Why I Will NEVER be a Successful Travel Blogger

Why I Will NEVER be a Successful Travel Blogger

Travel blogging is far more complicated and is harder work than it looks oh and it’s not everyone.

 

Here’s my reasons why I will NEVER be a successful travel blogger.

 

This blog could be useful for two reasons, to show you what it takes to become a blogger or give you an insight into why you’re not a successful one… 

 

 

1. I don’t like taking pictures of everything I do.

Taking beautiful, enigmatic pictures is a side-kick of blogging. We are all helplessly drawn to vivid and moody pictures and so are our readers. At times you won’t get a camera out of my hand, I’ll be excited to set up a shot in beautiful light or when the milky way is gleaming above me but sometimes I want to be alone.  Often I want to go hiking, diving or exploring without my camera, I don’t want to be looking for perfect angles, feel pressure to capture a shot to perfectly describe how I feel in that very moment.  I want to be present in my surroundings and to do that I like to leave my camera behind. That means no selfies for social media status’s unless I feel like it and no set up visual elements for a blog, it’s either in the moment or nothing at all.

 

Why I will never be a successful travel blogger!

 

 

2. I cannot write on cue

I like to write but I’m not too good at strapping myself to a seat and forcing an article to materialise. Sometimes I come up with a fantastic idea and sit to start composing it and… well, nothing comes out. I agonise over every sentence, tease it along and then end up closing my lap top, taking a walk outside and getting side tracked by a new adventure. It’s been over 3 weeks since I’ve written anything, I can guarantee that this blog will be the most painstaking thing I’ll have completed in three weeks. Often Becks will be sitting at her laptop and shout “give me an idea and a starting sentence” …. I throw out an idea and within 7 minutes she’s whipped some emotional tale together, a wonderful and yet utterly disgusting 600 word piece of perfectly formed words… Eughhh! I’m not saying that every blogger needs to be a ‘writer’ but it shouldn’t be like pulling teeth.

 

 

3. I don’t like press/comped trips

As a blogger just starting out, money from ads and affiliates is minimal or in our case non-existent.  To begin, it’s important to grow your audience, work on your SEO (Search Engine optimisation) and get some strong links and when you’ve worked your butt off and you do acquire a hearty enough monthly following you can get noticed by companies and even score yourself a press or comped trip. WOOHOO a FREE trip paid for by a company in return for publicity. It’s the ‘living the dream’ reward for travel bloggers who aren’t Nomadic Matt earning $500,000 a year. Kayaking with icebergs in Alaska, road tripping Iceland and diving the Mexican cenote’s are a few of the free trips we’ve done but with these incredible opportunities, came incredible pressure. Photos have to be top notch, writing has to be done quickly, accurately and creatively, social media has to be buzzing. You have to earn your spot on that trip and rightfully so, they are paying for you. In the end my travels are my travels. Yes it’s been surreal to do cool stuff for free but would I rather pay for the experience, be anonymous and feel it’s authenticity rather than the stress of capturing, blogging and selling the trip? I’m not sure… and really that’s my point.

 

Why I will never be a successful travel blogger!

 

4. I cannot for the life of me, spend an hour a day ‘kissing-arse’ on social media.

Behind the scenes of the travel bloggers, no matter how glamorous or adventurous they seem there is the mundane chore of social media. Unfortunately I cannot stand it.

Don’t get me wrong, some people i.e Becks finds Twitter a game like sudoku, me I just prefer to DO sudoku.

The problem is, as a travel blogger social media numbers count. Numbers bring in more numbers. Numbers also bring more opportunities, more coverage, more press trips, more free stuff and more weight, so those hours doing your social media homework is just as important as writing a great post and taking some awesome pictures. It’s often said that 30% of your effort is in the writing and 70% is in the promoting. Tough for someone that doesn’t like the promoting side right?

