Before I became one I didn’t really know what being a travel blogger was about. Over the past few years, I’ve learned a lot and noticed a pattern in a few common thoughts, opinions and comments made about my life as a travel blogger. Some are totally accurate and others are way off the mark! Seeing as there’s no magic crystal ball that allows people to see inside the true life of a travel blogger, I thought I’d share with you 7 of the biggest misconceptions I’ve come across and the truth behind them. If you’ve got any questions about the #BlogLyfe feel free to ask in the comments below and I’ll do my best to turn them into another blog post for you!
1. I’m paid to create good reviews
I may be paid to review a hotel or product, but what I’m paid for is my time creating the review and sharing it with you guys. I am never paid to say something positive and there is never a requirement for me to have a certain opinion. If a brand ever did have the guts to ask me for a good review or tried to set out what I need to say, I wouldn’t work with them. That has never happened because a brand would never ask and I would never say yes. The most they do is send a list of things they’ve got going on at the moment, so if I feel the need to include them, I can… this can be things like hotel features, flight routes etc.
This misconception makes me really angry because it undermines my job, devalues my work and makes me feel like my morals are questionable. Every review I write is an honest reflection of my genuine opinion.
2. I must have a lot of money because I’m able to travel so often
Ahhhhhh nope. My bank account can back me up on this one! Matt and I earn far less than we used to in our office jobs but we travel much more because it’s our job. We’re able to travel a lot now because our trips are nearly always taken care of by the client we’re working for. So while our income is smaller we don’t need to earn as much because what we would have spent our income on previously, travel, we now don’t have to pay for because it’s part of our job. When we do travel off our own pay packet it’s a real ratchet affair (Google search: How long can a human survive only on instant noodles?)
3. I don’t have a real job
Someone hold me back! I swear to Oprah, my eyes are going to roll right out of my head one of these days and I’m going to bitch slap someone right off the internet. It’s easy to criticize and undervalue someone else’s job when you’ve never done it, I get it! But a LOT of work goes into being a travel blogger.
Matt and I do everything ourselves, we: create all our written blog posts each week and video content for YouTube, do all our own social media, maintain relationships with clients and build new ones, negotiate contracts, do a ton of paperwork each day, respond to hundreds of emails, do all our accounting and we both still freelance on the side. We do interviews and photo shoots, do our own PR, write our own press releases and much, much more. We’re small business owners and there are hours and hours of work that go into it each day. I work 1000 times harder now than I ever did in my old job, mostly because I love it so very much.
4. I get to see all the places I want to see whenever I want to see them
I have a big travel bucket list in my mind, but at this stage of my career I’m not really checking things off like you might imagine. Where I’m at right now, I go where the work takes me. So it’s not quite as simple as looking at your bucket list and thinking, “I’ll just take that two month trip to Norway I’ve always dreamed about and it’ll be free because I’m a travel blogger.” Ahhhhh nope. I go where offers tell me to go which, at the moment, is mostly Australia and Asia. As the blog continues to grow I’ll have more offers come in from more places and these will take me to those far-off lands I want to visit.
5. I keep all the good tips for myself
Each day I receive private messages and emails from people asking me for travel tips on destinations I’ve covered on the blog. All the best tips I have to offer are up on the blog, ready to go! I don’t keep any tips for myself and sending me an email asking for a personalised itinerary for an upcoming holiday won’t yield any new info. Everything I love and would recommend for a destination is already up on the blog, laid it out with pretty images and links too!
6. I’m an idiot and everything I do sucks
You gotta have a thick skin if you’re going to be a travel blogger because there’s a lot of hate in the world. People will call you all kinds of names, they’ll tell you you’re stupid and a massive idiot, that you have no idea what you’re talking about, that you’re fat, ugly, annoying, racist and the things you’ve spent hours creating are useless, terrible and the worst thing they’ve ever seen in their life.
A lot of hate will come your way, but the truth is you aren’t any of those things. People often need an explanation for their own shortcomings, a narrative to justify why they behave or feel a certain way. When they see you doing well and being happy, calling you a fat, ugly, idiot justifies why you irk them so much and devalues your success. Just remember… ALL bullies are cowards. There isn’t a truly strong, confident person alive who would put another down so if they’re putting you down, they aren’t strong. They’re a weak person looking to justify your success and their own problems.
7. I’m super outgoing and want to be best friends with everyone in the world
This is a tough one. I’m an introvert by nature, I’m also confident, a good communicator and comfortable in front of a camera, with a strong personality. Those last points often lead me to come across as an extrovert, which I’m definitely not. Despite the fact I share a lot of my life with the world I’m actually a really private person who doesn’t trust easily, has few very close relationships and rarely lets people into my inner circle.
It’s a hard balance to strike… sharing your life with the world but keeping parts of your life just for yourself. At the end of the day, I always remember I don’t need to justify or explain anything to anyone. I can’t control anyone else’s perception of me, all I can do is be honest, share what I’m comfortable with and know, deep down, who I am. If you’re a newbie travel blogger it’s important you set your boundaries early and stick to them, you have to keep some parts of your life just for yourself.
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Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.