I cannot believe that it has been one year since I went ahead and registered my own domain. One whole year since my travel blog went live (I wrote a couple of blog posts in June but Travel, Books, Food went live on August 19th). That is a huge milestone, right? Someone, please pinch me. Okay, don’t pinch me because that will hurt. From what I have heard, most travel blogs don’t last more than one year and I have at least crossed my first milestone.
So how has the whole journey been? If you ask me, it has been a crazy journey. No one ever tells you that being a travel blogger is a hard job. There are days when I would feel like just quitting. Since I don’t write for money, there are days when I feel completely demotivated and wonder why the hell I am doing this.
You have to be constantly online and then you have to figure out at least ten different social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Stumbleupon, Triberr, Snapchat, Reddit. I still haven’t figured out stuff like Snapchat and Reddit and I doubt if I ever will. On top of that, we also have to figure out what SEO is.
There are thousands of travel blogs cropping up every single day and you have to always be your best to stay ahead in this race. But then why do I do it? Then I remember why. Travel, Books and Food was started as a medium to pen down my thoughts, my stories, my goof-ups (well there has been plenty of that) and it does not matter if I don’t do any of what I mentioned above.
I probably do it less than what is required of me. But then it is ok. I have a decent, more than average, readership now and I hope will be content with that. But we human beings are strange that way. We are never content with what we have and hence my desire to be read by more number of people will probably never go away. I am a walking contradiction. I will probably never be among the top bloggers since I always write what I feel. That is important for me and I will never write what is expected of top bloggers.
It requires a lot of hard work to set up a travel blog and I am surprised at the amount of discipline (or lack of it) that has come up with it. After all, posting one article per week requires a lot of discipline and patience. I am the queen of procrastination and here I am, churning article after article, every week. I really can’t believe how much I have changed over the past year.
So what do you think are the advantages of being a travel blogger? I have somehow become a role model/inspiration for many people to start their own blogs and travelling more. Me as a role model is one of the funniest things I have heard. But jokes apart, nowadays there are many friends who come up to me and tell me about their dream of travelling solo like me. That definitely feels good and I am happy to be an inspiration to at least few people.
I have even started writing in exchange for getting sponsored stays at some of the best hotels around the World. That is definitely one advantage but the amount of hard work that went to getting those deals is something that you would not see on the surface. I have managed to keep my blog ad-free till now and hope to continue to do so in the future. Writing will always come first for me and everything else will come second fiddle. Even if it is badly written, it is still mine. And the only money I spend every year on my blog is the hosting money and nothing else.
I will never be the best photographer in the family. There are too many of them in the family and I am not even going to try to surpass them all. But I still try to be at par with other travel bloggers and I have definitely gotten better with time. Buying a new DSLR definitely did help. If you really want to check some amazing photos by the Nambiar family, then you should check out these pages by my cousins Ifoto and IFMD by Arun.
I have also started reading too many travel blogs this past year. What is the advantage there, you may ask? They are a treasure trove of information and by reading so many of them, I was finally able to go to some of the offbeat but beautiful places this past year.
A year back, I did not even know some of these places existed. Reading these blogs also gave me the courage to venture out solo and I will always be eternally grateful to all these travel blogs. Also, this network of travel bloggers will always be there to support you, no matter what. They may be your competition in some way but they will also be a pillar of support for you.
Also, I am eternally grateful to all my patient readers who have hopefully seen me grow this past year. Also my close network of family and friends who understood me and stood by me. My sisters who proofread every article I write. My brothers-in-law who allow me to share all the awesome pictures they click. My travel crazy family who has been an inspiration for many of the stories. The list of people I am grateful to is endless.
Writing has opened so many new opportunities for me this past year. I am studying at one of the most prestigious colleges in India. I finally got the courage to quit a job that I had slowly started to dislike and venture out to the exciting world of family entrepreneurship.
I am not sure in what way writing helped me in this regard but it definitely gave me the courage to come out of the comfortable shell that I have been inhibiting all these years. I have definitely travelled a lot more this year.
So on this day, all I have to tell my beloved readers is find that one passion of yours that you would love to pursue. Pursue it with all your hard work, will power and dedication. It could be anything, even something that seems insignificant.
You may not get the support of your family and friends like me but still pursue it. You may not see the rewards immediately but you will be glad that you did not let it go.
Find some of my favorite resources I use for booking during my travels.