“You can do anything you want!” or “Leave your boring job and travel!” — this is pretty much what we often read on social media. Many people are secretly jealous of travel bloggers — the people who turned traveling into their job and who now tease us with their mind-blowing photos and videos from all over the world. But what is hiding behind these cool photos? Are their lives really all that great and as serene as they seem?
Bright Side decided to find out more about the dark side of the lives of famous travel bloggers and the things that they don’t often talk about. And at the end of the article, we will tell you about the new format of traveling that more and more people are choosing now.
1. The absence of a stable income
- “The general rule is that you shouldn’t expect money for the first year. Most advertisers, whether they be link agencies or travel companies, won’t work with a site that is less than one year old. Why not? You haven’t proven yourself as an investment yet. But even experienced bloggers don’t have any financial stability. Sometimes, I earn a lot of money, and sometimes I’m broke. It is important to have savings and plan your expenses wisely,” says Kate McCulley, the creator of the blog Adventurous Kate.
- “You lose money for at least the first year. Travel, gear, accommodations, and educational resources all cost money. One of my biggest regrets was not saving more money before jumping into full-time travel blogging. So many things that could’ve helped me travel to new places, improve my blog and the quality of my photos and videos, and even my marketing, cost money,” says Jennifer O’Brien, the founder of The Travel Women.
2. It’s a 24/7 job, not just a couple of hours per day.
- “Most people think all I do is travel and write a blog post or 2. This is very far from reality: I’ve never worked this hard in my life. When I first started travel-blogging, I would spend 12-14 hours a day working on my laptop. I completely dedicated my time and energy to creating my website and turning it into a business. Running a travel blog is much more than just writing blog posts: the rest of my time is spent on responding to hundreds of e-mails a day, negotiating with potential advertisers and clients, editing photos, creating videos, and networking with subscribers and other bloggers. There’s always something I want to get done to bring my business to a higher level,” says Nelly Juan, the creator of WildJunket.
- “Travel blogging is a hugely competitive industry and every click is hard fought for. It has taken sweat and tears to increase our traffic every single month,” Ellaine and Dave say, the creators of The Whole World is a Playground.
3. They see the world through the camera lens and depend on technology.
- “My husband is a tortured soul. Every second of his travels has a purpose. He has to get the best photographs possible wherever we are. We’re not allowed to eat a morsel or take a tiny sip of a drink until it has been photographed because, after all, it’s the photographs that make an article. I may laugh when he’s climbing walls, lying on the ground in the middle of deserted ruins, or making me stand all alone in the dark as the bushes hiss while waiting for the sun to rise but the photographs are totally worth it!” shares Elaine (from The Whole World is a Playground).
- “Airline lounges and airplanes are the worst. Photographing these 2 things requires extreme confidence. While everyone else is sitting quietly and minding their own business, we walk through the lounges and planes snapping everything of interest. I’ve been asked countless times if I’m on my first flight or if we’d like our picture taken. No thank you, I just want to take pictures of the seat, the food, and the cabin. It’s a hard life when the frequent travelers are looking at you like you’re crazy!!” she adds.
- “I travel with a ton of expensive photography equipment and electronics: cameras, a laptop, an external battery, and chargers. That means I carry a 20 lb backpack everywhere I go, which can be annoying and exhausting. I also have to be very careful with where I stay and where I leave my stuff to make sure it doesn’t get stolen. I always need the internet, and when there is no Wi-Fi in some remote locations it makes me extremely nervous,” complains Nelly Juan (WildJunket).
4. Long, exciting blogs often go unnoticed.
- “Don’t get me wrong. I like writing! I guess I should say… I dislike trying to fit it into the general travel blogging mold. The travel blogosphere is inundated with posts like ‘Top 10 Things To Do In [insert city here]!’. Blogs nowadays have to serve a purpose and fill a niche. There are so many rules to follow. A post needs to be concise but have at least X number of words, be written in a particular format, provide value to the reader, but also entertain…. blah blah blah. The content has no soul, and no real feelings or emotions,” laments Anna, the creator of Slightly Astray.
- “So after a year of blogging, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a really bad travel blogger. I’ve visited 20 cities in Europe, and have only vaguely talked about exactly 7 of them. Hardly any of them contain any tips or useful city guides and are therefore of absolutely no use to fellow travelers. I fail at social media. A lot of times, I’ll sit down giddily to write about a place that I loved….aaaaand nothing. No words will come. So then it just doesn’t get done at all,” says Anna (Slightly Astray).
