Get in touch

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Website address

Your Message

Enter text from the image below

captcha

11 things I wish I had known about Travel Blogging 

1) Practise makes perfect

 

When I started blogging I put myself under so much pressure to fill up my blog with as much content as possible. I spent a month documenting my whole Nepal trek (17 blog posts), for instance. To blog as much as possible, as often times as possible. I thought that is what I had to do. Then I started reading loads of different travel blogs out there and I was amazed with what people write about and how they write their posts.

Truth is: you don’t need to be an insanely good writer. There are travel bloggers out there who’s first language is not English (like moi) and you can often recognise this by the way they use grammar incorrectly in their posts (i’m sure this post could do with loads of improvements).

Let’s put it that way: i don’t think Shakespeare, assuming he had a blog, would knock on our doors and ask us if we wanted to contribute a guest post. The more your write, the more you practise. But it takes a long time until you feel confident in doing what you are doing. And even a longer time until you think what you are writing is actually good.

I recently read a blog post about someone compiling a list of the best sunscreen lotions in the world. There I was…being worried that if I only write about something trivial, no one is going to ever visit my blog. This person got quite a few decent comments on this said blog post. My 17 blog posts about trekking the Annapurna are dusting away somewhere hidden in the back-corner of my blog. I put one hell of an effort into compiling these – no one gives a toss. That’s the reality and the frustrations you will have to learn to deal with when you start your blog and hope to make a ‘career’ out of it.

See, back at uni, I wrote one first-class essay after another. I did my law degree next to full-time work and still managed to have a 1st class honours at an English university despite of English not being my first language. I’m pretty proud of this (once in a while we all deserve a pat on the shoulder – thank you very much).

Back then, I was constructing my essays with the help of legal articles and books (which I had to read a lot of), and only really started getting the hang of it after year two. Year one was all about learning what was expected of you, what type of sentences would make the Prof. happy (not what makes YOU happy) and how to construct an essay in a way that would get you the full marks. The first year was scary as hell and I repeatedly thought: i’ll never be able to do this. What the hell am I doing here!?

Well…I passed. Persistence was the key. But, it was not easy. It took a lot of practise.

The same goes for travel blogging. It will take a while until you feel confident. Keep in mind: only because you are good at legal writing, or any other niche writing, does not automatically mean that you are a good travel blogger! You will have to learn a new lingo – develop your own style. To be honest, I kind of miss the days when I got comments like ‘Exceptional piece of work – please send a copy for my archive’. Right now…I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing….and my blog is scarily silent at times.

All I know is…i can only improve if I keep going. And I’m not someone to easily give up.

.

untitled-47

.

2) It’s not about content – but about contacts, right?

 

Opinions seem to be divided here. Some travel bloggers think it’s all about content. Others claim all you need to primarily focus in the beginning, is to ‘get your name out there’. It’s more about what you do as opposed to what you write about and how often.  One ought to read countless of blogs regularly, comment on them (at least 100 in a day if you can), make friends with everybody. Some say that is non-sense – because what’s the point of having travel bloggers comment on your blog? It’s not the primary audience you want to attract in the first place – Liz from Young Adventuress is one such example. She is a very successful travel blogger out there and she doesn’t believe in the whole ‘comment frenzy’ that seems to be common practise amongst many bloggers.

The way I see it? Reach out to other bloggers if you feel comfortable doing so. Comment on their blogs if you genuinely feel it’s a great piece of work they have written – because that is what you do in a team. You cheer each other on – but you also offer constructive criticism. Be a teamplayer. But, don’t arse lick. The whole ‘commenting on 100 blogs per day – thing’ is admirable and ambitious but really…what is the point? Where do your intentions lie with this? 

The moment you comment on gazillions of blogs just to say ‘hey hey hey look at me…can you see me? Yes ME! Look I’m great. PLEASE COMMENT ON MY BLOG. YES YOU’, then you are just commenting to expect something in return – not because you care about what the person has written. You have an ulterior motive. And yes, I might sound all ‘Mother Theresa’ here, but I truly believe that good intentions are rewarded with good results eventually. It might take a bit longer – but at least you know it’s genuine. But, everybody is different – and I totally respect that. Bottomline is: do whatever feels right for you and be a teamplayer.

Bloggers are super friendly and approachable (with a few exceptions). As an example, when I summed up my courage to contact Jodi Ettenberg from Legal Nomads, she not only sent me a long message back, she was super friendly too! Yes, someone as famous as her, is actually really down to earth and really easy-going. They have all been there, where you are right now: at the beginning of a very daunting, but rewarding and exciting, adventure.

When I saw that Megan from Mapping Megan offers to review your blog and give you feedback, I never expected, when I reached out to her, to receive such a long and elaborate answer with so many pointers on how to improve my blog. I was genuinely touched about how much she was willing to help. She not only reviewed my blog but also offered tons of advice on useful plug-ins, layout options, social media techniques – and so much more. All completely for free. Just like that. You see, and I will pay this forward one day. Yep, be a teamplayer and genuine. This will always be rewarded.

Franca and Dale over at Anglo Italian, Follow Us are a classical example of how blog-teamwork works: they go to great lengths to retweet other bloggers content and every week they send out a tweet with a thank you message if you retweeted one of their posts. They are cool like that. There is just something about them…plus they keep posting yummy pictures of vegan food I didn’t know existed (a vegan chocolate croissant? Oh my word…).

I don’t have photos from other bloggers and myself, yet. This one below is my best friend. Does that count?

.

10 things I wish I had known about travel blogging

.

