|Long road ahead|
While travel blogging seems to be the job many aspiring job- quitters are vouching for, most existing travel bloggers are still decoding this Pandora's box. Today I complete seven years of travel blogging, and am pretty much nowhere near the border line where I can happily take it up as a full time profession. We live in an age where internet and google are flooded with articles labelled ‘How I quit my job to travel’, ‘Why I quit my job to follow my dream’ and many more on similar lines. Every second day some acquaintance’s post on my feed on Facebook pops up- ‘And I have quit to travel’.
When the whole world is quitting to see the world or realise their dreams, I have done something more adventurous- I have cut down on my travels, to take up a full time job. Quitting your cubicle job has many motives, but going back to the cubicle has only one- to survive. People are tempted to quit jobs to the lure of travelling. Before you quit, what you require is a clear mindset and plan on how to survive. How much ever frugal backpacking you do, your bank balance can only dwindle if you don't have a regular inflow.
Let me jot out a few points travel blogging taught me, which might help people who intend to take up the travel blogging conundrum:
- We live in a world where hundreds of travel blogs are born every day. Most of them die a premature death. Only the fittest survive. Make sure yours is one, keep it running.
- Sharpen your writing skills. Most people don’t like reading articles with grammatical errors even if the post is on the cheapest means to travel to Antarctica. There is demand only for good story tellers.
- In travel writing, writing comes first, travel is secondary. Period.
- It takes quite a considerable time to make a name in the travel blogging circle. Do not expect your blog and your name to be splashed all over the internet after you have posted 2- 3 articles.
- Your blog needs to be fed frequently over a long period of time. Feed, feed and feed. Only when you have frequent posts, will you have more visitors. It is only through high traffic can you make your blog a known one.
- Be a master at marketing through social media. Your blog needs to be present on every single social media out there. Be an attention seeker.
- Money will trickle in only when you have a significant readership. Yes, ‘trickle’ is the word and not ‘flow’.
- If you feel having Google Ads will help you earn money, keep waiting forever. Most of your readers are not going to click on Google Ads. Google doesn’t have answers to everything.
- Dreaming of FAM trips? Quit dreaming before you quit your job. Long way to go before you get that FAM trip mail in your inbox.
- If you don’t intend to take up small assignments and content writing opportunities that come your way, you are losing out on opportunities and money.
- Photography is a part of travel blogging. Sharpen your skills and find ways to sell your gorgeous frames.
- Editors don’t approach bloggers for articles. If you want your article to be published, learn to chase them with repeated mails.
- Negotiating with PRs, clients and editors for payments requires a special skill set. If you don’t have it, learn.
- Getting the payment for your article is an equally tough job. Ask, request, plead. Keep chasing!
- Find ways to sustain yourself over a long period. Try to get long term writing assignments. Take up volunteering.
- If you feel teaching English in some remote village in Cambodia is the easiest way to sustain, please mail me the details when you do get your offer letter. Preference for such jobs are always for native English speakers.
- Travel blogging is a job, never see it as a means to travel for free, because it doesn't work like that. There are no free lunches anywhere.
- Whenever you feel travel blogging is not worth the effort, read the above points again. There is definitely a huge struggle, but hard work pays.
Now with all those points well taken up, are you going to be a top notch travel blogger which every other soul in the cubicle dreams of becoming? Maybe, maybe not. Only time will reveal that. Keep putting in your hard work, success is never far off.
Keep travelling and churn out stories after stories of that distant far flung land, that weird stranger who helped you, that most delicious coffee you ever had, that invigorating festival you took part in and that longest hitchhike you ever took. Bring them on. There are readers who want to listen to you.