The line between blogging and traveling has become a weird and mixed up one over the years in the blogosphere. Some people began their blogs to document their travels. Other people travel in order so they they can continue to blog and make money off their website. People who travel don’t necessarily have blogs. Yet all bloggers don’t necessarily travel. So how does being a blogger impacts on my travels?
The answer is that it doesn’t always. Nothing is written in stone about the connection between travel & blogging and there is no secret to the success of creating content that people will enjoy. However, I have been asked- A LOT- on how much of an impact my blog has on my travels. Questions I have received include:
- Do you travel just to have something to write about on your blog?
- Would you only go to a place if it looked good on your blog?
- Do you choose destinations purely on whether your blog posts about them would do well?
So in this post I thought I would address those questions and discuss how being a blogger impacts on my travels.
Do you travel just to write about your trips on your blog?
My traveling journey in 2011 when I won two scholarships and decided to use one to fund a trip to London. I didn’t have a blog and I don’t recall what social media was around exactly but it definitely didn’t motivate my decision to travel. In the pre-Instagram days, there was no emphasis on aesthetics; rather- you went to see the sights, engage with the locals, eat the food and enjoy the experience. I try to still stick to that today while incorporating some time for relaxation (I’m older now!).
When I actually started the blog, it was mainly to document my move to the Middle East. I didn’t know if I would have the opportunity or the finances to travel. Of course, I am SO grateful that I do have the resources to travel and want to share that with the world hence why I blog about my trips. It’s my hope to show people that travel doesn’t have to as complicated and unattainable as it may seem.
If I didn’t have a blog, I would still travel.
Do you choose destinations purely on whether your blog posts about them would do well?
This isn’t exactly a clear cut question for me but I will attempt to put my thoughts into words. The primary 2 factors that lead to me choosing a destination are finances and visa restrictions. I write more about those in this post about how I plan my trips.
The visa restrictions generally lead me to places that 18-year-old me never would have imagined going. Places like Tunisia, Azerbaijan, Oman and Georgia.
I would be lying if I failed to mention that the destinations that I know my readers would be interested in take precedence. Iran was a classic example of this. Although the flight, location and visa factors were all favourable, what really pushed me to book those flights was the fact that I knew people were curious about this country (just as I was) and I wanted to show people that Iran was more than what the media portrayed.
So no, I don’t choose destinations based on how I think they will perform on the blog, but yes I do like to travel to places I think my readers will find interesting.
Do you only go to places that will look good on your blog?
All places look good on my blog! No truly! All countries have ugly parts of them and beautiful parts of them. Every single one. The aesthetics of the country matter less than the experiences I am going to have.
Of course I would try to visit a waterfall over a slum (well I don’t support poverty porn but that’s another post altogether) but no I don’t pick places based on how they’ll look on my blog because I am convinced that everywhere is worth visiting.
I try to go beyond just pretty pictures and flowing dresses and try to post accurate representations of the places I visit. I remember when I went to Jordan and got to Petra at 12pm, it was outrageously crowded. However, at 2pm, it was completely empty save for a few camels and their handlers. I posted footage from both time periods in my post. Its important to show places as they really are.
I also try to share the back story behind going to a place like how easy it was get to a visa or how the people at the airport treated me. As much as I like to blog about how delicious the food was or how the sunset dazzled my eyes, its also important to me to provide my readers with a REAL account of travel. Its called travelling mindfully and its something I am working on perfecting- going to places that aren’t being showcased, and sharing my own experiences instead of trying to mimic others.
As much as being a blogger impacts on my travels, I want to say one last thing- don’t curate your entire trip based on images you see online. Why take the same photos are everyone else and go to the same places? Travel still makes me nervous because I know I am going outside of my comfort zone. I find the nerves exciting but yes, they’re still there. Forgo the organised tour, take the bus, get lost and explore a little. Don’t lose the essence of the unknown wherever you go.
This is part 5 of my series: Panda’s Blogging Bites. Also read:
If you’re a travel blogger, do you resonate with these points? And if you’re a traveler, do you use blogs to help you plan your trips? Let me know in the comments below!