3) Start early…way before you go on your travels

 

If you do decide to enter the travel blogosphere, start building up a name for yourself BEFORE you head out into the big wide world. Some travel bloggers have thousands of Twitter followers and very engaged Social Media accounts way before they even have their official website published. Way before they even go on their travels. I did not do this. I started blogging when I was on the road  – meaning I wanted to hang myself one too many times when I wrote yet another blog post with 0- ziltsch – nada comments. For the first few months the blog was a monologue for me, myself and…well…me. 

As far as I can see, you have two types of travel bloggers: the ones that started a little blog to inform their friends and family back at home about their travels which then turned into a business as time went by – and then you have the travel bloggers who decided to make travel blogging their profession before embarking on their adventures.

If you belong to the second category, here is my advice:

Even before you have launched your website, establish a good follower base via Social media. Facebook, Twitter as a minimum. I started with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus and Trover – from the start. Which was a mistake. I should have just stuck to a few – be really good at it – and then add more onto my plate. You’ll soon establish which ones are your favourites – nurture these like hell. And get your name out there – reach out to people. When I started, I had 247 Twitter Followers.

Now…in my case, travelling the world was a last minute decision and even more so the decision to start a blog. It all happened within a few months. If this is not the case for you, make sure to start early. It will pay off and will make the whole blogging experience way more interesting and rewarding.

Trust me, there is nothing more frustrating than ‘silent blog syndrome’.

.

10 things I wish I had known about travel blogging

.

4) Consider joining a community

 

Join something like ‘Travel Blog Success’. Which is kind of hypocritical of me to say. Because I haven’t joined…yet. But, I’m pretty sure I will eventually.

The reason why I’m not joining, is simple: I’m enjoying my travels too much! I’m not ready to commit to a full-time relationship with my blog. We are casually dating at the moment. But, I can see us taking the next step one day – because she is pretty special to me.

At the moment, I want to spend more time travelling and having a good time, than investing in my travel blog (sorry hunny). There I said it. I do as much as I can – but not more. Travelling the world had always been a big dream of mine. Not sitting inside a hotel room to type on my screen! This is what I have done all these previous years. This is precisely what I wanted to get away from. If I do this, it will KILL my dream and my passion for travel – and I’m not prepared to do this.

There is a sentence in German which describes what happened the last few months in terms of travel blogging for me: ‘Ich bin auf die Welt gekommen’. Which literally means: ‘I have come to earth’. What it actually means, is that I have had a massive wake-up call. Travel Blogging is not as romantic as it sounds. Travel Blogging has no real return of investment for a long time. You will work long hours, for no or little pay. No fancy benefit packages. No guaranteed salary at the end of each month. Yes you can sip the Mojito on the beach while you do it, but you don’t actually get to enjoy the Mojito. You just stare at your computer screen for hours, hoping not to get sunburnt, while sipping on your drink, and praying to find a good enough WIFI connection later to upload posts that may or may not get any traction.

Which brings me to my next point.

***Update: I joined eventually. I highly recommend it. Click here to join too! 

.

10 things I wish I had known about travel blogging

.

5) You will spend endless hours staring at Screens

 

I kind of read about this on many blogs before I started my own and yet, I must honestly say, I was not entirely believing it. I don’t know why. I still had this fantasy that I will one day blog from the beach somewhere, making money and having an easy life.

What was I thinking?

Your MacBook and Iphone will be your new best friends. While people are out there having fun on their RTW trips which are costing them the same as what you are paying for it (if you’re lucky you get some freebies…but essentially you are still paying for your trip…especially in the beginning), you are locked inside typing. Or you are tweeting. Or taking a photo of you drinking a coconut for your Instagram. Welcome to the reality of a Travel Blogger’s life! 

In some places you won’t have a decent WIFI connection (Hello India!) and you might end up with a huge backlog of posts, meaning you are constantly running a race against time and feel the anxiety spiking. Or you’ll feel guilty if you don’t spend more time on Twitter. Or spend hours replying to people on your screen.

Just to sum it all up again: you will spend A LOT of time in front of a screen.

If you are not prepared to do that, then travel blogging is not for you. Simple as. 

.

10 things I wish I had known about travel blogging

.

6) Think carefully what you are giving up

 

See, I wish I was this 23- year-old-fresh-out-of-uni-person with a plan to travel the world, see what happens and maybe or maybe not come back to a career in ‘whatever’. I started working when I was 21 (i actually I worked part-time when I was in school too since the age of 16) and have since then worked and studied full-time (with an exception of 4 months when I was only working for 4 hours per day and study the rest of the day). My wanderlust kept dragging me away from where I was based, so I ended up doing a distance uni course in South Africa with having a base in Namibia for 3 years.

Then I got bored with living there and decided to transfer my studies and live in London – where I lived for nearly 6 years. It is the place I call my home. I financed my studies in England on my own. Whoever knows a thing or two about how expensive education in England is…knows what that means. I worked my ass off to fund my studies. Just because I did not want to be travelling the world without having a degree first (and yes it took me longer to finish my degree because ironically travelling and ending up living in different countries is what slowed down the process immensely…a bit ironic, huh?). Plus, I had promised my mum – who passed away just before my 18th Birthday.

During these 7 years I learnt a lot. I built up some massively important skills. I worked as a Travel Consultant for Wilderness Safaris South Africa – an incredible place to work for; especially if you are a big fan of responsible travel and eco-tourism, like I am. Afterwards I led my own little travel company and booked amazing itineraries for tourists abroad (i’m a specialist in Namibia travel…i know the country from the back of hand…yes yes I know…I should write posts about it…too bad that I lost ALL my photos during a break-in…). Then in England I worked in Marketing which ultimately landed me a job in one of the biggest law firms in the world.

