The Thing About Travel Blogging

The Thing About Travel Blogging

I’ve been mulling this post over for a while now then the other night, after a few glasses of sangria the idea of what I actually wanted to say hit me.

I’ve been blogging for four years now and although I still consider myself as a newbie blogger I’m having to come to terms with the fact that I’m not that new. There are many bloggers who have been blogging for around two years, bloggers who weren’t bloggers when I first started but now seem to be leaps and bounds ahead of me, especially when it comes to followers and press trip invites. But then with that reality comes the fact that I have never once pitched for a press trip and only on very few occasions have I asked for discounts or freebies from companies. As a blogger, I have always wanted to bring you the reality of travelling and that includes paying for the majority of my trips. I also have zero intention of doing this full time and earning money from it, but more on that shortly.

The thing about travel blogging

Blogging about real life experiences

Since day one of blogging I have concentrated on blogging about my own real life experiences. At first that was easy I’d taken several trips that could provide plenty of content as well as being mid planning of a huge round the world gap year. As life went by the adventures continued and I really did feel like I was living the life of The Little Backpacker. But then I came back to the UK. I got a job and began taking ‘holidays’ rather than continuously travelling. For the first time since creating my blog I was no longer a full time traveller. That was the first time it dawn on me that I wasn’t sure what to blog about when I wasn’t travelled, because after all this is a travel blog. I tried my hand at some posts detailing places I wanted to visit or listing the worlds top such and such according to my research but these blogs made me feel cheap, like I was cheating. I wasn’t showing you that you could travel on a budget anymore. I was showing you what it was like to dream of travelling.

So I dabbled at including all kinds of lifestyle aspects into my blog, but I didn’t get the same kind of kick from it all and let’s be honest I was as desperate to travel as I was to write about those travel experiences. As the years have gone on and I’ve worked out that I don’t want to be a full time blogger but instead a teacher, I’ve continued to dabble with blogging niches. I’ve not put the full effort into being a travel blogger that I could have done, that I was advised to do during various blogging conferences. Instead I’ve talked about food and fitness and life in London and come further away from The Little Backpacker that I once was. I’ve grown in ways that I couldn’t have imagined back when I started the blog and I worry constantly that my blog isn’t living up to its name anymore.

Ilha Grande

The thing about blogging

Because that’s the thing about blogging. You always need to have your A game. You always have to be thinking about where the next post is going to come from. You always need to be doing something worth blogging about, but then how do you calculate if something is worth blogging about? Does going to that local park and new cafe count as a blog post? Some people might think so, others might not and me? Well I feel like I’m just clutching at straws when I write blogs about my mundane weekends. To me, something worth blogging is something that I really enjoyed, something that pushed me from my comfort zone, something that other people are going to want to do. But the thing is, my life isn’t always like that. I’m not always on a backpacking adventure, most of the time I’m sitting still with those damn itchy travel feet of mine.

And those niggles are what brings me to writing this post. I guess the niggles aren’t far from those that I expressed in this blog. Except today it’s more about being a blogger when it is not your full time job and never will be your full time job and your actual full time job has nothing to do with blogging what so ever.

Guide to the Sporades Islands in Greece

I know there are no answers, no magic rule books for blogs and hell most people will tell you that it’s your blog you write whatever you bloody well like. But as Jayne from Girl Tweets World wrote the other week, what about our readers. What do they want? You can write about what you want all day long but it won’t necessarily bring you views and comments and satisfaction at people having loved your post.

Instead I think people want you to tell them something that they don’t know, they want to be inspired to visit a place, they want you to make them search flight prices incase they too can afford that trip. But they also want to know the reality of it all, if it is actually worth their hard earned money or if you are just blogging about it because you don’t know what else to write about or got paid to say it was amazing.

LOVED BARCELONA

For as long as I can remember I have ALWAYS without fail (well… except on the odd occasion) posted a new blog every Tuesday and Thursday because that is what I set myself to do. Once I got into the routine I just couldn’t bring myself to break it, at first it worked because I was so busy that it gave me a focus for when I needed to get the blog finished by. But now these days I just get to Monday or Wednesday evening and panic that I still haven’t come up with something to write about. And on those evenings I have become terribly guilty of just throwing something together just so that I can say I’ve blogged on those days that I said I would.

The thing about travel blogging when you aren’t travelling often is it’s hard.

Hard to keep ‘on niche’, hard to continually inspire someone when you are struggling to inspire yourself and hard to write about travelling when all you want to do is travel but aren’t.

