I will not sell out my travel

Madagascar, World - other travel posts — By on November 17, 2013 8:56 AM


“What do you do in travel?” she asked me.

She, a woman who founded a company that develops products that help measure your social media impact.

Me, an adventure traveler who could not care the least bit about measuring my social media impact.

While many of the “travel people” who mingled about the event are digital world addicts who would sell their traveling souls for a new follower, I was not one of them.

What I DO care about is truly experiencing the world and connecting to the people and places I encounter on my adventures.

The three strangers standing around the cocktail table stared at me in anticipation as I slowly chewed a mouth full of cheese and crackers. Free food & booze and the chance to win a free airline ticket were the only reasons I was even at the event.

“I travel.” I said simply, with a blank “duh” expression on my face as I downed my glass of champagne. I eyed the bar for a quick escape. I was going to need a few more glasses to get me through an evening of networking with tour companies, industry professionals and bloggers eager to one up you with a more harrowing travel tale.

Over time, travel events have morphed from laid back social gatherings with like-minded people to networking events with people who are focused on getting ahead in their travel careers.

TRAVEL CAREER. The juxtaposition somehow disturbs me greatly. It just feels wrong.

What ever happened to traveling for the fun of it?

“Do you write about your travels? Are you a travel writer/blogger? Do you publish your stories?” she asked, appearing genuinely confused by the notion that I would just travel to travel.

“Yes I do, I have a blog” I told her, “but I write for fun and have no intention of making a business out of my travels.”

GETTING PAID TO TRAVEL

I started my blog in 2007 to share my experiences with family and friends while I traveled for a year. Today my blog serves the same purpose as my travels continue and writing has become a reflective process, a creative outlet, and a means to express myself.

While I have been flattered to learn that my adventures have inspired people I have never met and that my following increased over the years, my intention is not to monetize my travel experience as I feel doing so cheapens them. I travel for me.

I will admit in my early blogging days I asked the age old question “how can I get paid to travel?” Newly afflicted with the travel bug, I wanted to stay on the road but had depleted my funds having gone a little crazy having clothes and shoes custom made in Hoi An Vietnam. Back then I hoped for sponsorship, advertising, and free stuff to keep me on the road and far away from a cubicle.

I contemplated teaching English abroad, Wwoofing (volunteering to work on organic farms in exchange for food and accommodation), selling my photography, becoming a dive instructor and travel writing. When I discussed the topic of professional travel writing with a well-known travel editor he candidly advised me … “don’t quit your day job Kelly; you get to travel way more than most travel writers because they don’t have the money to do so.”

At the end of the day I am not a writer, I am an adventurer. Writing is hard for me. I love and hate the challenge. This post has been brewing inside me and it has taken me a year to put my feelings about the travel blogging community into words.

I have done some very silly things over the years in my efforts to keep traveling. I wore a scuba diving suit on a cable car in San Francisco while auditioning for “The Best Job in the World,” hoping to find my way back to Australia. I didn’t get the job and in hindsight I have come to realize it would not have been the best job for me.

We are told that the dream job is to love the work you do. But I have long suspected that the minute your passion becomes work, your paycheck and means to survive, your love will surely fade.

Today I honestly feel I have the best job in the world and it has absolutely nothing to do with travel. I have been blessed with a contract position in which I work half a year, affording me the flexibility and funds to travel the other half of the year. Then while I am on the road, I am able to be fully in my experience versus wired and attempting to work on the road constantly posting blogs and travel updates.

There are people out there that will try to tell you that you can make a living blogging and many people start a blog for this very reason. But the truth is very few people make money blogging and those that do work very hard at it and in my opinion sell a piece of their traveling soul.

TBEX is an online community of travel bloggers worldwide, holding an annual conference. The witty blogger Pam Mandel of Nerds Eye View echoes my sentiments on the subject of travel blogging as a job:

“TBEX increasingly has a lifestyle back-chatter component. “You can quit your job and live the life you’ve always dreamed of! Yay you!” — as though living life churning out marketing copy from a comped hotel is somehow superior to staying home and having a job.”