I was doing well for myself.

But, I hated being stuck in an office the whole day. I wanted to go out into the big wide world and explore! So, I did. But you see…when you are part of the big 3-0 club and therefore a whole lot older than many other travel bloggers, you feel a bit queasy about the whole thing. I guess it’s only natural that you would feel that way, after working for many years, with a steady income and a relatively settled life.

I’m realising what I have left behind and there is a small little devil on my shoulder saying ‘You have given up everything to be an unemployed travel blogger who earns nada (in comparison)?’. However, the plus side of having had a bit of a career prior to travelling: I can go back to a whole range of options, if I wanted to. But, at what point in your life, do you decide to take a stance and decide for good? Or is it ever a final decision? For the first time in my life, I feel the difference between being a 20-year old and a 30-year old. Things change.

Things start to get scarily ‘adult’. 

10 things I wish I had known about travel blogging

.
.

7) There will always be someone who is better than you

.

That may sound odd – but many people can’t cope with this. See, when you are used to success in whatever you do, then starting from scratch in a field you may not have much experience in, may be something that can knock your confidence really quickly. However, you can find your own voice in travel blogging – but in the beginning – especially, it helps to read a lot of other successful blogs. Try to learn from them. What is it that they do which makes them successful? Learn from them and develop your own style alongside it. With time and practise – you will see results.  Just believe with conviction that things will work out. And they will!

Everything you put your heart into will bring results eventually!

When I started blogging, I noticed a few other travel bloggers who had started to travel long-term at roughly the same time as me. They are so much better than I am! Their website layout seems much easier to navigate. They seemed to know already which niche they want to specialise in. They have thousands of comments on blog posts dotted all over their blog. They get invited to do stuff for free. All the time!

But, you know what? That is ok. We are all on a different journey and if things are meant to work out, they will, in their own time – I really believe in this. I will find my voice. And so will you. But you won’t find it, unless you keep practising and learning relentlessly. Keep in mind: it’s not a competition.

There is plenty of room for all of us.

.

11 things I wish I had known about travel blogging

.
.

8) Travel Blogging is not just Blogging

.

So you think you will simply just write a few posts now and then and that’s it? No way José! Travel Blogging is about so much more: Upkeep of your website (which costs money), uploading your posts & editing (not to be underestimated…especially if you are stuck somewhere with bad WIFI connection and uploading takes forever or you lose two hours worth of writing because WordPress gives up on you…patience is a virtue…i don’t possess), editing of images, uploading your images, SEO work (very important, right from the start), publishing content, sharing it on Social Media, keeping up with all your Social media channels, TWITTER (lots of TWITTER), reading other blogs, commenting on other blogs, playing around on Canva, getting over your dislike of Pinterest (eurgh), engage, engage, engage – and so much more.

Oh yes and then the important part: travel and experience things (which is what you came out to do in the first place, huh?!). There are more aspects to just writing a post. The above, is just the start. I haven’t even figured out half of the things I’m meant to do. I’m constantly learning about something I ought to have done from the start. At least, it keeps you on your toes!

All of it requires a bit of a routine and a never-ever-give-up-mentality.

.

10 things I wish I had known about travel blogging

.

9) Travelling will never be the same again

.

In order to keep up with the (initially unpaid) work that you will be doing and the countless hours of work you will put into, you’ll need to get into some sort of routine. I personally, an insomniac who is most productive at night, do almost all of my typing past dawn. But because I also like to have fun sometimes and love to join other fellow travellers for dinners and drinks, this does not always work – so I need to work around my natural inclination to work post-sunset.

I have a natural tendency to work in the evenings and at night and sleep longer in the mornings. I LOVE this about travel blogging. I can create my own routine that works for me. I do relatively easy tasks in the mornings, such as photo editing or social media upkeep and the creative typing is left for the hours in the dark. As I’m typing this, Ben is asleep in the bed next to me (we are in a dorm) and the guy we are sharing the room with is (thankfully) still at the bar getting pissed. I hope he will be so drunk, that my typing won’t wake him up.

But routine comes with a price: the travelling you are used to, will never be the same again. I noticed, only a few months into my travelling, that every time I see something cool, I think ‘Oh, I must write a blog post about this’. My mind is in ‘blogging mode’ all the time. I feel I’m constantly under pressure to type, interact and do something related to my blog.

Just to compare: I worked LONG hours back in London. But once I was in the train, I was eating my Sushi (or whatever I grabbed at King’s Cross station) and read whatever the hell I wanted. I had ME time. As a perfectionist, I feel I’m struggling to establish a healthy work-life balance which gives me enough ME time while traveling (sounds perplexing, doesn’t it?). I guess, I will eventually fall into a rhythm that allows me to do that. If not, a burnout will be a natural consequence. Because it can drive you mad.

You need to make some time for yourself when running your own blog.

.

10 things I wish I had known about travel blogging

.

10) Treat your Travel Blog like a Business

.

I met Ian from Where Sidewalks End at a Traveller meeting in Bangkok and he passed on some awesome advice to me. One of the things that struck me the most was the sentence: ‘treat your travel blog like a business’. He asked me what it was that I could offer to my readers. Emmm…blog posts? Romantic stories about my time on the beach? Is this not good enough?

Well…no! No one gives a F…about your encounters with Nemo if your readers don’t get something valuable from your reading or from any other skill you offer. Since I heard this, I reluctantly started to change the way I write my blog posts.

I keep asking myself: What value do I bring to my readers with this post?

