So you are considering stepping into the big wide world as a long term traveller, digital nomad and travel blogger? I must raise my hat to you. It is a brave decision. Or are you just curious what all the hype is about and what the heck a travel blogger actually is? In any case, you have arrived in the right place or blog post.
Stand up for Your Own Goals
When I started out as a travel blogger, I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to do it or not. In fact, I had not even told a soul about my intentions. Stemming from deep insecurities I thought I would just see how it goes and if all failed, nobody would know. The problem with that was, I did not receive any support or understanding through this. The long hours I worked, the feedback I asked from my friends all were countered by “Why do you worry what others think? You’re on holiday.”
In fact, I never really was on holiday. I was building a one-woman start up from scratch and I didn’t have a clue. Or proper feedback beyond “it’s good”. That doesn’t mean that I am a pro now. In fact I’m still far from it, but I have come along way and I am getting there. If you had told me in the beginning that so many people would be looking at my blog with half of them being new, I wouldn’t have believed you. Sure, I am scarily ambitious and beat myself up all the time, comparing my blog to other more successful ones and their sky rocketing numbers of readership, but I have gained a better sense of perspective and gratitude.
So, instead of just passively hoping for natural growth, I was trying to be more proactive. Funnily, that was mostly encouraged by people I had just met and who didn’t knew me. They were intrigued by my passion for travel and my wild ideas and told me to go out there and declare myself. Shout it out to the world. After all, why should the world care about me when I didn’t? Hoping for a miracle is never a recipe for success.
I then started to send out mails to each and everyone of my facebook friends, telling them about my aspirations and ask them to do a simple favour for me: just share my page or mention me in their status. Not even half of them did. I was utterly disappointed, if not even my friends cared about how and what I was doing, how could I succeed?
Realise You’re On Your Own
By relying on myself, that is what you will learn from travelling pretty soon. When you are out there roaming foreign countries, people might think of you now and then and might even be concerned but are too busy with their own lives to care too much, to be honest. And that is understandable. Coming back, this is the actual culture shock every traveller or person that has lived abroad for a while gets: the realisation that nobody really bothers.
Let me tell you about my first experience, which would be repeated during my own travels as well as in stories I was told by others. When I arrived back home after my 8 month long stay abroad in England, I was greeted with eager arms and bubbling talk by friends and family Everyone wanted to know how I was doing and how I liked it. What did I see? What did I like most?
I was happy about this welcome but terribly tired and full of impressions that I could not answer. I just wanted to rest for a while and then get back on track. Certainly everyone would understand. After having travelled or “just” stayed abroad, there are way too many stories to tell and a day long flight and drive can be exhausting.
Nobody really understood. And before I could figure out where to begin my narration, everybody had lost interest. It was just a few days ago that I was bombarded with questions and now everyone was terribly bored and looked for a change of topic. What had happened? “Only travellers care about travellers,” is what someone had said to me the other day. There is truth in that. Foreign countries seem so far away and often, envy gets in the way. But this shouldn’t be what travel is about.
But Don’t Forget to reach out for Help
So in the end, you have learned that you are essentially alone in this. There are people out there that will encourage you but you have to ask them. Even then, don’t ever rely on their support. They have their own lives, their own reasons and concerns. Don’t put it on them and don’t give away your power.
In the end, it is you that has the power to make decisions to get out there and show the world. If they are not interested in your topic, no one can blame them. Find someone who is. There is a whole world out there of like-minded people and if there is one thing you learn from travel, it’s that you will meet the most amazing people. Some people you will meet that you have an instant dislike for. Sometimes they turn out to be great, other times they really are not.
The freedom of travel is choice. You can choose to be true yourself and that means to also surround yourself by people that are healthy for you. Forget the doubters and negative people. They have their own emotional baggage and you are not here to save them. You are here to save yourself and become your best self in the process. For that you have to find the best place to grow and learn.
But growing in an isolated space is no good either. And that’s were the amazing people come in. Listen to their stories, share your own and maybe walk on the same path together for a while. Don’t forget your people at home but always look at where you stand. Are you happy? Are you on the way to happiness? Are you willing to put yourself first and not burden others with saving you? Dale Carnegie once wrote the wise words along the lines of “to make others happy, you must be happy yourself first.”
Become Your Own Marketing Expert
I hope that you’re now a more centred human being that feels more responsibility for yourself. It’s a an ongoing process and a hard one. Now, if you are aware that you have the power to make your dreams happen, you can make a plan. Why not start slow and get the wheels in motion? Talk about it, get on social media and market yourself.
In what way that is you can find out through extensive analysis, evaluation and by comparing yourself to others in your chosen area. Or you can just be yourself and brand who you are. Ryan Biddulph has published a brilliant article on that. Of course, this does not mean that you can now sit back lazily with a coconut in hand, writing whatever comes to mind. You need to do some more work, too. But you will figure things out more clearly if you just get started and connect.
Read up on how the social media channels are different, watch thought leaders in your field and see how they do it and be inspired by it. But most of all, find your own voice. Don’t copy things. Have you ever heard of combinatorial creativity? Maria Popova has a brilliant insight on this. It’s no secret that the greatest minds have copied and learned from one another but at the same time made it their own. Soak up impressions like a sponge and later merge them into your own creative work.
See what works for yourself, what feels natural and which platforms are suitable. Instagram is not for everyone and others fail to grasp the concept of twitter. But that does not mean that you can shape it around your needs and make it happen anyway, if you set your mind to it. The world’s your clay and you are the Patrick Swayze in it. (Getting a cheesy ghost reference in here – Why? I don’t know.)