This is how my acceptance speech goes…

“Oh wow! I’ve just won a {insert jackass company name} award!  I can’t believe it!  I mean, I know I’m inspiring, helpful and an amazing photographer but I just didn’t believe in myself until {Jackass company} sent me digital proof of it finally acknowledging how incredible I am.  It finally shows that all my hard work of networking has paid off because let’s be honest, it’s not my writing…it’s the ‘deals through drinks’ that really count *wink wink  nudge nudge* (nervous audience laughter).

It’s especially nice to know that I beat such great competition in my category though when you’re the newest face to the category that’s included the same names for the last two years, it’s not hard to believe the adage of ‘age before beauty’ 😉

I’m just so emotional thinking about how much I am loved by the blogging community but before I go, I’d just like to say one last thing…”

Okay, so admittedly, that was a whoooole lot of sarcasm and anger to introduce you to my latest post but let me explain…

You see, yesterday a well-known flight search company announced who their nominations were for their awards in their annual ‘hoedown showdown’ as I like to call these things and well, there was a distinct smell of something and I’m pretty sure it’s called bullshit.

If you’re ‘in’ the community and know your ‘who’s who’ as well as Charlie Sheen knows his ‘ladies of the night’, the nominations looked suspiciously, repeated shall we say?  Don’t get me wrong, there were a few blogs that, I think, genuinely deserved a nomination but you know what disappointed me?  Even including the ‘Newcomer’ category, there wasn’t a single blog I hadn’t heard of before which, given that there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of blogs out there in the world (even in the specific travel category) I find pretty damn pathetic.

We don’t work in the City or Victorian Times where it was ‘you scratch my back and I’ll keep the taxman off yours’.  Blogs should be picked because they are genuinely good, not because you had drinks with the rep or recommended a friend.  Bloggers shouldn’t be given awards for ‘best photography’ if pre-travel they were professional photographers just like you shouldn’t give an award for writing if, before they started blogging, they were already an author…it’s called an unfair advantage.

The fact that most of the blogs/bloggers happen to be from the UK also stinks more than a dead whale on a hot beach given that we make up a very small minority of blogs in the world; the US and SE Asia have far more than us and with plenty more variety in their topics so why is said Jackass company only picking ones from here?  Sounds to me like someone did a bit of ‘City work’ and did the deals with drinks which makes a mockery of the genuinely fantastic blogs out there that consistently get missed because they’re not part of the ‘in crowd’.  When is the industry going to stop celebrating the same blogs/bloggers and give new people a chance?  It’s the chicken and the egg situation like you have with a job; the employer wants experience but won’t give you the chance to get any in the first place.

I may come across as bitter in this post and maybe you think I’m jealous but I can tell you that you’re wrong on both accounts (despite my sarcastic rant).  I’m not bitter, I’m pissed off at the obvious ‘in house’ nominations that have come from lazy researchers dipping their toes into the same tired circle of ‘old hat’ bloggers; the ‘elite’.  I couldn’t give a rat’s ass if I was nominated but if you’re going to do an award listing like this, check your facts.  You can’t list a blog as ‘new’ if they’ve been around for 3-4 years despite how much you try to sugar coat the shit.  A ‘newcomer category’ should be about discovering hidden gems, blogs that have very little following because they’re just starting, not people that have been around the block more times than Jennifer Lopez!

Am I jealous that other people, including friends, got nominated for an award (or any awards other companies should set up) and I didn’t?  No because you know what?  I don’t need a random company to give me the ‘seal of approval’.  I am happy to write for myself and (possibly) inspire others along the way.  How can we, as bloggers, say to our readers that our futures lie in the power of our own minds and hearts then concede to jumping up and down with joy because we (potentially) gained approval from some faceless company that allows us to display their badge on our sidebar (which is just a dirty way of getting free advertising on their part)?  Talk about hypocritical!

We spend hours writing, preaching if you will, to our readers and Facebook fans that you have to forge your own path in life to gain your happiness.  That you shouldn’t seek other peoples approval because you can’t spend life trying to please others, only yourself.  And yet, a potential reward from Jackass company and we’re supposed to roll over like a puppy?  I don’t think so.

You may not like my blog or me; that’s fine but you know what?  I don’t care.  I LOVE writing (whether you think it’s good or not) and I LOVE the people that have honoured ME in joining me for my journey; that’s all that matters.  I don’t need some Jackass to tell me my worth because I know it.  My worth is how ever much I determine it for myself and so I will keep writing (for myself and anyone else who enjoys it), making real connections with people around the world and keep hoping to inspire people because that’s the only true reason I ever wanted this little slice of internet for in the first place.

Leave a Reply


  1. i think these award things are silly too. i mean if a travel magazine (printed) wanted to put on a real award show or contest then that would be something a bit different. i feel like so many of these awards are really just for bloggers to brag to one another. no one outside of the blogging community could give 2 craps about them. AND PS – that’s who i write for 99% of the time. 🙂

    stay real Toni! xo

  2. Nicole Connolly

    Hi Toni,

    First time commenter here 🙂

    Thanks for the refreshingly honest post. It does seem that the little guys do get left out a lot. We all have to start somewhere right? And just because we don’t have 10,000 followers does that mean our writing is less important, less inspiring than that of the big guys?

    I love your writing style so keep up the great posts.

  3. You tell it how it is….and I love it!

  4. Ellen

    Hi Toni

    Also a first time commenter and non blogger

    Just wanted to say that i love that you don’t sugar coat things. Its bloggers like you that have inspired me to go on my first long term trip next month and it is a shame that less known bloggers are not being pushed forward or heard.