“I have left TBEX feeling frustrated, uninspired, and diminished, like I’m stupid for not focusing on the money making opportunities of blogging. I don’t sell out, I don’t even sell, and for that, I’m a fool. I’ve left thinking I should quit what I’m doing or seriously amend my tactics, because what kind of success isn’t backed up by endless “free” travel and lucrative sponsored “content” deals? ” – Pam Mandel

SELLING OUT TO TRAVEL

The travel industry has exploded and competition is fierce. Nowadays everyone and their mother has a travel blog, and people fight hard to stand out, gain a following, get advertising money and free stuff. If your goal is to make the Top 100 bloggers list, you best be willing to sell out in one way or another and spend a lot of time promoting yourself, which detracts from the time you can actually spend traveling and truly experiencing the world. Being a top blogger has little to do with experiences or quality writing and more to do with shamelessly self-promoting every single day.

I have seen many bloggers who claim to be “independent travelers” sell out to big corporate sponsorships and tour companies, allowing free trips and tours to forge their path and forsaking spontaneity and serendipity. These bloggers preplanned traveling tales bore me, as they continue to plan months and years in advance, lacking an authentic story and loosing my trust in their words.

My best experiences continue to be those that are not planned.

I spoke at Meet Plan Go last year in San Francisco on the subject of Itinerary NOT planning.

I am innately a competitive person, but have no desire to compete to be a “top blogger” as doing so would demand that I stay connected, constantly promote myself and in my opinion sell out. No thank you. I don’t want to only go where the free press trip or tour awaits me, I want to go where my heart desires, by the seat of my skirt … and often “wherever the wind blows.”

SCAMMING YOUR WAY ON THE ROAD

Many people seek out sponsorships and funding for their trips. I did this once myself; however, I sought sponsorship that would benefit a local charity in Western Sahara. I participated in the Dakhla Challenge an off-road rally across Morocco in a banger called Honey Badger. The plan was to donate the car at the finish line in Dakhla. I abandoned my sponsorship efforts as it felt weird asking for money and all the effort and planning required was zapping the fun and spontaneity out of my adventure.

Dakhla Challenge 2012

Today the world is full people aspiring to travel on someone else’s dime.

I recently read Van Base with a Fan Base in the New York times, telling the story of a traveling family who in my opinion abused “Kickstarter” scamming people into funding their vacation in the name of “creative inspiration” at a cost of 16k. The art exhibition the Harteaus promised in their Kickstarter pitch has been postponed, as the family continues to travel now that their website has gained popularity and their following has skyrocketing.

The author of the article, Steven Kurutz, seems to have no real issue with the fact that the couple “skirted the rules” as he says and suggests instead the family is inspiring.

“Mr. Harteaus laughed at the notion of living an endless road trip, and added: ‘Our friends are like, ‘How did you pull this off?’ I don’t know.’”

Well I do know, you sold out to travel and tricked people into paying for your family vacation.

The couple has found a new way to make money on the road that allows them to continue to travel. They hold online “flash sales” showcasing local handy crafts sold for three times the cost they paid the person who made it. I would support what they did IF they gave back a portion of their proceeds to the local community, but there is no indication they do this on their site.

“The flash sales, sponsorships and efforts to cultivate an audience through social media are necessary, Ms. Latimer Agah said: “They’re hustlers, figuring out a way to sustain this lifestyle.” – Steven Kurutz – from Van Base with a Fan Base

Hustlers indeed, many travelers are these days. I will not hustle to travel.

This quote from the article really sums up what is happening out there in the online travel community:

“Instead of disappearing into the blissful anonymity that foreign travel affords and unplugging from a wired culture, they have spent their trip onstage and hyper-connected, always in search of magic-hour moments they can upload to their blog at the next Wi-Fi signal.” – Steven Kurutz  from Van Base with a Fan Base

TOO CONNECTED TO DIGITAL WORLD AND NOT TO EXPERIENCES

Before one is in a position to sell out for travel, they need to develop a large online following to entice advertisers and corporate sponsors. This requires staying digitally connected and promoting their blog constantly while traveling. In my opinion, these travel bloggers sacrifice a lot more than they gain.

