I was inspired to write this post as I’ve been getting messages on social media with something along the lines of ‘I wish I had your lifestyle’ or ‘Travel goals’. Whilst flattering, I can’t stress enough how socials only show a fraction of what it’s like to travel blog. Even more so in my case, as I don’t post every single day. That’s when I first realised I break the typical structures many content-creators stick to. Whilst I wouldn’t be qualified to tell you how to action brand partnerships (as I tend to turn them down) or how to apply gorgeous pre-sets onto photos (I have no idea), I can help you maximise each day to the fullest. I mean, I’ve been doing it for years as I’ve always worked/studied full-time whilst delving into blogging. In fact, one of my most popular articles was on the very topic so I’ll link you to my post here: How I Travel Whilst Working Full-Time: Travel Blogger Insight. To start with though, it would be useful to give some context. I have a whole post on my travel journey here but in short, I’ve been travel-blogging for 5 years, on a part-time basis, and solo-travelling for 7.
Before we get into why I ignore the rules of most travel influencers on IG, I should give a disclaimer that the term ‘travel influencer’ is undeniably broad. The definitions vary as much as FC Barcelona’s performance without Messi haha. That’s why I’ll focus more on why I ditched common pieces of advice, rather than what other travel accounts do in their journey to pursuing social media. What works best for one person might not even be relevant for another person, after all.
I Have More Than One Niche/Theme.
Something which travel-blog/travel influencer workshops often address is the importance of knowing your niche and how it needs to be as defined as possible. Whilst I see the benefits of a clear vision, this can cause frustration for accounts who are newly starting out. Very few people master something on their first try. Without a super-concrete niche, I’m still a travel writer who documents trips on Instagram and has a separate account for travel resources, but doesn’t have long captions on photos telling you ‘5 places you need to see in X’ or ‘Why you need to visit Y’. Instead, I’ll tell the story behind the photo or give you a spontaneous caption with no real value other than a genuine giggle. This, according to many travel influencers, is a sin. I, however, disagree, as the reason connections are made is because personality shines through. Whether I post photos from solo-travelling the world all dressed up (my unofficial niche) or document all the food I’ve had, I’ve always kept it real and added my own personality. I don’t travel to locations for ‘IG-worthy photos’. Instead, I’ll take travel photos if I’m going somewhere, regardless of whether it’s picturesque or not. Way more relatable, right? My account actually started as a personal IG, which naturally transitioned into a page reflective of this blog. Since then, I’ve followed both non-travel related and travel related accounts. I have no secret formula for keeping both parties happy, but travel pics with non-travel captions work for me. So while I don’t always stick to one niche, I’m very much aware of what my audience reacts best to. Over time, readers/viewers will connect to a personality or story, which helps you or your brand if you decide to switch things up. Never underestimate the power of storytelling. No niche required.
I’ve Rejected Nomad Life.
For a significant period of time I’ve participated in nomad life, taking up freelancing roles to support myself full-time. Nomad life was attractive for creating my own schedule in new locations but I began to find it more challenging than portrayed. Calculating rates in different countries, finding accommodation every few weeks and dealing with unreliable clients was stressful, not to mention the fact I was missing physical communication. Even though I adore platforms like ‘Upwork’ and using LinkedIn with the ‘remote work’ toggle when looking for a temporary virtual role, I quickly realised working whilst travelling wasn’t what I enjoyed doing. Sure, I got to see more of the world but it meant the line between my hobby and my career were blurred.
The realisation that I didn’t like to ‘work’ whilst travelling links closely to my next point. I love working in the legal field, which is why I haven’t had the I’ve-left-my-job-to-travel-the-world story just yet. Whether I’ll forever stay in the legal field is another thing, but for now I’ve chosen to divide my hobbies from my career. I love nothing more than travel-writing and connecting with other travel bloggers, but often fear it will lead towards long-term periods of doubt if I were to go full-time with it. It’s true what content-creators say, so much work goes into a final product.
I Tend To Avoid Trends, Fashion Included lol.
I consider myself comfortable with technology, but I’m far from an expert. In fact, when I see travel influencers post incredibly creative videos with unique sounds and transitions I am left shocked at the skill. As you may expect, these videos then become popular which leads to more creators quickly pushing out similar content. Over time, it becomes exhausting to predict the next phenomenon or to upload something instantly to join the bandwagon. I actually remember listening to a podcast where an established travel influencer dedicated a whole session to the topic of current trends. Sure, your content will be exposed to new people but at what cost? For me, this part of social media wasn’t enjoyable, which is why I never focused too much on numerical growth. Yes, new trends or hashtags are incredibly useful to reach a wider audience, but supportive friends, reposts and networking are underestimated tools leading to the same destination.
Money, Money, Money?!
One misconception about travel influencing/blogging is that you always need to do partnerships to earn an income. That’s a fantastic option, but don’t feel disheartened if you’re fairly new to content-creating or simply someone who doesn’t enjoy brand collabs. Instead, you might prefer creating e-books, designing mini courses or making personalized itineraries. Need a non-digital alternative? Hosting a room on Air BnB or organizing experiences for tourists could be interesting. Hosting international students for a small fee is ranked highly on my list, actually. I was living with a host family in Spain when I was 16 and it’s still one of the most insightful experiences I’ve had to date.
Whether you find yourself agreeing with my above paragraphs or not, it’s safe to say there is no one-size-fits-all approach to content-creation. Someone starting out their journey is just as special as someone who’s been doing it for a longer period of time! If blogging is something you’ve been thinking about, let this be your sign to start.
Speaking of time, I’m aware this post is slightly longer than my usual articles. However, if you’ve made it this far please can you let me know if you’ve ever been to Toronto? Random, I know, but I’m planning to visit in the future and would love to know your thoughts!
Until then, see you in the next post!