In the six or so months I have now been travel blogging professionally - in other words, earning 100% of my income from blogging-related activities - I have been accused of having a "dream job" more times than I can count.
But is travel blogging really a dream job?
Sure, having location-independent income allows me to travel basically at my leisure, and I've used Leave Your Daily Hell to score free or discounted accommodation, activities and even entire trips on more than one occasion. I earn significantly less than the average per-capita income of my country, yet enjoy a lifestyle more typical of "The 1%" than a middle-class individual.
I am thankful that my years of tireless work, most of it unpaid, have finally led me to a source of sustenance that seemed, not so long ago, to be unreachable. But there is another side to travel blogging, one that makes me wonder if I'm really cut out for it.
Travel Bloggers Don't Get Time OffOne underlying assumption people who believe travel blogging is a dream job hold is that travel bloggers are always on holiday. In fact, the exact opposite is true.
I cannot remember the last time I woke up or went to bed with thoughts that did not relate to my blog. When I'm on the road, it's "How many articles will I be able to write about what I did today?" or "Where are the best spots in this city/country I barely know to take photos?" or "Where can I find Wi-Fi that doesn't suck?"
When I'm "at home" - and "home, " for travel bloggers, is a relative term - it's "How can I frame my experiences so they set my blog apart?" or "What can I do to make my blog look or feel more professional?" or "Why did my traffic drop/rise so suddenly?"
The danger of taking a day or even a week "off" is not only that my readers might stray off to other blogs, without fresh new content to read here, but that I might lose my travel blogging mojo. It takes a huge amount of discipline to stay motivated without a set schedule or list of responsibilities, and getting back "into the rhythm" is often too big a hassle to bother getting out of it all.
Travel Blogging is Not Travel WritingIf I needed only to travel and/or write to make a living, I likely wouldn't be as stressed as I usually find myself. But travel blogging, if you hope to do it profitably anyway, is a much more unruly beast - you are not the captain of the ship; you are the ship.
You must first understand that the writing on a travel blog alone generates no revenue. What it does generate is traffic, which generates an audience, which translates into the value of the blog. Once a blog becomes valuable enough, individuals and organizations who sell travel-related products and services - or even represent destinations - will pay to advertise on it.