A look at the week that was and a little insight into the #bloglife, sharing things I just can’t share anywhere else!
Highlights of the week
We missed catching up here in TW last week! Matt and I were on our 14-hour flight home from Canada and what the epic journey home it was! The day before our flight out of Vancouver we drove just shy of 8 hours to a town outside of Vancouver. The next day, we slept late, got our stuff re-packed and checked out then drove the last 2 and a bit hours back into Vancouver. Our flight was really late at night so we arranged to drop the hire car off late too, giving us time to grab some dinner. I had this epic craving for tacos and, I swear down, every taco shop we went to was either closed or had moved! We tried four or five stops before finally finding one and getting our feast on.
Our flight was pushed back a few times and we ended up departing at around 1am. By some stroke of luck, we got three seats to ourselves so we could spread out properly and get up and move whenever we wanted. I guess we were both absolutely exhausted because we got on the plane, snuggled up to our pillows and both fell deep asleep. Like I said, the flight was 14-hours and when I finally woke up properly, there were only four hours to go! I’m not usually that great at sleeping on planes but I think the combination of being super tired after being away for nearly a month, the big drive, late flight and enough space to get comfy meant I could get an epic sleep. So good!
It took most of this week to get back on a normal sleep schedule. Both of us were going to bed at 8:30pm and waking up at 5:30-6am each day. Finally, we managed to push through back into our normal, stupid sleep schedule of going to bed late haha I don’t know why but I love staying up late at night. If I go to bed early it feels like wasted time. Yet, if I sleep-in it doesn’t feel like wasted time! Weird.
Our last week in Canada was awesome, just a great end to a great trip. We had both wanted to get to Canada for so long but it was just too expensive and I guess how far away it is can be mentally overwhelming too. I’m so glad we did it and I’m really surprised by how great it was camping! I make no secret of my dislike for hiking and camping but I got through with no troubles, except for one night when I was freezing cold and absolutely furious about having a cold shower at the campsite haha! But, sometimes you gotta travel on a budget and, really, Canada is a dang good place to camp. I mean, you want to see the outdoors anyway, right? And, when you camp, you’re up super early each day so you don’t waste any time lazing around the hotel. I really feel like we made the most of each day.
Now we’re back home it’s time to get started on all the content we have to create. My first step was to sit down and figure out the deliverables I owe TrekAmerica for my iTrekHere trip with them. We then wrote down all the YouTube videos we shot and organised them into a schedule for the next 8 weeks or so. I also jotted down a big list of written content I want to post on the website over the coming weeks. I really want into detail about how we did everything on a budget and share exact costs too, just to give others a clear picture of how much it is and how they can do it too!
In other travel news, we’ve got a potential trip to Phuket on the cards for our birthdays in early August. It’s a work trip, so if it does come together we’ll be working with a hotel group, staying at a few different properties for a variety of budgets (luxe through to less) to experience them and create some content for the website and YouTube. We’ve also got an amazing trip planned for the end of August! I genuinely cannot remember how much I’ve told you about it already but I think I’ll hold off a little longer until I’ve got more detail from the client so I can give you all the hot gossip at once. It’s going to be one of the most incredible trips we’ve done with one of our all-time favourite clients to work with, so we’re both ECSTATIC about it!
I know I just talked about work trips and it probably seems like work is going bananas for us at the moment but both Matt and I have been feeling a little weird about work this year. It feels like there’s been a shift in attitude towards travel bloggers and we’re definitely feeling it. I’ve reached out to a few people in the industry who I adore and they’ve all said they’ve noticed it too, that maybe there isn’t as much trust as there was before in travel bloggers which is due, in part, to fake followers etc. I also think it’s such a saturated industry now and many people are pitching to brands, requesting contra-arrangements (coverage in exchange for an unpaid stay, for example) and I think brands are sick of it. Some have said they feel used and tired of people asking for ‘freebies’.
In some cases, travel bloggers have a full-time or part-time job on which they can rely for income, so saying yes to a ‘free’ holiday is amazing! For us, Little Grey Box is our full-time job and our source of income. Working unpaid simply isn’t an option because it means we don’t have enough money to pay our bills. It genuinely takes us weeks of hard work to create all the deliverables a brand may want.
The flow-on effect from all of this, for us, has been a huge drop in paid work opportunities and we’re definitely feeling it! It has been a bit scary this year, seeing our business grow on paper but failing to have that translate into more paid work. We never started doing this to get rich, if we were after money, we would’ve both stayed in our old jobs. But, we gotta earn enough money to pay our bills and lately, nobody seems to want to pay us. It’s hard, mentally, because I always request a brand pay us but when they come back and say no, I know that if I don’t take the job, I won’t have the opportunity to create content which means Little Grey Box stops.
At times, we feel trapped. We become part of the problem when we say yes to working unpaid but risk losing our audience if we say no. If we do say no, someone else will just take our place anyway and we miss out on the content and fresh content is what keeps our business growing. I’ve always said I believe in the law of attraction so, by saying yes to working unpaid, are we simply attracting more unpaid jobs? If we were to say no, would we suddenly have more paid opportunities come our way or would we have no opportunities at all? It’s something we’ve been talking back and forth about for a while and it’s honestly doing our heads in! Truth is, I don’t know the answer.
I was talking to Matt yesterday and we had to laugh, because, as I said to him, “If you think back to when we were still working our full-time office jobs, I bet we would have KILLED to have our biggest life problem be that we have too many free holidays.” I mean, it’s not entirely accurate, of course, cos they definitely are not free and they are not holidays but, you gotta see the light side of things sometimes. As my very good friend Tanya always says, “Babe, if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.”
Matt and I both absolutely love our lives and we have the best jobs in the world. Every moment of this journey has given us things we never would have had otherwise. Look, I didn’t intend for this to get so heavy, I just like to share with you guys the truth and reality of what really goes on in this travel blogging world because it’s not the Instagram perfect world I sometimes see portrayed.
At the end of the day, I believe everything happens in cycles. Yep, brands and audiences may feel shifty about travel bloggers but everything has its ups and downs. Maybe it’s a push for us to start looking at things a different way and offer something new to brands, a chance to evolve and grow! One thing is for sure, Matt and I will never, ever quit. We’re in this for life and what’s happening now is happening for a reason.
The other night I was looking at my phone and I saw this amazing quote pop into my feed at just the right time! A little bit of divine inspiration and a sign from the Universe, I think…
Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.
Have a great weekend, you guys! Hope you’ve got some great plans. I’ll talk to you next week, LOVE YOU! P x
P.S If you’ve ever read and loved my ‘Dogs I Met’ blog posts where I share photos and stories of dogs I meet when I travel, then you are in for a BIG treat. Tonight, on the YouTube channel, we’re publishing our first ever ‘Dogs I Met’ video!! It’s all about some of the amazing dogs I met in Canada and it’s easily the only video that really matters in our entire business.
Watch the brand new video up on our YouTube channel this week!
Song of the week
The song I’ve been crushing on most this week…
Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.