Now I’ve been blogging for a while, I thought I’d write a post about why I blog, my blogging story and what I’ve learnt in my just over a year of blogging. Why did I choose to write about travel and my adventures while I was away, and why do I continue to use my spare time to do so now I’m back home?… In this post I want to give a bit of insight into me and why I chose to make blogging a part of my life.
How I got started
I originally started blogging to document my big trip of a lifetime I took last year. It was a way that I could share my experiences and photos with everyone back home, and it was a way that I could document what I did to look back on in the future. So I’d blog and document each section of my trip from various locations, often late at night in hostels, or on a plane after a certain leg of my trip. I’m actually pretty proud of myself that I kept going with it the whole trip and didn’t let it slip. Because the incentive to blog and keep documenting what you’ve been up to can soon slip when the initial excitement fades.
You realise it’s just your Mum, Grandma and best mate that are actually reading your posts, or that actually uploading posts from far flung destinations is easier said than done… But I persisted, and in another selfish way I’m glad, because the most valuable thing I gained from it was the fact that it acted like a journal. I can nostalgically look back on my blog posts for years to come and remember things about my trip I’ve already inevitably forgotten.
What I’ve learned
As touched on above, I soon realised that when you blog about your experiences in a (some might call it) selfish way, and by that I mean just saying what I did in a narrative fashion. People other than your close family and best mates aren’t actually that interested. It seems people don’t want to spend their spare time in grey old England reading about how you just spotted an elephant or lazed about on a golden beach in Fiji… Funny that. I learned that if you’re blogging on the road even if you’re audience will be small at first, is still of massive value. It’s of massive value for you to remember your trip, but also to start writing, get used to blogging, learn lessons of what works and what doesn’t, and try and develop your own style.
If you build it, they won’t come. I’m sorry Field of Dreams, but that just isn’t the case. You need to provide value to people in what you’re writing, and you need to stick at it. If there’s one thing I’ve realised (and I’m still just getting started with blogging), it’s that you won’t gain massive readership overnight and you need to stick at it and keep learning. Learn what works and what doesn’t, be honest with yourself in why you’re blogging in the first place, and try and be honest with the content you’re putting out there. It’s always the posts I read that have real personality, honesty and vulnerability that engage me the most, and I’m trying to keep learning and putting these lessons into practice as I go along.
Why I still blog
I’m not sure when I heard the quote above (and don’t worry this isn’t meant to be political), but the message really stuck with me. Once I came back from being away, I started realising all the opportunities that were out there, and how many more useful things I could and should be doing with the time I had. I was no longer happy with just spending my spare time lazing about in front of Netflix most of the time. I wanted to create rather than consume, and I wanted to learn other skills and do other stuff outside of my day job. So I decided one of these things was to keep blogging, and this is for a variety of reasons:
– To try and inspire others to travel
The main reason I keep blogging, and what keeps me passionate about it to keep writing, is that I remember all the times I heard the words ‘I’m so jealous’, or ‘I’d love to travel’ from people that wished they could but hadn’t done it yet. It seemed crazy to me that so many people wanted to but didn’t or never would. It scared the hell out of me making the decision to travel, but I did it and realised the huge positive influences it can have on your life. I’ve massively benefitted and I’m so much happier in my life in so many ways post travel, that I just want to help others to see firstly how attainable it is, and secondly how incredible and life changing the experience can be
– I feel I have a lot of useful knowledge to share
In this world of so much content and noise online, it can be difficult to see what’s what. Having been lucky enough to experience things, and travel to places most people only dream of, I’d like to think I gained a lot of knowledge that will be useful to others. I want to make use of that to help people get informed or inspired about places they might want to visit. Or alternatively to see what travel is really like and get inspired to do it. I keep seeing travel Instagrammers posting these edited and filtered hyper-reality versions of travel. Ideas of travel that portrays major tourist hotspots as deserted idyllic paradises. Having found personally, that some of my most rewarding experiences were ones you wouldn’t ever find in a guide book or be able to plan, I want to cut through the noise and give a more balanced view of the reality of travel.
– To possibly grow the blog to where it can bring in some income
I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that yes, although income isn’t the main reason I blog, if I could actually grow my blog to a size that means I could monetize it at some point, I’d love to make money blogging. Who wouldn’t want to say their profession is ‘blogger’… I’ve met travellers who blog and make enough money to fund some of their trips on the road, and having blogging as a side income would be fantastic. I enjoy writing and I really enjoy engaging with people and seeing other peoples experiences online, so blogging would be such an amazing way to make a living doing something I enjoy and happily do for free anyway. Reality check, don’t worry I realise this is a tiny tiny percentage that actually make any sizeable money blogging, and I’m not expecting this to happen soon, or even ever. I realise I’m a baby blogger in a pool of giant mega blogs in the travel area, so it’s just a pipe dream at the moment. But no harm in dreaming big!
What the future holds
I want to keep blogging about travel tips, inspiration and experience to try and help other people take the leap and give travel a go. I also hope to do more big trips in the future after I’ve earned back the money I spent on the last trip, and earned enough to be able to do it again. I’m going to keep using the time I get to travel, and have big dreams of travel like walking the Camino, Road tripping for months around the States and Canada, kayaking the Grand Canyon, or visiting Antarctica, to mention a few examples. But there’s plenty of time for that. I’m never going to be one of those people that can permanently live on the road for years, but I do want to be one of those people that has a flexible lifestyle which means I can choose to take trips every now and then, and keep travelling for years to come.