“I think travelers who spend so much time being digitally connected while they’re traveling are doing themselves and the places they are visiting a disservice. They need to be present and immersed in their environment. If you have one foot in the digital land, then you’re not 100% in the environment.” – Francis Tapon

WORD.

Stock Photography

I have also been guilty in the past of being too connected during my travels. I used to feel the need to “catch up on my blog” and make my blog better than the others out there. Those days are long gone. Nowadays I am always “behind” and never blog in real time. I have let go of the pressure I used to feel to compete. I don’t care about my klout score, or how many followers I have, or how many people like my post.

I am more interested in being there, in my experience, with the people I meet and the places I wander.

I do not allow my blog to rule my travels. I do not choose an accommodation based on Wi-Fi availability. I do not impose deadlines on myself for the stories I write. I write when I feel inspired, on a rainy day, or most often when I get back home.

As I write this post from my home in San Francisco, there are dozens of memories floating about my head from my time spent in Madagascar over three months ago. I know I will write my Mada posts eventually, but while traveling I am content to be in the moment not chained to my blog and to the internet.

TRAVEL BLOGGER HALL OF SHAME

I have noticed many travel bloggers cheating themselves out of amazing experiences by being too connected on the road.

I read a post by Brooke vs. the World in which she explains to her audience that she doesn’t get to see everything while she travels because “I am always working honey!”

“The computer is always open! Even on the Trans-Mongolian train.” Brooke vs. the World

I can’t help but wonder what beautiful scenery Brooke missed while she chose to stare at her computer instead of out her window, and what amazing connections and conversations could she have had with local strangers on the train. But she was too busy “working” so she could keep traveling.

I rolled my eyes when I read how FoxNomad explains “A snap or 15 of every dish that sits in front of me is standard before I eat, including a few notes in my iPhone for a restaurant review that will appear on this site eventually.”

Stop documenting and experience your food already!

I read in bewilderment as a well-known blogger tweeted her way across Spain while on a historically spiritual pilgrimage, the Camino Del Santiago. She sacrificed her experience in lieu of being connected to social media.

I was later annoyed she had the audacity to preach to her audience about the importance of taking time out of your daily life to reflect. She wasn’t doing what she claimed others should do. She didn’t immerse herself in the experience; instead she stayed connected to her normal life.

“The real adventure of travel is mental. It is about total immersion in a place, because nobody from any other place can contact you. Thus your life is narrowed to what is immediately before your eyes, making the experience more vivid.” Robert D. Kaplan as seen in “Being There” the Atlantic

Why do so many bloggers obsessively stay wired and connected to social media while on the road?

  • Are people so self-absorbed that they believe the rest of the world is hanging on to their every word real time?
  • We all crave acceptance from our peers, but it seems that many bloggers get off on a “like” on FB or a retweet. The world of social media breeds narcissism.
  • Do they stay wired for the sole purpose of growing their online following to in turn make more money through sponsorships and advertisers?
  • Have people’s social lives been confined to an online community?
  • Do they feel they are doing a great service for those who are “missing out” and can’t travel for whatever reason? While they may feel they are sacrificing their experiences for a greater good, in the end they are the ones that are missing out.
  •  Do they have a legitimate addiction to social media? Is the feeling of getting a new like or follower like crack cocaine for them.

There is help out there people for internet addiction or maybe they just need to step away from social media for a while.

DIGITAL DETOX

“Put down your smartphone-the art of travel demands the end of multitasking.” – Robert D. Kaplan

Apparently it has become trendy to say you are taking a “digital detox.” Lots of people claim they are doing this but most seem to fail and within 24 hours are back to tweeting, facebooking, pinning and other social media nonsense. I believe there is a real need for digital detoxing in the travel blogging community.

Ironically people have begun to use #digitaldetox while tweeting. Absurd! I recently saw a hysterical tweet that echoed my sentiments on the subject.

Yes I find it odd, irritating, and slightly comical that the irony escapes the people who tweet #digitaldetox.