 

Here’s some typical social media homework:

  1. Scroll through the hashtag ‘hiking’ on Instagram.
  2. Find a picture you like.
  3. comment on the picture
  4. Following the profile of the person that took the picture
  5. ‘like’ a couple more of the persons pictures in their feed
  6. Watch your Instagram followers increase.

Please please don’t misconstrue, I’ve met some wonderful people online through social media outlets but I cannot spent hours a week ‘kiss-arsing’ a bunch of people I don’t know just to get a ‘like’.

 

I tried it. I hated it. I fail to keep at it.

 

 

5. I’m too honest. Not everywhere/everything is wonderful

I follow quite a few high profile travel blogs and one of the things they all have in common is that they seem to care about EVERYTHING. They like history, religion, adventure, animals, science, food, wine, architecture. I don’t. I’m not that person that finds the beauty behind the grotty facade, understands a culture and all it’s annoying habits and loves a building swarmed by 1,000 people for it’s historical significance to another culture I barely know. I get bored easily, will hardly ever go to a museum unless it’s got a mummy exhibition or things from space and I don’t like crowds, oh and I’m honest about it!

 

I’m not that person who will take you on a journey through rose coloured glasses and show you the entire world, I will only show it through my own glasses… a pair of dorky frames that are smudged and scratched and which often leave out the most crucial details. What kind of blogger is that?!

 

Why I will never be a successful travel blogger!

 

 

6. I like spontaneity

Travel blogging requires amazing levels of organisation. Booking free trips in advance, planning collaboration posts, pitching to larger publications and matching deadlines are only the beginning. When you are actually on the road you need to be planning one step in advance at all times: Where to next, creating contacts for media discounts, pre promoting attractions, tours etc…Take pictures of everything, make the place look good, think of a new angle, write an interesting article, pray it gets noticed, comment back to the people who actually have actually read it, push it on twitter, then on Google + but don’t forget to Pin it or Instagram it.  . Find wifi, WE NEED WIFI!!

 

And then you start again.. where to next? Find out what attractions are there… and on it goes.

 

I don’t like to know what I’m doing tomorrow, I don’t want to book things in advance. Travel to me is messy and unscheduled because to me that’s when the adventures really begin to get exciting.

 

Which brings me onto my next point

 

 

7. I don’t want to be constrained by wifi

Wifi; The innocuous beacon; The bane of my existence but yet the most crucial need for any travel blogger. It’s obvious, to share your stories online you need wifi, without it a blogger is doomed.

 

But I enjoy getting myself off the beaten track, so far away from the world I have no connection for days. Sometimes I just prefer to be away from my computer, away from wifi and utterly submerged in a place… and that makes me a terrible blogger.

 

Why I will never be a successful travel blogger!

 

 

8. I don’t have a niche 

I’m not a solo female traveller, I’m not a lesbian travel blogger (well theoretically yes but I don’t blog about that), I’m not an overland traveller, nor a long-term traveller. I‘m not a vacationer, a quit my 9-5 to travel the world-er, a blogger who travels with her family or a blogger that writes about a particular country. I’m not a foodie, a fashionista or an extremist adventure junkie, a budget traveller or a luxury traveller. I am all of these and as such I don’t really fit anywhere and in the blogging world that is a disaster. In order to generate an audience you need to have one. For years Becks and I have mulled over this ideological question of “who are we?!” are have come up trumps. We blog about anything and everything, encompassing all and singling out no-one in particular because we don’t act in any specific way.

 

 

9. My adventures are too sacred

My travels mean the world to me. I only started blogging because I was better at travelling than anything else. For me, when I mix blogging with travel I feel I cannot give my all to either. My travels are often not as good and my blogging is rushed (I really just want to be playing in the mountains!) To be honest I don’t want to spend my travels looking for wifi, worrying about articles or playing on social media, I want to be enraptured by a destination, in the moment and carefree and that is probably the strongest point of why I will never be a successful travel blogger. I will not change my direction either, if there’s an opportunity for somewhere I don’t want to go, I’m just not going.

