In a previous post, I mentioned some things I would do differently with the value of hindsight and one of these was blogging.
I did think about starting a blog before I left for my travels and, knowing what I know now, it would have been really useful for me to do so but I I didn’t realise that at the time.
In addition, I didn’t fully understand what a blog was, had no idea how to go about setting one up or what to put in it, and it didn’t seem like something I could do without help. This was all at a time when I had so much to think about because I was leaving my job, trying to rent out my house, getting all the necessary vaccinations and documentation etc. I needed to go travelling. As you can tell, I was so focused on all the things I had to do, making sure I didn’t forget everything, and was feeling rather anxious, as well as excited, about the forthcoming trip.
With all of that going on, instead of trying to work out how to set up a self-hosted blog, I decided to use a free online travel diary that didn’t require any setting up on my part. I just had to write and upload photographs so my family and friends could see what I was doing and how and where I was. This was great at the start of my trip as it was a way keeping in touch with people back home and provided me with support (albeit from afar) because they commented and read about my travels every time I posted a new entry. Unfortunately, after a while on the road, it ended up feeling like a chore and I started to get behind with my online travel diary for two reasons:
- I didn’t have my own computer. and without that, I was keeping handwritten notes. This was so much easier because I could update them anywhere at any time. It filled some of the many hours I spent on buses, trains and boats as well as the times I had to myself reflecting on my experiences. That wasn’t a chore because it was at my convenience and helped me to consolidate and remember my experience. The problem was transporting the ever-increasing number of notebooks I had. At different points in my journey, I posted them home and gave some to my parents when I met up with them at Christmas.
- I was writing it like a travel diary so once I had gotten behind, I just couldn’t catch up. If I had changed my style and wrote about a particular place or experience that would have changed things and perhaps I would have continued with it. Having said that, I was spending way too much time in Internet cafes and felt I was missing out on the experience so I eventually made the decision to stop.
Once I had stopped, I had no idea what to do with all the notes I continued to make and the photographs I took along the way. I really wanted to do something with all this information but didn’t know what. That was until I had been back home for a while and started to understood more about blogging by setting up my own self-hosted blog and interacting with others in the travel blogging community.
I’m not saying you need to have a self-hosted blog when you go travelling; you don’t. It isn’t going to be right for everyone. Nowadays, there are so many options for recording your experiences and posting your photographs and videos online: numerous social media channels, blogging platforms, online travel diaries and travel communities. You need to do what is right for you. For me, having a self-hosted travel blog would have been great because it would have given me a platform to write and show my photographs that I could have continued to grow and develop over the years.
This is why it is important to think about what you want from your experience and for the future. If I had gone through the steps of working out what I wanted from the experience before I left, I would probably have taken the time and effort to learn about and start up a blog that, even if not self-hosted at the time, could have eventually been transferred to a self-hosted blog; a blogging platform that I could grow and develop.
If you are thinking of going travelling, what do you want from the experience and what do you want to do with all the information you gather and photographs/videos you take?
If you are an experienced traveller, what do you do with all the information you gather and the photographs/videos you take?