How I Feel About Travel Blogging These Days

It doesn’t take one with a keen eye to notice that things have been quiet on my blog.  There is no solid explanation for why except for that I have been working on side projects and enjoying my summer.  Or suffering a mental block because of the heat- those in Europe without air conditioning in their home can sympathize.  But just because my blogging has been slow does not mean that my email has gone quiet.  I still receive the same influx of emails asking about Norway (are there seriously hundreds of you looking to move there daily?), Abkhazia, and why I hated Astana, Kazakhstan so much.  Lately, I have been receiving another type of email that I don’t typically receive in high volume.  That email has been asking me if I quit blogging or why I am not consistent or active.

At first, I just deleted the emails thinking I don’t really owe anyone an explanation.  Especially those who are frequent and regular readers.  Anyone who has read my blog for any amount of time knows that I blog as a hobby and refuse all potential income sources from it.  After the emails continued to pour in, I thought I’d take the time to answer those emails here- in my first blog post in nearly two months.  I can’t believe I am writing a blog post about travel blogging.  Oh, wait- most travel bloggers out there actually do this on a regular basis.

Truth be told, I read about three travel blogs regularly.  Yep, three.  I read some blogs in other areas on occasion when I’m bored too.  Those three travel blogs I read religiously don’t post religiously.  They post when they have something to say that adds value to the internet.  They don’t post to appease other travel bloggers.  They don’t post to collect comments from other travel bloggers, but rather to collect comments from travelers who find their blog posts helpful on an upcoming trip.  These comments later create a discussion forum and people can feed off of it or add their own insight on a destination or topic.  This isn’t saying those bloggers writing posts for other travel bloggers are wrong.  Not at all.  That is the great thing about the internet.  I just don’t tune in to read their posts about the prettiest canals in Amsterdam or what to do in New York City that each has seventy-five comments, all of which are from other bloggers.  I also cannot possibly read one more post on how safe it is to travel as a solo female here in 2015.  I just find it so very 2011.

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 back when Twitter’s purpose wasn’t to retweet crap you didn’t read… and when I used Firefox (oy!)

Another confession is that I find the travel blogging community these days to be mentally exhausting and somewhat desperate.  I love interacting with other bloggers (from a distance- you won’t ever find me paying to go to conferences) and digital nomads on the road and feeding ideas off of each other.  I also use blogs when I travel much of the time.  But that same community makes me hate travel blogging.  Not everyone, just the vast majority of them.  It’s those Facebook groups.  The Instagram bullshit.  The Twitter posts.  It truthfully makes me cringe.  And by Facebook groups, I mean the groups that make you put together a tweet for 200 others to tweet throughout the week.  Or going through and liking the top five commenters latest Facebook blog post.  What the hell is up with that?  On Twitter, many accounts I used to follow only retweet shit from those Facebook groups.  They can’t possibly read the material they are tweeting.  What is the purpose in tweeting posts and articles you’ve never read?  I blame these Facebook groups for this nonsense idea.  Oh, and travel bloggers on Instagram?  There seems to be this fun game many play where they like a thousand accounts one day and unfollow the next if you don’t follow back.  I’ve gotten to the point where I notice the specific accounts doing it (because it is constant) and I intentionally block them so that their app that tells them who has unfollowed and followed them can directly inform them that I have blocked them.  I even called out a travel blogger recently on their Instagram for it as they had followed and unfollowed me four times in one week.  Others tagged on and agreed with me only for him to delete all of the comments upon reading them.  I’ve come close to making my account on Instagram private for these reasons alone but figured I shouldn’t have to change the way I do things to accommodate those who technically violate Instagram’s terms of service.  Now, I block at least five travel bloggers a day on the app.  Sorry if you’ve been one of them.  I prefer to keep those Russian sexbots as my followers because I know that Instagram will delete them in a matter of days, anyway.

It’s amazing how a community you’re not really that interested in can still impact your motivation to write.  I am trying to find a balance with it all at the moment because I truly enjoy writing.  But I genuinely can’t stand being lumped into a community that partakes in ridiculous constant press-trips and blogs about how to do the destination on a budget.  I also can’t stand much of what I mentioned in the paragraph above.  It’s not right or wrong, it’s just my opinion.  I’m not great at grammar or telling a story a lot of the time.  And I sure as hell don’t take award-winning photos.  But I do love sharing my experiences or helping people learn about a city that they may not have heard of otherwise.  Nothing excites me more than when I look at how people find my blog, which I do about once a week, and discover that people are searching for the best way to get from Tartu, Estonia to Riga, Latvia and they found my post.  Or when someone sends me an email saying they are planning a trip to hike Hardangervidda in Norway because of my blog post.  I’ll always have this blog here for those days that I do feel inspired to write.  I may go months without writing.  Or I may write every day for a month solid (slim chance but weirder things have happened).

