The painful reality with travel blogging (and why it’s not a big problem)

Traveling around is amazing, I won’t tell you any different. I love doing it, alone and with friends. Writing about it for me is an extra creative outlet in extension of my photography. Although, there is a big but… and I cannot lie!

As I am writing this, I’m on a train to Paris. I just came back from two back-to-back trips, and after this one, I have a couple of days before leaving for the next one. Blog posts aplenty coming.

The past days I also received a handful “I want your life” messages. By no means do I hate my life, but there are a couple of nuances I want to make about travel blogging.

You get lonely sometimes

Of the four trips I did this month, I did one with friends. Two of the trips are promoted by the local tourist board and are with other bloggers and journalists. Sometimes I know some of them, often they are completely new to me. The trip I’m currently doing is for work, so mostly by myself.

Even if you have people around you, it can get lonely. Sometimes you just want to tell that funny thing you saw to a friend, and not everything can be said in a text.

You can’t enjoy a casual trip with friends

The moment you are traveling with your friends, it’s not a casual trip anymore. You want to make content of everything you do and see.

“Maybe that’s a good Instagram photo?”
“I will make a list of cozy restaurants in this city!”

Your friends are there for fun and hanging out with you. Sure they want a photo of themselves here and there too. But you seem to “need” it.

You feel the pressure of a good photo, even with bad weather

During my most recent trip with friends, I had an overcast day. Not ideal to photograph the beautiful gardens in Madrid.

The phrase “how am I going to showcase this place in a blog post properly?” played through my head a couple of times. It even gave me the idea for this blog post.

Your luggage is too much to carry

Maybe I am just too much into photography, but I always seem to bring too much. You bring everything you always needed. Enough clothes, your toothbrush, shower gels, a book to read, …
… a camera
… a collection of 4 lenses
… a tripod
… extra batteries
… your laptop and HDD
… a gimbal
… ND and polarisation filters
… the list goes on

You lose the butterflies after you Xth trip

I used to get immense butterflies when going a trip. Two days in advance the excitement would hit me. Now I just am happy I am leaving once I get to the airport or train station. It’s not the biggest of problems, but that pre-departure excitement was so fun.

You are hard to impress

Well, after a while you think you saw it all. Which is obviously impossible, yet another majestic castle or high vantage point doesn’t cut it anymore. You need those deep colors in landscapes, picturesque villages, or weird food.

Deadvlei bij Sossusvlei, Namibië
Deadvlei bij Sossusvlei

You feel like you have to write about everything you do

I mentioned this one before. You can’t go to a restaurant with friends without making a couple of photos “you might put in a post”. I don’t even like writing about food that much.

You have to invest quite a bit of money

People have the idea agencies and tourist boards give you a pile of trips to pick from. I’ve been blogging for a while now, and only now I start to get invited to press-trips. Before all that, it’s your money you are investing into it all. It’s also more than just the trip, it’s the camera, the blog-hosting, the time you put into it, …

Also, you should travel because of your love for it. The invitations to the trips are very nice, but don’t let that be your motivation to (start a) blog.

Everything gets destroyed by travelers following your footprints

Sometimes I fall in love with a place but feel hesitant to write about it. I already saw enough news-articles about places that get destroyed by tourists. Some things are better-kept secret or kept on the down low. Until we all learn to be respectful of course.

But let’s turn this positive…

It’s actually not that bad. There is so much more that makes travel blogging all worth it.

You get to meet so many people

On press trips, you meet other bloggers and journalists, people that all have the same interest as you. I forged great friendships in hostels abroad. Brands introduce you to their people, giving you more insights into their products. I had deep talk with Uber-drivers. The list goes on.

You push yourself to go deeper into exploring

Because it’s harder to be impressed, you look deeper into things. Every city or landscape has something cool to offer you. It’s your task and mission at that point to find it. Often it can be really surprising what you find, if only you search hard enough.

It’s not always hard to find either. Last week I was really impressed with the work of Hieronymus Bosch at la Museo del Prado in Madrid.

You try to find a positive aspect in everything

You want to sell a place to your readers. That’s the hard and unnuanced truth about blogging. Often enough, if something is really bad, you don’t write about it. But if it’s something that’s a bit dull or uncool, you will do your best to give it a positive spin… like I did in this post!

You get to practice your photography in new situations

Maybe this one is only interesting to me, but new places and situations, mean new things to try and photograph. Although I also still enjoy photographing my hometown, Antwerp.

You always have a story to tell your friends

You see your friends a bit less than others, but if you see them, you have so many cool stories to tell them. It’s kind of like travel-blogging face to face… which sounds too nerdy! I’m sorry I even wrote that one down.

You can help your friends on their trips

Whether they are traveling with you, or without you. It’s so fulfilling to know you are helping your friends with your advice and experience. Silly stuff about Google Maps hacks, or how to order an Uber. It might become obvious to you, but for many people, it isn’t.