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Being a Travel Blogger Can Be Amazing, But Sometimes It’s Not

The modern world is a fascinating place. When I was born in 1987, travel blogs didn’t exist at all like they do today.

Sure, there were travel writers publishing long-form novels and news writers telling people about their trips in a few paragraphs before the sports section each week, but that was about it. In a digital sense, the term influencer didn’t exist and websites weren’t really that common back then.

As the last generation to remember the Internet with dial-up modems clogging up precious phone lines, I got a close-up view of how the world has changed. I grew up like the 24 hour news media. I never grew up wanting to be a blogger, because it didn’t exist.

What drives me crazy in 2022, as a successful and fairly well-known travel blogger, is that in my personal life, my friends, kids, want to become bloggers or influencers. Rather than wanting career advice from banking executives or filmmakers, they often want to hear about my blog and the life that comes with it.

All the usual questions and thoughts, like omg this sounds amazing, and do you fly free naturally follows. I don’t know, although I probably could.

Even when I started my blog, I didn’t really think I would be a blogger. As a person now, I can say that like most jobs, there are real pros and cons. I’m not sure I’ve ever written specifically about how I see them, so I’ll do that now.

Professional blogging is tougher than smart

Tik Tok and Instagram have paved the way for more visual forms of content, some of which don’t require much more than a good set of Instagram filters and a well-framed, posed photo to win applause.

Well, that’s assuming you’ve convinced 100,000 people to follow your journey, so you can capitalize on those images enough to live off of them remotely. And yes, that part is harder than anyone chooses to believe.

People often say I’m an @$$hole about these things, but whenever people say yes I want to travel the world for free, “blogging sounds easy”, I always say “sure, convince millions people to read and take an interest in your work is easy.

Yes, sometimes there are big invitations and parties and lucrative opportunities, but these only come from genuine hustle and bustle. Ideally, also from constantly increasing expertise.

Travel blog: the grain of sand

There are some truly amazing exceptions, but generally speaking, blogging is easier as a one-person game. That’s because the best way to gain traction is to be timely, and news comes all the time.

When you have dinner plans, dreams of watching Netflix, or any other personal desire, it becomes harder to resolve. The more personal responsibilities you have, the harder it is to drop everything and cover big news.

Not having a “schedule” is a blessing and a curse. People who’ve only had a 9-5 are probably dreaming about it, but there’s something amazing about hitting and closing. It’s just not something you do with blogging. You’re never turned off, if you’re good.

Fatigue…

And if you get good enough to leverage your points or frequent flyer earnings, the next thing sets in: fatigue.

It’s just not that easy to quickly deliver accurate content or cover a great story after a 14-hour trip when all you want to do is fall asleep. I’m not complaining, I share that every job has its pros and cons. Travel is amazing, but travel can be very tiring, and working after long drives is tough in any job.

I don’t have a boss that tells me when to clock in and out, but I have a great metrics dashboard that lets me know there’s an audience that needs entertaining yourself and ignoring these needs for too long can cause irreparable damage.

Anytime you choose not to cover something or blog in a timely manner, you run the risk of people getting the news somewhere else and liking it “over there” more.

7 days a week

Like I said, if you’ve only known a 9-5, blogging sounds amazing. And it’s. Or maybe. You can write about topics that you are passionate about, and as your blog grows, it becomes an amazing platform.

The only problem; is best do it 7 days a week. There is no TGIF. There is no respite in the middle of the week.

With blogging, every day is an opportunity, and when you actually own the blog, unlike people who only write for big sites, you’re the one who suffers when you’re not writing. But if you write too much and burn out, you suffer in other ways.

Loudest Voices

Because blogging involves the internet, there is a fair amount of hate. I never thought people would care enough about travel to threaten me or my family, but it’s happened many times.

Having millions of readers is amazing – I’m very lucky – but it’s rare for comments to come in that someone liked an article. It’s often a few very loud people who like to jump in, and usually just to talk $#!t.

Obviously, your focus is on having thousands of people reading something without a problem, not on three overprivileged adult-sized babies not liking your take on something. But still, it grates over time.

