Should anyone ask me 5 years ago what travel blogging meant to me, I would most certainly reply using my experience of what Nomadic Matt and 2 to 3 other bloggers were doing at the time, mostly in the US and England.
I had entered the world of blogging a few years before that, in 2009, when an academic professor introduced us to the blogosphere and assigned us to create a blog. That was my very first experience with blogging in general – my first post was about freedom of speech. The one after that? My trip to Venice.
About a year later, I found myself in Italy – I had just moved and I was struggling with boxes of all kinds. It was September of 2010 and I had already forgotten the very existence of this very first blog of mine.
During my Master years in Digital Media and as I was living in Milan – the capital of Fashion and Media – I had the chance to connect with bloggers from all around the world, mostly Food & Fashion related. There, I started reading two of my favorite bloggers: Chiara Ferragni (Fashion Blogger) and Chiara Maci (Food Blogger) – The “Chiaras”. A conversation I had with my fellow student, Chiara Maci, convinced me it was about time to set up my own blog.
I had so much to write about, so many thoughts and experiences I wanted to share. I wasn’t interested in having an audience, as long as I could put my thoughts out there. I had always had that need, it was only the means that changed.
And like that, in August 2010, on the train to Milan, my travel blog spoke its first words: “Hello World”.
I did not consider myself a travel blogger at the time though, as it takes a lot to be called that. Only after I returned to Greece I used the term “travel blogger” to introduce myself and my blog , Trainstories from my World – soon renamed to Travelstoriesfromyworld.
Two years ago when I finally decided that it was about time for the world to meet my baby a.k.a. my blog, I didn’t even know if there were any other travel bloggers in Greece. All I knew was food, fashion and beauty blogging – no travel. Seems a bit odd, since this is Greece – a worldwide travel heaven. That was when I met Christos, Kostas and the two Maria’s. They were fellow travel bloggers who had begun writing about their trips too.
As the years passed, the number of travel blogs in Greece increased – some adding a new, fresh take on travel blogging while others were simply created to follow the trend or seeing it as an effortless, easy way to travel the world for free.
And that is one of the – many – misconceived ideas about travel blogging in Greece.
Here are five of the most common ones in the form of a Q&A:
“How did you manage to make profit from your blog?”
That is the first and most common question I’m being asked. The answer is pretty simple. I do not live from blogging. In Greece at least, it is difficult to make a living simply by blogging. Most companies are hesitant to invest money to promote their products and services through a blogger – they prefer to offer goods more than money. The best case scenario includes a monetized project that will last a few days or weeks.
“I want to travel the world and write. How is that possible to do?”
I might seem a bit harsh to you but the truth is that travel blogging isn’t made for everyone. Let me explain myself: Firstly, not everyone has the talent to properly write and express himself/herself through writing and secondly, not everyone has the chance to travel oftenly. To consider yourself travel blogger, occasional travelling is not enough. You need to be a frequent traveller in order to create content other than that of a few reviews – unless you wish to be a lifestyle blogger which will be great.
“You seem to be having a blast. If I start blogging I’ll be travelling for free?”
That is the single most annoying thing I hear about travel blogging all the time. The thing is, travel blogging isn’t just for fun. A travel blogger going on a trip means thousands of photos taken, early wake-up calls, endless lists of sights to visit, late night, meeting after meeting and everything work-related that makes the trip look more like a day at the office rather than vacation. So no, travelling is not for free since a certain trip requires a certain amount of work to produce the results a “client” expects to see when inviting you to write about a place.
“All I need is to set up a WordPress blog and just like that I’ll be considered a travel blogger. Piece of cake, right?”
Well, not exactly. That is partially correct – you’ll be just another travel blogegr among the many. If you wish to stand out of the crowd though, you’ll need much more than that. You’ll have to ask yourself the following question: ” What do I have that no one else has? Why would someone read my blog over the many other travel blogs out there?”. The secret to answering this question is to find out what you’re good at. Are you a luxury traveller? Low budget? Or a solo traveller? Are you a food lover or an art aficionado? Let your true nature become the heart and soul of your blog. Writing about destinations won’t make you a travel blogger – more like a travel guide. Is that what you want? I hope not!
“You really inspire me! Could I use some of your ideas to start my blog?”
That above is my favorite question. I feel flattered and super happy to inspire someone out there to travel and become more creative, even though I personally believe that I have a long read ahead of me to grow and evolve. So the answer is, yes, you are more than welcome to use my ideas as inspiration. After all, I took inspiration from my favorite Spanish and Italian travel bloggers for my blog. There’s just one secret to doing this: always be honest to your readers.
Don’t just say “I like travelling alone, I’m a solo traveller” when in reality you’re petrified to go anywhere alone. Never say “I did this before anyone else” – well, someone must have done it before you. Believe me.
Never lie to your readers.
Why? Because there will be a time that you’ll be exposed to them and, for me, the key to a blog’s success is honesty. If those reading your blog feel you’re lying to them, what is the purpose of your very existence in the digital world?
I wish you safe, happy travelling. Stay true, always be yourself and everything else will follow.