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How Travel Blogging Has Benefited My Life

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I was feeling a bit philosophical lately after doing some of those recap posts, such as the Story of Brooke vs. the World. My mind got to thinking about why I’m even in this whole blogging business, and if it is worth continuing (not that I could really give it up). There’s a mad rush in the travel community to build up followers and get the hits and become a bigger fish in a huge sea of dreamers – and I can understand why many people strive for this: they want to make money.

As much as I love to make a buck or two off this site, it doesn’t really happen often enough to pay for the time spent fiddling around. Perhaps if I plastered ad blocks everywhere (I’ve been tempted on many occasions), I could probably make that change, but at the same time I hold back a lot (not completely mind you) because of the fact I don’t want this website to stray too far from its original purpose of sharing my personal story and experiences (and hopefully inspiring and entertaining a little in the process).

In that sense, it makes me sometimes wonder whether or not caring about stats and readers is worthwhile. I’m often torn between letting things just roll on their own and trying to instigate growth (because it’s a challenge?). It does make for a good hobby at least.

In the midst of all these thoughts, I was able to see the light. Travel blogging has impacted my life in several ways throughout the years for the better. It may not pay the bills, but it does have other benefits.

The Outlet

It hasn’t been the place where I divulge all my deepest and darkest secrets, but it does help with the venting and sharing process regardless. Really, I try to stay away from too much *emotion* in general, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t write it down. There have been a few occasions where I’ve deleted entire paragraphs before publishing, yet still felt better getting it out in words before doing so. Being able to share stories with others that can relate and comment is also a major bonus.

The Inspired Emails

The emails I get from people asking me how I did it, or how they’ve spent hours trolling the site in awe are some of the best reasons to keep going. It makes me feel good that others can benefit from my own experiences, much like I was inspired by many other bloggers back in the day. It sort of makes it feel as though I’m paying that motivation back.

The Jobs

Believe it or not, this blog has been a factor in getting a few of my previous jobs. Blogs are big business nowadays, and if you can show you know how to write for a web audience, you could be on your way to a few of your own. It’s hard to think about how something that seemed so trivial in the beginning of my travel infatuation could result in the amazing, awesome position of guide writer for WhyGo Australia (part of the BootsnAll Travel Network). It’s definitely one of those things I couldn’t have pictured four years ago when I was working the IT help desk at Caterpillar. No way.

The Introduction to Twitter

If I hadn’t been in the business of travel blogging, I probably would never have gotten into Twitter. To be honest, my first impression of the social media tool was a bit on the negative side. However, time let the benefits of Twitter show themselves, and I am hooked to say the least. Without those tweets, I wouldn’t have met some super cool people, been introduced to the Sydney Travel Tribe and made numerous other connections.

The People I’ve Connected With

Beyond Twitter, the blog itself has paved the way for connecting with some amazing people around the world. One contact in particular goes back to the early planning stages around 3.5 years ago – Bethany of Beers and Beans. It was through my blog that Bethany found me, and even though we’ve never met in person, she is someone that I still to this day share most things about my life with, and vice versa. Pretty cool, eh?

What about you guys? How has travel blogging impacted your life for the better?

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16 Responses to How Travel Blogging Has Benefited My Life

  1. Kimberley Rowney June 14, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

    Hi Brooke

    Firstly let me say how much I love your blog. It has been a big inspiration for me as I am currently planning my RTW trip.

    I too am the author of a travel blog. It has only been in existence for about a month, but I love it. Even though I am only in the planning/saving phase of my trip, I have found it to be a great outlet and as my following has grown and I have received positive reviews, I have fallen in love with the process. Also, it is great to know there are other people out there who are experiencing what I am experiencing or are already on their trips. Like you I don’t put my whole life on my blog and believe it is important to keep some things private, the process of writing is very therapeutic even if I don’t publish what I have written.

    Once again, thankyou for such a fantastic blog!

  2. ayngelina June 15, 2010 at 12:23 am #

    Definitely benefitted and I´ve met some amazing people who really helped me plan for my RTW. Now that I´m on the road new people through Twitter have offered suggestions and advice that I wouldn´t have found elsewhere.

    Like you I don´t plan to make a living out of this. If I make some money great but I don´t want to obsess about which Tweet garners the biggest hits, especially while traveling.

  3. giuliadventures June 15, 2010 at 1:49 am #

    Hey, I just found out your blog thanks to Twitter. I have a travel blog myself, it’s new, but it makes me feel so good! Strange enough, I started writing now that I can’t move because of an accident I had. That’s why I called my blog “from a broken vertebra to world conquest” 🙂
    I always say “travel is my oxygen” and lately I found myself thinking about what I would really love to do in my life. I came up with the decision of making a career out of my trips around the world. I want to write and take photos. Hope I’ll have some luck:) And if not, at least I’ll have beautiful memories from all over the world!
    Thank you for this beautiful post.
    Giulia

  4. Globetrooper Todd June 15, 2010 at 3:23 am #

    Great point about the challenge of it all. At some point in life, things are just easy. and when things are easy, I think you stop growing. Lauren and I hit the road because we knew it would be tough and we knew we’d grow from it. Less than one week in and I can already see how traveling and blogging and running a business will all factor into our futures.

