How to (not) be a Travel Blogger

Hello. It has been a while. More than a year since last posted something. I’d be first to admit I’m failing at being a travel blogger.

Spice Girls Spice World Reunion Tour, BT Murrayfield Stadium, 08Jun19

Don’t get me wrong, I still truly want to be a veritable travel blogger. And, since my last post in 2018, I visited Toulouse before spending 3 peaceful days at the foot of the Pyrenees in Lourdes. I returned to Rome (never thought that wish at the Fontana di Trevi would come true), played around in Lugano, which started a trip that took me all over Switzerland - to Chur, to Zurich, to Bern, to the Jungfrau region, to Basel (where the company I work for is based), and to Geneva. I was also able to take quick jaunts not too far from home, to Malibu, Solvang, Santa Barbara, and to Lake Tahoe in California, and to visit my sister and her family in New Jersey. And of course, highlight trip so far this year was my return to Edinburgh (for the Spice Girls reunion!) but visited the Isle of Skye for the first time. Finally, I’m actually currently on my annual anniversary/birthday trip, and this time, we did BeNeLux!

So the travel part is there, just not the blogger bit. But, why have I been failing at becoming a travel blogger? So I wanted to take a closer look at each advise / lesson to become one, and what I have not been able to do (aka excuses), and hopefully device a plan for a countermeasure.

You have to put in the time and Dedication to become a travel blogger

Well that’s quite obvious. Anyone can become anything they want to be with time and dedication. I’m pretty sure most if not all of the big travel bloggers out there had full time jobs before making it enough to quit said jobs and turn their hobbies into professions. I don’t know how many “how to be a travel blogger” webinars I’ve attended (plenty, really), but a lot of them were able to use their insatiable desire to quit their jobs to propel them into becoming travel bloggers. As one should if one truly wants to get out of a situation they want to change. And that desire is quite the catalyst.

The thing is, I love my full time job. I love the people I work with, what my company does for mankind (I make cancer drugs), all the business and life lessons I learn over there, and the opportunities for me to give back and make impactful contributions. My time and dedication is mostly spent there, second only to my time and dedication to my husband and my family (although to tell you the truth, a lot of times it takes the top spot, and I’m still working on that). From there, I’m also dedicated to creating a hygge home, to continuous self-improvement, to health and well-being, and, well, to making my travel dreams come true. So time for travel blogging competes with home improvement projects, daily German lessons, finishing at least 2 books a month, regular exercise and at least 6 hours of sleep, and travel itself. And because I feel the return of time investments from those activities sooner and/or bigger, blogging is relegated to when there’s any other time left.

Birthday hike in Tschiertschen, Switzerland.

Birthday hike in Tschiertschen, Switzerland.

Countermeasure: For every obstacle, there must be a plan to overcome it. I won’t get any ROI from blogging if I don’t actually blog. So this is one of those that I simply must make time for. But, there’s a technical solution for every technical problem, and time to blog is a technical problem.

How do I blog faster? One thing that I’m trying this time is to not wait until it’s time to blog to actually type what I want to say. I do this for work a lot when I’m reading emails on my phone. Maybe half of the emails I have to respond to requires checking other systems, which I simply cannot do on the go. But, half of them are just like replying to text messages. So rather than waiting until it’s time to read my emails on my laptop, for the ones I can, I respond to immediately, and then that’s done. When I had thoughts for this post, I was not just writing keywords down for me to expand on later. I started taking that 2-5 minutes to type the entire thought, and so some bits of this post are basically copy/pastes of what I’ve already written. We’ll see how this method goes. Seems promising though. I have heard people recording their thoughts as voice memos. It’s basically the same thing but since I’ll have to type my thoughts later anyway, I’d rather do away with another digital file I’ll have to organize.

How do I blog more often? Because the travel blogging industry is so saturated, I continue to struggle with “what do I blog about that’s not already out there?” But same as how perfection should not get in the way of progress, I realized that not having an answer to that question all the time should not stop me from writing. I love to write essays, to journal and try to add poetry to thoughts I just jot down. I know that every blogger will tell you, “no one will read your post if it’s not anything people search for”. That is indeed true. But you know what, I will read it. And it’s through re-reading old posts that a lot of times inspires me to write some more. Writing about anything I may want to write about is a good practice for me to find my voice and hone my style, so the post is not for naught.

Blessed with a double rainbow in Portree, at the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

You have to do all the seo stuff and make sure you find the right keywords

You have no idea how much thinking about the SEO stuff, having to search first for the right keywords, and that whole GDPR implementation made me not want to be a travel blogger anymore. We did spend time to be GDPR compliant but all that effort last year got me feeling dejected with the maintenance and keeping up with everything in order to become a travel blogger. I already have a hard time finding time to blog as it is, then I still have to carve out more time from life to think about SEO and keywords.

