There was a hilarious article the other day about the reality of being a travel blogger. I chuckled through each point, nodding my head in agreement, delighted to have found something which resonated so well with how I was feeling. I have tried to find it to share with you all but I can’t remember who wrote it (if you’re reading this and you’re familiar with the article I’m referring to, please do share!)
Whenever I tell people I have a travel blog, it’s always met with, ‘wow, how amazing, sounds like a great job’. Well the thing is, it is a great ‘job’ but it certainly doesn’t pay the bills. In fact I’m sure most travel bloggers out there will tell you that writing a travel blog is a true labour of love.
I have always been obsessed with traveling, a bug which was passed on to me from my travel nut parents. My mum would always encourage me to keep a travel journal from all of our adventures. I have memories of being sat at the table in our hotel room, diligently sticking in pamphlets, ticket stubs and museums. I kept a diary on all of my gap year travels and even through to my honeymoon.
The origin of this blog started by accident. Living overseas, away from my family meant that shortly after having my first child, we were flying longhaul. Friends kept asking me for my flying tips and I would send out lengthy emails. I then started an online travel diary but told no-one. It was essentially my way of continuing a travel journal but with some advice thrown in. One day I revealed to my husband that I had been keeping a secret travel blog and he was astounded. He told me I should share it publicly with the world and so Jetlag & Mayhem was born! Over time, I moved it to a bigger site and I suppose it has become a tad more professional although you’ll notice I’m no professional writer…
I love writing Jetlag & Mayhem and think of it as my creative outlet When I’m bored at work (yes I have a corporate day job), I am planning my travels and thinking up ideas for blog posts. I get most inspired while on long flights (often fuelled by bloody marys) where you may see me furiously tapping away into my phone.
But once you’ve got the travel blogger bug, you’ll find your ‘journal writing’ is never the same. When you visit a new location, you’ll feel compelled to visit as many attractions and museums as you can physically manage, even if the rest of your family are screaming ‘no’! You’ll feel guilty if you don’t get full coverage of the destination to share with your readers. I’m constantly arranging my kids to get the best shots of them for use on my blog. Or harassing my husband to take ‘good blog promo shots’ for me. You will also find that social media can take over your life. Promoting every post on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Making you respond to all the kind people who have taken time to interact with you.
Earning money from a travel blog can be very difficult. For me, advertising mostly comes in the form of ‘sponsored posts’. Whilst I would like to keep my blog pure of these posts, let’s face it, we all need to make some money somehow and if I can get paid to put the occasional piece of good content on my blog , then why not. I have learnt to say no to products I don’t believe in and don’t want to promote on my site. Although I always welcome anything related to family travel and especially like to support fledgling businesses.
Sometimes I forget that there are people out there who actually read my blog. Not everybody agrees with everything I have to say on family travel and that is fair enough. I have learnt not to get upset by negative comments on my pieces and to go with the flow.
One of the things I enjoy the most about being a travel blogger is feeling part of a community. A community of people I have never met but whom I get such joy interacting with and reading their blog posts. I love taking part in linkys and twitter parties. I also feel the most inspired when reading their blogs.
Each year I promise myself that I won’t let my blog take over my life. On a recent trip to Australia, we had no wifi and it was such a joy not to feel compelled to check all my social media and keep up to date with blog posts. It is around this time of year there is also a flurry of blogger awards. I have been really active on these in the past, drumming up nominations for Jetlag & Mayhem. I have been lucky enough to be shortlisted as a finalist but unfortunately never won any of the coveted awards. This year I’ve decided not to let myself get bogged down in blog awards season and just enjoy watching from the sidelines.
I am always asked if I have a plan for Jetlag & Mayhem. I really don’t. It’s my creative outlet and I do enjoy the perks from press trips to product reviews. I also love responding to the many questions I get from random readers from all over the world who have somehow stumbled across my site.
If you have a blog and ever feel like it overwhelms other parts of your life, I would love to hear from you. How do you switch off? Have you ever just left your blog alone for a long period of time? Do you have any kind of business plan for your blog?