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.