It is a photo that has made more than one Traveling dream on social networks. Magnificent swimming pool, in a sumptuous hotel, on a paradise island… I posted it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and collected a myriad of “likes”, comments, and shares of all kinds. But the reality… is that I didn’t even have time to bathe in it. A photo was taken at 6:30 am, running to catch up with my group who were boarding a boat.
I was in the Philippines and invited all expenses paid by the tourist office for the blog trip/press trip. So, of course, I’m not going to complain about traveling in these conditions, but beyond the dream, the daily life of a travel blogger is sometimes less idyllic. The reality is also tweeting photos of swimming pools where you don’t even have time to swim.
Blogging and traveling: a risky start…
Blog, I launched at the beginning of 2009. A little confused beginning. I had plans to go on a world tour, and the desire to write about my adventures. 2009: it’s almost the prehistory of blogging now… I didn’t do much research at the time, created my blog in a hurry on over blog, and bought a domain name without thinking. Which name? Well, my name is Sarah, so I took leblogdesarah.com… and cast off. Neither Facebook page nor Twitter account: I barely knew they existed… I discovered all of this in 2011 when I returned from mother daughter trips. In a year and a half, I’ve traveled through Chile, Argentina, Antarctica, Brazil, Europe by hitchhiking, Russia by Trans-Siberian, China, Mongolia, Thailand… And spent very many evenings on my computer screen. Still the dilemma:
Share your passion for travel
It was on my return, in March 2011, that I became aware of the importance that my blog has taken on in my life. Lots of strangers write to me asking for advice on how to travel. Some thank me for having encouraged them to change their lives and dare to travel. Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, I get in touch and meet lots of new travelers, and bloggers… From aperitifs to aperitifs, the idea comes to us, with Julien, Adrien, Adeline, and Ludovic, to create an association: to transmit our passion for travel, and ensure that all the exchanges we can have on the internet, become real exchanges, face to face, a drink in hand…
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Travel blogger: the rise of a new profession
I have always liked to write. My profession is as a journalist in a press agency. Gradually, between 2011 and 2013, awareness took place… With the rise of the internet, blogs are becoming media. When I write about such and such a destination, it inspires my readers and encourages them to follow in my footsteps. I’m starting to be invited on a trip by this or that tourist office, to be contacted by agencies or websites to distribute advertising links… What if blogging could also become my job?
In any case, travel blogger has become a real profession. There are now even professional meetings of travel bloggers: the travel blog exchange, which takes place twice a year and brings together hundreds of bloggers from all over the world. I was there in June 2013 in Toronto, and in October 2013 in Dublin. Real professional meetings with conferences, workshops, speed-dating to meet tourism professionals… Bloggers are starting to join forces with each other to have more weight in the tourism industry or the Collective of French travel bloggers.
Blogging for travel: becoming professional
Become a professional blogger? Little by little, it becomes my project. But I realize my limits… Internet? To tell the truth, it was never my thing at the base. Referencing, SEO, Google… All that, I don’t know much about. My blog got off to a good start because I was one of the “pioneers”, but I quickly found myself overwhelmed by all the new travel bloggers who mastered these tools much better than I. In 2013, I decided to follow a training course to overcome my shortcomings: blogging for travel by Ryan Lesacados, which offers a series of videos on the internet.
So sure, by searching the web, you can find lots of super interesting articles that explain how to create a blog, how to write a well-referenced article, how to communicate on social networks… But the problem is that it goes a bit in all directions. Me, I needed training that guides me step by step, educational, and without incomprehensible jargon.
Ryan’s training is intended for those who start a blog, and in fact, it’s much harder to remake a blog that was poorly designed from the start, than to start a brand new one. If I could have had training like that when I started out in blogging, it would have saved me a lot of mistakes and it would have saved me a lot of time… But it’s never too late to correct things,
How to reconcile profession and passion…
The benefits of this work are there today. My traffic has doubled. I get a lot of invitations for press trips or blogger trips, more than I can accept Traveling. I manage to negotiate partnerships directly with tourist offices, or with travel sites for advertising links. But it’s hard to make a living as a blogger. I don’t want to write sponsored articles, too advertising-editorial for me, and I only accept sponsored links sparingly… My main source of income remains my original job: journalist.
My blog allows me in any case to finance most of my trips. With the inevitable constraint that I mentioned with the anecdote of my swimming pool photo in the introduction to this article… Does traveling still have meaning when it becomes an incessant race to tweet, Facebook and Instagram all day long, at the risk of missing the point? When traveling becomes his job, how to keep the freedom and improvisation necessary for it to remain a passion?
A profession with multiple skills
Blogging and traveling take a lot of work… Writing and publishing blog posts are just the tips of the iceberg. Besides, you must manage the technical aspects, maintain your network, communicate on social networks, organize the next trips, and answer the dozens of emails that accumulate every day… But hey, here I admit, I plead guilty, I can no longer follow. My mailbox becomes my nightmare, and unread messages pile up one after the other. Becoming a professional Halal Holiday blogger requires being able to do a lot of jobs at the same time: editor, photographer, videographer, webmaster, salesperson, community manager, graphic designer…
I still have a long way to go: redo the design of my blog Traveling, rename my Twitter accounts, Facebook, and Instagram to have the same name everywhere… Between Sarah around the World, and Sarah’s Blog… nobody finds their way there, and neither do I, to tell the truth… But which name to choose? If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears. My road as a travel blogger is still long and tedious, but oh so exciting and interesting. Anyway, thank you all for continuing to read me year after year.
In any case, if you want to get started, I strongly encourage you to follow Ryan Lesacados’ blogging for travel training. With around thirty explanatory videos, a personalized question-and-answer after-sales service, and an exchange forum for training members. Satisfied or refunded guarantee after one month. You can follow the training at your own pace and review the videos as much as you want. Very good foundations for starting a travel blog!