10 Things That Happen When You Transition From Traveler to Travel Blogger?
T he Gate is not a pure travel weblog; but rather a hybrid of travel, articles pertaining to frequent flier loyalty programs and miles and points, parodies of other articles, alerts pertaining to contests and sweepstakes, an occasional item now and then informing you of where to get something at a discount or free of charge; and news and weather which affect travelers in general — typically mixed in with my thoughts and opinions…
10 Things That Happen When You Transition From Traveler to Travel Blogger?
…but I read this article written by Sierra Donahue of Take Me With You, which I found interesting; and I thought I would elaborate on what she considers the 10 things that happen when you transition from traveler to travel blogger.
Despite my admittedly not being a “pure travel blogger” and having a rather unusual history writing The Gate for almost ten years — where oh where has the time gone? — here are my thoughts.
1. Travel is No Longer Synonymous With Vacation
“Completely unplugging or going off the grid is no longer an option when you need to post updates to your blog and social media”, Donahue wrote. “Trips are fuel for content, not just for relaxation.”
Well, I can argue with that to a point: yes, “blogging” about travel is not easy by any stretch of the imagination — but I try not to let The Gate consume me, my travels or my life. That would interfere with my travels and my life in general. I prefer to enjoy my trips and take plenty of photographs — both to record my travels for my own personal reasons; and to remember what to relate in future articles here at The Gate.
The downside to that is that I still have a backlog of trip reports to write and post — here are some reasons why I have not posted them as of yet — but I will get to them.
2. You Think of Social Media Followers as Real Friends and Not Just Numbers
I completely disagree with this statement. Why? Believe it or not, the only social media account of which I decided to become a member is LinkedIn; and — other than linking articles from The Gate to there — I do not rely on social media.
There is currently a discussion posted on FlyerTalk pertaining to Brian Kelly — who founded The Points Guy — and his use of social media has been the latest topic of interest in that discussion, which actually bores me.
Although readership has been increasing organically here at The Gate — with no advertising or affiliate links of any kind; and I am quite proud and thankful for that — could readership have significantly increased had I been a member of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and all of those other conveyances of social media?
I do not know. All I know is that I have no interest to launch an account on any of those Internet web sites.
Am I wrong? Should I create accounts; or would they be a waste of my time?
3. Friends and Family Can’t Decide Whether You’re Crazy or Their Own Personal Travel Agent
Friends and family members thought I was crazy long before I started writing for The Gate.
As for being their own personal travel agent, that rarely happens. After I ask the question “how flexible are you?” or explain to them all that is involved in procuring the best overall travel value for the dollar, they usually back off.
In fact, I am rarely successful in encouraging them to continue with me planning their travel and itinerary — especially as I like to cram as much as I can into a travel day but without sacrificing the quality of my visit.
4. You Start Subconsciously Categorizing Other Foreigners Into Tourists and Travelers
No, I do not — and never have — subconsciously categorize other foreigners into tourists and travelers. In fact, I do not subconsciously categorize other foreigners in general.
I am not even sure what this actually means, to be completely honest.
5. Any Last Degree of Introverted Shyness Evaporates When You’re Solo in a New Place
This is true to an extent; but believe it or not, I can still be quite shy at times — even while I am traveling.
After a long day of discovering new places, people, pastimes and provender, there are times where there is nothing better than heading back to the hotel room, kicking back and relaxing by myself.
I am certainly open to traveling with another person — perhaps a fellow “blogger” — and recounting our adventures by documenting them in articles for you to read and photographs for you to see in the hopes that they will be helpful and prompt you to eventually travel to those places as well.
6. You Become an Expert Selfie Photographer
There was a time when I would include myself in some photographs solely as proof that I traveled to a destination — but, of course, that was when my travel “career” was still nascent.
Although there are few exceptions, I prefer to not be in travel photographs — and yes, I have been approached by many people around the world who graciously offered to take my camera and photograph me, to which I politely decline.
Come to think of it, many people also approach me to take their photographs with their cameras. I, of course, comply with their requests; and they are usually quite grateful.
I will never forget the time that one couple in Bucharest near the grand fountain wanted me to take photographs of them — but with my camera. I initially hesitated because I really did not understand the point of doing that; but I eventually complied — and they were happy.
You Consider Buying You Buy the Blasted Selfie Stick
You could not pay me to buy one of those things.
The first time I saw one was when one was used by an Asian woman — most likely visiting Spain — in Plaza Mayor in Madrid.
I thought it looked ridiculous then; and I still think it looks ridiculous today.
8. Free Wi-Fi Becomes a Top Accommodation Priority
While I will use free Wi-Fi to access the Internet whenever available, I remind myself that I travel to enjoy myself and learn — not to use that time to write articles for The Gate, as that somewhat defeats the purpose of traveling.
I have, though, thought about posting quick articles as I travel while the moment is still fresh and simply saying “screw it” to attempting to get the most out of search engine optimization, as I am not going to let Google dictate how I should live my life.
9. You Have Friends Around the World
I do have friends around the world; but that is because I am a member of FlyerTalk — not because I write articles for The Gate.
I have stayed at the homes of friends who live on other continents; I have had friends either cook for me or treat me to dinner at a restaurant; and I had one friend who lives in France generously offer me his car to drive to Liechtenstein, warning me to watch my speed in Switzerland.
Conversely, I have given away items to friends as well — such as a certificate worth $100.00 towards staying two nights in a hotel as one of countless examples —and taken friends on tours of places such as Atlanta, New York or Brooklyn, where I was born and raised.
Dan Hammer — who is also known as FlyerTalk member dhammer53 and is currently hosting and conducting the Brooklyn Reality Tour for 2016 as I type this article — probably regretted the day I attended one of those tours. I could not help taking over the microphone when the vehicle passed someplace in Brooklyn which had even the slightest of significance to me — even when the microphone was not working and Dan’s voice was failing him.
Good times and no regrets on my part. This one is for you, Flatlands.
10. You’re Never Completely At Home Anywhere
I prefer to view this the other way around: in a way, I feel at home everywhere.
Travel is amazing in the respect that once I have been somewhere and become more knowledgeable about it, I automatically feel more at home there than I did prior to arriving — for obvious reasons.
I must admit that — despite my now extensive experience — I will never feel at home driving in Egypt. To this day, I am still teased about that experience — as well as simultaneously more respected as well.
Writing about travel is something I always wanted to do; and I am grateful that I fulfilled that dream — even if it ended tomorrow. That is because I am passionate about travel; and I have always believed that people should indulge in their passions.
Travel is not a “hobby” to be “hacked.” It is very real to me. It has been real to me for most of my life; and especially when I became a frequent traveler — long before writing the first word for The Gate back in 2006…
…and as long as that passion remains strong, I intend to keep writing about my travels and welcome you along for the ride — even if it is vicariously.
Thank you for reading The Gate. As always, I greatly appreciate it and am deeply grateful to you.
Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.