How travel bloggers afford to travel?
When I saw this comment on my fellow-blogger site Kami and the rest of the world, I couldn’t help thinking of it. Someone just said that:
„All looks nice and wise but I am sure she is sponsored by some organization / company / or……….. It is impossible in Poland being Polish typical / normal worker 1st) to get so many day for holiday during the year. 2nd) to have enough money for such journeys. Naked truth. Anyway nice blog specially about Iran.”
I feel I need to explain how I see this issue.
Dear author of the comment, whoever you are. What I do and you probably don’t is that… I’m simply focused on my hobby and I’m willing to devote much to travel.
Travel bloggers. Who are they?
Travel bloggers I know are the most hardworking people I have ever met. Honestly, I don’t know any traveler or travel blogger who would say:
– I’m bored… what are you doing dude?
– I have no plans for the weekend. I think I’ll stay at home with some beer and board games.
If you want to meet with travel blogger, this is what you’re going to hear:
– When exactly you want to meet? I need to know in advance, it’s hellishly important…
– OK, currently I’m in France, but I’ll be back on Friday, I can meet you straight from the airport. But sorry in advance if I won’t stay long…
– OK, Friday will be fine, my flight is in the early morning on Saturday, but I will make it.
Travel bloggers usually have much more skills than other people who not necessarily pay attention to self-improvement. If we want to make good movies, take breathtaking photos, improve writing skills, learn about SEO or any other thing we’re not familiar with, we need to learn it. Every skill acquired, every language learnt, every experience gained in the end pays off. But it takes… time and will. So when my friends say: „Ibazela, come on, there’s a great concert tonight. You need to be there!” I’m often replying „Sorry guys, I’m sure it will be great. Please have fun, we will meet another time because I’m… working / traveling / writing new post / doing research / learning new things / responding to my readers’ e-mails” and so on.
Being a travel blogger is a responsibility. Sometimes, when I’m away and the weather outside is really nasty I’d love to say „OK, today I’m staying in my hostel, that’s fine”. But then I realize that there are so many amazing things down there I need to see and share with my readers, that I’m going out even in a pouring rain.
It’s not easy to travel with a travel blogger. When you start writing a blog you need to say goodbye to all lazy vacations. You can’t just „go somewhere” or „see something”. So you need to know exactly what / where and how. You need to take your camera, notebook, and write down everything what’s important, interesting or useful. Sometimes I’m making notes every 10 minutes. Trying to see more, learn more, understand more. It’s a really hard work!
How I afford to travel often
To be honest, I have never been on any organized trip, and I have no idea what all inclusive is. When traveling, I’m staying mostly in dormitories for it’s price and good company. You have no idea who I met there already: a robot inventor, a ballerina, a politician, a music composer, a cattle farmer, a retired Foreign Legion soldier… Many of my friends would love to travel with me, but somehow sharing a bathroom with others or sleeping in a room with some strangers is far too scary for most of them.
I’m really good in what I’m doing. You know what’s the shortest way to achieve success? Start working on it. In my company I don’t get paid for working extra hours, but what I’m paid extra is… writing good scientific articles. And by saying that I really mean good. Every submitted article is going through the procedure of two separate double-blind reviews and only if it get the highest scores it’s going to be published, and I will get money for it. Writing one article takes me about one month if I write it everyday after my regular working hours. It means: no social life, almost no shopping, no going out whatsoever. And I hate it, but this is what I’m paid extra and this is what I’m good at. A friend of mine – also a travel blogger – is going in the next few weeks to Singapore to speak at the conference. Why she was invited? Because she’s a world class expert. And there’s no problem for her to stay a few days longer for some sightseeing, when she’s going to be there anyway.
At school, at uni, I’ve always been a hardworking student. Now, thanks to my scores, experience, expert knowledge, languages I speak (more or less fluently) I can afford to live in Japan and travel around for one year. Yes, you heard it right. You think that I am „sponsored by some organization / company / or………..” ? No. I’m just brave (and stubborn). One year ago I was ready to invest my time and money and take part in tough and long recruitment without any warranty that I will succeed. I was not afraid to spend all my savings on trying to make my dreams come true. Once I heard about a traveler who sold even his fridge to start traveling the world. How about you, have you ever invested all you had to chase your dreams?
You say that maybe I have rich parents? I’m financially independent and no, don’t have rich parents. What I have instead? A bills to pay every month, mortgage that takes almost one third of my salary, a loan to pay back after spending a winter in Africa two years ago, and another one for investing in my camera – to publish better pictures on my blog. But that’s fine, I’m not complaining even if it’s sometimes hard, even if I can’t afford to buy a new dress which fits me like a glove and I’m not joining my friends in the cinema tonight. But I know that I will spend 12 completely awesome months in the place I was always dreaming of (and been there twice).
Thanks to traveling I’ve learnt that I don’t need many things people often think they need everyday. I don’t wear high hills, I can opt out of hair dryer (where it’s acceptable to go out with wet hair. Don’t do it in Tanzania – it will mean that „you have just had sex”). It’s hard to meet with me for a dinner in the evening, because I don’t go to fancy restaurants (I’m aware that one dinner in expensive restaurant costs as much as five full meals elsewhere in the world). I’m simply saving. It really takes some self-discipline, you know? 😉 I won’t meet you for a dinner, but we can meet anywhere in Poland for a breakfast together, let’s say 400 km away from my place (I don’t mind sleeping in a bus) at… 5 A.M. Sounds perfect for me. For you not? Ohhh, you say you’re sleeping till 9 A.M.? Well….
Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.
Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills.
Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.
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