A blogger recently wrote a post on her site claiming she would be on a digital detox while hiking the Lycian Way in Turkey. She stated she would only be taking her smartphone with her for gps mapping and security, but didn’t intend to use it much at all.

I decided to check in on this blogger to see how the digital detox was going only to discover she has clearly fallen off the wagon. Or maybe tweeting 40 times in a day is considered detox for her in her social media obsessed world? Instead of being in the present moment and focusing on the beautiful environment surrounding her and the stories this ancient trail could teach, she is focused on her smartphone and seeking out the next photo to upload or the next clever message to tweet.

“Travel is like a good, challenging book: it demands presentness-the ability to live completely in the moment, absorbed in the words or vision of reality before you.” Robert D. Kaplan as seen in “Being There” the Atlantic

She gave a callout to (aka advertising for) the mobile Wi-Fi company that allowed her to stay connected and upload photos while hiking. In my mind, she has no one but herself to thank for not truly experiencing the reality before her.

I could have easily brought my smartphone up Kilimanjaro with me and tweeted to all my followers in real time. I couldn’t imagine doing anything worse. I am sure I wouldn’t have been the first person to post a Facebook and twitter in real time the moment I summited the mountain, but I didn’t. I was present, connected to my experience.

At the summit of Kilimanjaro – Uhuru Peak (5,895m/19,340ft)

My point of view of the blogging community has changed over the past few years and my intentions for this blog and my travels continue to evolve as I continue to experience the world. I feel a strong desire to disconnect, be there in a moment, and allow serendipity and spontaneity to lead me on my path through this big beautiful world. Anything else feels inauthentic and l will not sell out my traveling soul. What has not changed since I first hit the road is my intention to embrace the unexpected, take risks in life and trust my instincts … by the seat of my skirt!

I am sure this post will not sit well with many travel bloggers out there today, but I challenge everyone to step back and really evaluate how social media, adverting and sponsored trips has shaped and affected your experiences on the road. Ironically, I plan to share this post on social media, mostly to reach the people who I wish to challenge the most. I hope once the initial feeling of defense wears off, they can be open to putting away the laptop and smartphones, stop allowing social media to take over their travels, and gain a deeper more rewarding experience by truly being there in a precious moment. We in the travel community are all so blessed and many of us have seen more of the world already than others will ever see in their lifetime.

My hope for all of us is that we can each look back on the experiences we have had and truly remember being there, in that magical travel moment.

Stop connecting, start experiencing!

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22 Comments

  1. Brendon Held says:

    Well done Kelly for coming out and saying what needed to be said! I can totally relate to what you are saying, and while I don’t run a travel blog per se, I agree with what you are saying wholeheartedly.

    As you probably know, I run a number content websites (not really blogs, but monetizing them boils down to the same thing)… As a web developer, I somehow got the idea in my head that I needed to start building my own websites instead of other people’s a few years ago… so I built a number of niche online magazine style content websites with the hopes of eventually monetizing them. However, as of the beginning of 2013 I’ve had to accept that I’m never going to make enough money from these sites to warrant the time and effort I’m investing in them, and I’ve had to make the tough decision to stop wasting time on them and to rather focus on my real businesses (and what I enjoy) again.

    The reasons why it didn’t work out for me… while I enjoy building something that adds value and helps people, I actually hate writing, and I’m not a hustler (which you also touched on in your article)… Just providing great content and adding value alone doesn’t get you anywhere these days, and I’m not prepared to “sell my soul” to make any of my sites work… 😉

    So I guess it all boils down to exactly what you are talking about, and I respect the fact that you are remaining true to your values and standing your ground.

    I love what you’re doing and wish you copious amounts of fun on your next adventure… I hope you still have South Africa or Mozambique on your list… 😉

    B

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks so much for your words B! 🙂 I figured there had to be others out there that felt the same way I did on the subject! I know it must have been really tough deciding to stop investing as much time in your sites after having worked so hard to build them, but I respect that you didn’t “sell your soul” haha to make them work and instead choose to spend your time focusing on what you enjoy the most. Go you!

