The Top 5 ideas about blogging I got completely wrong.

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These 5 myths kept me from writing a blog for years.  I am almost embarrassed now to admit I ever believed them. 

Next week marks the six-month anniversary of “Globetrotting Grandpa.” The time hasn’t really gone that fast. Perhaps it is because, in 180 days,  I have written over 230 posts. I guess you could say I am a tad prolific. But I am grateful that I feel like just about every day I feel like I have something I want to write about.  I’m having so much fun, I started to wonder why I hadn’t begun this journey sooner.

Blogging wasn’t even something that was on my mind a year ago. I am not even sure why I ever started. I love to travel, and I love to write so blogging would seem like a logical conclusion. But what stopped me was several ideas I had about blogging which turned out to be mostly false. I say mostly because there are some exceptions.  But six months into the experience and having the privilege of interacting with fellow bloggers, I’ve come to see the error of my ways. So here are the Top 5 misconceptions I had about travel writing and blogging that had kept me sidelined for years.

Myth Number One: You have to travel all the time to be a travel blogger.

I wish. I mean I am most certainly not averse to the idea. I know most of us would love to do this.  And there is some who can pull this off.  Most of us still have to hold down a full-time job. Here is a secret I have learned. Since travel really is about discovery, (for yourself and your readers), you can literally travel in your own backyard. I actually had a person write me and say they wanted to do a travel blog, but they lived in India and didn’t have the money to travel outside of the country.  I remember thinking “Do you know how many people would be thrilled to visit India (myself included)? ”  Trust me, your backyard, your town, your state/province is very interesting, share what you got. I had no idea just how many amazing things were in Kansas City. Sure I want to go abroad, but I am going to bloom wherever I am.

Myth Number Two: Travelers are all “Trust fund babies” or otherwise independently wealthy

I am so very sorry. The idea is actually insulting. I have been to over 25 countries and have never received a dime from my family. And I am no different from most everyone else.  I guess the place I got this misconception from was Youtube. I work from 130pm to midnight, and when I came home, I would often watch travel videos. I eventually quit doing this because it started to depress me. Everyone was in the twenties, beautiful looking and seemed to have an unlimited budget.  There were exceptions such as “Gabriel Traveler”  and “The Budgeteers” who actually made of point of traveling on limited means, but most of the videos I saw were the opposite. I now understand that many of the videos are trying to promote a lifestyle rather than real-world travel. This leads me to the next myth:

Myth Number Three: Blogging is about “Lifestyle” and not working class travel

It can be. But most people are trying to find a way to make a living and travel. I admit that it is nice to see fine looking people in luxurious hotels. Gritty doesn’t sell. I don’t want to promote a fantasy. I am not “an influencer” (actually I find the term a bit repulsive). I am just a frumpy, middle-aged guy who is a bit of a research nerd who loves to explore and find inexpensive and ethical ways to see the world.  I want to meet the people, eat the food, learn the history and find a way to make a positive change. That’s my beat. I think most of us travel for the love of it, not to show off to their friends and complete strangers online.

Myth Number Four: You can’t make any money blogging

Admittedly, I have yet to prove this myth false. At least based on first-hand knowledge. I have, however, spoken to a few people online who are successfully monetizing their blogs. So there is money to be made blogging, but it isn’t easy to come by. This really is not the vocation to explore if making money is your primary objective. If I were to mentor someone who is just starting out, I would tell them to forget about being profitable for the first year. Focus on the two “C’s” Content and Community. Build readership and give them something to read that is worthy of their time. Then I probably remind them that I have only been doing this for six months so maybe they should talk to someone who has been doing this longer. But I do have faith that somehow, someway I can make this work.

Myth Number Five: Bloggers extroverts who are only in it for the ego boost. 

Ouch. Sorry, for that one. I won’t try to speak for everyone on this topic only me. I am actually pretty introverted. I get exhausted in social situations.  I get really nervous and self-conscious speaking to people. Part of the joy of travel for me is getting out of that very constricting shell. I am not writing for the attention. (Well, not entirely) . I do like the comments, the likes, and the acknowledgment. But it isn’t a need just a very incredible luxury. If you look at the picture I post here, I am not in most of them. Partly this is because I mostly travel solo and also because I want the post to be about the place, not the person. Some of it is also self-esteem issues because of my weight. As I continue to lose it will be interesting to observe if I get in the shot more often. I think most of us really just want to make a good product and aren’t so much interested in the ego factor.

Again, I want to apologize because some of these misconceptions proved to be quite silly in retrospect.  Once you step into the shoes of another, you begin to understand just how out of line some of your thinking has been. I am very grateful, blessed and honored to have taken the plunge and started this blog.  I appreciate all of you. Thanks for allowing me to be a part of your journey. 

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11 Replies to “The Top 5 ideas about blogging I got completely wrong.”

  1. When I told my husband I started a blog, he looked at me like I was crazy lol, ‘Is that even still a thing?’, he asked. So there’s another misconception. Yes,it is still relevant.
    As for monetizing a blog, I don’t know how I feel about that. I’ve been on Instagram for 7 years now, just for the fun of it and the sense of community. I’ve seen a few grammers go down the sponsorship road once they built up a decent following and then what used to be a gallery displaying the photographer’s love for the outdoors becomes a feed full of hiking boot selfies and and tent advertisements. The sense of community disappears because who wants to remark on the beauty of footwear shot against the Grand Canyon? And then it becomes work for the photographer and there’s no fun in it anymore for them either.
    On the other hand, I followed the blog of two Nat Geo photographers on their quest to see all 59 parks in the Centennial Year in a vintage RV. Though the trip wouldn’t have been possible without funding by Airstream, they kept the advertising minimal and the focus on the parks. It was so well done, I wish they’d figure out another big road trip to take us on. I miss those posts.

    1. The relevancy argument is a good one. I have asked myself if I have jumped on the bandwagon a bit too late. But a big part of me thinks for whatever reason, I just wasn’t ready any sooner. Finding a way to monetize tastefully is a huge concern. I do want to find a way to be able to live off the blog but not at the price where it adversely affects my personal sense of integrity. There’s the rub.

  2. Great insights! I can really relate to #5. Even as a kid, long before blogging (or computers) were a reality, I loved to chronicle my adventures. It has always given me a great deal of pleasure (with or without the likes). What I didn’t expect is how much I enjoy “meeting” folks like yourself who blog for the love of travel/adventure and writing. I’m just finding it hard to keep up with all the good stuff out there. Glad you’re having fun!

    1. I feel the same about meeting people online. Building a sense of community is very important to me. I also like the sense of accomplishment I get when I complete a post. Especially if it is one I put real effort into composing.

  3. This is a great post. I have wanted to blog for years but just didn’t. Always thought it would be too difficult to set one up, too difficult to think of things to write about. But in the end I just decided to go for it & see what happens. At least I know I have tried 🙂

  4. Good stuff my friend. I think I’m in a similar position to you except I retired 6 weeks ago. The money thing is important, for me it’s about travelling cheaply (most of the time anyway). I understand the “blogging is about ego boost” point. There are a load of ‘model types’ on Instagram who just put pouty posts online. But if you’re writing that’s about communication and expressing yourself; it’s a fundamental human activity for those who just enjoy writing. That is why I do my blog. It’s great fun for me to explain, give advice and make people laugh.

    1. Thanks John. BTW What is your blogs name? I want to make sure I am following it. It’s nice to encounter people who enjoy the writing aspect. I am working on honing my writing skills, but I would like to be a writer who travels as opposed to a traveler who writes eventually. It is an ongoing work in progress.

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