It’s been a year and change since I started this wonderful journey into the, to me back then unknown world of Travel Blogging. Of course I did the necessary research before hitting “Publish” on my very first blog post on that faithful day in June of last year. Google became my best friend in those days and my reason, or reasons for starting the blog were all very well documented in my early blog posts.
Now, a year later and a self proclaimed travel blogger I wonder if I would have taken the decisions I took a year ago. You see, the number one thing everyone who is not a travel blogger thinks, is that it must be quite glamorous and easy. Must be nice, being able to travel around and stay in nice places. Truth be told, while it certainly is, there is also a whole different side to all of this perceived “glamour”. I haven’t even traveled that much since I declared to the world that I was going to be a travel blogger. Fact is I used to travel much more in my pre-blogging days. How was I supposed to know I was going to hit a financial low just at the time of my declaration of love for blogging and traveling?
I got asked by a follower on social media a few days ago how she should go about starting her own travel blog and that got me thinking: I might as well tell the world, or at least my readers about the truth behind travel blogging. Even though this subject has been covered by many travel bloggers before me, I am now about to tell you my version, based on my experiences.
5 things I wish someone had told me about Travel Blogging
- It’s hard work
Sure it looks pretty in pictures, and my life must seem so wonderful when you see the pictures of me lying by the pool, soaking in some sun at the wonderful villa or hotel I happen to be staying at. What you don’t know is that I actually only spent perhaps a total of 5 minutes relaxing by that pool and only for the sake of the necessary photos. At least that is what it’s like when I’m on an assignment. It’s very far from a vacation and I spend most of my time at a destination taking notes and editing pictures.I put in a lot of thought into each photo I take. The goal here is to create a bit of travel envy. How else am I going to get you to want to take this trip yourself? The whole point of travel blogging is to get YOU to go and experience what I just did.
- It’s expensive
Yes, the blog itself is free to start and all you need in the beginning is time to write, a phone with a great camera and a couple of social media channels to promote your blog. But if you are really serious about this little hobby one must invest in good gear. Since those early days I have now invested in a paid template for my blog, my own domain, a GoPro, camera accessories and a lot of my free time, not to mention that I pay for these dream trips out of my own pocket. Something I hope will change soon. Dollars earned so far with blogging: ZERO.
- It’s time consuming
So you already read above that it takes a lot of time. How time consuming is it? Behind every single photo posted on social media, dozens were taken before the right one was chosen. Every blog post takes about 10 hours to write and edit before it is finally published, and not to mention that the many pictures taken during the trip need to be sorted, edited and finally uploaded to go with the story. A slow internet connection only adds to the frustration.
- it definitely does not make you rich
Unfortunately a very select few get paid to travel the world and fewer still get to financially benefit from it. If you are thinking of joining this very competitive and cutthroat world of blogging, just remember my number one advise: Don’t quit your day job.
- It’s a dog eat dog world
Everyone is a blogger nowadays. It is the easiest thing to set up and the numbers prove this to be correct. Just think that a new blog is started every few minutes. Some blogs stick around while most perish quickly after. It is also the “career” of choice for most twenty-somethings nowadays, and here I am, well into my forties trying to get other 35+ year olds to read my blog or at least follow me on Instagram. Some in my age group don’t even have social media accounts to begin with. The struggle is definitely real and on top of it all, of all the types of blogs out there Travel seems to be the one most people want to get into. It’s not surprising, the appeal is definitely there and many, including myself were led to believe that we can just quit our jobs and make it by blogging about our escapes around the world. If only things were so simple. Besides, being 40+ I seek comfort and luxury (Yes, I said it) rather than slumping it in a shady hostel in some 3rd world country. I think I have owned my right to travel well or not travel at all, and I dare say, so do my readers.
The point of this story is definitely not for you to think of me as the “poor little travel blogger”. I truly enjoy this hobby and work damn hard to get to what I dream of it becoming one day. Getting those in my age group to drop their responsibilities for at least a week and go let their hair down on a trip of a lifetime, and to ravel as much as possible is what I strive to achieve. I want to share my love for the island life with everyone that would take the time to read about it and hopefully put the Caribbean in the spotlight it so rightfully deserves.
No, I don’t consider myself lucky. I am a hard working travel blogger out there to make a difference, selfie stick in hand. My hope is to inspire and motivate YOU to go out there and explore the world. In the meantime I’ll get back to washing glasses behind the bar and checking in guests at the hostel, while dreaming of my next exotic destination.
Always Live, Laugh and Tavel.
<3 Riselle a.k.a. The Traveling Island Girl