Apparently, in order to be successful you need to shift the perspective: it’s not about you. It’s about your readers. And you thought YOU were the centre of the universe, hey? 😉

However, to counteract this: Blogging is all about your subjective view on things. If you are no longer doing this, you run a travel magazine – not a travel blog. A blog is all about what you have to say – in whichever form.  You can blog about whatever the hell you want to, at the end of the day. And I decided to keep doing this occasionally. Why? I enjoy blogging about whatever goes on in my mind. It’s cathartic, therapeutic and…yes…it’s my blog! These posts are for me. If someone enjoys them…BONUS. If not…they served their purpose: to make me happy. 

I think ultimately, blogging should be fun. So, if you intensely dislike writing yet another ’10 things to do in who-the-hell-cares’ post. Don’t do it. If blogging becomes a chore – you radiate this out into the world. You won’t attract readers. People can feel in your writing whether you mean something or not. And don’t forget: your blog is YOUR blog. ‘Successful’ is whatever is successful for YOU. If blogging about your morning run in the park, or feeding the ducks or about Granny Myrtle’s shopping adventure, fills you with massive excitement – go for it!

It all depends what you want to get out of your blog. A question that only you can answer for yourself.

.

Australia & Silver Linings-396

.

11) For the love of travel, at the end of the day.

.

At the end of the day, you are not stuck in an office with no natural light. You are out here in the wild exploring beautiful places making the world your oyster. You are meeting wonderful people – making new friends – which you would not be able to, were you stuck in a glass cage (as I like to call it). You get to immerse yourself in different cultures, experience ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ adventures, feel the sun on your skin (or get terribly burnt like I do), swim with Nemo and Dory, eat gorgeous food, dance under the stars, take yourself out of your comfort zone – one day at a time.

Your are free to hop on another plane, train, boat and go to ‘wherever you want’ in the world. ‘When was the last time you did something for the first time?’ will be easy to answer. Everybody back at home is envious of you. You have taken the plunge to transform your life – because that is what travel does to you: it transforms. spurs growth. enriches.

Travel blogging can be frustrating, but sights like this – make it totally worth it!

Don’t you think?

.

10 things I wish I had known about travel blogging

.

 *** Disclaimer: There is an affiliate link in this post. If you join TBS by clicking on the link, I receive a commission. It’ll help me to continue running my business – and help you get started with becoming a travel blogger yourself! Thank you.

 

Heart IconDo you agree or disagree with what I’m saying? Have you recently started blogging and feel you have realised a thing or two? Please leave a comment below – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Pin it!

 

Travel Blogging - 11 things I wish I had known!

.

36 Comments

  • Meg Jerrard

    05.06.2015 at 01:27 Reply

    Brilliant post Tess – you summed up travel blogging exactly; totally relate! And absolutely re it all totally being worth it in the end once you’re sitting down to one of those amazing world views. It’s a lot of hard slog sometimes, though ultimately I say to people I keep going because my office is anywhere and everywhere in the world 😀

    Stay awesome – looking forward to more posts from you 🙂

    Meg @ Mapping Megan

    • Serendipity Tess

      05.06.2015 at 02:13 Reply

      Hi Megan, thank you so much for popping by and leaving a comment! I appreciate it a lot 😀 I’m glad you liked it and could relate to it. It can be frustrating at times but nevertheless absolutely worth it! Thanks for all your help in the process! You rock!

  • Rona

    06.06.2015 at 10:01 Reply

    Hello Tess, I enjoyed reading this blog post and there is so much that i can relate too im a new blogger i have been traveling my whole life but only recently started blogging about some of my Rock climbing , traveling adventures and i too have found it very hard with content and giving myself to my blog for hours, the pressure to fill up my blog , im rather old school i have old scrapbooks of my travels 🙂 , and your right with all the technology to keep up with, now its the hours in front of a screen, thank you for the tips differently alot to think about! I hoping to keep making progress, but most of all keeping my passion for what i love doing climbing and traveling. Safe travels 🙂

    • Serendipity Tess

      08.06.2015 at 07:14 Reply

      Hi Rona, thank you for popping by and leaving a comment! My blog is not so silent anymore…LOL. Thank you! Ohh…you certainly have a unique niche there – sounds very cool! Whatever happens, keep your passion going. 🙂

  • Ian Ord - Where Sidewalks End

    09.06.2015 at 01:46 Reply

    Hey Tess – thanks so much for the shout-out. I remember that meetup well 🙂 Though I think a few different things we spoke of got mixed up together somehow. Treating your blog like a business and the value in your blog posts for your readers are connected but very different topics 😉

    Treating your blog like a business comes from how you make money of your blog. The blog articles should be driving traffic to your site… but what’s earning you a living from this? Do you sell products (either your own or someone else’s), do you sell a service (ie writing, photography, social media consulting, web design, etc), is it a platform for getting paid speaking gigs, and so on? what is your business which will allow you to keep travelling and writing. Once you know that, your blog’s website can take form and you can add some traction to each post with a call to action to your business as well (not hidden in some tucked away tab somewhere).

    The value in your posts for your readers is what keeps them coming back to your site (or finding it in the first place). If you just write about fluffy clouds and rainbows, or at least just highlighting all the experiences of your own life, sure it’s subjective to YOUR experience – but there’s no WIIFM (What’s in it for me?). No one’s saying you can’t write about fluffy clouds and rainbows… but if there’s the added researched element that “this is known to be a good place to see fluffy clouds and rainbows… especially in rainy season between march-june” kind of thing, well… heck… now I want to go there too as I might be able to have a similar experience, or in the very least I’ve learned something from your experience.