 

 

I began travel blogging because I loved adventure. I found myself in loads of strange places, in strange countries and I wanted to write about them… nothing has changed. I still love writing and I love the people who I connect with through my blog but taking the pressure off and realising that blogging fame just isn’t for me has been extremely freeing. It means I can concentrate on what I do best, giving my honest opinion, writing from the heart and travelling to the end of the world.

 

Will I be a successful travel blogger? Hell NO and I’m OK with that.

 

 

Written by

Prue Sinclair is a twenty-eight year old Aussie who for the past seven years has been exploring the furthermost reaches of the World. Living anywhere but her homeland, she now resides somewhere in the UK where she writes about the adventures of her Ultimate British Road Trip. Her message is simple: You can get anywhere on any budget, you just need to think outside the box. You can trust she's finding her way to somewhere lesser-known and writing a 'How To' guide.

41 Comments
  • Mumun says:

    I agree and do the same on most of the points here. I’m not on board on number 5 because I’m a believer that every place has something wonderful about it (I might just be too easily amused), but that’s just me.

    Something is happening to the people traveling because of social media and the demands and it’s not pretty. Some have been indicated in this piece and I thank you for putting it out there in such positive tone. Laff!

    • I seriously wish I was on board with number 5 (and with most of the others too haha), I just have the shorted attention span ever 🙂 What an incredible trait to have.

      I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on what’s going on, we might have similar ideas here.

      Thanks for you kind words,
      keep loving the world as much as you do… and no you are not easily amused!

      Prue

  • Kaylee says:

    I don’t even have to tell you, you know I LOVE this! You ladies rock. Keep on doing your thing, even if it isn’t “travel” blogging. As always I will enjoy reading whatever you write because I know it’s honest.

    • We love you KAYLEE and ROBERT! How freaking amazing is Africa?! You guys are true adventures and we’re so glad to have met you both. Nice one on booking your tickets home too by the way, proud of you! Say hello to a giraffe for me, Becks and I will say g’day to the whales on our next adventure! x

  • Haisu Qu says:

    Thank you for your honesty. This is beautifully written. I just started my blog and already am overwhelmed by all the social media this and that. You perfectly summed up how I feel. 😐

    • Hi there Haisu,

      Tip. Don’t let social media consume you. There will always more you can do.
      I wish I learnt that lesson earlier instead of feeling guilty.
      Enjoy the blogging experience, it is great fun!!!

      Prue

  • I think these are all the reasons you are a great travel blogger! Your honesty is your niche as it seems to be seriously lacking in a large part of the “industry”…

  • I am really glad I read your article. I’m starting out in the blogging world but, for the life of me I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t be truthful. My travels aren’t perfect and I usually end up getting lost at least once on a trip but, that is half the fun figuring your way out. I think those are the best stories to tell! Thanks for keeping it real!

    • Heather you’ll find your own way in blogging. Keeping in real and truthful is the best advice and from all these comments I think they agree. It’s common to see successful bloggers keeping up with the smiles and it’s easy to think “hey I’m going to do the same because maybe that’s what I’m missing…” but NO resist the urge hahaha.

      Tell those getting lost stories because they are the most fun to read.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Prue

  • emfletche says:

    Great piece Prue; when I read travel blogs I want to be entertained, to hear about real life (not some comped trip where everyone fawns over you for a good write-up), to be transported into that trip along with the writer. This is how i feel about your writing, so if that makes you a bad travel blogger, please keep it up 😉

    Happy travelling!
    Emmalene

    • Thank you so much Emmalene for reading what we write. I love sharing my adventures and you’ve reinstated why I want to continue to be a ‘bad’ blogger, so THANK YOU!!!!!

  • It realise I only want to share my travels with the world, but that’s OK too often guess? Trying to spread some beauty.
    You rock on ladies!

  • What is “success” anyway? You just successfully got me to emphatically nod my head at each and every point you made! Honesty, authenticity, and grit – you’ve got it and that makes you a success already.

