I can’t say why I put away my name tag, just that it felt more “professional” to introduce myself as a freelance journalist rather than the blogger behind The Pin the Map Project. I was wrong of course, I should have been proud of my blog and its growth yet I still catch myself–even now–getting used to the label of “travel writer.”
Travel writer—it sounds like the sort of job title that is greeted with an eye roll and sarcastic retort of “oh yeah, and I’m an astronaut.” It’s the type of job that is envied and misunderstood, that takes on mythical proportions and seems unattainable to many. Having recently stepped outside the “real world” and into the role of full time travel writer & blogger, I find myself often switching titles like hats. “Hi, my name is Nikki the freelance journalist for Matador, VICE, Roads & Kingdoms and more” or “Hi, my name is Nikki the travel blogger behind The Pin the Map Project.”
So, when I walked into the tourism board event earlier this week–a celebration in New York City of the Finger Lakes Wine Region where I had recently been on assignment–I dropped the travel blogger label and put on the journalist one. As I stood mingling with other writers from various publications, I realized how silly I was being by not just wearing my “Nikki from the The Pin the Map Project” name tag. My blog is my passion—it’s three years of my life, a called off wedding, incredible trips to exotic places and memories I’ll cherish forever. The Pin the Map Project is new friends and experiences, it’s my heart and soul splashed onto the pages for the world to see, it’s my strengths and vulnerabilities, my dreams and wishes. With a plate of s’mores and wine balanced in one hand, I reached with my other hand for the name tag I had tucked away and pinned it to my leather jacket.
Moments later, I struck up conversation with another travel writer as I asked about her publication and what she writes. As we spoke, I saw her eyes peer at my name tag and light up in recognition. “I know you!” She exclaimed, “I had seen your panel discussion at the New York Travel Fest this past Spring!” Back in April, I had the utmost pleasure of joining a panel discussion to discuss how bloggers and brands work together. The event was part of the NY Travel Fest and the panel was attended by various travelers, bloggers and students from around the city who were eager to learn more about travel blogging. I stood humbled and flattered, in awe and proud for being recognized for my own work, not just my affiliation to a larger publication.
It was a relatively simple exchange and wonderful evening that left me with an important lesson I’d like to share: Always be proud of your work! Whether you’re a veteran blogger or have recently pressed publish on your first post, believe in your writing and stand behind your brand because at the end of the day—you are your most important fan!
Check out more blogging tips and stories in the BLOG TIPS section and share your comments, questions and thoughts below!