      I absolutely intend to make it to South Africa AND Mozambique one day soon, and would love to finally meet you in person! Until then, happy trails and windy days to you my like-minded cyber friend! 🙂

  2. Amber says:

    Kelly — This is great.

    I suppose I am one of the “lucky ones” in that my cell phone doesn’t automatically work overseas — it costs a ton of money and I have to call someone to activate it. It’s not worth the money, so on our trips to Europe I live without a phone (except when we have free wifi, which is rare in places like Germany).

    I actually really love living without a computer/phone for the most part on trips. I think it’s a TRAVESTY that many of my friends instagram their honeymoons and things like this … just tragic. So glad I didn’t have that option (married pre-smartphone!).

  3. Amen, Kelly! I’m in the process of writing a similar rant. Let’s hope more send the message.

    Of course, those hyper-connected travel bloggers might see themselves as sacrificial lambs. They’re missing out in order to share some of these experiences with those who are TOTALLY missing out (because they’re on the PC at home instead of on the PC at an exotic location).

    Therefore, the biggest loser is not the audience, but the travel blogger himself/herself. S/he’s missing out.

    But from their perspective, they’d rather sell out in that way than work at a steady/boring/fixed job and travel just one month a year.

    Anyway, I’d write more, but I have to disconnect and travel in Burkina Faso! 🙂

    • Kelly says:

      Can’t wait to read your rant Francis! 🙂

      You are probably right about hyper-connected travel bloggers thinking they sacrifice their experiences so that others at home and in their cubicles can benefit by “living vicariously through them” BLAH … I say this is a lame excuse and agree they end up being the biggest loser! Well put my friend! I guess I am a selfish travler then, as I travel for me. I really think most of them simply need affirmations from the social world and like the attention! Who knows though?!

      Hope you are having amazing experiences in Burkina Faso! Let me know when you head to Benin, there is an American girl I know there volunteering with the Peace Corps that I think you should meet!

  4. Jill K says:

    Amen. While in India and Nepal I stopped writing my blog all together. I decided those hours spent editing photos, writing and posting in my blog were better spent actually being present in the places I was updating. I am starting out on my next adventure and perhaps I can come to some happy medium spending much less time updating family and friends on my whereabouts and spending more time with the people whose country I am visiting.

    • Kelly says:

      Hi Jill! Good for you for taking a complete break from your blog while traveling! I am sure your experiences were all the richer because of this and your stories all the better once you did get back to writing your blog. What is your blog address? I just added “comment luv” on here, would love to read about your travels in Nepal, I am dying to get there soon! Good luck on your next adventure and finding a happy medium, would love to hear any tips you may have on keeping a healthy balance on the road that allows you to keep your family and friends up to date with out sacrificing too much of your experiences. Thanks for reading and for your comment! Happy Trails to you! 🙂
      Kelly recently posted…I will not sell out my travelMy Profile

  5. Vago Damitio says:

    It was only by becoming engaged in the travel blogger community that I became truly disgusted by travel blogging. I went so far as to create a different name for what I was doing professional online travel journalism (IAPOTJ) but at the end of the day, it was really just a few people who were making everyone seem like prostitutes – by and large it was mostly a community of people exploring the world with the tools they have. Everyone is selling something and the idea that people were throwing the ultimate dis to get readers and make money was what sickened me. “Hey, I left my awesome professional life to become a traveler and you should too” Yeah- but you left with a big pile of money and all your advice is only good for someone else with a software company to sell so they can travel endlessly for years to exotic destinations without having to worry about money – and that left all these 22 year old dropouts with no choice but to admit defeat or hustle like crazy. End of the day – the big problem is people telling others what to do and how to do it. I’m me and you aren’t – I’m not you and I don’t know what it’s like to be you. Live your life. Nice post. Sounds like a nice life. Peace.