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 just a photo of a longtail to break up the monotony of too many paragraphs…

Anyways, I will be writing when I have something to say or value to add.  I promise.  I’m thankful that many people wondered if I was dead or fell off the face of the planet.  That means that someone is reading this nonsense and actually cares about my well-being.  But I also have a pretty good life here in Germany at the moment and if I have to choose between writing on this blog or playing with my dog and/or having a drink with my friends in the city, I will choose them every time overwriting stuff on here.  I love to cook (those following me on Instagram know this), watch sports, do yoga, drink craft beer, among many other things… and traveling is not my only passion.  And while I think there is nothing greater in the world than traveling and getting to see something with your own eyes, I also feel sorry for those that let ‘traveler’ be the one word that defines them.  I’ll never be that person no matter how much guilt the travel blogging community implores on me.  I’ll also never book a trip only so I can discuss it later on my blog.

I always said I’d never write a post like this, but I was apparently not telling the truth.  And I will probably piss off a couple of people in the process.  This post is just to generate an understanding to those that read this blog or those who have emailed me in recent weeks.  Thanks for your readership and interaction!  I appreciate every one of you regardless of whether you found me on Google search or whether you are a travel blogger yourself.  This post in no way discredits the travel bloggers out there writing good content and managing a wonderful travel community.  There are many of them and they do a terrific job at what they do, even if I don’t see myself ever doing the same.

PS:  I don’t have time to proofread this before posting and the grammar and spelling will undoubtedly be especially atrocious on this one.  My apologies.

Comments (32)

Ahhhhh yes! You have no idea how much this post resonates with my current state of mind. I came on this trip thinking I wanted to become a full time blogger and then realized I didn’t want to play the stupid RT game and follow-unfollow and write inane BS just to have content every week at a certain time. Not that all bloggers do this, but it seemed to be the way a lot of people were. Also, I had a week without internet at the beach in southern Italy and realized how nice it was to travel for myself and not for my blog. I’ve decided to find a real job and focus on life, not blogging. Like you said drinks with friends will always come first. The way it should be!

<3 thanks amanda! i thought id have some hateful comments coming my way so it’s nice to see the first as being one of understanding (and sympathizing! haha) im right with you. i actually deleted my personal facebook account recently for the month for a break. turns out facebook reactivates it within 7 days if you don’t uncheck some box, but i redeleted again. it is the most refreshing month ive had in AGES. while it is nice to not read anti american status updates from all my british friends, it is mostly nice to see less blog updates from people, etc on there. it makes me realize how much of the real world i miss when sitting inside stressing about writing on my blog. i agree with you 100% about the finding a job thing. travel blogging or traveling full time is certainly not the career for everyone (not me in the slightest!) good luck and hope to see you maybe next thursday ;)

Alex, Speaking Denglish

I want to know the three travel blogs you DO read!

I understand you frustration, but I also understand how tempting it is to seize this paid opportunities to do something you love. I think it does compromise some bloggers in the process and that’s a shame, but I think there are luckily those, in your case 3, people that can manage to properly keep it real in the process.

definitely agree! i guess the problem i have with it is the ethics behind it. but to each their own :) i just choose not to read the ones that play games- that’s the beauty of the internet!

i read some expat blogs too :)

I like your honesty. As a new blogger, I haven’t really encountered/noticed much of what you’ve mentioned, but I can certainly understand where you’re coming from. It is difficult to be unaffected by the world/community around us, so at least I hope you know there are people (some who are virtual strangers, like me) who support your views and appreciate your writing (whenever you feel like it)!

thanks for your comment sharon! yea it is something i think i only notice because ive been at this blogging thing for a while! it is amazing how things can change so quickly. some for the better and some for the worse of course! thanks so much for reading <3 it means the world!!!

Do what makes you happy – it’s so easy in this internet age to get burnout especially when you run a site for a long time. And who needs ridiculous drama? I’m not a travel blogger, just someone who found your blog when searching out stuff about Norway travel. And I read your blog because I enjoy it. (And I just got back from Norway, so thanks for a useful site!) You’re on my RSS feed so I’ll see when you post new stuff whenever that may be. Life is too short to feel so beholden to some made-up rules about how you should or shouldn’t be running your internet life. :-)

thanks maggie!!! that is super cool that you found me when searching for things about norway and still read <3 i love connecting with everyone, not just travel bloggers on here, and i actually have been LOVING your instagram photos lately- especially the one of the church in alta. i missed the north of norway when living there (except svalbard) so i had to live vicariously through those photos of yours!!!! it looks like your trip was amazing! thanks for your comment and let me know if you ever wind up in frankfurt, germany!

I read quite a bit of your older entries after finding your blog actually – you’ve been to some really interesting places! It’s nice to live vicariously, and to get ideas for future travel! :-) And thank you! It was very cool getting to see northern Norway. I have friends that live in Alta, so it was really nice finally getting to see their hometown. They’re in a band and were gigging up in Hammerfest and Berlevåg – so it was a really special and non-touristy experience getting to travel with them. It was also incredibly beautiful and has a lot of character up there. The funny thing was that while we were in Berlevåg I actually thought it was the kind of place you’d find appealing. I really dug it.

I flew through Frankfort! But we didn’t have time to stay. I will definitely let you know next time – we love Germany and would like to go back. :-)

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