    Keep up the great posts!

  5. Amen, sister, preach it.

    As you and I have discussed, these ‘big’ bloggers may get a lot of hits on their sites, but in the end they are still just bloggers, which is a title anyone can bestow on themselves.

  6. Great post! I wonder the same actually when I keep seeing the same old blogs winning awards. I don’t think winning an award by a tiny travel company proves that you are a good blogger at all. Anyway, it may not be an award , but I tagged you in the latest travel blogger tagging challenge – Travel Bloggers Best Dozen Project. 🙂

  7. It’s fucking bullshit, like you (essentially) said. I’m sick of seeing the same few names, and people winning categories that they shouldnt even be in. I have a good feeling I know what company this is, and if so, I took a look at the nominees and that Newcomer category made me laugh.

    There are so many wonderful blogs out there that have very few readers – and i think it’s crap that they don’t get any recognition. 🙁

  8. Hahaha, I love this. I find these awards really cringey… I would be terrified of winning something at the risk of having to put some cutesy word like ‘bloscar’ or ‘Blo-ward’ in my sidebar and have to vomit every time I looked at my own site. Let’s face it, the reason these companies (not including, obviously, the bigger ones like lonely planet, published travel magazines or any award ceremonies I might decide to host in the future – where everyone wins and we all get fucked up and wake up a week later face down in a skip) host these things is to gain exposure for themselves… so by picking people who already are working with them they’re shooting themselves in the foot despite their face, (or however that thing goes).


  9. I had this same conversation yesterday after I saw said nominations. It’s getting pretty pathetic that many of these awards are also only ever awarded to people who have signed up to attend the awards events themselves. Coincidence? I think not. I also think that there are lots of cliques in the blogging community who all nominate each other and preach about how great they all are – after they’ve all met up with each other for drinks once a month.
    Maybe I’m just being cynical, but I like to look at “Newcomers” awards and actually discover new blogs that I’ve never heard of before, rather than seeing a list of names who’ve been around for at least two years.

  10. Great post Toni! I’m still really new to all this but I raised an eyebrow when I saw that “Best Newcomer” list, as even I knew that none there were exactly new… Nothing against the blogs themselves of course, but this is so obviously just said aviation website attempting to get itself some attention by scratching the back of some well known bloggers!
    It’s all a bit vomitworthy really…

  11. Lola – Yes exactly, if someone huge like Lonely Planet printed it in their magazine, it would be a different story but really, who cares about these online awards unless there is a big prize up for grabs? Exactly, it’s only other bloggers that care…I’d rather have a ‘seen in Lonely Planet’ badge any day of the week! 🙂

  12. Nicole – Well hi there Nicole; lovely to have you here 🙂
    You’ve hit the nail on the head…we all have to start somewhere and it’s unfortunate that people aren’t getting recognised for it. It doesn’t help that I think that actually, a lot of the bigger blogs, are really quite badly written :s
    And thank you for your lovely compliments!

  13. CeCe – thank you! Really appreciate it 🙂

  14. Ellen – Hello to you too! Welcome to the madness and how refreshing that you’re not a blogger 🙂

    And thank you for saying that I’ve helped to inspire you…that really does make all the above crap worthwhile!! I shall indeed try and keep up the ‘great posts’ 😉

  15. Erik – exactly! And their big numbers can be fake anyway so really, they don’t mean a lot. You’re spot on! We are all in the same circle of bloggers however much the big people want to try and separate themselves!

  16. Tammyonthemove – As you say, it’s the same blogs continually winning awards but the awards don’t actually mean anything and don’t judge you on the judge of your work so they shouldn’t be paid attention to anyway 🙂 And thank you for the tag!!

  17. Mellyboo – Exactly! Not only is it the same names but people winning categories that don’t even apply to them! We should start our own blog-attention circle to help each other and the new ones!!

  18. Scarlett – I totally saw the word ‘Blo-ward’ and thought of something else 😉 haha Precisely, it’s all about the companies getting free exposure and advertising which is total BS! I’m noticing a lot of people moving away from the bigger blogs because of this exact reason (that they’re always in the press circle etc as there’s no originality left) so soon enough the award badges on their sites won’t mean anything in the first place!
    And yes, if I won a Lonely Planet award I’d be catatonic from celebrating haha x

  19. ConfusedJulia – It’s DEFINITELY not a coincidence that the rep heads to certain events and these nominations come later! You’ve just brought up the the other point that the clique vote for each other therefore keeping all of these things ‘in house’. I found it REALLY awkward at the World Travel Market because everyone I met were already the ‘best of friends’ with everyone else because they’d all met up at TBEX/TBU etc and had spent days together – so predictable!
    You’re not being cynical – newcomers should definitely be blogs that we haven’t heard of! They should be hidden gems not the same old people every year!

  20. Carl – says a lot if you’re new and you still know the names :s haha I enjoy reading the blogs but you’re right, they shouldn’t be in the ‘new’ category etc.
    Vomitworthy? I like you already 😉

  21. Another great post Toni. When people ask me what other travel blogs I follow I always mention yours because I say it’s unique, from the heart and not backed by sponsorship writing. This post once again reiterates that fact.

    You’re like the big sis every travel blogger should have.

  22. Counterintuitive – Thank you! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it and I’m honoured that you tell people to read my blog…really appreciated!

    And how lovely to say that I’m the big sis every travel blogger should have…I’m humbled (and blushing) 🙂