Why I’m Struggling with Travel Blogging and Why I Don’t Like Reading Other Travel Blogs

When I first started this blog several years ago, it was meant to be some sort of a public diary and online portfolio for my art. I’ve been blogging for over ten years now, probably almost 15 years, and spend most of those years either on lifejournal or blogspot. I’ve closed down my lifejournal blog somewhere around 2007 after blogging there for several years, so I think my blogging ‘career’ must be around 13-ish years long. For the most part, blogging was my virtual and public diary. I’d read my friend’s blogs or blogs of people that, through their blog post, became dear virtual friends to me. Now, even though social media ‘connected’ me with more people than ever, I feel as if I know fewer people digitally than I did 10 years ago.

Then, around one and a half years ago, when it became clear that I’d go back to New Zealand, I wanted my blog to be more ‘polished’ and professional, so I decided to jump the band-wagon of travel blogging. At first, everything went good. I was enthusiastic about it all. I followed several travel vloggers on Youtube, and got excited about this digital world full of people enthusiastic about travelling. During my first trip to New Zealand in 2009, I created a travel blog for the sole purpose of sharing my adventures with my family. I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to do it again. I wanted to share my travel joy with other people online.

In 2009, I didn’t know about travel blogging. I didn’t knew that the travel blogging community was following certain agreed-upon blogging topics and rules. I just wrote about whatever I wanted and however I wanted. It was great and even though the blog posts are all over the place and full of spelling errors, I still love the blog because it reflected my unique experience in New Zealand. It wasn’t just another superficial ‘Top X things to do in Y’ – type of blog. In fact, I still read my old blog once in a while because these posts are a great memory for me.

te anau lakefront wide angle

My old New Zealand blog is, in fact, still online. At first it wasn’t planned, I simply forgot my old login details, but now I’m very happy that I haven’t deleted it. Yes you can read about my first New Zealand adventures if you like. However, my posts are all in German. Still, those of you not speaking German, you can still enjoy my photos.

Let’s all go down the memory lane over on my New Zealand travel blog from 2009 vagabundnz.blogspot.de

Fast forward to late 2016. After years of yearning, dreaming, and planning, I was finally back in New Zealand….and had nothing to share with people on my blog. I wanted, and still want, to just randomly write about my time in New Zealand. About the good, the bad, and the weird encounters. About what I did without switching to a ‘top places to visit’ mini-review. I wanted to write about the hostels I was staying in without rambling about ‘Best & Worst Hostels in NZ’. However, the current travel blogging scene taught me that ‘people aren’t interested’ in these type of entries. Instead, you should mimic a professional travel book like LonelyPlanet and simply list facts and addresses. Of course, no one online has ever said or written anything like that directly, but if you read one travel blog after another (same applies to travel Youtubers), all you see are these type of shallow entries. No one really seems to be truly passioned about or interested in the places they travel to. Most, it appears, just travel for the sake of travelling and not because a certain place excites them.

And I’m sick and tired of it.
I’m sick and tired of what I wanted my blog to become.
I’m sick and tired of reading most other travel bloggers.

I might never go to Thailand or the other ‘hip’ places because I’m just not interested in going there. I don’t care how many generic Thailand travel posts you publish, nothing you write about makes me genuinly interested in Thailand, a place I know nothing about. Sorry, but pretty beaches alone won’t cut it for me.

A few days ago, my friend Alice has written a similar post about why she is frustrated about the current blogging sphere in her post ’10 years of blogging’ which inspired me to write this post. I’ll also link you to a reddit post that summaries and explains the causes of my travel blogging frustration much better.

So, what now?
I don’t know.

I really love my blog. It is a hobby I enjoy very much and that is, I think, at the core of my frustration and hopes for the future. I want this to be a hobby that makes me happy, nothing more and nothing less. I want to steer away from generic, stereotypical travel blogging posts and treat this blog as a public diary again. I guess, I’ll have to do some ‘rebranding’, but ugh, that can wait. By god, I’m just a random 30 year old hammering my thoughts into a keyboard, in my private time, on a small blog I keep purely as a hobby, I shouldn’t be worried about having to ‘rebrand’ myself. Yet, I am.

So yeah, these are my thoughts, or ramblings if you will. Take them or leave them. I’m, for one, a much happier person now.

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3 thoughts on “Why I’m Struggling with Travel Blogging and Why I Don’t Like Reading Other Travel Blogs

  1. As I already told you, I totally get what you mean (thanks for mentioning my post, by the way!).

    I hope we’ll be able to find a way yo blog that’s suitable to us. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. even when i saw the title of your post, i felt stricken by the similarity to alice’s. and i really sympathise with that phenomenon that pisses both of you off. it’s also pissing me off, as a reader and ‘consumer.’ everything has to fit a certain professional template, everything has to be polished not just-so, but to within an inch of its life, and then a yard more. and as a result, everything looks and reads the same, and everything becomes very superficial and nondescript, and boring.

    it also reminded me of something i saw between your and alice’s blog: a video of woz (apple co-founder) interviewing simone giertz (of youtube shitty-robots fame) and sabrina gonzalez pasterski (absurdly accomplished/young harvard grad student [physics]). the sound was a little wonky because it was filmed off a stage, woz asked genuinely off-kilte questions, everyone who answered them went in a different direction with the whole thing, and it was glorious! in each unpolished aspect, there was a story about who these people actually are. it was refreshing to see an interviewer as just a dude with some questions he thought interesting, instead of the sovereign-and-witty host, and master of ceremonies in presenting this here interviewee to the devoted public.

    the response was predictable: the sound is shit you have to do X. woah zero chemistry lol fail. wow that was shitty this is why you stick with professionals. man, woz totally needs to [list of items].

    it’s as if media can’t be digested unless presented in exactly one of these forms, when what’s really memorable isn’t the list of factoids you can get faster off google, but the stories you’d tell a friend over a coffee because they are too good not to be told.

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  3. Thank you, Maria, for writing down what I’ve been thinking for quite some time now. I’ve found myself blocked in writing on my blog or even in posting on Instagram because there was a point when I thought “dude, you need to be more professional. You have to use the right hashtags. You have to do pictures the way others do. You need to get a new, much cooler theme and plug ins with your blog so can up the ante.”

    So at a certain point I simply froze. I’d like to think I can get better in writing and in sharing entertaining, interesting, insightful thoughts but I want to do that on my terms without having to become a YouTube star when I followed the “How to become a YouTube star” regimen.

    I’m probably not making much sense here but I’d definitely like to thank you for this post – it certainly resonated with me.

    All the best, Marcel

    Like

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