  • and this is precisely why you will be a very successful travel blogger. 🙂

  • Most successful travel bloggers aren’t quite honest, nor do they take time to travel in a spontaneous way, or at least not when they are/were trying to become successful bloggers. Congrats to (the both) of you for being honest travel bloggers (and real travellers at heart… I guess you know what I mean… Referring to the post you wrote a while ago, and the one we wrote too, about anti-country-counting). Looking forward to reading about your adventures!

    • Thanks Mei and Kerstin, you meet quite a lot of duds through blogging and some really good people. I think you both were the first ‘friends’ (now it’s my turn to say you know why I mean) we made online. We value your opinions, your articles and you love that so truthfully shines through in your writing.

      May we forever be ‘unsuccessful travel bloggers’ who refuse to count their countries!! haha

      xx Prue

  • Prue, you can break all these rules and become a well known travel blogger. Honest. I am no blogging big dawg now, but I break most of ’em, and I’m doing OK 😉 Seriously, it’s all what you most enjoy doing. Toss rules out. Have fun. Trust. Enjoy the ride. You guys seem to be doing all those things, so bravo. Thanks for sharing!

    • Ryan, you wouldn’t believe me but I quote your words from one of your mega 7000 word posts so often before I write a post. “Write to set yourself free” …. I sit and and think, “write something you give a shit about dammit, write anything that comes to mind!”

      This is the blog that set me free, so thank you.

      Prue

  • Emily says:

    LOVE this post! A little bit of honesty, something so often missing from the travel blogger world!

    • Emily, you gotta love a bit of honesty and an insight self defeat.

      How long you two got left from your epic 2 year journey? What’s next?
      Give us the goss 🙂

      x
      Prue

  • Danie says:

    I freakin’ love this! I feel like we’d be good friends. I recently wrote a post about how travel bloggers are lying to you, and that it isn’t all sunshine and roses. You totally nailed it all in here. And guess what? We don’t need to be “successful” travel bloggers to enjoy our blogs and for others to! You rock!

    • Danie, I just read your blog and laughed my ass off. I think you are right, we would be friends!
      I had a read of some of your comments too and you got an interesting mix, so cool! A great topic to debate and nit pick.

      You will laugh, I recently took a 5 months road trip around Canada and I swear to you every day was bliss. It was so damn good it was sickening… really! I’m seriously worried that any future travels will ever live up to it.

      I feel an urgency for bloggers to be more real, including the popular ones. Have a read of this one by Nomadic Matt, it was completely stripped back and a rare insight into the world of blogging fame – http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/work-life-travel-balance/ .

      So glad to have connected, you got yourself a fan 🙂

      I’m not going to be successful but I’m going to take back my travels and that means more to me than anything in the world.

      See you on FB chica.

      Prue

  • Graham Askey says:

    Travel blog opinion pieces normally make me yawn but you are spot on here. Frankly so many of the so called successful blogs are simply a shit read as they constantly churn out stuff to improve ratings, while quality storytelling, originality and challenging material go out the window. They usually inflict us with pop ups and banner ads, which is my cue for leaving.
    Keep up the good work and long may you reman unsuccessful by anyone’s definition but your own

    • So damn true. I mentioned in the post that I follow quite a few high profile blogs and I see so many smiles for the camera and then you get ONE real piece and you think, ‘FINALLY here is some behind-the-scenes truth’ and boom next blog is back to smiles like nothing has happened, never to be mentioned again. Weird. It’s been cool to hear others like ‘real’ blogs because those are the ones I like.

      Banner free blisssssss 🙂

      Thanks for reading Graham,

      Prue

  • taryneyton says:

    Love this! The best blogs to read are the ones that are written by actual people with actual emotions and actual opinions! I’d rather have authenticity than “#liveauthentic” Thanks for sharing your true self! 🙂

  • lisamay4 says:

    What a great post and very timely for me as I just started my blog. I have no intentions of every becoming a digital nomad. I just wanted to keep a diary and have it be for family, friends and anyone else who’s interested in my journey.
    I don’t even know how I started following you but really enjoy it!
    Thank you!!!

