travel blog backpacker life

It’s Not All Fun And Games!

Do you think being a travel bloggers is all roses and fairy dust, a lush lifestyle traveling the world and being able to fund it through your online musings whilst skipping down the beach with a big wad of cash in your hand?!

To be honest the image a lot of travel bloggers project is one of beautiful beaches, care free living and a life of amazing adventures – which to a degree is pretty true.

But what we rarely tell you guys is the flip side to our lifestyle choice, because like every other job in the world there’s things that totally suck!

So here’s 5 reasons why being a blogger sucks…

 

1) A Life Ruled By Wifi

Wifi is the bane of my life as a blogger. It’s literally the first thing I try to locate on arriving somewhere new and will make or break my stay at a hostel! It’s like a freaking drug!

In fact I’ve had more than one half mental breakdown due to shit internet on the road, it’s especially infuriating when it’s somewhere I really want to base myself for a good stretch of time!

travel blogger backpacker banter asia surf

Partying Hard With Asia Surf’s Rich – But Our Phones Are Never Far Away!

Some people I travel with criticize my internet depedancy when they travel with me – but hey…I’m at work here dammit! I wish I could take a bit more time out from it, but unfortunately I do rather like having an income!

 

2) Tied To Social Media

With running a blog comes constant self promotion and you need a good online presence…which means social media – which is a total head fuck sometimes! Maximum exposure means pinning, tweeting, instagramming, status updating, google plussing and god knows what else to get your name, blog and work out there to the masses. I’ve point blank refused to get involved in some of it though because I really can’t be bothered to deal with it all!

It’s a necessary evil for most bloggers though…

 

3) It’s ALOT Of Work

Yup it may come as a shock to a lot of people but travel bloggers work – and work bloody hard! Whether it’s replying to emails, sending out invoices, pitching to travel reps or writing posts work is never far from my train of thought.

The only upside to this is the fact I can choose my office – but just because I’m by the pool or swinging in a hammock doesn’t mean I’m not putting in the time to work! In fact I probably work 40+ hours a week all in.

After all I’m self employed, I deal with marketing, writing, editing, photographing, web development…bloggers are like a one man company!

travel blogger chris stevens backpacker banter

It’s A Nice Office – But It Does Mask The Workload!

 

4) Little Reward (To Begin With Anyway!)

It may also come as a shock that this lifestyle doesn’t just land on your lap – hardly any one hits the ground running with blogging unless you’re lucky enough to have heaps of contacts from the off. It takes time and effort to reap the rewards. When I started blogging I didn’t see any really gain for a good year.

And even though the site is well established now it’s hardly a solid income stream and I’m still living month by month…

 

5) We’re Expected To Be The Perfect Travellers

When I tell people what I do for a living they literally expect me to be a travel guru. Apparently travel bloggers aren’t allowed to make any mistakes whilst on the road. Well I’ve got news for you – we’re all in the same boat! Sure I may have ironed out some rookie mistakes and I have a bit more knowledge than the average backpacker but that doesn’t mean I bounce around without my share of mishaps! This month I totally cocked up booking a bus and the people I were travelling didn’t let me live it down for a good few days. Geez guys give me a break!

You only need to look at the unfortunate antics of Lauren from Never Ending Footsteps to realise bloggers have their fair share of bad luck on the road!

 

But despite the downsides I wouldn’t change what I have at the moment for anything. I’m my own boss, I work when and where I want and I can now enjoy the amazing experiences that work has afforded me – if it was that easy everyone would be doing it so I know I need to put in the graft to reap the benefits. 

…but it’s not just shits and giggles in the sun all the time!

 

Do you run a travel blog? Anything you’d add to the list?!

 

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35 Responses

  1. Sean

    Chris,

    I can totally relate here!

    For the past 3 days I have been busy fixing things up with my blog, whilst stationed on the Southern Coast of Sri Lanka. Yes, the view from my “desk” is great, but sometimes I wish I could just put all my work away and jump in the ocean…!!

    I have also decided against certain hostels/guesthouses based on the quality of their WiFi..the only thing is sometimes you find out the Wifi is shit after you have already agreed – and paid – for the next three nights! frustrating to say the least…

    I suppose what keeps me motivated at the moment (as my website is really new) is the thrill I get from learning new things – like marketing, social media presence etc – and the little things, like the occasional Facebook “like”, the 50 or so page visits per day etc etc.

    Good to know that an experienced blogger like you still smiles when thinking about how they earn their living. Inspiring man!

    Sean.

