I have been writing this blog for 2 years now and a lot has changed but a whole lot has not, and it’s time to turn this blog into what I intended it to be.
I started this blog in my shoebox room while studying in the UK after one too many people told me I needed to do something like this. Travel writing is a hobby (and profession for some) that perfectly combines my two biggest passions in life. But the travel writing genre/medium is so convoluted that you either end up sponsored and writing crap, unsponsored and writing crap to get sponsored, or writing less inspirational trite that won’t ever get your work turned into something of a money maker (that one’s me!)
I have always firmly believed that travel writing is a hobby and not a profession. Turning travel or writing into something that becomes work or even more basically, something controlled by somebody other than myself, is my idea of a nightmare.
I have had small time Kickstarters and YouTube vloggers contact me begging me to write pieces about their products in exchange for a small percentage of online advertising revenues, but I felt myself being more insulted than complimented.
I get that it may be stupid to turn money away when I could realistically make this my job, but that would ruin my art and my contribution. We all need to make sacrifices to achieve our dreams but for me, I’m happy to work normal jobs to pay for my travel and write for fun. That’s how I keep my work pure and authentic.
The (Honest) State of my Blog
My blog is still (vastly) read only by my friends and relatives. A world map on my WordPress homepage confirms this fact. Each blog recieves about 10-200 reads depending on factors I cannot determine. My process for writing typically involves me killing time in the morning before everybody else wakes up, writing out some account of a recent experience in a format that will please people I know over about 20-30 minutes. This is not what I intended my blog to be.
But when I realised that it was and is only read by people who know me and they want to hear about what I have been up to, my format has adjusted to this. It’s becoming a chore or a novelty at this point rather than a true expression of what I set out to do with this blog. I rarely put in time to think about improvements and I do not put much value into the positive feedback I get as it is largely not useful to personal development… but I have a plan.
This blog was meant to be a balanced account of travel. This is not some bullshit ‘#wanderlust,’ ‘#NoRegrets’ or ‘travel is an adventure into the grand abyss of love and life’ rant blog. This is also not a blog that is meant to destroy the heart and soul of travel and travellers alike.
Instead I wanted to share problems with travelling and travellers. I want to dissect what it means to be a privileged, entitled millenial quitting their job to travel forever. I want to understand why backpackers my age are on the road for so long. What are they (we) looking for? What can travel teach us? and perhaps most importantly, how can we improve the way we travel?
Our generation has a lot to teach but a whole lot more to learn and I want to use my journalist ability to try and word that… to bridge the gap between generations and professions and ideologies. We shouldn’t just accept travel and judge each other for our individual choices, but we need to truly understand it so we can all become better people and, well, learn before we return.
I have a plan to shake up this blog and make it something I am proud enough to commit more time and manpower to. And it looks like this.
- Change the name. My blog’s name is wanky, like a doe-eyed university student’s pretentious first (or hundredth) collection of bad poetry about animals or left wing politics. Suggestions without the phrasing ‘wandering,’ ‘globetrotting,’ ‘wanderlust,’ + my own name, are welcome.
- Content. I will begin transitioning from ‘The stuff I liked about Scotland’ types of posts to bigger questions like ‘Are out future’s really screwed if we quit our jobs and travel forever?’ I want to contribute something more than boasting my experiences to those who bother to bless my page with a few seconds of their scrolling time. And with that, I need my pieces shorter.
- Comedy. I will always remember Jerry Seinfeld talking about how comedians speak aloud the things we’re thinking so we can become more aware of our behaviours and prejudices. I want to write satire articles (think The Betoota Advocate or The Shovel) to bring to light the plight of modern backpackers, particularly Aussies.
I often feel like I am only writing this to fill my family in on what I am up to. And to a degree, that’s an important part of this whole project. But I feel its time to turn this web-wank into something useful, having put 4 years and 4 continents of travel under my belt by just 22.
No idea how long this transition will take as travelling is still piling on day by day, but I’ll get there. Or you never know, I might be writing the same post again in a year or two, but as long as 1 person keeps reading it, I’ll keep writing it.
Travel to reinvent.