Travel to Blog or Blog to Travel?
If it isn’t obvious by now, then you are probably doing less than skimming this blog.
To rinse and repeat: I love to travel. I got this little virus in my mid-twenties and haven’t kicked it yet, nor do I want to. I haven’t always been a ‘round the world’ traveler, let alone a world traveler. The idea to travel around the world by myself crept up on me in my thirties about 7 months before I chucked it all and left. Before that, I just tried to travel when I could and go as far away as I could. Sometimes I’d stay in a swanky resort in Mexico and I hadn’t stayed in a hostel really for about 10 years since my first backpacking trip. Everyone travels differently and no one way is right or wrong. Even I travel differently all the time…sometimes staying in a hostel or even in a stranger’s home and other times work has me in some pretty swank resorts or I treat myself to some hip, boutique hotel as I often did before my ‘world tour.’
Bottom line: I do NOT travel for you, sorry. And I do not travel to make you jealous or envious.
I travel for me. I travel to see the world before I die (life is short and unfortunately, I’m not immortal). I travel to meet different people from different cultures. I travel to learn. I travel to change – myself and my own opinions and stereotypes.
When I started this blog in mid-2006, there seemed to be only a few of us out there. Like many, I just wanted an easy way to keep in touch with friends and family while I was out in the world; to write my friends and regale them with some funny and interesting tales and showcase my photography. And maybe inspire others to go travel or go after their dreams because maybe by seeing me do it, it would seem more doable, more attainable. Fast forward four years and there is a glut of travel blogs jamming up the cyber waves and clogging in boxes and RSS feeds of those who voraciously read about others’ travels. Some are amazingly well-written and the authors could be doing much more with their prose. Others are choppy or funny or just barely adequate. Mine falls in there somewhere – that’s for you to judge not me. Luckily for me, I was already a professional writer/producer in the broadcast television and media world, so I felt I had a little something extra in my back pocket as far as experience goes. Lately there’s been a bit of a backlash because of all the travel blogs out there – good ones and bad ones; ones that stick around for years and others that are there during someone’s jaunt and then are basically abandoned; ones that have become big business and sometimes overshadow others of perhaps better quality (‘quality’ being subjective of course). But like it or not, blogs are a real force now and are truly influencing not just other media, but our world and how we learn, debate, and relate to it all.
I personally rarely read other blogs. I try to when I can, in order to keep up with my peers and friends, but frankly I am not even quite sure how others have the time to read so many posts everyday. Of course I am thankful that people somehow have the time to read mine! My readership has grown — many of my friends are still here (thank you!) reading along and many new friends have come along for the ride (thank you!). I can honestly say, that I’ve always received good feedback and thankfully make people laugh and allow them to live vicariously through my travels or at least be inspired and learn a little about the logistics of travel and maybe about a time, place, or culture as I observed it.
Just as I did in the beginning, I blog to entertain. And I blog to share some of what I was able to see and learn from others so perhaps my readers can learn more and maybe have their curiosity piqued enough to at least look into something on their own or at best travel there themselves.
In the spirit of full transparency, like my cool friend Kirsty does so well over at Nerdy Nomad, this blog has also become a side job for me. I now make several hundred dollars a month (and sometimes more) mostly from advertising on my blog. And I still don’t even really know much about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or if my writing style incorporates it or not. Nor, do I plan to change my writing style to do so. I’m still a writer and a journalist first, not a blogger. I also indirectly make some other funds simply because this blog exists. People have found me and my work on the internet and hired me through this progressive and non-traditional means. Many folks looking for content producers of different forms (writing, photography, marketing, social media) have found me because of this blog and in turn hired me. It is certainly not enough to travel or live on so I supplement it with my television producing gigs and other travel writing/publishing, photography work, and public relations stints. But one thing remains the same: how I write. I have not compromised my style or changed the way I write in order to make money. I write about what I want, when I want, and frankly sometimes don’t feel like writing at all. I approve all adverts and they are blatantly just that. I never slip any businesses, products, or services into my posts that I don’t personally recommend. And I have still stayed true to my original reason for starting all of this – to entertain, inform, and inspire you (and even sometimes myself).