We don’t often write about our experience of starting a travel blog as we know that most of our readers are not travel bloggers. However, every now and then we feel the need to dive into the Art of Travel Blogging to discuss a few things we have learnt, and provide tips for new travel bloggers.
If you aren’t interested in reading more then never fear, our regular adventure related travel articles and photos will be back soon. In the meantime here is a pretty picture and you should check out our top 5 most popular travel articles:
- 50 lessons learnt from travelling the world
- Why we quit our jobs
- Why every couple should travel before marriage
- 2012 Travel Adventures in Photos
- Photo Essay from around Costa Brava
Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland
Our Experience of Starting a Travel Blog
I wanted to take the time to write about our experience of starting a travel blog because we just answered a really interesting survey from a research graduate student exploring the lives of travel bloggers. Specifically she is looking at why we create and maintain travel blogs, and how this relates to our leisure and work lives.
If you are a travel blogger, then hopefully it provides a little insight into how you can avoid letting the travel blog take over your life, and more importantly, your travels. Because if you want to make travel blogging your full time job, you will be in for a big surprise.
It all started of with the generic questions such as, explaining what our travel blog is about and why we started it. It was at this point that I began to realise how far we have come in the last 18 months. Not to mention how our expectations and desires had evolved as well.
It also raised a few questions of my own.
We started this travel blog to keep a record of our own travels around the world. As well as keeping family and friends updated on what we were doing.
After about 4 months we realised that other people were actually reading about our adventures.
This led us to research how we could turn this travel blog into a better travel resource for the general public. We realised that we wanted to maintain our travel blog to show travellers, especially couples travelling together, that you could quite easily step outside your comfort zone, in comfort.
By using our on the ground knowledge we could provide trusted and expert travel tips to our travel community, which was growing exponentially. And it wasn’t long before we were getting emails and social media mentions asking for specific travel tips.
As the travel blog continued to evolve it took over our lives. I started working full time on it which gave me the freedom to work independently anywhere in the world. This also gave us more opportunities and freedom to follow our travel and adventure passions.
For the next 6 months we dived into the travel blogging world with everything we had.
The next question I answered in the research made me pause:
“Do you consider writing and maintaining your travel blog part of your leisure, your work, neither or both? Why?”
It has been amazing to watch our site evolve over the last 18 months from a hobby into my full time work. But had we gone too far?
Travel blogging had became a full time job.
Her next two questions really made me stop.
How much time and energy do you invest in writing and maintaining your travel blog?
How much time and energy do you invest in other activities (besides writing and maintaining the travel blog) that support your travel blogging? What are these other activities?
Those were the real eye-opening questions.
I realised that more time was now spent dealing with advertisers, tourism boards, travel companies and DMO’s than actually writing or editing photos. Not to mention all the hours spent on our various social media channels engaging with our very active audience on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram to name a few.
And the icing on the cake?
How important are your travel blogs as part of your leisure and/or work?
How important is it to you to maintain and continue writing your travel blog? If you had to stop travel blogging how would this impact your life?
Before I realised it, I had already responded that our travel blog had basically become a part of every aspect of my life. Everywhere we go, everything we eat, everything we do, could be a potential story.
It was mind bottling.
Our travel blog had taken over our lives.
It was so obvious to us because I just went through a stage, very recently, where I nearly threw it all away. I absolutely loathed writing because it had become a chore. Our relationship was suffering and travel wasn’t even enjoyable.
It took a full month of not writing or working on the travel blog before I started to feel comfortable again. During that time I took stock of what I wanted in the future.
I realised that the reason I wanted to continue is because I want a couple of things:
- I want to work remotely and have my own job independence;
- An outlet to publish my photos and writing; and
- To continue to inspire others to travel.
The last point was actually a surprise to me. But I realised it after I was asked:
What outcomes or results do you feel you receive from your travel blog (personal, social, professional and or financial)? How important are these outcomes to you? If you no longer received these results / outcomes would you continue travel blogging?
I have great pride in the work that I produce. I love seeing a photo or story that I have shared be “liked” or shared by others on social media. It is addicting. Every time you get a “viral” post it is like a high and you are always searching for the next interaction.
And every time we have an email come in from our travel community asking for specific advice, or thanking us, it is a real buzz knowing that we are making a difference to how someone travels.
While not every post or every picture makes a difference, I know that a lot of people have enjoyed reading our articles. Our most popular posts are visited on a daily basis by people searching for travel tips or information about certain places and experiences. People trust our advice. Even if we are just providing a person with 10 minutes of travel porn everyday to dream about, then I think we make a difference.
I realised that is what I want most from our travel blog. I want to continue to help those people that thank us.
Now I have managed to find a work/life/travel balance and I am back to loving writing. It was close and I was lucky to realise that I needed a break before I totally burnt myself out.
Whangamata in New Zealand is where I spent a month collecting my thoughts.
And that is the ultimate point I want to make. Too many people start a travel blog for the wrong reasons. They think that it is going to be easy and they will be rolling in the money on a beach somewhere.
While the travel industry is one of the richest industries in the world, it is probably the hardest one to make any money in. And if you find that you are chasing after that fame and fortune, then starting a travel blogging probably isn’t for you.
But what do I know. There is definitely no right or wrong way to starting a travel blog. We get proven wrong everyday in this industry.
The only thing that is consistent, is that there are no rules, and you have to do it your way.