3:57 am

    Very interesting post. I recently started putting a lot more time into my own new blog and I can see it’s going to take up a lot of my time going forward. While I’m really excited about that and enjoy doing it, it doesn’t leave me with much time left over after having a full-time job!
    Emma recently posted…I Still Love You, DunedinMy Profile

    • Reply
      September 26, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      Thanks Emma! Good luck on your new blogging endeavors! Yes, it’s definitely a tough balance. Worth it (most of the time ๐Ÿ™‚ ) but difficult when you have a full-time job that already takes a lot of your time and effort. I think bloggers like us should definitely be commended!

  • Reply
    September 26, 2014 at 5:00 am

    That was honest and straight from your heart! First of all, I’d like to congratulate you for pulling off this blog for four years and posting so frequently (and that too good content). Kudos to you! I’m one of the ardent readers of your blog. I started following you ever since you chose me for ‘Capture the color picture contest’. That was a fun contest (even though I didn’t win). As far as the full-time bloggers are concerned, I think some of them are brilliant – they are creative, smart and inspiring, while some of them have lost their charm in the commercial benefits that they are getting. I feel, blogging industry is really nice. Everybody is supportive and friendly. Nobody is jealous or stingy. If I feel a blogger is too self-obsessed, I stop following him/her. For me, it’s important to be a good person first and then anything else. I really want to know which post you wrote that didn’t fetch you any comment and it was copied by another bigger blogger? I am curious! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Renuka recently posted…Thatโ€™s How I Discovered DarjeelingMy Profile

    • Reply
      September 26, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Thank you Renuka for your kind words! While I do feel that people are incredibly kind and friendly, I still feel there’s an unspoken clique with some of the “big” bloggers out there and it’s hard for the lesser known ones. But you’re right that it all comes down to who do you want to read and follow (i.e. no one forces you to read anyone’s blog).

      I’m actually not going to say which post it was. I just wanted to share that to make my point, not to sound petty which I hope it doesn’t ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Kelly @ TastingPage
    September 26, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Here here sista! Well done to put down in words how incredibly hard blogging is. Well, how incredibly hard it is to compete in this competitive landscape. Having your blog for 4 years is a real testament to your tenacity and passion for travel. I hope you continue doing it for the love of it and for sharing with those of us who read it regularly. Sometimes it’s easy to lose site of the why, but I hope you don’t, and I hope you continue for many, many more years to come!
    Kelly @ TastingPage recently posted…Portland FeastMy Profile

    • Reply
      September 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      Provided I keep getting to travel and the creative juices in my head don’t dry up ๐Ÿ™‚ I definitely want to keep at it. It really is neat to look back and see how much I’ve done and more importantly, how far I’ve come. And yes, I think sometimes people start a blog for the “wrong reasons” but I just did it for me. And I think that mindset is definitely what will and has always sustained me!

  • Reply
    Anne Sutherland-Smith
    October 21, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Julie, thanks for sharing your blogging journey so far. I am also a part time travel blogger (it has also been about 4 years now since I first started) who works full time in a demanding job, is raising three children and I am also studying part time. I aim to publish one article each week, and most of the time I am successful but every now and then I miss a week if I am too overloaded. Doing 4 articles a week must be insane – i don’t think I have ever been in a position to write that many each week with everything else I have going on.

    I agree that there is a clique out there, and like you I am not likely to break into it anytime soon, but on the flip side I am really happy to have become part of the travel blogging community with people like yourself – I find the Facebook groups a great way to interact, learn and support each other and come up with new ideas.

    Keep up with it!
    Anne Sutherland-Smith recently posted…Donรขย€ย™t Book Your Holiday Until You Read This!My Profile

    • Reply
      October 22, 2014 at 8:42 am

      Thanks Anne for commenting and also your kind words!I just want to say that your part-time blogger’s life trumps mine any day! Blogging, working, and raising 3 kids? I tip my hat to you!

      There are weeks where I feel so burnt out from posting so frequently and know that I should keep some posts more in reserve but I don’t. I’d love to get to a point where I post 3x a week on set days, well, I’m still working towards that ๐Ÿ™‚

      I agree, it’s us part-time bloggers, the one who are (I feel at least) more realistic with our expectations and blog because we love to write about our experiences and whatnot (not because we want to strike it semi-rich and get famous), they are definitely the people I connect with the most.

  • Reply
    October 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    I completely agree with all your points. I have found it so much harder to keep up with blogs I was following now that I have a full 8 hour work day. Also, I do know that my quality of content is not the best and am not a great writer, but I do write blog posts for me.

    Sucks that someone “stole” your idea or topic. I hope that it doesn’t happen too often. I enjoy your writing style and perspective ๐Ÿ™‚
    Angela recently posted…5 Places I Need to ReturnMy Profile

    • Reply
      October 22, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Thanks Angela! I agree-there’s so much I want to do from a blogging angle, but I just don’t have the time. I definitely “check in” on blogs here and there but I really only have the time (and desire) to keep faithfully abreast of just a few of them.

      And you are too hard on yourself, you’re a very good writer and love so many of the areas you focus on in your writing! And yes, it does boil down to writing posts for ourselves, our form of digital outlet.

      It’s definitely hard to offer unique content on a traveling blog but I think us part-time bloggers do succeed in thinking outside the box more!

  • Reply
    June 10, 2015 at 9:04 am

    I must say, this is amazing! I’ve found myself saying ‘yep’ over and over again as I read through your post. It’s quite sad how nowadays you have to be a social media star in order to share your content and ideas to the public.
    I really enjoyed reading this! Thank you for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚



    • Reply
      June 14, 2015 at 7:50 am

      Hi Jen! Thanks for commenting and I’m glad this post could resonate with you as well! I try to not let it bother me or discourage me since I know that in my own way, plenty of people still enjoy what I write about even if the numbers are small ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad you enjoyed it though. Cheers!

  • Reply
    October 13, 2015 at 5:48 am

    Excellent! Instead of people using the excuse “not working for the man”, why don’t they work for all those poor orphans, widows, and impoverished folk that I’m sure they’ve met and lived next to in their travels? You know, the ones who’d give anything to be in their shoes, live in a developed country and “work for the man” just to be able to have decent healthcare and food at every meal….tell them that next time they pressure you for not being a proper nomad lol

    • Reply
      October 13, 2015 at 11:26 am

      Thank you and thanks for commenting. Very interesting perspective, one that I wish more travelers were consciously aware of.

  • Reply
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      Thanks Karin for reading and commenting! I feel when you write as a hobby, you end up getting the most enjoyment and fulfillment out of it ๐Ÿ™‚ Instead of just feeling pressured to “write, write, write.” Personally I feel blogging should be about you, and not others or perceptions either.

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