My blog has two birthdays (yes, just like the Queen; it’s that important!)…the first one is May 2009 when I set it up for family and friends to follow me as I prepared, then went, backpacking solo around South East Asia for three months.
Although my writing was average, there’s no SEO and I used almost zero photos in the posts themselves (forgetting that despite being adults, we do all still like a picture to break up the words) my family believed that I’d finally found my calling as a travel writer (forgive their naivety; it was the first time they’d read my work – ha ‘read my work’ how fancy does that sound?!) but nevertheless I appreciated their praise and encouragement of my blogging (they don’t do it a lot…they’re a very typically reserved British family).
My favourite comment came from my Uncle who is one of the most intelligent people I know and it got me brimming from ear to ear!…..
However, when I came back from travelling in June 2010 I became so lost (the metaphorical box wasn’t prepared to stay shut any more) that I couldn’t write for six months (hence there’s a huge gap in my archives) but at theend of January 2011 I wrote a letter to finally let it all go, found Twitter and reconnected with my passion to write; that’s my blog’s second and most important birthday.
The problem I had in joining the travel community on Twitter was that I ended up feeling like Dorey:
In case you’ve failed to notice; my little slice of internet is pretty informal. I’m sarcastic (I know, it was a shock to me as well), I poke light-hearted fun at people and I talk about sex. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea (though I should always be somewhere on the menu) and that’s what got me thinking…
What if I’m deemed too unprofessional to turn this blog into a business?
Important people like Lonely Planet won’t retweet my stuff if I mention ‘boats that rock my world’ and ‘Florence Nightingale moments’ in a post. I’m sure I make some people laugh and have been known to write a post or tweet that gets people spewing their drinks with giggles but, as I am sure Patch Adams once wondered; is laughter enough?
Yet on the flip side, people have been falling over themselves (I tried to tell them that Thai buckets get you drunk REALLY quickly) to tell me how much they love my honesty and my bravery to tell it like it is. My two most honest posts (Road Romance and My Story) are my most popular and I pride myself on that. Sure, I’m probably gonna crap myself when a potential bloke comes on to the scene and they start reading about my blogging sexploits (though let’s be serious here fellas, we don’t live in the days of Pride and Prejudice anymore – this also applies to my family reading about ‘sweet and innocent moi’ doing naughty things) but we’ll burn cross that bridge if and when we come to it – Regret the things you have done and said, not the things that you haven’t right? And none of that ‘you shouldn’t regret anything’ fluffy rainbow talk…everyone regrets something, even if it’s just eating too many biscuits.
For a few weeks I really started to wonder if the way I wrote was wrong but then I realised that writing in the same way as everyone else is wrong and that if you want to succeed in the rather saturated travel blogosphere you have to stand out and be different.
Then it happened; I got my first advertising request and I started to allow myself to think that maybe, JUST maybe, that there was a chance I could be a serious travel blogger but have fun with it too. I mean, surely if I tell you about a great beach bar then I just HAVE to tell you about the drunk lesbian that proceeded to attack my face with her tongue right?! Right?! Thought so.
If I want to build this site up into a place where 20-something solo women travellers can come to for advice, help and laughs then I have to write about everything that life entails in that 20-something bracket. The good. The bad. And the bumping uglies. It’s no good preaching about safe sex if I haven’t done it myself; that would just be hypocritical
So I’ve made a decision. I’m not changing. This blog is all mine *insert evil laugh* and I’m not prepared to lose my personality just to toe the line with everyone else. I’m happy to stand out; it’s what I do best!
Thank you to Torre of Fearful Adventurer for the inspiration to write this.