The joys of blogging are endless

There’s something incredibly satisfying about creating something. And with blogs, you create more than content. You are building a brand. I feel immense joy hearing people’s thoughts on GSTP as a brand and its positioning.

Some of it may have come about by accident, but many elements of the “brand” are deliberate. A bit punk, a lot championing the best and slamming the worst, and most importantly, a level of authenticity. If I don’t care, I just won’t write.

Their: “Why didn’t you write about the 200 free bonus points? »

Me: “Because I don’t care, 200 points won’t get you anywhere.”

Travel is the best gift

Because I work 7 days a week, people who have traveled with me are often surprised at my daily routine. They are surprised that I only venture half a day.

It’s a vacation for them, and I cherish it, but for me, wherever I go, it’s a mixture of work and pleasure. I can’t just enjoy carefree days, but that doesn’t bother me at all. I am so happy to be constantly in places that make me feel refreshed and energized.

New tastes, smells and sensations. It is an inestimable happiness.

In-person interactions

I get a lot of messages from people saying they saw me in an airport, hotel lobby or wherever – but they didn’t want to bother me. I understand, but I’m not a celebrity.

I literally get energy from people telling me that I improved their travels or that they loved that advice. I derive so much joy thinking that I played a part in strategizing or inspiring someone to see the world, travel more, or do things they never thought possible.

creative freedom

Beyond branding and inspiration, the freedom to be authentic is precious. Editors of major magazines or websites are always somewhat beholden to advertisers and business connections, and it’s surprising not to have so many.

I can say that something is downright lame. Because I pay for 99% of my stays and flights, I can say it sucks, or rock, and I can be as enthusiastic or pessimistic as I want. I value the connection to readers and the integrity requirement of this ending above all else.

Instant gratification and learning

Who doesn’t love a little instant gratification? A fun thing about blogging is that you can really see what resonates and what doesn’t. There are definitely things I’ve written that I think would be more successful than they were, but a lot the other way around too.

I’ll never forget to write about the 23:59 rule, where any connection less than 24 hours can be used as a detour, only to look at Google Analytics an hour later and see that 10,000 people per second were reading it.

I also learned a lot about what people don’t understand or care about.

Cash back portals and shopping portal points are some of the least successful topics I’ve ever covered on GSTP. I don’t think it’s because everyone does it. I believe it’s because they think they know about it, but don’t quite grasp the mechanics. There is a disconnect.

Earn a living on our own terms

I could make a lot more money with GSTP than I did. I could also earn a lot less. With no shareholders, bosses, or people to answer to, other than my own lifestyle needs, I enjoy exceptional luxury in life.

I will always be delighted to be in an industry where effort often leads to results in a very direct way, and the more I am willing to do, the more likely I am to earn. Many people work very hard without upward mobility of title or salary, and this is simply not the case.

I know it, I appreciate it, and it’s definitely a cool element, which beats the old 9 to 5 in many ways.

Blogging is juggling just like other jobs

There are things that make blogging more wonderful than other jobs, and there are things that make a 9-5 behind a counter doing a good, honest job seem ideal.

I’m sure many people reading this can appreciate this from their own experiences with work/life balance. The grass is always greener, isn’t it? In my opinion, it just depends on the day and where you are in life.

I always encourage people to blog for fun. It’s really cathartic and enjoyable to put the experiences into words and pictures. I started mine for fun. I didn’t have any SEO work, a business plan, or even a clue on how the money was made. I respect people who get into travel blogging for the love, not the money.

The truth is, most people never make real money from blogging, and in all honesty, they probably shouldn’t anyway. There are so many people covering the same things, which has been done before. Can imitation be a sincere form of flattery?

There’s always room for new voices bringing new insights and points of view, but I certainly have a limited appetite for people regurgitating the same information that myself and other bloggers have always been doing. , and maybe they have already done better?

Blogging can be really amazing, but sometimes it’s not. It’s a unique career with the benefits of uncapped potential.

You can become a millionaire, you can become famous, and you can help millions of people travel better. But you can also miss the evenings at home with the family, the intimate relationships with friends and the joys of a Friday evening.