The internet is overflowing with clickbait and meaningless content just to fill the virtual pages of blogs and online magazines.
While I usually don’t pay too much attention to these articles, one recently annoyed me enough to comment (which is a rare occurrence).
The article titled, “Why Travel Has Made me Unemployable” irked every part of my mental state. Maybe I was already grouchy, maybe it really was just that bad. Maybe it just struck a chord with me in which I whole heartedly disagreed. Travel has not made me unemployable in the least– but that’s not exactly my point here.
This article made me realize how much useless content is flowing around the internet influencing readers who may not have their own opinions formed yet.
While this blog may contain malfunctions and typos at times, at least everything I press publish on I stand by. The last thing I’d ever want to do is steer someone in the wrong direction, or over-exaggerate something just for website views.
So if you’re a new traveler or a new travel blogger, here are five general travel / travel blogging myths I often find floating around on the internet.
You haven’t really traveled unless you’ve done it solo
I used to think traveling solo was a right of passage which I had to go do. Although I had moved abroad on my own, I had never backpacked alone until my 6 week trip to Brazil. Before then I always had a boyfriend or another buddy to team up with.
Now having taken many solo trips, it’s my preferred method of travel. At the same time, I’ve realized that it’s not always as cracked up as people make it.
Also, having spent much of my year leading people on organized tours I see the benefits of that too.
Basically, it doesn’t matter how you want to see the world. Don’t want to do it alone? Then don’t.
The only thing that matters is that you do travel, if that’s what you want. Whether alone or with an organized tour, there’s no wrong way to travel. The most important part is deciding which way is best for you.
It’s too late to start a successful travel blog
While I have strong reservations about advising people to start a travel blog, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It’s also wrong for so many bloggers to tell people it’s too late to be successful.
The blogging industry changes so fast. The strategies I used a few years ago are almost useless today. It’s also continuously getting harder to carve a space for yourself with all the blogs out there. The competition is intense. This may be the reason many successful bloggers jump to the conclusion that the door for others has closed.
Five to seven years ago any crappy blog that posted frequently had a chance of becoming popular. These days the climate is different. Staying up to date with online trends, having a solid social media portfolio and being innovative can be the key to any successful blog regardless of the age.
This doesn’t mean you can’t do it though. It just takes a lot of hard work.
Isn’t this the same for anything?
You don’t need nice camera equipment to be a good photographer
This one angers me. It also continuously influenced my camera purchases throughout the years. I slowly upgraded over the years, listening to this bullshit advice.
What do I wish I did instead? After knowing I had an interest in photography, I wish I just got the very best camera I could afford. Not only would this have saved me a lot of money in the long run, so many of my old photos would be of better quality. While I currently love my Nikon D3300, of course I wish I just bought a full-frame body instead five years ago.
All that advice about ‘what’s the point of a good camera if you’ll never leave auto’? Well, if you have an interest in real photography, buy a DSLR and learn how to use manual. It really isn’t that difficult!
While having a good eye is something you have or you don’t, camera equipment does in fact matter. Just because you have a good eye doesn’t mean your iPhone will do the trick all the time.
Any full-frame DSLR is going to blow away another camera if you learn how to use it. No debate.
Saying you don’t need a good camera is just something people say so they can personally take credit for the quality of photos, instead of the machine and editing software.
You have to get off the beaten path to really see a place
Many long-term or frequent travelers love to hold the “off-the-beaten path” card over other travelers’ heads. I’m pretty tired of this too.
While sure, I love seeing non-touristy and remote places too, sometimes I just don’t want to.
Sorry-not-sorry for enjoying travel conveniences and a handful of backpackers around to make friends with. Go ahead shame me!
The best way to decide where to travel is to just go with your gut.
After a month traversing rough Patagonian roads and national parks (which was amazing of course), I flew to Buenos Aires for a week and stayed at a party hostel. Do I regret that decision and wish I stayed in Patagonia longer? Hell no. I love Buenos Aires. I love meeting other travelers. I love going out at night. When I was ready to do that after a month of hiking, off I went and I felt no guilt whatsoever.
Travel the way you want to. Don’t listen to other cocky travelers who think they’re better than you because they hitchhiked Bangladesh on $1 a day. If you don’t want to hitchhike Bangladesh don’t hitchhike Bangladesh.
I think you get my point.
Being a digital nomad is the dream
I gave it a go, and I’m glad I did. It was a really cool experience to try and make the online life work for a year. I spent three months in Europe and loved every minute of it. I traveled to so many new countries. I had the freedom to work whenever and wherever I wanted.
I then realized I kind of hate being glued to the computer and am awful at self-motivation, SEO and writing articles quickly.
I constantly felt stressed that I wasn’t keeping up with the other online competition. I constantly felt like my website views weren’t high enough. I didn’t feel thin enough for Instagram. I didn’t feel like a good enough writer to keep exposing myself so much. My laptop was constantly glaring at me from across the room making me feel guilty if I had decided to binge watch Netflix. My DSLR shook its head in disapproval every time I went somewhere and didn’t lug it along.
I then started working as a tour leader and realized what it is actually like to find something you truly enjoy and are good at. I felt confident in the roll and I felt motivated to get better at it. I realized what good stress felt like, rather than anxiety. I lived in the present more. I thrived off being around people instead of working alone everyday.
Keeping my blog as more as a side project has made it become enjoyable again.
Being a digital nomad isn’t for everyone. Working for yourself isn’t either. Still, I have so much respect for the people who actually do make it work.
All followers and success is organic
Any successful blogger or online influencer is most likely using a handful of behind the scenes tactics to become successful. Whether it’s a photographer boyfriend, paying for social media specialists or buying followers, the strategies are endless.
Of course, if blogging is your business it makes sense to treat it as one. Still, most of the world should know they shouldn’t believe everything they see. It’s also not right for people to claim all their followers are organic and real if they really aren’t. This just reinforces a skewed reality. We all need to be more transparent in blogging and social media online.
My advice? Don’t believe everything you see and don’t compare your success to others. You have no idea what secret arsenal they may be using. At the same time, try and give benefit of the doubt. There are a lot of people out there working hard to achieve success without buying it.