The start of a new year always brings much reflection, and for me it’s been especially true this year. I’ve had some big personal changes occur, which has and will affect everyone in my family, and the road ahead is going to involve much growth and adjustment.
Toward the end of the year I had to put blogging on the back burner (getting back on track), which forced me to really take a deep look at why I’m a travel writer and blogger, and what I truly hope to gain from it. I almost stopped it altogether, because as any blogger knows, to pull in loads of traffic and get your presence out there on social media, requires an enormous amount of work – particularly if you’re doing it by yourself with no help of any kind, which is my situation.
There have been days where I’ve asked myself, do I really reach enough people to make this all worthwhile? Being a travel writer is not just about writing the post – it’s so much more than that. There’s the writing and constant editing, then there’s the formatting, insertion of links, SEO optimization (which involves many different aspects of the post), and the photos – don’t forget the photos! A whole other job in and of itself. One could edit photos for a lifetime, but alas there’s the ticking clock.
Eventually comes the time to hit “publish” – but it is far from over! Getting people to read my posts doesn’t come with the wave of a wand, it requires work and effort. Marketing work and effort. Yes, there is the writing and formatting of the post, and then there is the circulation, or “marketing” of the post. Enter Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and whatever social media platforms one uses, the post has GOT to be circulated on all of them! Each of these individual posts requires work too, meaning trying to come up with the proper wording and catchy phrases that will grab someone’s interest on the oversaturated social media platforms. And don’t even get me started on creating pins on Pinterest! The absolute last thing I want to do once I’ve finished a post!
Of course, all this work just applies to the publication and circulation of posts, however, there is a world of other things a blogger must do to keep themselves afloat, such as linking up articles with websites, guest posting, collaborations, joining FB groups, and general networking. Then there is the maintenance and monetization of the blog, including affiliate marketing and advertising, but I will not bore you with that! The point being, there is a ton of work that goes into blogging that most people don’t realize, for not much in return…which has led me to often question myself, why do it?
I’ve particularly been asking myself this question in light of recent personal events, where my situation is gradually changing and I’ll need to pull in more income. Is it really worth it to be a travel blogger? That and the fact – if I’m going to be honest – that I don’t travel all that much for someone who is a travel blogger. I do travel on my kids’ school breaks and a few times during the summer, and weekends here and there, and I do love to travel (obviously). But I also really enjoy being at home, hanging out in my yard and spending time on the beautiful, and very local, Long Island Sound.
I love going to my kids’ sports games and hosting play dates and coaching soccer and playing tennis with them and being able to give them all the opportunities of small town living outside of one of the greatest cities in the world, NYC. We see Broadway shows, go to museums, go on little neighborhood adventures, and eat good food. It’s the best of both worlds, and I love that. It’s been great for me as a travel blogger to have NYC as a backdrop, there is no denying that. But in comparison with other travel bloggers out there, I’m an active mom involved in the community who just doesn’t get to travel nearly as much as them. And I like being home as much as I do travel. So why continue to do it?
This is the question that has been entering my mind the past several months – perhaps always. I’m not your typical travel blogger…so why am I one? I’ve had to ask myself this question over and over in order to make headway with my life going forward, and I’ll tell you why I am one, and why I’m going to continue to do it. I am passionate about my travels, and while I may not be a jetsetter globetrotting around the world, I soak up every minute of a new place I’m in. I’m curious and love to explore and discover a place completely different from my own, if even within the U.S. This curiosity started as a young teenager when I started my travels beyond a bubble of a world I grew up in.
But also, for me, travel writing is an art form. It’s my art form. I like to write, both poetically and practically, about a place, and I like to share it with others. I also love photography, and combining the writing and photography is how I express myself. It is my creation, and something so true to me it’s hard to not not do it. As for the practical side of things, there’s no greater feeling than when people say they read my posts and found them so useful as their travel guides, and can’t wait to use more of my posts on their trips. That’s the main point, after all, to be a source of information and inspiration!
I’d like to note this last part, because something that can be easily mistaken for some travel bloggers is that they just do it to show off all the places they’ve visited. That’s not why I do it. I am not a bucket list ticker, eager to spread the word on how many x number of countries I’ve visited. I do it because I like to write about my experiences, and show them in photos, and hopefully be a resourceful guide to others.
After I graduated from college I was on a road trip with some friends and remember saying “I want to write travel guides” but didn’t know the first place to begin. The internet was just getting going, and there definitely was no such thing as blogging. Years later, I have a platform with which to work with, so I’m going to continue to use it, because, why wouldn’t I? Even if it has to eventually become a minor side thing, at least I have it. I have my own space on the internet with which to share my art, and with which to inspire and help others. That’s why I’m a travel writer.