    The way they work together? The better the content appeal has for readers, the more they come back to your site, and share your articles… and this too will help in how they rank in google search results (driving even more ‘organic’ traffic to your site)… the more readers you get, the more opportunities for your services or products to get noticed as well…

    if your blog is a marketing tool to help fund this nomadic lifestyle you’ve chosen… what are you marketing? a dream? a lifestyle? yes, part and partially – but dreams don’t have a price tag and won’t put food on your table. The key to what I was trying to emphasize was that there are plenty of ways to make money doing this – but you have to figure out what that is, and leverage your traffic and audience to help promote your service or product. If you are offering something of good value and is relevant to your audience, they should hopefully embrace it.

    If you don’t treat your blog like a business… it’s just a hobby. 😉

    Hope that makes sense… I love that our convo stuck out in your mind, but I just wanted to clarify the points I was trying to make, as there were several, and they seemed to get blurred a bit. Thanks again for the shout-out!

    • Serendipity Tess

      09.06.2015 at 23:47 Reply

      Hi Ian, wow thank you so much for taking the time and writing all of this.
      Basically what I wanted to say in my point about ‘treating your blog like a business’, is that in order to attract more readers to your blog, the focus needs to shift slightly as to it being, as you said, just about fluffy clouds and rainbows, to fluffy clouds and rainbows with a value to the readers. I didn’t know this before I spoke with you. I treated my blog as a means to inform friends and family back at home about my adventures around the world and the focus was solely to speak about my experiences. Then I realised actually…why don’t I try to make travel blogging work for me on the long-run and I realised after we spoke, and after reading loads of other blogs, that if I wanted to turn my blog into a business, I would need to attract a bigger readership before even thinking about promoting a product. Obviously. But, the first step, and perhaps I’m wrong, is to attract this readership. So…things slowly changed in the way I perceive my blog – but at the moment, as I mentioned, it is still more a hobby than anything else. The aim with this post was to inform newbie bloggers, and those who think of making travel blogging a profession (and to make money out of it eventually), that if your mindset is on ‘treating your blog like a business’ from the start, with the firm intention to make money out of this, that the experience can be less frustrating, if they focused their attention, effort and time on creating content that attracts more readers right away (using WIIFM) as opposed to simply blog in a way that I have done it: to just inform people at home about what stuff I’m up to currently. Treating a blog like a blog is very different to treating it like a business. The intention is a different one. And I noticed that I’m still stuck in subjective blogging mode more often than not, because it is simply more fulfilling for myself in that moment in time. Blogging and documenting my experiences as a way to reflect what I have learnt and how this adventure has transformed me, is what makes me happy. There is no ulterior motive attached to it. And the moment your blog becomes a business, and you blog with WIIFM in mind, your blogging has an ulterior motive: to produce value content to attract more readers, to then use this readership to make money from your blog eventually to then hopefully sell a product…So, yes I understood what you explained – but somehow didn’t manage to put my point across as well as I had hoped. Hey, we’re all still learning LOL. Yes, our conversation really stuck in my head – it made me realise a lot. 🙂 I hope I will get to participate in the RTTC chat sessions again, very soon!

  • Sarah

    09.06.2015 at 23:06 Reply

    I loved your post…. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I have been wanting to throw my MacBook across the room recently 🙂 Happy travels and happy blogging!

    • Serendipity Tess

      09.06.2015 at 23:48 Reply

      Oh yes….I know the feeling. I have it all the time. It can be very frustrating – especially if you are as impatient as me. But, little by little, things will pay off. Eventually. Don’t give up! DON’T GIVE UP! Ok? Happy blogging and traveling to you too!

  • Dannielle Lily

    10.06.2015 at 08:09 Reply

    I absolutely love this post! Really, REALLY wish I had read this before I started. I’ve had my blog for about three years but only started to take it seriously six months ago. You make some VERY valid points – I hate that I can no longer just enjoy adventures without thinking about how I’m going to document them, but I’m passionate about what I do so it kinda balances out.

    I am that 23 year old, fresh out of uni girl you talk about! I’m starting out in a career I really care about (digital marketing) and fortunately this will also give me the skills I need to build my blog. It’s hard trying to actually find the time to see the world too!

    I completely agree about providing value for your readers – the truth is that nobody cares about your travels unless you’re giving them something they can identify with. I try to show my personality in my blog posts now, and on social media. Then again, some of the top bloggers don’t do this, and treat it too much like a business, in my opinion – but then that works for them. It’s so easy to get disheartened when you pour your heart into something and your traffic doesn’t reflect your hard work, so this is a really useful piece for newbies and dab-hands alike!

    • Serendipity Tess

      10.06.2015 at 23:37 Reply

      Hey lovely! Thank you ever so much for the great feedback. YAY! A blog post that is not as silent haha! I’m glad I provided some useful advice for newbie – and not so newbie – bloggers. Yes, it can be very disheartening. I remember having a melt-down somewhere in Goa when I started my trip. I put so much work into this blog and things were just not working. It was very discouraging. But, I remember someone once saying: those moments when you are about to give up, are usually the moments when breakthrough is about to happen. And it’s true. All of a sudden things started to change – slowly but steady. I also learnt to pause and reflect on what is important for me right now – hence why I said that I realised that if I continued the way I did, I would kill the passion I have for travel. So I decided, I was going to do as much as I can, but I came out here to travel and see the world – to fulfil my dream. Was I really going to destroy this? No. I love your blog by the way!! 🙂

  • Marcus Alvarez

    10.06.2015 at 17:42 Reply

    You brought up some good points that actually made me stop blogging while I was traveling.

