I’m a big fan of “web surfing” through Reddit. I like going to Reddit to answer anything I need further clarifications on, but I come across so many Reddit posts there with people looking into getting into blogging. I have many people personally DM me about questions about getting into travel blogging too. I love to tell them what I think, but if you’re looking for a quick snapshot of what blogging really feels like, read on.
Blogging usually gets the reputation for being a dream job for many and that it is glamorous. Especially if it’s a travel blog like mine, but this will apply to all kinds of blogging. I will however write this from a travel blogging perspective too since that’s my niche.
It’s really nice to be able to travel when you want and cover places where you go, right? It is nice, but it isn’t glamorous most of the time, truthfully.
It is a lot of hard work from beginning to end of being able to blog for this industry. I was not aware of how much work it’d be when I first began this because I did not have intentions of carrying it on as a business, but it just so happened over time and here I am, still going for it. I created my blog because I actually really loved writing and writing constantly was a big part of my chosen field in marketing, and I loved taking photos. It became a hobby and an obsession to nurture my skills.
I want to touch on a few things I recognized from blogging and really show you what the reality of it is without painting a rosy picture of it or through rose-tinted glasses. Behind those beautiful pictures and the sense that these people (bloggers) are living a “perfect” life, I think there are a lot more struggles that happen behind the scenes, which is almost never shown through our work or social media presence because we’re just good at curating.
You live a specific lifestyle, and there’s some complications of this lifestyle.
Travel bloggers do have to tailor their life to have the ability to do their work, so having to go out and travel is a priority. I have to say, it is a privilege to be able to have the time to go out and explore new (or old) places. I know for people who aren’t travel blogging, they may feel their PTO days are very limited or they have other huge responsibilities to take care of, such as parenting or running a business that requires every hour of theirs.
Not to say you can’t do both, because I am a believer you can try to attain any goal to be whoever you want to be, but travel bloggers know where to place their priorities and how they want to achieve certain things before they move onto different avenues. For example, if hypothetically I had just met the love of my life last year, got married, and started a family right away, I don’t think I would’ve been able to produce as much work at the time (45 blog posts within the year of 2021) if that had happened and I would’ve definitely taken a long hiatus on that. I guess I’m fine that I’ve been single to spend a lot of time reflecting on how I want my life to look like and how I want to work towards that.
I recognized that freelancing was a good direction to take while trying to go out there to produce more travel content. However, becoming a freelancer did not happen overnight nor is it a stable work gig (I have no benefits as a freelancer and pay for my own health insurance and I’m unsure if I want to continue this route *quarter-life crisis hitting me again!*).
Thing is I worked so many roles during college to even be close to having achieved some independence so I can work remotely or take as many days off to go work on this endeavor of travel blogging. Over the last few years, none of it came easy. I’ve cried in between through the frustrations of how I wasn’t on just this one path as many people I personally know in person, but you know, comparisons will let you down, so don’t let that affect you so much and just embrace your own uniqueness!
I’m aware that exploring the outdoors, driving to places, and (sometimes) flying away will probably always be part of my life. What I am assured of is that I just love spending as much time outdoors as I can on the weekends if it’s available for my energy and time and being a weekend warrior provides me the choice to create new content. When you love something so much, it starts to become your mission and it starts to be something you naturally dive into. However, those interests can take away from being able to spend time with friends who don’t enjoy the same stuff as much or may just not have the privilege or time to do so.
There’s also a bit of a pressure that comes with this lifestyle too, and that is that I feel like I have to bring my camera everywhere to document what I’m seeing. To the people you’re with, I sense it can get annoying but I just know that I have purpose for these pictures and videos to make my content.
It’s easy for your life and work to get blurred together, but I always try to knock myself out of these moments and just enjoy it after putting down my camera quickly.
You make sacrifices constantly.
With the lifestyle I mentioned above, you are going to make sacrifices. I highlight in this blog post what some of those sacrifices are. I sacrifice getting a lot of materialistic things so I can simply save for my next adventure and I guess it’s easy for me because I don’t care for the latest greatest technology, to get my nails done with beautiful tips from the salon, to always buy new things, and to splurge on food in boujee restaurants. I will wait each holiday for my family members to just give me things I would’ve never thought about buying for myself.
