confessions of a travel blogger
Confessions of a travel blogger,  Sunday social travel talk

6 Things I stopped doing after two years as a travel blogger

Hello Sunday, you’re my favorite day of the week, you know that? OK, well only if I don’t have to work that is. It’s the day I sleep in a bit, go outside for some kind of outdoor activity and publish the Sunday Social Travel Talk. In case you haven’t been here before on Sunday, that is when I talk about anything travel related but not necessarily about destinations. Every now and then, I write a new episode of Confessions of a Travel Blogger, where I like to share my opinion about the bloggersworld, make a fool of myself by confessing embarrassing stuff or try to help other bloggers in any way I can. Today, just a couple of days before we’re heading off to Tasmania, I felt like doing another confessions. Here are 6 things I stopped doing since I became a travel blogger:
 

1. Being nice to everyone

I used to be that girl that wanted to be liked by everyone. Not just my family and friends, but I also wanted to be liked by colleagues, clients, neighbors, people at the gym, you name it, I wanted them to like me. So I used to be the kind person, the one who always tries to find solution when things don’t work out or would always eventually give in when negotiating. The one always trying to please everyone and be kind to anyone because “you never know when being unkind backfires at you.” But you know what? I gave up! After two years, I’m tired of being kind. I’ve had people walking over me like I’m some kind of living room carpet but I refuse to be that person any longer. In this world (the world of bloggers, and more particularly travel bloggers), if you don’t stand up for yourself, people will take advantage of you, use you and screw you over. Just to make themselves better. I’ve had enough of that. Being nice to everyone has brought me to where I am now but it could have been better. I wasted a lot of my time on the wrong people and/or the wrong companies. I’ve learned from my mistakes. I will be nice to you, but only if you are nice to me too, for the right reasons!
 

2. Watching tv

OK now I’ve never really been a tv junkie but I basically completely ditched watching television since a while. The only thing I still watch every now and then is The Big Bang Theory, just because I think Sheldon Cooper is an amazing character. However, they are playing reruns most of the time so no need to stay home for that. Plus we’ll occasionally watch an episode of Homeland (my favorite!), The Walking Dead (gross!) or Breaking Bad (stuck in season 2 still) but we have those on our system so can watch them whenever we want. Thing is, I don’t really mind watching tv, but it makes me really tired. If I don’t use my brains (because in all honesty, most tv shows these days don’t really ask for much brain activity) I get tired and I fall asleep. A typical Friday night in the We12travel Headquarters would be doing groceries for the weekend, hang out on the couch and me falling asleep while Martijn is watching a movie. But instead if I log on to my Macbook, I stay focused and awake. I still prefer to go out on Friday nights though, but with most of my friends having babies and all, there’s not much evening activity going on anymore these days …
 

3. Caring about my looks

OK this might be a little awkward but I’ve reached a point in my life, where I can’t really be bothered anymore about the way I look. In some ways that is. I gave up the hope that I’m ever going to be ultra-skinny, long-legged, tanned and good-looking. Did you follow the whole socality Barbie hype that was going on at Instagram this summer? I loved it! I loved the fact that somebody was finally telling the truth about those perfect looking women who #liveauthentic and are living the perfect #outdoorlife while I never even climbed a mountain in my life without being sweaty, having a messy hairdo or just look crap in general. At some point in my life as a blogger, I wanted to be like them. But now, not anymore. Size 38 and sweaty foreheads are the new hipster features! At least, if it were me to decide about that…
 

Cho La Pass in Nepal
Tired, sweating and looking like a Michelin doll – half way up on Cho La Pass in Nepal
4. Denying I’m an internet junkie

Hello, my name is Anto and I’m addicted to the internet. I think that most travel bloggers don’t need an explanation when I say that, they totally get me. I recently read some confessions from a fellow Dutch travel blogger and she said she’s an internet junkie. And I can relate. I loved the fact that we had limited wifi in Nepal and that we were away from the interweb more than we could have imagined, but I also loved uploading my pics and telling other people about my experiences. When I travel, I generally try to pick places where they have wifi and also the first question I ask at reception is generally ‘what’s the wifi code?’ I have no trouble logging off every now and then either because I sometimes need time away from social media, but in general, my iPhone is glued to my hand.
 