    I set up my current blog before I moved to Chile, where when I got there I was writing posts every now and then. After some time, I became really close to my host family, teaching English took up a lot of my time, and while I wanted to blog about my experiences and trips, I got away from my blog to better connect with the new people around me. I guess, to your point, I didn’t want to stare at a screen for hours when there were real human interactions that I wanted to experience. Soon, my blog became very silent. I’m realizing now that if travel blogging is something I want to make monetary (which to be honest is secondary to my love for writing), I will have to make a sacrifice to spend my time in front of a screen, building an audience and writing posts instead of maybe grabbing a drink with a cool new friend I met at a hostel.

    Your post has been very insightful to what it actually takes to be a successful travel blogger. Some people may struggle with growing their blog on a daily basis, but it sounds like if you want to be a “successful travel blogger”, you better be ready to put in the time. What would be your advice to people who want to make connections with fellow travelers and experience a new place, but also want to reach thousands of people with their blog and social media?

    Thanks!
    -Marcus

    • Serendipity Tess

      10.06.2015 at 23:47 Reply

      Hi Marcus, thank you so much for commenting – I appreciate it! 🙂 In terms of making money from your blog, I’d suggest you scroll through the comments and read what Ian Ord from ‘Where Sidewalks End’ wrote – he explains it very well what you need to do to make money from your blog. I also really recommend, if you are serious about your blogging and want to turn it into a business, to subscribe to Travel Blog Success (as I mentioned, I haven’t joined yet but I will eventually – it’s just that right now, I want to focus more my traveling than on my blog – next year…we’ll see what happens). As for your question about how to balance the two, having fun and traveling & meeting people, on the one hand, while on the other hand, invest time on your blog: Nothing is to say that you can’t do both. Travel Bloggers don’t spend all their days locked inside solely. But one your blog kicks off, you will inevitably have days where that might happen. With every ‘job’, it’s all about finding a routine that works for you – e.g. establishing a healthy work-life balance. But remember: it is your blog. Your life. You can do with it whatever you want. If you prefer to just blog as a hobby occasionally for now and go out and enjoy yourself – DO IT. But if you are ready to take ‘your blog to the next level’, then start looking into what you need to do to make it happen and go from there. Only you can decide this for yourself. I hope this helps. 🙂

  • Jenia from HTL

    11.06.2015 at 01:50 Reply

    Very nicely written post that feels genuine, unlike so many the “truth about blogging” posts out there. Its kind of funny, but I too had read that blogging would be a huge time commitment, but I was underestimated how much. And all that other sutff from twitter to SEO – oi, that is not just some extras, but serious time and effort as well. But ultimately, you are so right the rewards are rich and so so worth it. Happy travels 🙂

    • Serendipity Tess

      11.06.2015 at 01:31 Reply

      Thank you so much Jenia! Yep…blogging itself is just one aspect. And before you know it, you are working full-time – non-stop – without ever switching off. Let’s all focus on the perks and rewards, shall we? 😉 Happy travels to you too!

  • Marcell Streitmatter

    12.06.2015 at 16:58 Reply

    I really like it when folks come together and share views. Great blog, continue the good work!

  • wanderinjon

    15.06.2015 at 09:02 Reply

    Great post Tess – I am fairly new at blogging and fairly old at traveling hehe. I moved overseas with my folks just before 1yr old, and 48 yrs later still consumed by seeing new places and meeting new people, cultures, and practicing my love of photography. You’ve summed it up perfectly here. It’s not about followarity (just made that up), competition, or who’s got more (of something). The bloggers I’ve met are genuine about who they are and what they share with the community. We love our world and have different approaches to exploring it.

    As for taking up travel blogging just to make money or travel for free… well, as with anything in life, if that’s the reason you are doing it, you will probably not be happy. My coaching to younger people is to find something you love, go ‘all in’, and generally success (of whatever kind you define) will follow. Well done, safe travels.

    • Serendipity Tess

      17.06.2015 at 20:18 Reply

      Hi Jon, thank you for your lovely long comment 🙂 i appreciate it! I agree that success follows if you put your heart into something you love – i also think you have to believe in it too for it to happen. I’m a big believer of the law of attraction. As for the perks of travel blogging: every blogger is different but we all work very hard to keep our blogs running – i don’t think there is anything wrong with occasional ‘freebies’ – as they usually mean more work for us. You don’t get things for free just for the sake of it…well, at least I haven’t experienced it. You get to participate in things for some of your skills in return – if it makes sense. So essentially this is one of the ways of how we ‘get paid’. Travel Blogging comes with long hours and little pay for a very long time. You gotta be super passionate about it (and a little bit mad). You also have to deal with set-backs all the time. But at the end of the day you do what you love and it never really feels like work. That is the beauty of it!

  • Halley Brietzke

    16.06.2015 at 18:27 Reply

    Very insightful! I’m new to travel blogging so this was an interesting article for me. I’m so glad you never let the language barrier stand in your way! Bets wishes!

    • Serendipity Tess

      17.06.2015 at 20:02 Reply

      Hi Halley, thank you for your lovely comment! It can sometimes be challenging to express something in a foreign language which would otherwise be so easy in your own. But you learn so much every day – at some point i hope it will get easier and easier 🙂

  • Betsy Strauss

    16.06.2015 at 23:15 Reply

    I’m not a full on travel blogger, but your information is easily transferable to blogging in general. Thanks for the encouragement and transparency.

    • Serendipity Tess

      17.06.2015 at 19:56 Reply

      Hi Betsy, thank you for popping by and leaving a comment 🙂 i’m glad you found the advice useful 🙂

  • Penny West

    24.06.2015 at 09:25 Reply

    Hey Tess
    I found your post astoundingly insightful. Is it okay to ask how much time you spend each day on your Blogging Business?

