Confessions of a travel blogger,  Sunday social travel talk

Confessions of a travel blogger

Hello and welcome to we12travel! For those of you who are returning visitors, by now you should know that Sunday means social travel talk. Yay! So on this hot and humid day (at least, here in The Netherlands), take a moment to sit down, relax, pour yourself a drink and read today’s story…

It may or may not be a surprise, but I enjoy talking about myself (I know, it’s a flaw). And I enjoy telling everyone else about our journeys, that’s why I became a travel blogger in the first place. As Martijn is about to depart for Iceland, I will be home alone for quite a while. This will leave me with plenty of time to muse about the past year. The year in which we12travel went from a “blog-for-family-and-friends” to a dedicated outdoor-adventure-nature website. I’ll have time to re-live the highlights and the lowlights. And time to silence my mind that is always thinking of articles to write and ways to enthuse others to travel. After one year of serious blogging, I will tell you about the hard work, the crying, the sleepless nights and the rewards for putting hours and hours in a website that doesn’t make any money. But also about true passion, willpower and dreams. Welcome to confessions of a travel blogger.

CONFESSIONS 2

1. Work hard – play hard
I could probably write pages about how hard a travel blogger needs to work to become succesful. Most people only see the pictures of me on the beach or in the Alps, sipping another cocktail or a glass of wine. What they don’t see is the hours I put into the blog. On average it varies from 10 to 30 hours a week. Mind you, that’s in addition to my 36 hour working week with a tour operator, where I sit on my bum behind a computer all day. While others are still asleep, I wake up at 06.15 (and snooze once or twice) and make sure I’m behind my laptop at 07.00 am. This leaves me with one hour to work on we12travel before heading out to work at 08.00 am. Usually I do social media in the mornings and also I post new blogs then. I could easily do with an extra hour of sleep each night but then I won’t get all the work done. Or I’d have to do it at night, but then I usually have other plans (such as going to the gym and meeting friends or family). It’s a hard decision to dissapoint them when I am out of the country again, so I try to see them on a regular basis.

2. I have to be online – all the time
Ones of the last lines of number 1 said it: “have to do it”. When you have a blog, you have to work on it. If you don’t, people will forget about you and there are plenty of newbie bloggers ready to take over your hard-worked for position. No day goes by that I don’t go online. To check social media, to see visitor numbers and to check email. Being active and around all the time makes you easier to find and readers will start to remember you and your blog. Traveling on board a ship in Patagonia without any means of modern communication last March was pure bliss! (OK and when we disembarked and checked into our hotel, the first thing I did was switching on my iPhone and see hundreds of messages coming in, which kept me busy for hours after).

3. I’m all over the internet now
People know about my life and whereabouts. My face is everywhere and I don’t have control of who is using my it. As long as you don’t have a problem with that, you should be fine. However it still feels uncomfortable knowing that (for example) my customers at work or the doctor who does my pap smear can find out all kinds of things about me. Luckily I’m easily able to put this aside. There’s plenty of things I choose not to share with the public. So if I don’t reply to your friend request on Facebook, please don’t feel offended. Some things just have to stay for me and those I care about…

4. Waiting for the day to come…
One day there will be a day that you will get known in the travel bloggers world. It may be because of joining Facebook groups for travel bloggers, it may be because you are being asked for collaboration or it may be because you wrote a brilliant article that made your number of visitors sky rocket. In my case, this happened at the launch of the Travel Writers Manifest. The new version of we12travel was online for about 2 months only and by the end of the night, I went home with a press trip to Curaçao in my pocket. You can read the full story here. From that moment on, I found my place in the (Dutch) travel bloggers scene and made many useful contacts that have helped me to the point where I am now.

5. Networking is my newest hobby!
Until about 9 months ago shivers rolled down my spine at the sound of the word “networking”.  I had only encountered this in my professional life and wasn’t very good at it. Small talk and handing over business cards with a smile was just not what I felt comfortable with. However I found out that when the talk is about travel, I love it. My spontaneous side kicks in and before I know it, I’m engaged in a conversation with a likeminded person, resulting in the natural exchange of business cards and the (sometimes empty) promise to keep in touch. Nowadays, I try to go to as many networking events as possible (keep in mind the 36 hour office job…). Sometimes it proves to be fruitful and sometimes not. Making yourself known is incredibly important and without a network, you will find the hard way up to success even harder.

6. I’d rather travel without my iPhone than without mascara
There’s only a handful of people who are allowed to see me naked. Naked without make up that is. I don’t care about being bare naked in a sauna but when it comes to make up I feel horrible. Thing is, I’m a natural blonde and my eyelashes and eyebrows are blonde, too. Ever since I dyed my hair darker I applied make up to both of them to make sure I wouldn’t hear people say things such as: “what’s wrong with you, you look so pale” or ” damn, you look bad without make up” (yes! that is truly something I’ve been told) and “are you sick, you look like somebody else?” So by now, 10 years later, I wear make up every day. Just a small bit and most people won’t even notice, but I’m not leaving the door (or my tent) without it. The adventurous girl who puts on make up … what a laugh!