    Reply
  2. Bemused Backpacker

    I can really relate to some of those things, but I like to think that every cloud and all that.

    Yes the total hard work and commitment you have to give to various social media and your online presence can be all consuming, but at the same time I like to think that I’m gaining entire new skill sets in marketing, social media management, promotion and a dozen other things that are all great strings to my bow.

    The hardest part for me is the sacrifices, the lack of a solid income, the slow drip trickle of success (if it ever comes), the lack of being able to have security or other things that people take for granted like a house for example. But hey, I have travelled the world and continue to do so, and all those people WITH those things are often jealous of US! Some things are worth the sacrifice, and I’d say freedom and travel are just two of those.

    As for the perfect travellers? There’s no such thing. We all travel in different ways and even monkeys fall out of trees! We make the mistakes so that others can learn from those experiences, we mess up so we know how to advise others, and some of my biggest mishaps and close encounters have become some of my best travel stories! Did I ever tell you about the cat that saved my life in Cairo? ;D

    I’m not so sure about being tied to wifi though, I’ve never really felt that way. It is becoming far less common in this day and age where even basic hostels are offering free wifi, but yes I’ve been in areas and countries where wifi is nonexistent and even archaic internet cafe’s are few and far between, I’ve camped out in wildernesses, deserts and jungles where electricity would have ben an intrusion, but hey that’s what we’re here to do right? To travel the world? To enjoy it in all it’s infinite variety? We’re not just here to travel from one luxury hotel with instant access to the next. So I’m away from the internet for a while, no big deal. Things can be saved until I reach a place where I can get reception again. I use the time to write and just to enjoy the places I’m in.

    Let’s not lose perspective and forget why we do what we do. Let’s not forget the travel in amongst the writing.
    Bemused Backpacker recently posted..Competition Winner!My Profile

    Reply
    • Chris

      totally with you on the silver lining thing – it’s worth all the effort, people just overlook the work I do I think!

      But yes – I need to always focus on the travel, because that’s why I started this whole thing.

      …wouldn’t change it for the world – because I guess it does give me the world!hahaha!

      Reply
  3. Runaway Brit

    Whilst I am very envious of the lives of the travel bloggers I follow, the reasons you list here are the very reasons that are preventing me from attempting to become Nomadic. I love travel, but I want to actually enjoy the experience of travelling – and I certainly don’t want to be working when I do it! If I’m at a beach, the last thing I want to do is be tied to my laptop.

    Having said that, I would like to make my work/travel balance more in favour of travel, but at 15 weeks off a year it’s not too bad!
    Runaway Brit recently posted..Boats, Bridges, Baths and Bars in BudapestMy Profile

    Reply
    • Chris

      15 weeks a year is an epic amount of travel time – how do you manage that?!
      I was struggling to find a good beach/work balance – luckily for me my sheer laziness and fondness for the ocean means I’m much more likely to skip a few posts/meetups in favour for a day in the sun!

      Reply
    • Chris

      hahaha I feel your pain – I’m travelling with my bro at the moment and he gets pretty agitated by my reliance on it – it’s easy to say when you have savings in your pocket though hey?!

      Reply
  4. Don E

    I definitely sympathize about the wi-fi. Makes me crazy. But all self-employed people have to worry about self-promotion and doing their own admin. Self-employed people work up to 36% longer each week than the employed. It is a tougher life than most people imagine- but since I’m currently landlocked and working from a cubicle, you’ll forgive me if my sympathy for you is limited :)
    Don E recently posted..Slumming with Sloths in Costa RicaMy Profile

    Reply
    • Chris

      hahahaha no worries on the sympathy front – I wouldn’t expect any!
      I like that statistic though – I work self employed as a photographer before this so I kind of knew what I was getting into…although blogging is far more time consuming in the long run!

      Reply
  5. Bradley

    Everything you said is definitely true. Currently I just blog for fun, as I’m teaching English in Thailand, but it was a lot of work just to get the site up and formatted. I can only imagine what full time blogging life must be like. From a naive outsiders perspective it seems all rainbows and bubbles, but really is just a ton of hard work. Good post.
    Bradley recently posted..Corporal Punishment in Thai SchoolsMy Profile

    Reply
    • Chris

      don’t even get me started on site design and formatting Bradley – heaps of work hey?!
      At the end of the day work is work though…I enjoy what I do but people do overlook the effort bloggers put in!

