It seems blogging has become quite the trend these days. Everyone and their mom is writing a blog about one thing or the other, but today I’m here to tell you that:
You DON’T need to start a travel blog just because you’re going on a trip!
I know it sounds a bit hypocritical coming from me – I travel and blog for a living so I’m certainly not one to follow my own advice – but hear me out.
A while ago I was chatting with a friend who had started a blog in the months leading up to her big trip and she had gained a bit of a readership. If you’re a blogger you know the thrill that comes with watching your audience grow and your pageviews climb higher, but this can also create a bit of a beast to feed.
For my friend, posting had been easy while she was at home, and it was a great way to build up her excitement about what was to come, but chatting with her all these months later she was hating it. “I’m in paradise but the other day I locked myself in the room and didn’t go out so that I could bang out a few posts.”
WHAAAAT?! You travelled all this way to have this amazing adventure and you’re locking yourself in some crusty hostel with a squeaky fan for who exactly? This is YOUR trip! Do I need to state that a bit louder?
THIS IS YOUR TRIP!!!
I read and hear about this far too often. Travellers turned bloggers (and bloggers turned travellers) who forgo exploring a place so they can sit in a cafe pounding at their keyboard or editing photos they snapped a few hours prior. Snap out of it!
Do that stuff when you’re home!
Travels are precious and they are often limited. The average person doesn’t go on a 2-year round the world excursion. Most people I know do a 1 week getaway to a Caribbean island, a 4 week whirlwind tour of Europe, or perhaps a 2 month jaunt around Southeast Asia if they’re feeling really adventurous – and that’s if they even travel at all!
If you’ve worked long and hard to save up for this once in a life-time trip, tell me, why exactly would you want to spend those precious days sitting in front of your computer?
Save that for when you get home. You should be out there enjoying your trip!
I have another friend who did the smart thing, in my opinion. She also started a blog when she first set out to Southeast Asia, and she was really excited about documenting her adventures, but the fact of the matter was that she only had 6 weeks there. Her first couple of days were fairly active as she posted about the flight over to Asia, arriving in the chaos that is Bangkok and riding a taxi into the city, but by the fifth day her posts had started dwindling and soon stopped altogether. You know what? I was happy for her! Not because she’d stopped blogging, but because she had realized that it was more important to be out there enjoying her adventure with friends than for her to be staring at her laptop. And that’s the point that I’m trying to make.
Who are you actually writing for? Strangers who may scroll through looking at photos and be done in 30 seconds? Acquaintances who you don’t particularly keep in touch with anymore? Friends who are busy with their own lives?
If you want to keep your family updated, shoot them an email at the end of the day summing up the day’s outing. And if you really must stay connected, why don’t you tackle an easier form of social media. You can use Instagram to share your photos of temples, beaches, and spicy food. You can use Facebook to create photo albums of your trip. Or you can even use Twitter to share little updates and insights throughout the day. None of these will require hours of writing, photo editing, formatting, and then sharing the way blogging would. (Trust me, I know how demanding it is to write a blog post.)
Now, before you come at me with a pitchfork in one hand and a torchlight in the other, let me clarify:
I’m not saying you shouldn’t start a blog at all.
I’ve been blogging for around 5 years now (if you count the good ol’ Blogspot days) and for me it started out as a hobby. I loved coming back from a trip and having a space where I could write about all the weird encounters and lost in translation moments, but I never blogged while I was on a trip. There’s no time for that when you only have 2 weeks in, say, Argentina, and you want to drink wine, go dancing, eat churrasco and learn to dance tango. By the time you get back to your hostel at the end of the day you’re wiped, and let me assure you, no one back home is waiting with bated breath for you to press publish.
And now I’m moving on to you all you professional social media mavens out there. I know I’m starting to rant, but I’ve already opened this can of worms so I may as well keep going. Another thing that bothers me is when “professional bloggers” or “professional YouTubers” become so fixated with staying connected to the online world that they forget why they’ve even travelled so far – to experience a destination!!!
I was watching a YouTube video the other day and this person had travelled all the way to one of the most majestic mountain ranges in the world (on a press trip, mind you), and when presented with the opportunity to go on a 3-day hiking adventure, they turned it down because they “couldn’t go offline that long”. WHAAAAT?!?! Then why are you even here at all?!
Even if blogging / photographing / filming is our job, we can’t become obsessed with being online. So many of us have taken the joy out of travel because the whole experience revolves around The Internet. We get frustrated when there’s only a 2 bar signal in our hotel room, so then we ask the manager to move us to a room that’s closer to the modem, and then when that’s not possible we storm out in search of a cafe that has good Wi-fi… Now doesn’t that sound familiar? It ain’t pretty, but I’m certain quite a few of us have found ourselves in that very predicament. I understand that there may be deadlines to contend with and emails to answer, but let’s not forget to disconnect every once in a while and actually enjoy the world around us.
Now the floor is yours.