Good for you Corey! And i read when i can! Can’t wait to see you on our very beautiful local tennis courts! Much love, peace and strength to you in 2019!
Thank you so much, Annie! Much appreciated. April will be here before we know it and I really cannot wait! x
I love this post Corey! I often feel the exact same way, and in fact, currently I’m taking a break from a marathon of photo editing to read this. I’ve often asked myself the same question: Why am I doing this? Not only is this a wonderful way to share your adventures and travels, but I’ve loved the new and real friendships I’ve gained through blogging. I truly feel that even if I do stop blogging the friendships will be lasting. I love reading your posts and seeing your lovely photos. So glad you’ll be sticking around, but no matter what you’ve got me!
Aww thanks Hill!! I completely agree – the people I’ve “met” (luckily you in real person!) and made connections with have been such a special part of it. No matter what happens, there’s so much I’ve gained and learned from blogging. It’s been a positive experience in so many ways.
I think you just expressed everything about how I’ve been feeling in the last few months. I started a new job in Sept and it has taken up so much of my time and soon I will be full time and the thought of continuing to blog is exhausting! It’s so time consuming and the question for me now is the same, how many people am I truly reaching, am I blogging for myself or for others now, does it still bring me joy? I keep trying to write a new post, but the words just aren’t coming. But I don’t want to throw in the towel on sth I have put so much time and energy into. So, we’ll see how 2019 continues. Happy New Year! #FarawayFiles
You’ve put SO much hard work into it, Lori, it’s evident. I think it’s a day by day or week by week or month by month sort of thing. I would say keep at it and see where the winds take you..life is so unpredictable you just never know! Happy New Year! x
I think this will strike a chord with many bloggers. I’ve been blogging for many years and yet I see my page views are very low. I love to write and share my stories and photos but I don’t invest enough time in the marketing/sharing bit. Which is why I love Faraway Files as it helps me connect with other travel bloggers and I feel inspired by their tales.
Thank you for writing about your travels; I might never have booked our trip to Mallorca last year without you x #farawayfiles
Thanks so much, Trish! I hear you on the marketing bit..it’s really just very hard to do it all. As for Faraway Files, I agree – it’s a great way to connect with other bloggers and find inspiration. I love your blog and think you do such a good job of sharing your travels and inspiring others..keep it up! xx
Well said Corey! Hoping 2019 brings some clarity and the travel blogging still “sparks joy” for you. I think you have a definite talent in your art and hope you continue to keep at it in your way. Cheers from here! Happy New Year from Copenhagen. Erin
Thanks so much, Erin! Wishing you a happy and healthy new year and 2019!
Wonderful, Corey, just wonderful. You said so much in a simple and beautiful way. And your photographs are terrific. You could earn a living on them alone. Will be thinking of you and your family. Hope all goes well. love, Carol
Thanks so much, Carol! Such nice words. I hope we can see each other soon – please tell everyone hi. xx
Oh why don’t you live down the road from me, Corey? I would so love to spend a couple of hours talking about all this over a cup of tea and a cake! I do love the more reflective posts and you’ve so eloquently expressed the questioning and frustrations that so many of us feel about our blogs. I struggle with so much of this personally but ultimately you’re so right in expressing the joy in creating content, a little piece of art that has the power to inspire and inform.
Thanks, Clare, and now it seems we can spend some time together and discuss ha! Can’t wait! I’m sure this post struck a familiar cord with many bloggers – hard to not feel some of these things many of us little bloggers feel. x
Corey, I’m really pleased you’re continuing, I found reading your post quite inspirational.
Interacting and contributing to Faraway Files has given me the lift I need at times, it’s a great community and I’m pleased we joined in.
I often think that some people just don’t realise the effort that goes into maintaining a blog, and also you don’t need to travel far and wide to inspire people, there’s so much to discover on all of our doorsteps. #farawayfiles
Well said, Janis! I’m a total supporter of local travel..not everyone has the funds for more far-flung travel. And sometimes life is just too busy for the longer trips. I’m so glad you’ve found Faraway Files a good resource and place to meet other bloggers – that’s the purpose!