    I find it kind of counter intuitive that if we’re traveling so we can enjoy the experience we need to spend a whole lot of time writing about it. But then what are the alternatives to fund this lifestyle? I have so much to learn about travel blogging!

    • Serendipity Tess

      24.06.2015 at 23:58 Reply

      Thank you for your lovely comment 🙂 hmmm…on some days, when i’m not travelling and actually enjoying what I came out to do, I have days where I work 8-10 hours. Sometimes even more. So in essence you do put as many hours in as someone who has a ‘normal’ job. Especially in your first year – if you want to be serious about blogging, this is what you should put in ideally. But I made the decision for myself that it is ok if my blog doesn’t pick up that quickly if it means I actually get to be out travelling more. I’m also different to many bloggers out there in as that I don’t know if I want to continue travelling and make blogging my primary profession or whether I want to do it alongside another job. I guess the first year is there to experiment and see how far you want to take it. But yes – be prepared to put in a lot of hours and being stationary for a lot of the time if you eant to be serious about it and you want success quickly. There are alternative ways to make money on the road: e.g. Freelance writing (check out Craigslist) or maybe do a Virtual Assistant job. Or maybe you even have a job that allows you to take it to the road. Many others re-trained to become graphic designers / website designers to do a job on the road. Fact of the matter is, in regards to blogging: it takes consistency and patience and a lot of perserverance until you see results. But everything you put your heart into pays off eventually. I hope this helped and didn’t discourage you too much 🙁 just prefer to be honest as opposed to sugar-coating things…

      If you have any more questions, feel free to shoot me an e-mail too 🙂

  • Stephanie

    27.06.2015 at 01:18 Reply

    I’ve been traveling for awhile and I set up my blog a year ago. When I first set it up, I had already had a side blog when I was really busy traveling. And of course, being super busy on the road doesn’t exactly give you a ton of devoted time to create a great blog if you don’t already know much about setting up a self-hosted site, etc.. It was purely just for keeping my family informed and writing about things on the road. I think like 10 people read it.

    When I thought of my new blog name and an angle for the content, I made the decision from the start to treat it like a business because it felt like I had something of value to share. As much as I love writing and sharing, it truly is a business devotion. I joined Travel Blog Success too. It was useful and pretty much essential to running a profitable blog. Things like the realm of internet marketing techniques is essential to any success over time for any blog, especially in the travel industry. The more I learn, the more I understand why blogs like Nomadic Matt or Legal Nomads are at the top. They’re a brilliant strategized orchestration and they don’t forget to have fun along the way.
    Stephanie recently posted…Reverse Culture Shock: How to DealMy Profile

    • Serendipity Tess

      27.06.2015 at 03:25 Reply

      Hi Stephanie, thank you so much for taking your time to respond. 🙂 i actually just had a quick look at your website and omg…it’s so beautiful. Different. Refreshing. And i love the strong focus on photography! Can’t wait to read your posts – i think i can learn a lot from you!

      I think you are absolutely right and i’m still struggling with the aspect of dedicating my whole life to travel blogging – not because I don’t like it – just because I’m at a phase of my life where a lot of question marks are popping up in many different aspects. It’s like…i have so much to think about…i kind of want to use travelling to answer these questions and dedicate a lot of time for personal development. I need a lot of time to focus on myself and i noticed the more i focus on my blog the less i can do that. But in all honesty, i’m treating it like a business already and am super devoted to it. I just know that to be bigger & better, i need to take the final plunge, join Travel Success, amongst other things, and just GO for it. But right now: Yoga retreat & Vipassana. Photographing Central- and Southamerica. And finding some answers.

      As for the business aspect: i guess i feared for a long time that turning it into a business would mean i have to oblige to certain rules, to produce a one-fits-all – to comply with whatever the industry dictates. I feared individuality and a project i love because it represents me would turn into something commercial with no heart & soul. But I see now that I can still be me – i’m just learning to get the best out of me there possibly is 🙂

  • Dan Vineberg

    04.07.2015 at 21:45 Reply

    Great post with a balanced perspective. It’s so easy to over-think the nitty gritty of travel blogging and forget what got you into it in the first place – the travel, and the desire to share that experience with the world!

    • Serendipity Tess

      04.07.2015 at 22:10 Reply

      Hey Dan, yes, if you no longer enjoy travelling…then what is the point? On the other hand, to be a successful travel blogger, the nitty gritty is hugely important. But only if that is in line with the goals you have. If you just want to blog just for fun, and really thoroughly enjoy the experience of travelling, then that is great too. The moment you want to travel for longer and don’t want to run out of cash, I guess, is the moment when you decide for yourself if you want to turn your blog into a business. Happy Travels 🙂

  • hannah galpin

    04.07.2015 at 21:48 Reply

    Definitely agree with all of this!
    I have found a definite shift in my content, when I realized that I myself as a reader wasn’t overly interested in reading somebody’s long-winded account of their day, more that I wanted to take something interesting or inspiring or useful from what I was reading. Although of course sharing stories and destinations is the major basis of a good and informative travel blog!
    And yes yes yes, to always having your blog on your mind! I find myself using my off-time or relaxation time just working on it, and never giving myself time to actually do stuff to write about aha
    All about balance but as you say, sticking at it and developing routine!
    🙂

    • Serendipity Tess

      04.07.2015 at 22:12 Reply

      Oh…the word ‘routine’ gives me goosebumps! And here we thought that travelling was all about relaxing and enjoying oneself haha 🙂 Blogging can be hugely rewarding though. But if you’re not careful it can really consume you – i really don’t like this aspect of it – I must admit. This is why I decided to enjoy my travelling a while longer before I turn this baby into a full-time job. For now: it’s me and the world 🙂 Happy Travels 🙂

  • CeecesTravel

    04.07.2015 at 22:43 Reply

    Wow. I don’t even know where to start.