      Reply
  6. Pasture Braised

    Hey Chirs,

    Great site. Just stumbled upon it moments ago. Also great post. We are just getting into the travel blog game but all your points are hitting home already. Although we’ve never attempted to turn a profit yet, keeping up with social media, alexa ranking, and improving your sites speeds etc is a tone of hard work. Your side looks great by the way, and it looks like you’ve put a lot of solid work into it. Good luck with your travels.

    -Best, Cliff
    Pasture Braised recently posted..Barcelona: Eat. See. Do.My Profile

    Reply
    • Chris

      Cheers Cliff – glad you like the site!
      Best advice I can give you is slog on and keep going! If you put the effort in it’ll pay off in the end but it won’t be an easy ride! Drop me an email if you need any help :)

      Reply
    • Bennett - The Further Adventures of Bennett

      Sooo true! We all start doing it because we love it and continue to do it because we love it, but it can be hard work! My blog is feeling very neglected right now, but finishing up a 2 year spell in China, so making the most of that before I’m off!

      Great post!
      Bennett – The Further Adventures of Bennett recently posted..Meeting Lin YutangMy Profile

      Reply
      • Chris

        well enjoy the rest of your time in China Bennett :) keep up the work with the blog – it’ll be worth it!

  7. Jess - Sunshine Umbrella

    Just stumbled onto this page from Twitter– I really enjoy the site and I love your article.

    Since 2012, I’ve been spending countless hours building my travel blog. I’ve been constantly filling it with content so that people will actually have something to read when I publicly launch the site on Oct. 13 (pic of the top part of my homepage so far: pic.twitter.com/ukNjkdhtd6 …Still have so much work left, oy!). Even at this stage, it’s a lot more work than I could have ever anticipated. When I first started on this journey, I thought it’d be a “fun and easy side project”… But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yes, I’m still having a blast traveling and developing my site, but it’s a lot of hard work. For now, coding is the bane of my existence, and I quiver every time I see that there’s a new WordPress update (ok, what’s it going to break this time…?).

    I most identified with your point RE: social media. Although there so are many incredible ideas exchanged through Twitter, Facebook, etc., I feel as though updating these platforms is like a part-time job in itself.

    I think the toughest aspect for me is feeling the need to update my blog regularly. I’m studying to be a physician, so I can “only” travel abroad 4-10 weeks/year. Yes, I do hope to illustrate how one can travel the world without being a permanent nomad, but I can’t exactly go silent 38 weeks out of the year, either.

    Thanks again for writing such a sobering article. Hopefully the adventures will always outweigh the negatives that come with travel blogging. Best of luck with your site… Safe travels!

    Reply
    • Chris

      stick with it Jess! I managed to keep my blog going even when I was back in the UK for a year…if you’ve got any musing about planning, things you’ve already learnt or past experience they all help build a well rounded site!
      Let me know when it’s launched and I’ll give it some social media love!

      Reply
    • Chris

      Yeah was good to contribute with some epic names in the blogging world hey Jonny! Uggghhh don’t even get me started on servers, good luck with that!haha!

      Reply
  8. David Sylvest

    Great post! – i’m leaving for good in about 3 weeks and i have started a blog as well, hoping to make a income some day, however its really nice to know some of the dark sides of being a blogger :)

    Thanks for the info!
    David Sylvest recently posted..Hvordan startede det hele?My Profile

    Reply
    • Chris

      Sweet David – I will check your site out!
      Good luck with the travels and the blog – if you have any questions just drop me an email anytime!

      Reply
  9. pari

    Great post!wifi is a real problem, especially if you are in the Himalayas or in the middle of the ocean

    Reply
  10. Matt

    Awesome article…I’m loving your travel blogs!
    I just got back from Nepal and would recommend it to all of your readers…people are lovely, the landscape is beautiful, and it’s pretty cheap, too!!!
    I was just wondering which is your favorite country to travel to?
    Best wishes and keep up the great work.

    Reply
    • Chris

      Hey Matt – stoked to hear you’ve loving the blog!
      Nepal is still on my to do list but great to hear you loved I!
      Country wise that’s a tough one…think I’m torn between Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia!

      Reply
  11. Langtang Trek

    Wifi is the real problem haha! We can’t update what we’ve been through and what we’re doing! Great Article though. The way you explain everything is just amazing.

    Reply
  12. James Dunn

    Well as a matter of fact, it seems so easy and interesting to everyone but its definitely not. Its tough and needs so much creativity, thoughts and travel.
    Sometimes it can be very tiring and boring by travelling one place to another for experiences. But It gets me money as well. I’m planning to start a travel blog too and working on it. will definitely share once it gets finished and live.

    Reply

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