I know it’s very important too. If you’re not searchable, then you don’t exist.

Every “how to be a travel blogger” webinar has a section on this, albeit very short compared to the sections about how they became travel bloggers and why the webinars they are offering will make you a profitable travel blogger as well. I still don’t quite get it, actually. It has something to do with going to keyword search websites, and then I guess finding what keywords people type. You get a number, I think in the hundred thousands is good. But where I am lost is how to use those keywords. Do you just make sure you use those keywords on your post? Is there a certain way to use those keywords? Do I have to use them as tags? I believe so, is my answer to all those questions, but I’m truly not sure.

Supposedly, you should see increase in readership because if you have used them correctly. I haven’t spent the time doing data analytics for this blog, actually. Perhaps I shall. But then again, this negates my points above to just write what I want to write.

Countermeasure: Here’s my experiment. I don’t want to pay for those keyword search websites, so, I will at least try to answer what I search for myself. I’ve been searching for “self-guided walking tour Antwerp” lately. I got bits and pieces that I put together as an itinerary for my allotted time in Antwerp, so, I should probably write about that. Again, for me, I want to prioritize honing my writing skills and to just be able to post regularly at this point. So this may be a phase II item to focus on.

Took a cable car from Wengen to Männlichen, before taking another cable car to Grindelwald.

you have to be present on all social media platforms

Oh boy. Again, I know it’s important, but I simply cannot.

The webinars said, spend 30 minutes a day going through hashtags you use on Instagram and visit and interact with profiles that use them. The webinars said, be active on Twitter, there’s a lot of talk there. They also said, make a Facebook page, send it to everyone you know and ask them to like it, and spend at least 30 minutes per day visiting and interacting with other pages. Make those square videos that go viral, and share them on Facebook. They also said, you must be on YouTube, vlog so that people get to know you. Then they also said, back in Instagram, make IGTV videos, share stories. Oh, and then, finally, you must collect emails and send newsletters.

If you do all this, you can truly make blogging a profession, because that is multiple income streams right there.

I’m sure they are right. You’ll definitely see many efforts thereof for Get There Get Lost, sadly failing at each one. Because again, life life.

I used to love Instagram, I’ve been on it since it’s inception. When it started, I was able to reconnect with people from my high school, and connect with photographers and travelers. It challenged me to be a better photographer and find different perspectives, especially those photo-a-day challenges. It wasn’t also too long ago that it inspired me to learn Lightroom, and found female travelers to connect with.

But I fell out of love when the Influencer culture just took over. Inspiration is one thing and lately, I only use Instagram to get some Scandinavian home inspiration. I stopped getting travel inspiration from influencers because I realized, it was changing my travel focus, and not for the better. Because it was making my travel experiences just for the ‘gram. That’s why I’ve also been MIA from IG.

Countermeasure: Let me reset. Let me start with one. Let me see if love is not lost between me and Instagram. I shall start there, 1 post a week to begin with. I remain passionate about photography and continuing to develop Lightroom skills, so I want to rekindle the love with IG.

I actually take a lot of videos during traveling. I want
to put them together, more for me and my family really. So we’ll see about that one. Again, one step at a time.

PiNTEREST IS A REally good tool if you want to be a travel blogger

I believe this is true, because when I did pull some data last year when I used to post, I did get readers from Pinterest. I don’t think I know exactly how to use it though. I think I’m supposed to Pin it. So you’ll see one or two images for a Pinterest thumbnail below this post so I can pin it to our GTGL Pinterest account, and so you can Pin it to! I think the more Pins, the more reach.

Countermeasure: I can’t have anything to Pin without a blog post. So this goes back to my very first point. And creating a thumbnail is extra time, but I have created a template on Photoshop for it, so that’s enabled some efficiency.

So, all that’s left for me is to do all that to be a travel blogger. I know it’s easier said than done for me. But, nothing will happen if all I do is just sit here and think about becoming one. With that, I leave you with a video from the Spice Girls concert, truly one of the best nights ever!

Bianca is one of the founders of get there | get lost. She is an avid writer and photographer based in Northern California. Her love for history, literature, architecture and food culminate to her passion for traveling and learning about different cultures. She advocates for accessible travel, and continues to explore with her husband and travel partner, Jesús, despite physical limitations. Follow their adventures on Instagram as @gettheregetlost and @coffeeandtherapy.