This Wanderlust Wednesday is very special to me. I’ve been blogging over 11 years now, but only this past year and a half have I been publishing regularly and changing some of my writing goals. In the learning and growing process, blogging has changed the way I travel–and I think I’m a better traveler for it! Here are 10 ways blogging has changed the way I travel.
10. Take Better Pictures
I’m almost embarrassed when I look at pictures from my early blog posts! There were plenty of times in my early blogging when I thought, “Wait, didn’t I get a picture of that?” or “Oh no! I wish I’d gotten a picture of that!” Now I take more pictures, I try to take more artistic pictures, and I’m learning how to edit some of them so things are a little more defined or lighter so my readers can tell what the picture is actually of! Here’s a comparison. This is the same photo, but one is the original and the other is edited.
9. Pay More Attention
Now I just generally pay more attention to my surroundings, directions, signage, etc. This helps me be a more efficient traveler, and I can tell my readers what to look for, too! Now I’m always looking for helpful tips, good things to know, local secrets, and anything that might make for good blog material! For example, we learned so much in Guam that we wish we’d known beforehand. Ever since then, I’ve written a post about “Things to Know Before You Visit” for almost every place we’ve been since then!
8. Do More Research and Planning
Along those same lines, I have started doing an awful lot more research and planning before I go on a trip! I try to find out what to do, what to eat, where to stay, and even use the information I find to get a jump start on writing blog posts early! For our trip to the Big Island of Hawaii in May, I planned what blog posts I would be writing, and I drafted several of them in advance so I could insert pictures and do some fact checking, then publish them for you as soon as possible!
7. Travel More
What’s the best side effect of travel blogging? I make it my job to travel more! I’ve always had the travel itch as long as I can remember. I might have been 4 or 5 when I realized the world was so much bigger than my home town! But now it is my mission to visit new places, visit cities and countries and islands that you might want to visit, and write the information that will help and inspire you on your travels! For instance, Waco, TX, was not on my radar until my mom wanted to go for her birthday. Now my blog posts about Waco and all things Fixer Upper are some of my most visited! Magnolia Silos Baking Company has been viewed 585 times so far!
6. Make More Notes
I have always been a note taker, but recently I’ve been trying to get exact spellings, locations, descriptions, etc., to make sure I have the right information for you–and for me! I recently spoke with my friends Keith and Victoria in Iceland to get some tips and recommendations for our trip next month!
5. Think More About my Appearance
I have never been a fashionista, but my thought when I would travel was always, “I’ll never see these people again, so what do I care how I look?” Well, this last year I’ve been in more of my pictures, so I do care a little more about what I wear. I also write more about what I pack because people are always wanting more tips about packing light. I was never so concerned about my appearance as I was when packing for Nantucket!
4. Try Harder to Be an Exemplary Traveler
Now that I’ve gotten more serious about my travel blogging, I try a little harder to be a responsible traveler. People are vicious and judgmental, and they can be cruel in their comments. While I can’t predict how everyone might misinterpret my writing, I strive to be above reproach in my travel ethics, meaning I won’t be riding any elephants or knowingly showing disrespect to people of other cultures. I’m not a perfect traveler, but I can sure try!
3. Think about What People Want to Know
While on my travels, I try to come up with things you’ll want to know about a place, about the travel process, about food, or anything else you might want to know! So my travels are not all about what I want to do and see, they’re for you as well.
2. Appreciate National Icons
When I first started traveling internationally in high school, I really didn’t care much if I missed seeing the tallest tower in the city or a famous landmark; I was just happy to be somewhere new! Now, however, I look out for those iconic landmarks. People will recognize them in my pictures, and people want to know about those places! In fact, I went to Alaska in December 2007 as a graduation gift to myself. The locals I was with asked if I wanted to look out for the Northern Lights, and can you believe I said no? I’d never heard of the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis when I was 22, and it’s one of my few travel regrets. When we go to Iceland, you better believe I’ll be looking out for them!
1. Take in My Travel Experiences
Now that I’m a “professional” traveler and I’ve been a lot of places, it would be easy to be very jaded and apathetic about the places we go and the things we do now, but it’s the opposite for me. I know what it’s like to save every penny and give up some first-world “necessities” (like TV, new phones, wi-fi, going out to eat with friends, etc.) just so I could travel. Even though I’m in a better place financially, I still get excited for my travels and try to make the most of every day, everywhere I go! I don’t check things off a list all the time just to get something for the blog, I really try to take in all the experiences we have, from watching lava explode out the side of an island to holding onto my Love on the top of the Singapore Flyer!
What do you do that changes your life or moves your life forward in a positive way? I encourage you to think about it and be proud of yourself for doing whatever that is!