You express so beautifully everything I think — whether consciously or even subconsciously. A blog post is a tremendous amount of work. And yours are lovely. I appreciate all the time you put into your photos as well as your writing. It’s a TON of work! I know! Often I wonder why I keep up my little travel blog. But this fall my blog “broke” over and over and this frustrated me to tears. I realized what you said — I do it as a creative outlet to share my photos and travels with others. I felt lost when it was down. I hope to inspire people to see something they might otherwise have missed. So for now, I’ll keep at it. And I’m so pleased you are going to do so too!
Thanks, Sharon! And I’m glad you’ve got your blog fixed, what a nightmare! There are so many things that can go wrong, the maintenance alone is a lot of work that people don’t realize! I love your blog. It’s very authentic and showcases your love for travel so well. Keep it up!
So glad you are continuing! I love your blog!
Thanks so much lady!
I love reading your blog so am glad you’re continuing! I’m in somewhat of a similar situation albeit my blog has only ever been a hobby rather than income stream so I don’t feel quite as pressured to do the marketing aspect. I think one of my main motivators is a record of our family outings, it’s lovely to look back and read about things I’ve forgotten about. Carry on with the good work! #farawayfiles
Thanks, Christine! I completely agree and try to remind myself that no matter what I have this record of my family’s travels. First and foremost the most important. You do such a great job at that, keep up the good work!
Great post! I am not a typical travel blogger too. I don’t travel that often also. But as you, I love travelling and sharing my experiences with others:) I haven’t done much blogging or travelling in the past year because I’ve got a baby now but I hope to continue to blog about my big& small adventures. #farawayfiles
I hope baby life is going well, Tanja! Best to give your new little one all the focus you can, and the travel will come back when it’s meant to. Enjoy this precious time!
Corey, very well said. I so understand completely it being your art form. My gardening, cooking and setting a table satisfies that need to create something I can share. Someday I hope to be able to travel to many of the spots u have taught me about. Keep it up
Thanks Jean! I think you make a good point that everyone has their own art form – you do an amazing job at yours with your stunning garden!
I’m only just entering this world and enjoy it for the reasons you state – expressing myself creatively, and being passionate about travel. I’ve yet to find how to monetize this, but for now I just enjoy writing about the (not very many) trips that we do. Thanks for your honesty, and good luck on your journey. #farawayfiles
Thanks so much! I just recently monetized my blog and have a looooong way to go – have only done a few posts! We do what we can. I look forward to checking out your blog!
Good on you Corey – all great reasons for continuing to write. Yes, being a travel blogger can be exceptionally hard work, and I’m never on top of all the things I want to do around my blogging, but still I carry on as I love being part of the blogging community as much as writing about my travels. #FarawayFiles
As I just said in my previous comment, we do what we can right?! If we could do everything a blog requires in a day we’d all be superheroes! Here’s to creating content and inspiring others :).
I love your writing and photography Corey. I completely get what you say about it being creative for you. It is the same for me. Blogging is more than just writing and ‘getting yourself out there’. For me it is my creative outlet and where I can express myself, play with words and hopefully create something that people will enjoy. Blogging is hard work, and time consuming, but it is also joyful and rewarding and ultimately incredibly creative. Do continue, you are so good at it xx #Farawayfiles
Thank you so much Angie!! I feel the same way about your blog! I think you do such a good job and your writing is genuine and authentic, and your photos stunning. When I read your posts they feel as if I’m talking to you. I agree – it’s an amazing outlet for creativity. Keep up the good work! xx
They sound like pretty good reasons to me, I love your travel writing both far flung and local #FarawayFiles
You are speaking my language in this article, Corey! From reading this we have many similarities & many of the same feelings. With myself coming up to my two year blogging anniversary I have found myself contemplating similar questions. In the end for me it’s my creative outlet that’s separate from being a wife & a mum. I just want to help inspire & inform other families who may be looking for outings or travel ideas. If I can help even one person do this I’ll be happy.
That’s a great way of putting it, Sharee. Inspiration first and foremost..I have to believe if those are our goals good things will happen :).
This is a great post and a lot of it resonates with me. It is easy to get bogged down with or disheartened by no. of likes/views/comments etc but 2019 is the year of me caring less about that, I write for me and my memories and anything else is an added bonus I guess!
Yes! 2019 goals! I’m over the likes..it’s quality content that matters!
Such an interesting read. I’m very like you in that I don’t travel anywhere near as much as some people. I’m a bit of a homebird! But it’s such a gorgeous, creative endeavour, isn’t it. I do love blogging.
Thanks Nell. Hard to travel all the time if we’re blogging all the time! Haha.
That is a really good post… Thanks for sharing this
Thanks so much!