Recently, I was a speaker at The New York Times Travel Show here in Manhattan. Whenever these large travel shows/conferences roll into town, I inevitably get to catch up with old friends, blogging compadres, fellow journalists and writers I admire.
In the past, I have attended The New York Times Travel Show as ‘Founder of The Pin the Map Project’ (a title I still proudly carry) but this time around, I was happily displaying my ‘Travel Editor at Culture Trip’ badge; a new title I’ve been carrying since making the transition from blogging to editorial.
While I have written about the dos and don’ts of pitching travel editors , I haven’t taken time to actually reflect on what I miss about full time blogging and what I don’t. It’s a question that has been popping up recently as I straddle the line between blogger and editor and catch up with old blogging friends.
Here’s what I miss about being a full time travel blogger…and what I don’t
I Miss The Freedom To Travel Whenever – While I (obviously) still travel blog, being a full time blogger was a very different reality. What I miss the most about being a full-time blogger (and freelance travel writer, for that matter) is the freedom to plan my schedule the way I want.
Last year, I traveled to multiple countries – sometimes on a last minute whim. I flew to the Philippines for a cultural press trip, to Iceland on assignment to report on the whaling industry, to Indonesia for a trip from Borneo to Bali. I traveled to Mexico for a road trip through Oaxaca where I visited a local shaman and tried every type of mole in the region. I flew to the Dominican Republic for an adventure-themed press trip and to Nicaragua to dance on the beach with friends and volunteer with children. At no point did I ever worry about paid time off, sick days or checking in with a boss. I had the utmost freedom to travel whenever and as frequently as opportunity allowed.
I Don’t Miss Press Trips – Of course, every coin has a flip side and so did that sweet freedom to travel. While I could easily jump from press trip to press trip, I wasn’t traveling the way I like, which is to say with loved ones on my own dime and schedule. Sure, I could take a press trip to Mexico but I was traveling with 12 other bloggers, adhering to a strict schedule and specific activities coordinated by a tour company. The irony is I had the opportunity to travel for free but lacked enough money to travel on my own, with my boyfriend. After enough press trips of wishing I could just kiss the person I love in front of that incredible view, it starts to wear thin. (Check out my post: Why Press Trips Aren’t Everything)
I Miss Writing Whatever I Want – The Pin the Map Project is mine, which means I can write what I want, however I want. Today I am writing a post about the pros and cons of blogging, tomorrow I could write a personal piece about love, the next day I could scan a photo of my face and make that the post (don’t worry, I won’t). The point is, this sort of creative freedom changes when you work for a publication that isn’t yours. It’s why I keep this blog updated – because it gives me an outlet of creative freedom I may not necessarily be able to express on Culture Trip.
I Don’t Miss Not Always Having An Impact – Five years of pushing The Pin the Map Project up the ladder of internet success and I am not even close to the sort of audience Culture Trip reaches (5 million readers a month!). I remember days when I would write a stellar post for my blog and then have my pride deflate when the post went by unnoticed, un-liked and without comment. At a publication, you always have a platform. Even if one of my stories doesn’t do that well – which is to say doesn’t garner enough page views – the few page views I do get on Culture Trip still triple those I would get from The Pin the Map Project on a good day. I love having a platform where my words can have an impact and inspire change – even in the smallest of ways.
I Miss the Spontaneity of Full Time Blogging – My life as a full time travel blogger was unpredictable. Some days were uneventful, which is to say I would camp out at a coffee shop and write blog posts while brainstorming ways to improve my site and social media accounts. Other days were exciting where I would get a week’s notice to fly to Asia. I loved waking up each morning and checking my email first thing because I never knew if I would find an invitation to visit some exotic locale I had been dying to see. Suffice to say, when working in an office – even in a job as exciting as Travel Editor – that sort of drop-everything-and-go spontaneity is rare.
I Don’t Miss the Constant Hustle – What eventually wore my love of travel blogging thin was the constant hustle to earn money via sponsored posts, brand campaigns, etc. I was constantly hitting the ground running, trying to monetize my work, chasing down clients to pay overdue invoices, pitching brands I hoped to work with, negotiating back and forth with brands who pushed to pay me a fraction of my rate. I definitely do not miss this song and dance! There is something wonderful to be said about having a consistent paycheck, health benefits and zero fear about where rent is going to come from.
What do you love most about blogging? What don’t you like? Share it below!