    • Thanks Lisa,

      Keeping your blog for yourself, for family and for friends is such a cool idea. I’ve always done that, long before straight On Detour and I’ve had them printed into a book. The best memories ever!

      It’s really nice to connect, send me your blog I’ll follow along 🙂

      Best of luck and enjoy the blogging process!!

      xx Prue

  • di says:

    A party full of princesses and one wicked witch in the middle. Always an individual, never a crowd follower, constantly challenging ideals and perceptions….and everyone cheered!! Following her road ❤️

    • Thanks Mum, your support for all the weird and wonderful ideas I have had in the past (and will likely to continue to have) has been unwavering. You gave me wings and that’s the best gift of all!

      x

  • Nomad says:

    Great post! I appreciate your sheer honesty from your own personal experiences of blogging!

    • Hi Nomad,

      thanks for reading and loving the honesty. Blogging isn’t is so much harder than I thought, it’s now nice doing it at my own pace.
      Happy Sunday boys.

      Prue

  • Alexandra Leeming says:

    Hats off to ya girl – a great blog! I love your honesty and I smiled as I read this from start to finish. You missed out one thing though. On the rare occasions that we get a travel blogger on one of our trips, everyone hates it. The staff get stressed and try to work even harder to make this one person happy – you know us we are 110% all the time already, 291 “excellent” reviews on trip advisor are testament to this, the blogger thinks they are more important than anyone else on the boat (remember, everyone else paid full price) and they seem completely incapable of reading a guide book or trip advisor for themselves, they must take up every spare moment of your time asking about where to get the bus to go to Bangkok, how much is the ticket and how many times the bus will stop en route, is there a chance they could get a cabin to themselves, could they get a different rental wetsuit because theirs looks a bit old, would the cook on board mind knocking up something for a special diet that nobody has ever heard of etc etc. Don’t tell anybody but we don’t really like bloggers. There are always exceptions to rules though and in this case you and Becks are certainly exceptional. Love you both. Ax

    • Hey Alex, thanks for reading. It’s been on my mind for a little while but I just haven’t been able to put into words until now. It feels pretty damn good to vomit it all in a post.

      I’m really sorry you have had bad experiences with bloggers. There is a lot of talk going on about bloggers who don’t deliver their end of the bargain and how they are ruining comped trip for the rest of us. It’s such a shame because there are so many of us who give it their all and are the nicest and most polite guests, it just sucks how you’ve seen the dodgy ones. 🙁 That’s so shit!!!

      P.s we wen’t on a whale watching boat today for the second time (as guests of course LOL!) and didn’t see whales again. Next day off we’re out on the water hunting, we are determined little creatures!

      As always, big hugs and best wishes to you and Keith.

      xxx

      Prue

  • Absolutely hit the nail on the head with this post! I am so so glad someone like you is out there to be able to say all these things everyone else is usually scared to! Being a full time blogger seems overrated to me most of them quit everything they know and love and stress themselves out 2/7 just to produce content every day (and most of the content is not that unique). Your content is a breath of fresh air and has really needed to have been said A LONG LONG time ago!

    Well done for making a post which is actually true. Ill admit this is my first time on your blog, but now ive read this post I am going to absolutely start looking at others of yours.

    Thanks again and keep up the fantastic writing.

    • I’m so sorry, I’ve just had a look around your website and I couldn’t find your name. Please tell me.
      I was that person who thought blogging was the dream and it’s taken me waaaaaay to long to figure out it isn’t MY dream. I’m starting late but I’m starting now and damn it feels good ha! Thanks for reading, it’s weirdly satisfying to know I’m not the only one who thinks like this.

      Do you a deal, if you keep it fresh, I will too 😛

      Prue

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Hi we're Prue and Becks, travel writers and photographers who have been travelling the world together since 2012. Without taking ourselves too seriously, we divulge the lesser known, out of the way places and give you the tools to replicate it. Want to know more? Click on our pic.