Oh you know, just a list of things I found out for myself after a year of blogging. I intended to publish this a long time ago, but it got lost in one of my gazillion drafts.
I know some of you here can relate or at least understand. If you have a (travel) blog yourself, or plan to have one, or a frequent reader of one, you may find these interesting.
1. You have to get used to all kinds of readers.
I’m grateful that we have an audience who read and appreciate our blog (aside from my fam, of course). But here’s something that I bet a lot of you had already guessed… there’s also tons of lazy readers out there. In a way it’s funny but also frustrating. I can post a detailed itinerary and cost breakdown down to the very cents and we’ll still get messages like this, proving that a lot of people don’t read the content:
- “Pahingi po ng itinerary.” (Can I ask for an itinerary?)
- “hm?” (How much did you spend?)
One time I told my friend Steff about the kind of messages we receive, and we had an interesting conversation. She’s friends with another blogger I admire, and apparently this is pretty common. Some people actually expect us to plan their trip for them. Plan their trip — not ask us for suggestions or anything.
I remember posting a 5-day itinerary to Iloilo, and we received a message asking us to create a custom itinerary for 4 days, for 2 people, with flight dates included.
What is it about Philippine locals that prevent them from reading or doing a simple Google search? Is it because of free data? Anti-intellectualism sentiment? Plain laziness?
I would never know.
P.S. I do love you guys, but seriously. Stop being lazy.
2. It’s almost impossible to use leave credits at work for made-up reasons.
I know some people get away with it, but with bloggers the risk is 10x higher. There’s always a chance our employer will put two and two together, even if there’s delay in publishing a story.
So we can’t use SL for any of the following: sinungaling leave, stranded leave, sea-sick leave, see-you-later leave, leave-me-alone leave. (It works sometimes, if it’s just a day or two.)
I’m lucky because I worked in a company that gave us the freedom to take vacation whenever we want, as long as there were no pending deliverables or urgent cases. To be honest, I’m also not keen on giving excuses or flat-out lying for vacation purposes. It just doesn’t seem like the adult thing to do.
That’s why I recommend finding a company with that a lenient policy on taking leaves. There’s also that choice of going freelance or digital nomad to be able to travel full time.
3. Blogging is actually a lot of work.
If you think blogging is as simple as writing a blog post and clicking “Publish,” you’re wrong.
You have to do research, write, promote. You need to keep and update social media channels and learn how each works. (For instance, followers aren’t as important in Pinterest as in other social media.) You need to create a meaningful relationship with your audience, which takes a long time.
You need to know how to purchase your own domain and hosting, what to do in case of transfer, maintain your website, online and offline SEO (search engine optimization), techniques to optimize your website speed.
I have a love-hate relationship with social media and I’m not really a people person, so I’m more comfortable with the techie side of blogging.
I’m pretty sure this is not everything yet.
This is especially true for full-time travel bloggers, i.e., bloggers whose main income comes from their website. If you’re curious about full-time bloggers, here’s a first-person, informative resource on how to earn through a blog.
4. The best content comes from the heart.
I enjoy reading about genuine travel content — learnings from the road, funny or horrible travel experiences, love successes and fails, realizations about the self or the world.
I found that I enjoyed writing the same thing.
One of my favorite reads is Annika’s Did Eat Pray Love made me do it? One, because she was honest and direct about not loving Bali as everyone else. Second, there’s this delicious, slow realization about self-love that I know we can all relate to, at some point.
Recently, I’ve read this confession about a solo female traveler feeling like she has lost her identity after solo travel has become popular. It resonates with my own musings about local travel becoming a trend and how I miss those times when there were relatively fewer travelers. In a way it’s selfish, nostalgic but also human.
Last year, I wrote about how I want to pursue more narratives instead of just travel guides and itineraries. (READ: Travel blogging, social media: How do you stay true to yourself?)
Some of my favorite write-ups get minimal views (e.g., our awesome trip to Sorsogon, which I bring up whenever I can, what I think about finding the right person). But as my Higher Self told me, it’s about reaching the right people, the ones who will resonate with you and your words, it’s about finding your audience.
P.S. I also post good reads from other blogs/websites in our Facebook page, so make sure to follow us there.
5. Some trips are best kept to ourselves.
6. There’s a lot of misconceptions people have about travel bloggers.
Misconceptions about our lifestyle, earnings, what kind of people we are. (See #3)
What do you think of travel bloggers? Do you think we’re all adventurous, fun to be with, living the good life with all the fans and sponsored stays?
What if I tell you that I’m an introvert and I prefer idyllic destinations rather than activity-filled attractions, that I work a 9-5 job like everyone else, that I’m honestly pretty nondescript. I think a few readers expect me to be glamorous in real life, you know based on messages we receive, but most of what you think about me is credited to how Hali takes my pictures.
People also have this notion that we travel to blog. The truth is we’re wanderers at heart and we’ll go places regardless of whether we’ll write about it online. (See #5)
So. This is just a sneak peek on what’s it really like to have a travel blog. We’re pretty new in this field, so maybe a year from now I’ll get back to this and add a little more. Here’s another fun read about blogging as well.
Does any of these surprise you? If you have a travel blog yourself, can you relate? What can you add here? Discussions, please! 🙂