    I am just so in love with this post. I am a Travel Blogger myself, well at least that’s how it started. Now I am doing tours, writing freelance articles, reviewing products, and managing other peoples social media? It’s much like you say, it starts as one things but transforms into many other.

    I have been “blogging” since I could read and write, recently though I realized one could upload he’s or her thoughts onto the world wide web and engage with others who have the same passions. My passions being the reason I turned my “diary” into an online platform.

    Travel, Photography and Writing. Boom there they were all incorporated in the same project and to add to the bonus, I got to use my over rated 12 year hospitality, events and hotel career on the business end of things right? Right?

    Until 2 weekends ago when my laptop crashed in the midst of this pandominum.
    There is nothing like NOT being online to kill a Travel Blogger. My site did fine, my followers kept following and people on social media missed me. But behind the screen, I had companies furiously reminding me of deadlines and relationships, falling apart that id just secured. Everyone’s project/campaign/review was more important than the other.

    Eventually I just stopped. I needed to touch base. I sought out someone to fix my laptop and left it at that. Running to the internet cafe daily was over my budget and quite frankly it was time I re-grew my spine. I sent out a standard email to everyone in my contact list informing them of the laptop crash and delay and then told rather than asked everyone when I would be back. On my terms in my time.

    Most would think that a career killer. Lo and behold I found people actually had more respect for me, and most actually apologized in their emails for being so selfish in regards to what essentially is my space. I often talk about NOT letting anyone but yourself dictate and direct your Blog or Website. I missed a few steps in that rule book and it almost cost me something I have spent months on building up because I was allowing myself to burn out.

    My laptop still has issues, but this weekend, I spent getting out the urgent stuff and simply not taking on any more. I have spent most of the weekend in my pjs, and enjoyed a few glasses of wine, while watching the most ridiculous things on the telly. In my mind I didnt give up, I simply am touching base, with myself.

    I love this post for so many reasons, you have been so honest about so much. I am 100% on board with your “leaving the riles at the door concept. If I had followed every little piece of “blogger” advice people assumed Id wanted thrown at me, id be dead in the water by now. I knew and I know that my page/site has to be about me, and its not going to work any other way because I could never be as passionate about growing some one else future and brand than I am about my own. This I guess is my pat on the shoulder moment. I don’t even own a smart phone. I haven’t for most of the year, yet here I am at the same events, being invited to do hotel reviews, having just as much if not more one on one interaction with my followers, and I know its pretty much down to passion and character. I don’t have the digital tools to offset that at the moment.

    Thank you so much for writing this piece. In a time of much frustration and confliction you have reminded me to just breathe, take a step back and not forget why we started doing what we do in the first place.

    #LoveAndTravelHugs©
    Cee

    • Serendipity Tess

      05.07.2015 at 00:43 Reply

      Hi Cee, I really just want to hug you right now 🙂 It’s days like this when I get such lovely comments (thank you for taking the time to write such a long and lovely note on this post) that I’m reminded of the lovely blogger community out there and how nice it is to link up with like-minded people like you! I’m glad that you enjoyed the post – i really poured my heart into this and i really doubted whether I should click on the ‘publish’ button. Would I be too honest with what I’m writing? And you know what? I had a ball writing it. It felt real and genuine and well…you’ll always piss some people off no matter what you do. It’s important to me to stay genuine with everything I write about because I want the blog to be about what I have to say – not what others expect me to. Sure, you gotta tweak things and produce content that is actually of value – but I don’t want to lose my voice in the process. Good on you to squeeze in those much needed ‘pyjama and wine’ days. And you know what? it is ok to disconnect for a while. In fact, this is exactly what I am going to do in two weeks. I’ll be off to a Yoga retreat where there is no Internet connection. And I’m looking forward to it. To just unwind. Relax. And switch off from my blog for just a few days. If you loose who you are while doing what you love…it’s time to take a step back, like you say, and just BE.

      I wish you all the best – and i really think your blog is awesome! Keep doing what you do! As i said: there is space for all of us! You rock! 🙂

  • Morgan Sullivan

    05.07.2015 at 01:22 Reply

    Hey Tess! I absolutely loved this post. Found myself nodding in agreement throughout the whole thing 🙂 As someone who is coming up on the end of my first year of blogging, and considering the future of my site and how to proceed – this really resonated with. It’s nice to hear that someone has similar thoughts to my own! Keep up the great work!
    Cheers! Morgan S.

    • Serendipity Tess

      05.07.2015 at 01:46 Reply

      Hi Morgan 🙂 thank you for popping by and leaving a comment! I really appreciate it! I think we all were once in the same boat. Well…no…there are the ones who KNOW with certainty that they want to evolve from being a travel blogger to a digital nomad. I’m not so certain. And the next few months will reveal what I feel about it. It’ll come to me – of that I am sure. I saw you also posted a Hanoi vs. Saigon post 🙂 Here is mine: http://www.alifefullofserendipity.com/my-budapest-of-asia/ I’m definitely a Hanoi girl 🙂 Good luck with your upcoming plans – whatever they may be 🙂

  • Kayleigh Mcallister

    01.02.2016 at 22:20 Reply

    This is exactly how we feel most of the time!

    Great blog!

    Kayleigh @OneWayOneWorld

    • Serendipity Tess

      02.02.2016 at 15:36 Reply

      Thanks Kayleigh for popping by. LOL. Yep…Travel Blogging…it can be a challenge at times – but it is very rewarding too.

Post a Comment

CommentLuv badge