What I've Learned from a Year Travel Blogging

A year ago I started a course with Amanda from A Dangerous Business, the course was Travel Blogging 101*. Before that I had no idea about how to go about travel blogging, all I knew was I really like to write and I really like to travel. Now, I know there is so much more to travel blogging than that; here are a few things I've learned in the past year.

A friend I may never have made if it weren't for travel blogging

It's Harder Than You Think

I'm not trying to put you off with that statement, but as I said above, I love to travel and I love to write. I love the travel blogging community but keeping up with the pace is insane. You've got to really love it, in spite of what it looks like travel blogging isn't all freebies and parties. Trying to travel, blog and hold down a full time job is crazy some days. Some days I'll get up at 7, work for 3 hours on blog stuff (i.e. social media, facebook groups, etc), before heading to work for 4 hours to come home and work another 3 hours and then go back to work for the evening shift & then put in a couple of hours before going to bed. I try to split it down so I'll do social media in the morning, writing in the afternoon, and loose ends before I go to bed, but sometimes that's easier said than done. I can stay off facebook on my laptop, but it doesn't stop me getting notifications to my phone.

On top of that, you're not just the writer, you're the editor- which I am crap at! Not so long ago I published a post where I'd written half a sentence and never finished my trail of thought, when I re-read it I was horrified. I need to leave a post a day or so and look at it with fresh eyes, and if I'm behind sometimes time is a luxury I don't have. You're also the photographer, now if you're not happy with your images (or you haven't been to the place you're writing about yet) you can use creative commons, but I don't like doing that too often. I use a point and shoot fujifilm currently. I don't have DSLR, but I did download an app for my phone (a suggestion by a friend when I was contemplating buying one to see how I'd get on with it before doling out all that cash). Some blogger's will tell you that you need a DSLR, and I agree for some things, but it's up to you! It's a lot to spend out on something you could hate using. Some blogger's use their phone's- it's all subjective. A good camera is only as good as the person using it.

Don't Compare, Success is Subjective

Travel Blogging is a long, hard slog. It can take a while to get follower's and people reading your work consistently. Sometimes you don't feel like you know where your blog is going, sometimes you don't feel like you're getting anywhere at all, sometimes you're so behind with social media you want to give up. Other times you'll feel like you've smashed your goals out of the water. My aim was to write about where I'd been, and what I'd done. Since then my posts have evolved and I've written all sorts of things this year. My targets for the last year have been met, and long since passed by. I was lucky enough to write sponsored posts, guest posts, for an online magazine and even score a couple of 'free' tours. Getting my first paid gig was super exciting for me, and makes me successful in my own mind. Getting my free tours was amazing, I can't believe how lucky I am. I may not be one of the 'elite', but for what I want to do, I'm doing well and I'm happy with it- that's what you're aiming for!

The Northern Lights above me with Time Tours

It's Not All Happy Hearts and Perfect Travel

Sometimes- more often than not, if you work full time- you aren't travelling. Sometimes life isn't going the way you planned it, either. That's okay. You can find things to write about- as Sylvia Plath said, "Everything in life is writable about, if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt". Get inspiration from other blogger's, take part in challenges. Write about where you want to go, or where you're going next. Find something interesting about your home town, or state, visit and write about it! Write about a piece of gear that's made your life easier whilst travelling. When things go wrong, write about them! Whether it's something you can laugh about or learn from, in one way it's helping everyone else reading your blog. 

The Travel Blogging Community are Amazing

Everyone was a beginner once, everyone needs a little help from time to time. Occasionally you can get an asshole, but that's true of all work environments. I can't thank the people who have helped me and believed in me this last year enough. Once you're in the groups, people are great, they're willing to help you out- and on occasion even the veteran's have newbie questions! Plus we all know we've got other things going on in our lives and generally speaking people will try to help you juggle all those balls. 

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Comments

  1. Hi Sammi,

    That picture of you against the Northern Lights? Stunning.
    I have really enjoyed seeing some of the images you have posted this year on Facebook -- even though that has just been (literally) a "snapshot" and I haven't known anything about your actual adventures. Blogging really is a full-time job, at least if you are really going to experience that on-going conversation and have a proper community (which requires give and take). That is why I gave it up . . . but I do miss it . . . it forges connections and friendships like nothing else.

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    1. It sure can be tough sometimes-- I wrote this post a while ago, and have actually secretly been taking a break whilst I've been working in Lapland, but there is so much I haven't missed doing that I think I'm going to just change my style slightly... ;) lovely to hear from you Beth, hope you are all keeping well X

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  2. Great perspectives on the "biz". I am guilty of letting things slide over the last 6 months because I have gotten busy or (gasp) lazy. Recently I started back up again, spend more hours on my blog, and I feel refreshed and happy that I am working at it again.

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    1. It's a major time suck, for sure, and when life gets busy it can be the first thing to suffer

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  3. Great post! I completely relate to a lot of it. I've been doing it for more than a year but also do it in my free time outside of a really busy career and I try not to compare myself to other bloggers - at the end of the day, what I'm doing makes me happy and some fellow travel bloggers have been so encouraging and supportive which helps keep me going :) Well done on your succss so far and I'm super jealous you saw the Northern Lights!

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    1. Exactly, I think you need to do just it for yourself, otherwise you'll stop enjoying it

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  4. Very jealous that you got to see the Northern lights as clear as that! Some great advice there too! :)

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  5. Ohhh so much harder than I thought... sheesh. And yes, way cool you got to see those lights!!!

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    1. It's full time, there's no two ways around it.

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  6. Oh man I agree with so much of this. It is so much harder than people think and so easy to get behind and feel like you're going nowhere. When I started, I wanted to blog about everything we do so that we would always about our adventures in writing. But that never happened! I'm so slow at writing and so behind that I've probably only blogged about 10% of our travels. It's so true not to compare yourself to other bloggers, and that's one of my main resolutions I'm making this year. Otherwise, it's so easy to feel down on yourself!

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    1. Right?! I totally feel that, especially having just come back from Lapland and having little to no WiFi up there made it really hard to keep up and get people reading. Having got back into it the last week my numbers have shot right up again!

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