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Posted by on Sep 12, 2011 | 19 comments

Travel Blogging: Valuable Contribution or Waste of Time

Travel Blogging: Valuable Contribution or Waste of Time

Every major decision you take in life seems to open a Pandora box of negative opinions and judgments.  Moving from your country makes you an ungrateful being. College is apparently a dangerous place for a girl.  Marriage initiates a never ending stream of questions about why you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with a specific person.  Not even travel blogging (or just the act of blogging) escapes from the tongues of detractors.  You set a decent looking website, make the effort to write interesting and helpful content weekly and start interacting with tons of people all over the world.  Suddenly, the baby you have raised with immense love and effort starts to be the blank of attacks.  Don’t you have anything more productive to do?  Why you write of such themes?  Why you waste your time like that?

All these comments got me thinking.  Does my blog contribute positively to my growth as a human being? Does it help my readers in any way? Or, I just have a blog because it’s “the thing” to do if I enjoy travel?

To me, the effort I put in this website is not because of some superficial or self-centered purpose.  And I am going to tell you why.

Travel blogging is not a simple act of putting up some pictures and saying: “Look where I have been”. If that is all I want to do, I will not spend so much time preparing every post.  I will simply upload something to Facebook or another social media channel.  This blogging thing is more than pretty pictures and shallow thoughts.  Why?  Because behind every post, article, picture or newsletter, there is a story.  And those personal stories make all the difference. You can see a picture a thousand times.  But if each picture tells a different story, then you see it with different eyes.  And, I think of travel blogs in that same way.  There are many blogs but each blogger has the power to describe something in a different way.  A way you have never contemplated before and that is when your eyes and mind start to open (so this is more than simple entertainment). 

In terms of pure travel related content, blogs provide the following:

  • Free travel information
  • Hard to find, specific destination information
  • General travel tips
  • Cultural observations
  • Foreign etiquette and practices
  • History, language, economics and  gastronomy classes
  • Reviews
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • And I can probably name a thousand more things (you get the idea)

Travel blogging is about more than travel.  Bloggers are also experts in providing inspiration to readers eager to travel or to start a new episode in their lives.  A lot of blogger also contribute to different causes throughout the world.

Some travel bloggers make their living or an important percent of their incomes from their blogs.  You can’t criticize someone who makes a decent living from something he/she loves. Or, a travel blog is just a platform for future plans.  What do you know?

Travel is not something that a few are passionate about.  Travel is a multibillionaire worldwide industry.  Therefore, a large number of people are interested in consuming travel related products.  Consequently, we are daily discussing a topic that is relevant in the modern world.

Which brings me to my next point. The travel blogging community is a big group of awesome people who are ready to discuss their travel experiences as a way to better understand themselves, others and the world. Furthermore, the community expands to all the corners of the world.  You can’t deny how valuable is to have friends from different countries, cultures and ways of life.  To be honest, it is a priceless possession.

Moreover, travel bloggers are not a bunch of airheads visiting the same places over and over again (I guess some people have not visited most travel blogs).  Everyday bloggers show their intelligence, skills, creativity, innovativeness, experience, charisma, knowledge, imagination, resourcefulness, originality and power to move masses.  The travel community has some pretty talented individuals.  This in some way sets the bar really high.

Then, there are readers that are not necessarily part of the blogging community but are equally awesome.  Knowing that you can help them in some way makes my heart leap with joy.

And, there is more.  Bloggers have to practice and develop new skills daily.  Or, do you think we are not trying to improve our writing and photography skills?  Do you think we are not trying to improve the design of our site?  Do you think we are not constantly studying marketing techniques and how social media works?  It is an uphill road but we are willing to walk it.

By the way, am I not allowed to write about what I know and I like (or what I am good at)?  What is the use of writing about a topic I am not comfortable with?  I don’t know about you but I prefer to put all my effort in something I enjoy doing.

Which brings me to my conclusion.  I have just scratched the surface on why I think travel blogging (and my website) matters. There are many more arguments I can use to explain why I blog (and why others blog). But listen to this. Ultimately, I blog because I believe in this medium of expression (if I can describe it as a medium, it is certainly much more).  I believe blogging opens a lot of possibilities and adds a lot of valuable experiences to your life.  Tanama Tales is all about sharing stories with outstanding people.  And I will not put any time in here if I wouldn’t believe that sharing love, life and travel stories would make us better in some way.

This is not a defense of what I do.  People who have certain ways of thinking are not going to change their perspective just because I think different.  This is about realizing why what we do is important and how we can improve it. It is about appreciating our efforts because if we do not appreciate them, then there is no point in doing what we do.

If you are a blogger, why do you blog?  Why do you think blogging is a valuable contribution?

If you are not a blogger, why do you read blogs?  How they add value to your life?

As always, I am really interested in knowing your thoughts about this topic.

 

19 Comments

  1. This is a really good question. I definitely think that travel blogs are extremely useful and provide a wealth of information and resources, but for myself I’ve questioned why I’m doing this.

    Unlike a lot of travel bloggers I’m not actually looking to create a sustainable income from my blog (nor do I actually want to be employed as a travel writer). So sometimes I feel like it’s just a very time-consuming hobby! But I love it, and through blogging I’ve learned so much about seo, social media, the power of networking, etc… all useful skills that can be channeled into other work that I’m interested in.