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks for your comment Vago! You are right, many travel bloggers did hit the road with lot of money from their previous professional life. What I find ironically amusing is how many claim to be “corporate America runaways” that are living the life we all should want while neglecting to share the fact that they work 40+ hours they work while traveling and they are selling out to corporate sponsorships any chance they can get. To each their own I guess, but doesn’t sound like much fun to me and it reminds me of people who travel for work but tell us it really isn’t so great as they rarely see more of the place they visit outside of the hotel and board room. I find the condescending attitudes a big put off when people act as if their way is the best way and they are the traveling experts. We are all different as you say and I agree we should all live our own lives and forge our own unique path!
      Kelly recently posted…I will not sell out my travelMy Profile

      • Got that right. says:

        Kelly,

        I’m so glad you mentioned the hypocrisy of travel bloggers selling themselves as ‘corporate America runaways’ when they put more than full-time hours into their websites.

        I have felt very hurt by the condescending attitude that some bloggers are ‘really living the life’ while the rest of us ‘poor schlubs’ just read about their lives online. The truth is, a website is a medium through which a blogger can construct an image of glamour, excitement and allure through their writing and photography. I’m reminded of the lyrics to the chorus in The Pretenders song “Brass in Pocket”

        ‘Cause I gonna make you see
        There’s nobody else here
        No one like me
        I’m special, so special
        I gotta have some of your attention
        Give it to me
        ‘Cause I gonna make you see
        There’s nobody else here
        No one like me
        I’m special, so special
        I gotta have some of your attention

        Give it to me

        Sometimes I feel that some travel bloggers are like Oz in the scene from the movie “The Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy and her companions finally arrive at the Emerald City. Upon entering the Great Hall they are confronted by the terrifying image of “Oz” upon a giant screen. An enormous voice bellows from the image, “IIIIIII am the GREAT and POWERFUL AHHHHHZ !!! (OZ). At which point Toto, the Yorkshire terrier, pulls back the curtain revealing a little old man speaking into the mic while furiously turning the dials that create the image and voice upon the screen. My point is that anyone can create any image if there is some piece of media between themselves and their audience.

        I am the adult daughter of someone famous, I grew up in that world of image management. I don’t mind anyone that wants to sell a product with themselves as the brand, but please, do not imply that the rest of humanity is a trapped slave to a miserable life because they don’t want the blogger’s life, which is a seriously glammed up version of reality in the first place.

        Fine, if the blogger feels victorious that he/she ‘escaped’ some kind of life they didn’t want in the first place. But what offends is the delusional attitude that what they left behind is so worth deriding: Committed relationships, marriage, family, children, a stationary career, stability and community. The reason the vast majority of the world’s population embraces that life is because it holds the greatest capacity to confer joy and meaning.

        It’s one thing to have an opinion, but as pertains to the above conventional lifestyle, I say, “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it,” preferably successfully. An 18 month post-college stint in an office job that the travel blogger hated is not an indictment against every conventional life ever lived.

        I worry that many bloggers are going to find themselves old, unsexy, lonely and incapable of sustaining any deep, meaningful, long-term relationship. It’s really going to hurt when some of the women traveling through their reproductive years wake up one day and realize they will never have a family of their own. I wonder if the conventional life will seem as detestably “in the box” then.

        I’m happily married, have raised my children well and have traveled through over 50 countries. I’ve only started my travel life, but I’m happy that as I spend the next 40 years exploring the rest of the globe I will carry with me a core of love that I have dedicated my young life to building. My family will always be there to anchor me in love (and reality!) as I travel forth into the second half of my life.

        Sorry for the cranky tone of this comment. These thoughts have been building inside of me for a couple of years now.

        • Kelly says:

          No apologies needed! You “got that right”! 🙂 You took so many words right out of my mouth, I actually planned to write a separate post on this subject. The hypocrisy and condescending attitudes of some travel bloggers is insufferable. I am tired of reading how a “conventional life” is inferior and you should quit your boring life and “travel like me” implying their path in life is better than that of “all the poor schlubs” as you put it that live vicariously through their blogs. I find this SO rude! There are many paths in life and I do not appreciate it when anyone attempts to impose their way as the best way onto everyone else, especially when this is done in a hypocritical way!

          I LOVE your Oz analogy and agree anyone is able to create an image of themselves online which may or may not be the truth. I suspect many bloggers are not being completely authentic to their truth and are showcasing a “glammed up version of reality” just like you say. It is very transparent at times and a bit sad too as it is easy to read between the lines and feel their loneliness, discontentment and the need for affirmations.