5. Comparing myself to other bloggers

You probably know these bloggers, who share every success on all of their social media channels. Good for them, but it made me sick with envy. How come they have more visitors than me? What am I doing wrong? Why them, not me? I always used to feel the underdog when I found out other bloggers were doing better than me. I worked so hard and yet I still didn’t get the big numbers I hoped for, or the attention I wanted. That sounds bad, right? I know, and I’m ashamed to admit it because if anyone is not the jealous type, it’s me. The turning point came quire a while ago, when I realized it’s not just about numbers, but rather about creativity and originality. I recently went to a presentation by Instagram influencer @croyable who told us that influencers should never work for free (see next point). After the presentation, I went over to him and asked when you can consider yourself an influencer. He told me that in his opinion, you’re an influencer when companies reach out to you to work with you, which I think is a great answer. Why? Because it says nothing about numbers and/or reach, but it’s about companies who want to work with you. This was the final step in my journey to stop comparing myself to others. Realizing and more important, accepting we will never be a blog that get 100.000 montly visitors because we are a small niche, has made being a blogger a lot more fun. If my words haven’t motivated you to stop comparing, then read this spot on blog by Explorista about how to stop feeling jealous of other bloggers!
 

Knik Glacier Alaska
Overthinking my sins at Knik Glacier in Alaska
 

6. Give free publicity

Looking back at point 1, the part where I used to be nice to everyone, got me to the point where I was giving free publicity to brands without ever receiving anything in return. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not necessarily talking about money here, but rather about recognition. The whole ‘I should be kind to everyone because you never know when being unkind backfires at you’ thing got a little out of hand. As Eelco (@croyable) said during his presentation, influencers should not work for free. Whether you should pay me to promote your product I will leave in the middle because if your product is really cool and you give me a free sample, I may still say yes, however don’t expect me to promote you for nothing in return anymore. Same goes for companies inviting us on press trips but only paying half of the trip. I really don’t need to sleep in luxurious places, have a private guide or need a three course meal twice a day, but transportation and lodging, is a part of the deal. If I wanted to spend money on it, I’d have booked the trip myself and actually made it a vacation rather than a blogtrip (which is, in fact, work). I’m tired of companies who think that by giving me a free night’s stay that’s worth 50 euros they can expect a full blog, a movie, social media shares as well as right-free pictures. Sorry friends, it doesn’t work like that. In case you are in doubt, check this post by Olivier Blanchard, about whether you should pay influencers or not.
 
That was it for today. I’m done ranting about life as a blogger because it’s really a lot of fun and all. For now however, I’m off to have lunch with my sister. I’ll log off for the rest of the afternoon. Yes, I can actually do that. See you later!
 
Tell me, are you guilty of any of the above? What keeps you from changing it?
 
Want to read more? You may enjoy these:
Myths about the life of a travel blogger that are not true!
How to travel 107 days a year with a full time office job
5 Tips for travel bloggers I wish I’d have known 2 years ago
 
Thank you for sharing!

12 Comments

  • Sigrid | My Travel Secret

    Zo herkenbaar!! En ja…ik ben ook internet verslaafd en ik word er gek van. Steeds maar je mail, FB en Instagram checken. En dan heb ik ook nog heel stom een Twitter account aangemaakt. Het kost allemaal zo veel tijd. Ik kom als blogger net kijken en hoop dat ik me nooit te gek laat maken door cijfertjes en wat andere van me vinden. Ik ben stiekem super onzeker en wil natuurlijk ook leuk gevonden worden, maar door jouw blogs over de (travel)bloggerswereld besef ik wel dat ik gewoon mijn eigen ding moet doen en niet te veel naar andere moet kijken. Dank hier voor!! Wat betreft de looks…dat heb ik allang opgegeven haha.

    • anto

      Ja erg he? Ik probeer nu wel mijn telefoon vaker weg te leggen, maar merk dat ik, als ik even een minuutje niks te doen heb, ik dat ding toch weer pak. Ik zet hem tegenwoordig ‘s nachts wel uit (ik gebruik hem als wekker) of iig op vliegtuigstand zodat ik ‘s nachts niet kan kijken. Soms werd ik middenin de nacht wakker en dacht ik ‘laat ik eens even gaan kijken’ om vervolgens een uur te gaan twitteren en instagrammen om 3 uur ‘s nachts… Hoezo dom? Haha!

  • Kathryn

    I think sometimes being nice when travelling cuts two ways. I stay in Airbnbs often and used to think it was being nice to cut them some slack. If things weren’t as offered, I didn’t want to make a fuss. But, while that is being nice to the host, it’s not being nice to other travellers. Giving someone undeserved good review or not questioning them just makes it tough on the next person that comes along.

    Hope you enjoyed Tasmania, my home state 🙂

    • anto

      Ahhh really?? We loved Tassie, it’s a great place with the friendliest people! I agree with you about the being nice part to hosts, it’s always a bit complicated when it involves smaller companies …

  • Kinga

    You nailed it. I am just at the point when I am stopping being nice to everyone. It still feels SO WEIRD, but each time I am not nice but just myself, it feels sooo good. About other points – I still need to work on that, esp.comparing myself with other bloggers. Thanks for this post and greetings from Poland. 🙂

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