When I started travel blogging, I knew it’d be hard. But I had no idea about the emotional stress it would give me. It’s depressing AF!!
To say the last few years of blogging have been an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement…
Travel and blogging have become such a big part of my life now. But it’s gotten to the point where I barely tell any of my friends or coworkers if I’m going on a trip. All I hear is “You’re going on a trip again?” I feel like they’re judging me, thinking I must be some reckless spender because of course that’s the only way I can afford to travel.
Do they think I’m irresponsible? That I’m racking up credit card bills? Who am I to have these kinds of experiences? And then I get laughed at if I do say I’m going somewhere… “Are you taking the monkey with you again? Haha! That’s so funny!” Yes, I’m taking the monkey. And I walk away, biting my tongue.
According to Michael Palin, “Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.” It’s so incredibly true. Since the start of my blog, I’ve committed more than ever to travel the world. But like any junkie can tell you, it’s never enough.
Now, more than ever, I long to be in faraway places. Even while I’m on trips! I know that sounds ridiculous. I should be grateful while I’m on trips and focused on the present. And yet, when I stop to check my various social media accounts during any brief availability of Wifi, I think “Wow, look at that place! I wish I was there! I’m so jealous!” I’m a part of so many travel communities online, that all I see are gorgeous places and the people traveling to them.
And then when I get home and get back to my “normal” routine, it’s even worse. I’m so sad that my trip is over and I’m not sure when I’ll be going on the next one. I know what I want to do for my next big trip, but what about the time in between now and then. I can’t NOT go somewhere for that long. I’ll die!!
It’s kind of ironic – travel helps you meet so many wonderful people and yet at the end of the day you feel alone. Unless by some crazy coincidence you meet travelers that happen to live in the same city as you, what are the odds of you ever seeing them again?
Sure, technology makes it a lot easier. You can Skype or use Google Hangouts, message each other on Facebook or WhatsApp. But with everyone living in different time zones, it can be really hard. What if I just want to hang out and bs about waterfalls or talk about crazy animal encounters while sipping a white chocolate mocha? I can’t do that with any of my local friends. So it gets a little lonely at times.
I started writing about my travels in the hopes that I’d inspire others to travel as well. I write some posts with practical information; some addresses, costs, etc. But for the most part, I just want to tell stories.
I want readers to know that the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle is in Miami. I want readers to know why I fell in love with Edinburgh. And I want to do it to pique their curiosity. I want readers to be inspired to go see new places, whether those places are across the globe or across the street. But do those readers exist?
Sometimes I wonder if anyone is reading anything I write. And by anyone, I mean the average person and not another travel blogger. Not that I don’t love travel bloggers reading my stuff. We obviously share a passion for travel, understand each other, and try and support each other in any way we can. But do I need to inspire travel bloggers to travel? Nope.
What I want to do more than anything is get through to the person that doesn’t have a passport, that has never left their home town, that thinks they have to be rich to travel, that thinks they can’t travel by themselves. Am I reaching those people? Because if I’m not, then what’s the point?
There are a lot of bloggers out there that have quit their jobs, travel slow, and are considered digital nomads. They say it’s not all rainbows and unicorns and that you really have to work at it, but if they can do it you can too. The hardest part is taking that first step and deciding that’s the lifestyle you want to lead.
So if I want to be a successful travel blogger, I have to sell all my stuff and quit my job?? But I like my stuff! You have no idea how many times I look around my apartment and wonder if I’m doing the wrong thing by not taking that first step. Am I a coward? Am I not committed enough? What if I want to live in one place and have my own bed?
I can currently only take short trips, but does that make me an icky “tourist” instead of a “traveler.” Sure, I might not get to know the ins and outs of every city I visit, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try and learn as much as I can while I’m in a new place.
Funny Story: I actually have started traveling full time since writing this post awhile back. I sold or got rid of most of my stuff, and now I travel from place to place through house sitting. The timing was right and I felt it was something I should try. Just goes to show that things and opinions can change.
We’re always our worst critic. I know that. I tell that to others when they’re being too hard on themselves. But that doesn’t mean I still don’t beat myself up. I see what others are doing or writing and think, I’ve done similar things. Why don’t get I get the same responses? Why do they get so many more page views than I do?? WTF??
I know others have been doing this a lot longer than I have. I know. But it’s still hard not to get bummed about my progress. I remember talking on separate occasions to fellow bloggers G of Travel with G and Mel of Footsteps on the Globe and we were all having the same insecurities. We knew, and told each other multiple times, that we couldn’t compare ourselves to others. We do what we can according to our lifestyles.
Sometimes I need a night on the couch, watching a movie, eating a grilled cheese, and drinking white wine. But then I feel guilty. Guilty that I could have been working on a post. I feel like I wasted a few hours and was so unproductive. This is why other bloggers are doing so much better than I am. And yet, I know that sometimes you just need a break. I know that if I don’t take those breaks that I’ll go bat shit crazy.
So what should I do? Well, I for damn sure am not going to stop blogging. I knew this was going to be hard work when I got into it. The blogs I read all said it would be. I don’t mind hard work. And I’m not a quitter. I might need to buy a couple more bottles of wine to deal with the emotional ups and downs, but I won’t stop.
I’ll keep reading about SEO, and how to be a better writer. I’ll try and figure out Google Analytics and Facebook algorithms. I’ll keep reaching out to other bloggers and asking questions. I’ll keep telling stories about the wonderful places I’ve visited. I’ll occasionally write rambling rants like this one so I get much needed stuff off my chest.
I’ll try not to be so hard on myself and try not to compare myself to others. I’ll be grateful for those I’ve met and what I’ve learned so far about blogging. But mostly, I’ll hope. I’ll hope that my words reach and inspire others to travel. I’ll hope that my words lead readers to get out of their comfort zones and explore this great big and amazing world we live in.