Having experiences is more desirable for me and I know the outcome of it will be life-changing, beautiful, and it’ll help connect me with my child-like curiosities. You’ll probably have to sacrifice some time doing other things so you can stay in and work on content for long hours. I can say, I’ve had nights where I stayed up just to finish or edit a blog post and we know how unhealthy that is for your health to get out of your routine of a bed-time.
Depending on your industry, it can be very saturated nowadays.
If you aren’t on Instagram or TikTok, you may not see just how much travel-filled content there really is out there. As someone who also creates travel content, it can be discouraging to see what kind of competition you have against you. It’s easy to compare yourself to others. You may also feel like other bloggers have a lot more engaging audiences than you do (because they weren’t as lazy to put in that work) and that they can travel more often than you can. And then, you remind yourself again that just because they have a high engagement on social media does not mean they translate to readers.
If you haven’t started a blog and are contemplating on it, you may feel like you don’t know what kind of value you can provide looking at how saturated your chosen industry is, but honestly, every blogger has something valuable to offer – you just have to have confidence on that and have an active role in continuing your work.
I also think that I don’t really think many people have their favorite bloggers anymore (until I look back at how many people actually returned to my site the next month through my analytics)… I think people are just reading what they can from Google and just stay on that blog post for a few minutes to answer their questions. Sadly. So, your branding is important these days so you can try to stick out from the rest.
You will get writing and content fatigue.
Not going to lie, as I’m writing this, my fingers feel already very tired of typing hah. Writing and content fatigue does not just stop there. You will have many days where you will feel blank about what to write, even though you have a clear picture of what it’ll be about. You’ll experience times of not creating anything or editing something. You will get burnt the heck out.
I know for me, I am SO behind in editing YouTube videos that’s on my to-do list and I have SO many video clips to put together into a video. I am still determined, but it can feel like a hassle. Maybe, it’s hard to get motivation going when you know you don’t get monetized on YouTube but know that it’s a strategy to help out your audience. I will talk more about this in the next point.
It can get very tiring to have to do marketing aside from just producing blog posts, especially if you’re a one-woman or one-man team! I get tired after just putting together a reel and slicing up the videos. I am a chronically ill person, but I was like this even before. Can you imagine what other energy you can give after working long hours at your regular job?
You’ll work hard for things not guaranteed.
This is probably the biggest downside to blogging. I wish more bloggers could touch upon the reality of this. You may feel like after writing a wonderful worded and informative blog post, your blog post will automatically get read by a lot of people, but in the past when I began this site, I had little to no readers and a lot of my work is still dug into the back.
I try to promote it to Pinterest and other social media sites, but there’s no guarantee a lot of people will want to read it and there’s also NO GUARANTEES it will rank on Google. Even after doing plenty of research for the topic and formatting your blog posts professionally to make it on search engines, you may find that it still hasn’t made it and even if it does, it could take many months to years later to get to that point.
We all know too that traveling is very costly, and you need to know that you’re investing on experiences that may or may not have return on investment through your work. However, I’m a believer you can always continue to repurpose and reshift your marketing strategies to make it worth it, but it can be hard to see the picture of that when there’s nothing happening in the beginning.
The income is never consistent monthly.
Yep, blogging is not a ticket to have consistent money that will always be the same amount. It is not the same as a salary if you worked a full-time job. I get paid through my ads on my site, affiliate marketing, and sometimes sponsorships (not as much). They never equally come out the same month-to-month and that can be hard for some. I feel like to make up for the income I did not hit, I balance it out by working on other unrelated things that can help me pay for my bills.
And there we have it on why I think blogging is not a glamorous job to have. It is more struggles than it is rainbows and unicorns. At the end of the day, I still think blogging is worth it because I feel like it touches my soul when someone across the country whom I never even met in person will come across my words and then feel inspired to plan their own next trip or even inspired by these words to motivate them to blog if they haven’t created one.
Blogging is and will be my dream job, no matter what other roles I get into with my chosen field after studying in college. You don’t need a college degree for this too! I’ve met so many wonderful inspiring people in the blogging community and I’ve looked up to bloggers since I came across my favorite blogger (Carly) when I was a sophomore in high school, who has rebranded and changed some of her style in blogging over time but still came out successful many, many years later.
Because of blogging, I’ve really worked on my confidence more than I could’ve imagined. I’ve gotten more inspired of what I want to learn about in life and I’ve become better at picking up information and self-educating myself about everything I want out of this world. I’ve continued to make my creativity become my purpose in happiness.