5. They have to make real life look a lot better than it is.
- “I recently had a video chat with a travel blogger abroad. She was on the tail end of a press trip and felt exhausted, sleep-deprived, and stressed. When we said goodbye, she was concerned about the onset of food poisoning and looked desperately in need of rest. The very next day, I woke up to see a photo she had posted on social media. In the picture, she looked radiant and seemed to be having an enviable trip. Was this the same person I had spoken to the night before? Depicting an idyllic reality ― regardless of what’s happening ― has become a part of the travel blogging game,” travel journalist Nikki Vargas shares.
- “Another case. 10 pm in Morocco and the dubious chicken from the previous evening has finally grabbed hold of my stomach. I am bent over in pain, sweating, and convinced the last thing I’ll see in life is this mosaic-tiled bathroom floor. All of a sudden, I can’t remember why I ever decided it would be wise to leave my home, family, and friends to fly across the world to travel solo. My writing feels redundant (who hasn’t written about Morocco these days?), my Instagram posts feel like a dime a dozen, my entire travel blogging career feels replaceable and inconsequential. The question of ‘What am I doing here?’ hangs over my head. I’ve had this same moment in the Philippines, in Mexico, in Indonesia, in Argentina,” she admits.
6. It’s hard to support constant stable communication with their relatives and other loved ones.
- “We lost touch with family and friends. Our nieces and nephews grew up and we missed it all. That is time we’ll never get back. And while there are things like Facebook and Skype that allow us to chat online regularly, nothing is better than human contact,” say travel blogging duo Dave & Deb from The Planet D.
- “Back when I started, we were all in our 20s and traveling the globe was completely acceptable, but now I’m 33 and most of my friends are married and have kids. Sometimes this alienates me from their daily lives,” travel blogger Shannon O’Donnell shares.
7. A serious relationship? Forget it.
- “In addition to not being in one location long enough to really date, it is very tricky to describe what I do to people on a first date. I like talking about my job, but it is so distracting on a first date. If I’m only explaining what I do, I cannot learn more about the other person. I also met a previous boyfriend while traveling and tried and failed at the even more challenging long-distance relationship,” says Jen from The Travel Women.
- “When you meet someone you like in a foreign country, there is always that thought lingering in the background… one of us will have to leave. You might just have a whirlwind romance for a few days, or you might decide to travel together on the same route for a while, but that ticking-clock feeling is terrible. If you decide to make it work in the long-term, ultimately either both of you have to decide to live in a new place, or one of you has to move across the world to be with the other,” notes Victoria Bredwood, the creator of Pommie Travels.
8. Memories from trips become less sharp.
- “When a person takes a vacation from work, it feels special and exciting. They’ve had something to look forward to for a while. But suddenly when you travel all the time, it loses that special feeling. I start taking things for granted. Things start to look the same. I’ve seen so many churches, waterfalls, sunsets, and temples that they all start to blend into one. I guess you could liken the travel addiction to any kind of addiction. Things become less pleasurable and suddenly you need more and more to generate that same excitement,” Victoria Bredwood, says (Pommie Travels).
9. The tormenting sense of uncertainty and feeling homesick
- “It’s tiring living out of a suitcase. Packing, unpacking, staying in dorm rooms and hotels, booking flights, planning bus routes, reading maps… It all gets a little bit exhausting. Sometimes I just don’t want to have to think about anything. I want to work on my computer, cook a proper meal at home, go to a gym, and not do much else. I want to be able to put neatly-folded clothes in a closet instead of living out of a bag. I want to be able to do laundry at home instead of going out to get it done. I need at least a semi-permanent base. Somewhere I can spend at least a month.” Victoria Bredwood explains (Pommie Travels).
Bonus: A new trend — conscious tourism
Despite all the downsides of the lives of travel bloggers, most of them don’t want to give up this profession. But some travelers are giving up on short and quick trips where the goal is to take perfect photos and briefly talk about the local sights. Conscious tourism is becoming more and more popular. The point of conscious tourism is to minimize the impact of tourism on the environment and increase the positive influence on the lives of the locals.
The travelers who choose conscious tourism don’t just rest on the beaches, they clean up the trash on them. They don’t just take photos with the locals, but they try to learn more about their traditions and everyday problems. They don’t just write posts like, “What you can see in X city in just 3 days” but instead, they share the recommendations on how disabled people, people who have children, or someone who has a limited amount of money can still travel.
What do you think is the hardest part about traveling? And should people try to travel as much as possible?
Preview photo credit Paula Bronstein / Getty Images