          I agree “don’t knock it until you tried it” in all aspects of life … and I say try it more than once!

          Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings on this subject as well as sharing your travel experiences with your family. It sounds like you have a really nice life and I think it is super cool and special you were able to travel so much with your family. I hope to do this one day as well Inshallah 😉

          If you live in the Bay Area, send me an email … kelly (at) bytheseatofmyskirt (dot) com I would love to meet you and hear more about your travel experiences!
          Kelly recently posted…I will not sell out my travelMy Profile

  6. Graefyl says:

    “The world of social media breeds narcissism.”
    Which is why I never use it 🙂

    I’d miss out on the people (and hanging around strange bus stations at 3am).

    • Kelly says:

      I commend you for not using it and it is always way more fun to converse with new people you connect with at strange bus stations at 3am than to be alone in your fancy hotel room with free Wi-Fi connected with your friend social media at 3am! 😉
      Kelly recently posted…I will not sell out my travelMy Profile

  7. Got that right. says:

    The most overdue commentary in the travel blogosphere. I could write paragraphs of agreement but you covered it. I sometimes wonder if these people could even live their lives without people watching.

  8. Jill says:

    Hi Kelly,
    I enjoyed your reading your comments. While I am in no way connected to the digital world to the level of others I think everyone has very individual travel experiences and can do what they like. I recently walked the camino de Santiago and was interested by your comments on that. It is a beautiful and emotional experience but can also be very personal. People have very different reasons for walking it and what they hope to achieve. I knew someone who blogged everyday and it in no way impacted on their journey. I think saying that someone tweeting or blogging is ‘sacrificing their experience’ is unfair and should be left to the individual to decide.

    • Kelly says:

      Hey Jill Bean!!! SO good to hear from you 🙂 Very happy to hear you are still traveling and so cool that you had the chance to walk the Camino de Santiago! I would love to hear all about your experience and catch up … it has been way too long.

      I absolutely agree that experiences in travel and in life in general are personal and everyone has a different path and should do what makes them happy. What annoyed me about the travel blogger who” tweeted her way across Spain” is that she preached to her audience that they should be like her and take time out of your normal life to disconnect and think, but this felt disingenuous of her to say after she was hyper-connected to her “normal life” while on the trail constantly connected with all modes of social media as she always does … so I feel she “sacrificed her experience” based on what SHE said she wanted to achieve on the walk. I don’t like how hypocritical (#digitaldetox) some travel bloggers have become.

      But to each their own! I just wish people would be authentic to themselves and own their experiences for what they are. If your goal is to stay connected while traveling and share with followers what you are doing and/or promote yourself to get advertising and free trips … then say that is what you are doing. Own it.

      I wrote this post to challenge people to consider how the digital world affects their travel experiences, as in my personal experiences in the past of being way too connected (i.e. SE Asia) I do feel that I sacrificed my experience by being too connected. Everyone is different, but I do believe that you can’t be completely in the moment and 100% connected to the environment around you if you are also connected to social media.

      It is all relative, but I believe we should all forge our own unique paths and find our own adventures! Happy Travels and I hope our paths cross again soon! X

  9. Cacinda Maloney says:

    “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”

    ― Friedrich Nietzsche

  10. Brooke vs. the World says:

    Haha thanks for calling me out Kelly! I’m late to the game because I haven’t actually been blogging on BvtW for… like 8 months (eek). That 3.5 month trip that you’re referring to was the final straw for me as a person who tried to take her work on the road. Don’t get me wrong, I did see A LOT on the train (it’s a freaking LONG ride), and I met and was open to chatting with anyone and everyone along the way — but the early mornings in the hostels trying to catch a Wifi signal strong enough to research / write / email was too stressful on top of travel in stressful places. It took a lot of planning. Since then, it’s been a process of building up other opportunities so I can take real holidays again. However, I will say that by doing what I have done over the past several years, I saw and did WAY more than I ever would have done on my own, so I’m still thankful for the work, but it wasn’t a dreamy, relaxed job in the least 🙂

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