After a year of blogging, I found out a lot of things — and here are some of them! I know some of you can relate or at least understand. If you’re a blogger yourself or you’re planning to have one, or even if you’re just a casual reader, you may still find these interesting.
1. There’s a lot of lazy readers
I’m grateful that we have an audience who read and appreciate our blog — aside from my family, of course! But here’s something that I bet a lot of you have already guessed: There’s a lot of lazy readers out there.
In a way, it’s funny but it can also be frustrating. I can post a detailed guide with day-to-day itinerary and cost breakdown and I’ll still get messages asking “Pahingi po ng itinerary” or “Hm?”
I had an interesting conversation about this with my friend Steff. I told here about the messages I get. She happens to be friends with another blogger (whom I admire) and it turns out this is pretty common. People just don’t want to bother reading. Some actually expect us to plan their trip for them. Plan their trip — not as 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 Filipinos that prevent them from reading or doing a simple Google search? Is it just plain laziness? Limited data? Some sort of anti-intellectualism sentiment that gives them aversion to reading?
I would never know.
2. You can’t take a leave from work for made-up reasons
It’s not really uncommon for people to file leave for made-up reasons, and while this may be “unethical”, I feel neutral about it because of the current work culture that discourages people for taking a leave for leisure. People often get away with it too, but with bloggers it’s different.
Because I post my trips online, if I ever decide to take a leave due to “sickness”, there’s always a chance my employer will put two and two together and I’ll probably get a reprimand.
So yes, bloggers can’t use an SL (sick leave) for any of the following: sinungaling leave, stranded leave, sea-sick leave, see-you-later leave, leave-me-alone leave.
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, did you know that 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.
4. Blogging can be a good source of income
With easy access to internet and mobile phones, blogging is in an all-time popularity now. A lot of content creators have turned into full-time blogging.
5. 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 and nostalgic, but also human.
Last year, I wrote about how I want to pursue more narratives instead of just travel guides and itineraries.
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.
6. Some trips are best kept to ourselves
7. Bloggers are normal people!
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.
If there’s one thing that the public definitely got right, it’s that travel bloggers get to have unique experiences as perk!
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! 🙂
Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).