Point number 6 ends today’s Sunday Social Travel Talk. However, I can still think of at least 57 more confessions in the life of a travel blogger. And to satisfy your curiosity, I will share them with you over the upcoming period of time.  I know long reads are the way to go right now but I think 1.392 words is long enough for today. So just leave me for now, but do subscribe to not miss any more confessions. Enjoy the drink you just poured and enjoy your Sunday!

oh and PS, yes, I put the words “confessions of a travel blogger in front of my feet on purpose on the cover picture. I would have rather put them on my bum but that would look a bit strange I guess, so my feet were the best alternative. Let’s just say they are not my most striking feature …

(note: for this post I’ve used the I-form as they are based on my personal experiences only. However this does not mean that Martijn does not work hard. He works his butt off to keep this site up and running, has to bear with me mocking about visitor numbers and is told by me to keep track of the craziness that’s called social media when I’m on the way. So he definitely deserves a big round of applause here!)

Is there anything you’d like to hear the truth about? Go here to read the previous posts in the Sunday social travel talk series or look in the sidebar on the left for other popular posts.

 

This post is a part of the Sunday Traveler series. One of the hosts, Christa, recently wrote a great article about How Travel Bloggers Get on Press Trips.

Psst: sharing is caring!

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Anto is a 30-something outdoor fan who travels the world about 100 days a year, combined with a full-time office job. She loves to go hiking, enjoys a good class of wine and can usually be found with an iPhone in her hand. Favorite destinations: New Zealand, Patagonia, Austria and Alaska.

16 Comments

  • tikva

    Having a blog is hard work. But please continue I love reading you adventures. Some of you outdoor adventures are not possible with a baby but they are still great to read.

  • Serena

    Yeah, people is always kinda surprised when I tell them about all the “behind the scenes” work that having a blog implies, or they kinda laugh when I call it “my second job” – they are like “But that’s actually an hobby, isn’t it??”.
    Doing it in a “serious” way IS a job, and while I’m mostly genuinely happy and satisfied at doing it, and I actually wish I had more time to dedicate to it, there are moments when it gets a bit harx to cope with it – like this past week when my “other” job has been really overwhelming, and I just couldn’t find the energies to do my proper blogging duty when back home.
    But still – the good thing about it is that everything is up to me, so I am master of my own choices, whether keeping up to my duties no matter what or having moments when taking it a bit easier.
    I still haven’t managed to find a proper way to keep the blog alive while on travel, but I’ve just bought myself a new tiny notebook, so I will try to work with it on my upcoming trip next week. Hope my travel mates will bear with me, eh eh 😉
    Networking is still something I have to learn… it doesn’t come easy at all for me. So I still have to work a lot on it 🙂

  • Wesley Travels

    I know how it goos… travel blogging isn’t that easy as the most people think. It’s so much work and it will cost you so much time.. but if you work for it you will be succesfull

  • Karlijn Travels

    Leuk om te lezen Antonette! En ik bewonder je echt om het feit dat je zoveel uren per week in je blog steekt, naast je fulltime baan, sport en sociaal leven. Deze post inspireert me weer om ook meer tijd te maken voor mijn blog. Ik vind het bloggen zo leuk, maar ik kom voor mijn gevoel altijd tijd te kort…

  • Molly S

    It always irks me when people say – “but blogging…..that’s just a hobby, isn’t it?”! Most people have no idea how much work goes into it. I’ve been terrible at my own blog lately, and I’m just starting to get back into it – finding the time with a full time job can be really hard, but I think it’s worth it! Really enjoyed this post, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Hannah

    Having just recently gone the from travel journal for friends/family to more professional route in April I feel absolutely swamped some days with trying to keep up- especially with social media! Probably picked a bad time to do it since my day job is as a cake decorator and being in wedding season 12 hr days are the norm. But like you I just get up earlier, and thankfully am able to do a bit of upkeep on the bus to/from. It’s a labour of love but I do enjoy it! PS I hear you about blonde eyelashes- mine go super light (damn near invisible) in the summer when I’m out in the sun!

  • Nina

    Loved reading this article Anto! Lovely confessions. I don’t blog, but keep a website up and running is clearly something I am familiar with. It takes almost all of my “me-time”. If you don’t put the effort in it on a daily basis, people will indeed forget about you and there are indeed plenty of others ready to take over your hard-worked position. Even in stationeries.. Keep up the good work and please do keep in mind that it’s ALSO a hobby 😉

  • Chris Boothman

    Another great edition of this series! I can certainly echo the comments that having a blog is a lot of hard work but it really is rewarding when the time and effort you put in is reflected with traffic, positive comments and indications that people are really paying attention to what you recommend/share.

    It’s particularly difficult when you have an 8-5 job also so trying to balance your work schedule with blogging is an art in its own way! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  • Margherita @The Crowded Planet

    That’s a very good post Anto! You took the words right out if my mouth sometimes, especially when you mentioned the hard work needed to establish a blog. Somehow, everyone thinks just about cocktails and toes in the sand… Not the sleepless nights trying to get work done.

  • Yvon

    Thank you for an insider-look in to how much time you spend on your blog. I’d love to spend more time on mine too, but sometimes that’s so hard besides work, studying and social life…. If I could only work part time…

    • anto

      Thanks Yvon! It’s pretty quiet here now and low season at work so that leaves time and energy to blog but I’m curious how that will go during the fall. Always keep up with the social life, most important and one you should never neglect, you don’t always get a second chance (or third….) with friends…

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