    By the way, wish we didn’t miss you at the Travel Tribe meetup in Sydney last week. It was our last night before leaving for Montreal and we had a farewell dinner to go to (our farewell, so it wasn’t really optional).

    Have you ever thought about taking the blogging one step further and making a business out of it? Not just advertising, but some real travel product or service?

  5. Ant June 15, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    Well put, Brooke. I often feel the same, especially in relation to your opening paragraph.

    Not sure on your thoughts, but when we started our blogs it was to write about travel, whereas now when I look and listen to the audience, I’m often convinced that travel has become about the blog.

    Many people seem to be leaving their jobs behind, but not their lifestyle. I fully appreciate that blogs can take a lot of work, but how sad would it be to look back at these years of unbridled travel to realise they spent all their time in internet cafés trying to score some spare change.

    It used to be work to live, not live to work. Now I advocate a new saying: travel to blog, don’t blog to travel.

  6. Bethany June 15, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    awww… I feel so touched!

    I know, I can’t believe it really has been 3.5 yrs! It’s crazy because as you know I definitely divulge pretty much of all of my life to you and we have only known each other in a virtual world!

    I gotta say Brooke, my entire blogging experience would never have been the same without you in it. In fact, I can’t even imagine it! You’ve helped me through a lot of rough patches and have inspired me at the same time. I only hope I can do the same for you 🙂

    Geez, without you, BnB wouldn’t even be close to where it is today! You are the bomb!!! And one of these days we are gonna have one heck of a real life reunion!!

  7. JoAnna June 15, 2010 at 4:44 pm #

    It’s funny that you posted this when you did because my travel blog just celebrated its first birthday (http://kaleidoscopicwandering.com/2010/06/07/kaleidoscopic-wandering-turns-one-year-old/), and I’ve been thinking all of the same things that you noted above. I can’t believe how many things in my life have changed as a result of travel blogging. The people I’ve met (both in person and virtually), the opportunities I’ve had, the things I’ve learned …

    I’ve really enjoyed following your blog and hope you’ll continue to keep it up!

  8. Matt June 16, 2010 at 10:14 am #

    Look, I’d like to earn a living off of travel blogging – but as you’ve said, that is easier said than done. I enjoy travel blogging as a hobby and a commitment to have when I’m on the road. It helps to keep me grounded in a sense and having responsibilities makes the weeks without ‘work’ significantly easier.

    It’s pretty amazing the people you meet as well. I’ve connected with three people in Queenstown who have found me from Twitter and my website.

  9. Joya June 16, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    Great post Brooke! I totally agree that a blog can be an outlet. I have a day job and it’s nice to come home sometimes, when I’m not too tired, and write on my blog and connect with like minded people. Making money is a distant, very distant, goal in the future but I blog just because I love doing it.

  10. Shannon OD June 18, 2010 at 4:14 am #

    I love this post – like you I rarely post the deep dark and emotional posts…and I struggle with whether to sell ad space. But I love the community that the blog has given me – Andy Hayes and I work together now and that relationship developed completely from Twittering and blogging, it just makes the whole world seem smaller now to know that so many other like-minded travelers are out there and willing to share, offer up advice and help me on my journey…just as I give back with emails to new travelers on the road scared to take this path 🙂

  11. Andy Jarosz June 18, 2010 at 4:25 am #

    Enjoyed this post. Sounds like a few of us have had a similar journey. I started 501 Places for fun, and have slowly found that I’m getting paid commissions and now blogging contracts on the back of it. Why do I keep it up? For the same reasons as you’ve listed Brooke: the people I’ve met along the way, those random emails of support and the way I can organise my own thoughts via my writing (among others).
    You have a great blog – keep up the good work.

  12. Erica June 18, 2010 at 5:58 am #

    I have only been here a short 3 months but I feel like I have grown leaps and bounds in regards to my web/networking capabilities. Why? Because of people like you who have inspiring stories and awesome links. The travel community has become like my second family and I have become addicted to it. While some people just don’t understand why I do the things I do, everyone here has been cheerleaders – and I’ve needed it. Starting a clog is scary, overwhelming, and frustrating as hell sometimes. <3

  13. Nomadic Matt June 19, 2010 at 12:27 am #

    I love this new site design. It’s probably not new but it’s new to me. So clean.

    For me the best part about blogging has been the people and friends I’ve been able to meet. I’ve made some great friends through this.

  14. lionel June 20, 2010 at 2:16 am #

    Here is yet another advantage of travel blogging 😉

    We are organizing a travel blog competition and offering a free stay in Meknes, Morocco.

    Please have a look if you’d like to nominate your blog :

    riadmeknes.blogspot.com

  15. Brooke June 21, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

    So many awesome replies here! Thank you for reading and commenting everyone – seriously you all rock!

  16. Federico @ maitravelsite August 17, 2010 at 9:24 am #

    Hi Brooke!

    Funny how I began not liking twitter very much (in fact desliked it profoundly) and now…well I am certainly not hooked but can “tolerate” it lol. It does help meeiint people and occasionally getting unexpected posts or photos about a topic of interest.

    Blogging hasn’t changed my life that much other than keeping me more time near a computer, but I do like meeting people around the world and knowing that when I go there I will get to hang out with them. Hopefull it won’t take much longer for me to hit the road again (although I guess being in Mexico, out of my country, is like traveling)

    Happy travels!

    Federico

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