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)

Thanks so much for putting into words how so many people feel, Megan. I have been writing for myself for ages, and have only put those words online recently – and have encountered so many of the things you talk about here. The political games, cliques, and unspoken rules of sharing/liking/etc. are all so mind boggling and counterproductive. I thought blogging was supposed to be about creating unique content? And while there are a great number of blogs out there that are businesses and creating great content, there are twenty for every one of those whose POV is stale, repetitive, or just plain uninteresting. I got into blogging because I thought it was about writing and sharing information, not about tallying followers and friends on facebook. Your post kind of validates a lot of how I’ve felt as a super green newbie in the game.

There are very few blogs like yours that remove the complicated money element from the equation – that is what makes yours so great, the absolute certainty of objectivity. I never question your opinions because you don’t have someone paying you to write them. For bloggers like you, and what I aspire to, this is the truest form – isn’t it? It’s not about the free trips, it’s about a passion you have for traveling and experiencing new places, and then sharing those experiences with keen readers.

Anyway, I’m at my real job at the moment, and just wanted to say thanks for the post, and thanks for doing what you do – your blog has been no small inspiration for my blogging style as well as my travels. :) Stay real!

The Guy Who Flies

Megan,

I think the fact that so many readers have got in touch to check in on you and look for updates is a massive credit to you and a testimony to the community you have built.

You were blogging before I started and I could tell straight away from your site that you had an honest, clear approach to this online world which was unique and sincere. You have never changed your ways and that is why you are so good at what you do.

I like to think of you as an online friend (I hope I am) so to know you are contented and enjoying life in Germany is what I need to know. Yes I relish your updates but don’t always have enough time to read them all. But I always remember you and your blog.

You have a karma about blogging and where you are in the scheme of things. Nothing else matters.

Stay true to yourself and us and we’ll always be there for you. Likewise, you for us.

:-)

There are a lot of smart observations here. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your voice. I hope and pray your post is a change agent; and that both travel bloggers and general travelers find increased authenticity and flourishing as a result. Blessings.

Well, I’m glad you’re not dead! I’ve always enjoyed reading your blog.

Lately I’ve been posting consistently because I have like all of the time on my hands right now, but I totally get when people just don’t do that. I prefer it, actually. (Does that make me a total hypocrite?) I prefer blogs that are real and honest and not doing it for any ridiculous reasons. I like your blog for all of those reasons.

And this is why your site is one of the few travel blogs that I do read. Exactly.

thanks jen :) that means a lot! knowing that people still read the stuff i write is sometimes one of the only motivators i have to write. which is such a relaxing and therapeutic thing for me!

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