    So I think it’s a question that each blogger needs to ask themselves — why am I doing this? Do I feel like I’m making a valuable contribution or getting something in return (skills, experience, whatever)? As long as you’re happy with the answer then I think that’s enough.
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..How much does it cost to live in London?My Profile

    • Christy,
      We are in the same boat. I feel I have learned a lot of new skills in the short time I have been blogging. Plus, like you, I enjoy preparing and publishing my posts.

      Blogging purposes are diverse. I guess each blogger should know why he/she continues posting frequently.
      Ruth recently posted..Travel Blogging: Valuable Contribution or Waste of TimeMy Profile

  2. When I used to travel before I had the blog, I would tell people about my trips in great detail until their eyes would glaze over. Now I have an audience of hundreds of glazed eyes! Seriously, though, I love writing and I love travel. The compulsion to share my travels with a blog is something I love – and I hope it helps others as well.
    Jan Ross recently posted..Local Tastes of the City: San FranciscoMy Profile

    • Jan,
      I like that. You make me think of something I have discovered while blogging. My closest friends may not share my travel passion. But, like you, I have discovered (thru the blog) new friends I can share my passion with. Isn’t that great?
      Ruth recently posted..Travel Blogging: Valuable Contribution or Waste of TimeMy Profile

  3. Who attacks you? Ignore them, who ever they are. My travel blog is all about inspring other people to get off their behind and explore the wonders of the world. It’s as simple as that.
    inka recently posted..Where to spend Christmas on your ownMy Profile

  4. Well said, Ruth! I agree on so many counts. I try to add value by sharing my travels and insights with my readers and perhaps inspiring someone to travel, try a new destination or reminisce about their experiences. I recognize areas that I’d like to improve and hope to add even more value. I blog because I love to travel and write about it, but like many others, I’m also working on ways to monetize my blog.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..New England Holocaust MemorialMy Profile

  5. Great question – i think that question is even broader than just travel blogs! I think that there will always be naysayers out there, no matter the content. That’s just how it is. The web gives a certain anonymity that face to face confrontation doesn’t so people feel more free to rain on your parade and act like rude imbeciles! [i've got a lot of food blogging friends who get attacked constantly - some with threats to their family or themselves...nuts!]

    I write because I want to share my experiences but also because I want to keep track of the things that I have done!
    jenjenk recently posted..Oahu: Surfing Lessons in WaikikiMy Profile

    • What? I didn’t imagine things were getting that intense. Hopefully, your friends (and their families) are doing good.

      I also like to document what I have done and where I have been. If someday I have kids, I can show them a compilation of the things I have done.
      Ruth recently posted..Travel Blogging: Valuable Contribution or Waste of TimeMy Profile

  6. Yes, excellent question. And one that I think is very important to explore time and time again. Like Christy, we are not looking to monetize our blog so it is not about the money or the spifs. We really like that it is a very intentional documenting of this amazing life we are so fortunate to lead. Of course, if that inspires others to pursue a more fulfilling life, then all the better.
    Caanan @ No Vacation Required recently posted..NVR 101 – Visiting AfricaMy Profile

  7. Great question to ponder for all bloggers! I agree with your points above. Travel bloggers bring such broad and unique perspective to the world of travel that no travel agent or website can provide.

    As for us, we blog because we want to share what we’ve learnt and experienced on our travel. We want others to experience at least what we experienced if not more. We view our blog as a “kick start” or “baseline’ for others to embark on their own journey. Something for them to start with instead of having to start from scratch –> to turn tourists into travelers!
    Shirlene from Idelish recently posted..{India} Thiksey Monastery is a “Must Visit” in LehMy Profile

  8. I do my blog because I want to share my experiences with others and show people that they can travel to these places if they really want to. It started out just for family and friends, but I am very happy to have a wider audience now.

    If I didn’t enjoy doing it, I would spend my time in other ways. (Because it takes A LOT of time as you know!)
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Elevator Brewery Tour in Columbus, OhioMy Profile

  9. Ruth, This is a good conversation, we all have our reasons for blogging about travel and our experiences. I have my website for multiple reasons. It started as a place to inspire people to heal after the loss of a loved one, it became something far more. It is now a place to inspire others to heal and travel. I want to inspire others through my experiences and adventures. I love to write and I do it because I am passionate about it. I also want to publish my book about healing grief and relationships. It is a huge learning curve to do this work. People have no idea what it takes to do this. They should be encouraging your happiness and passion, not finding fault with it.
    Lisa recently posted..UNDER CONSTRUCTION EXCUSE MY DISORDERMy Profile

  10. Hi Ruth!
    You posted this a while ago, but sometimes life works in mysterious ways, and just as I am sitting here, having an existential blogger crisis, I come across this post of yours! I asked myself some very similar questions: Isn’t it selfish to assume all those people out there actually care about my personal stories? What do I have to offer them what they can´t read somewhere else? Is it really worth putting so much time and effort into it?
    Reading your post gave me new energy and it´s refreshing to know that it´s not only me but a bunch of bloggers out there who struggle with the same questions.
    So let´s sharpen our keyboards and our minds and let´s get back to travel blogging!
    And I am happy (and somewhat proud) to share my adventures with y’all here: http://wanderstrudel.blogspot.com/

    Love & Peace,
    Marinela

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