So there are a few changes coming this way, I’m not longer going to routinely blog on Tuesday and Thursday, I’m no longer going to throw a post together just because. I’m going to really think about what I’m writing and why I’m writing it, I’m going to think bout my audience as well as myself but most of all I’m going to dedicate time to blog and when it’s not blogging time I’m going to switch off, forget about the online world and just life in the moment. Because sometimes blogging can take that away from you.

Are you a blogger? What are your thoughts on this saturated industry these days, especially if you aren’t a full time blogger…

Jodie Signature

12 Comments

  1. 16th Jun 2016 / 4:42 pm

    I’ve got to say, I’ve experienced a lot of these thoughts before. I am such a part-time traveler right now and I don’t know if it’ll be anything more than that. Sometimes I wonder what I’m even blogging for! I know it goes against all of the “sage” advice, but I’m glad you’re exploring what matters most to you blog-wise. If you’re not doing it for an income or for you job, you might as well enjoy 100% of your creativity and what you put out there. 🙂

    • Jodie Louise
      Author
      16th Jun 2016 / 10:43 pm

      Thanks Amanda, I’d be surprised if any part-time traveller can’t relate to this. Especially when so many blogging conferences are geared to help you become a full time blogger and not just further yourself as a hobby blogger.

  2. 17th Jun 2016 / 1:02 am

    I admire that you’ve stuck to a blogging routine for so long, especially whilst working full time. Although blogging is my full time job, what that means in reality is that I write a lot of content for other blogs and websites. Publishing on my site therefore has always been a little more spontaneous and erratic and I think (hope) the readers don’t mind that – I like to think people read spontaneously too! I totally believe in writing about what inspires you when it inspires you and if that means posting less and switching off more then that sounds very healthy too!

    • Jodie Louise
      Author
      30th Jun 2016 / 6:49 pm

      Thanks Jayne, I’m not really sure how I have managed to stick to a schedule so ruthlessly thinking about it now. Writing about what inspires me has always been my drive for blogging so I think it is important to find that drive again.

  3. 19th Jun 2016 / 12:34 pm

    Great post Jodie – something I also struggle with as a very happy not-quitting-the-day-job blogger! I took a month off last summer and am toying with doing the same again, but that was more because I didn’t feel inspired to write. When I do, I still love blogging! I try to stick to a schedule mostly, but as Jayne says I hope readers are spontaneous too. I’d like to pitch a little more but I think I would find that quite stressful, especially as I tend to travel with a group of friends. I’ll keep writing in my own little corner of the internet for as long as I enjoy sharing those quirky experiences, beautiful views and delicious food that I discover 🙂

    • Jodie Louise
      Author
      30th Jun 2016 / 6:47 pm

      I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one Jessi! I think it is important to only do it because you enjoy it, not because it is a chore.

  4. 20th Jun 2016 / 6:44 pm

    You’re definitely going the right way… If you are a travel blogger and not a lifestyle one, you can’t write a post about your fiance and yourself going to a new restaurant in town. I wouldn’t be interested in it unless you’re Julia Roberts or any other Hollywood star :). I’m also a travel blogger and I like to read travel blogs to get inspired and to compare my travel experiences with others. I find it boring that people say what they do on Saturday afternoon…

    http://www.travelekspert.com/2016/06/the-best-of-bali.html

  5. 6th Jul 2016 / 6:41 pm

    I am 100% with you on this Jodie. I hate writing something just because I feel like I should and actually am not inspired by it – I feel like that’s my whole point to blogging, feeling excited about what I write about and inspiring others, but it’s tough when you’re not travelling. Yet it’s the reality for a lot of people so I feel like we’re needed amongst the full-time bloggers? I like to think that anyway… 🙂

    • Jodie Louise
      Author
      8th Jul 2016 / 7:34 pm

      I like to think that to Kirsten! It is important to show the reality of travel blogging for those who don’t travel full time. So glad hear you can relate 100%

  6. 2nd Aug 2016 / 1:39 pm

    Your final two sentences struck home with me, Jodi. I enjoy writing and I enjoy blogging but for me to develop my blog it seems like I can’t afford to switch off for a minute right now – whether that’s just writing or researching, pinning, tweeting or whatever else. And I’m not currently in work so I can only imagine what it must be like holding down a full-time job, too.

  7. 27th Dec 2016 / 3:17 pm

    This is very refreshing to read and something I want to write about myself soon – at the end of the day, most of us started our blogs because we are passionate about travel; when the blog starts to get in the way of the travel and you have to consider selling out for free shit (never worth it), it’s time to rethink. I’m moving away from blogging and on to other ways of making money in the next year or so, for me the travelling is more important and I would rather just earn some cash and then dissapear into the wilds again…

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