A little over a year ago I was sitting on my bed in a beach bungalow on the island of Gili Trawangan, Indonesia. With my laptop balanced on my legs I started tinkering around on Wordpress.com and began scrawling a list of possible blog names in my notebook. After mulling it over I finally settled on The Travel Lush, created a Wordpress account and launched my very first blog.
I’m not exactly sure what inspired me to start blogging. At the time I had been backpacking around Southeast Asia for over six months and was just about to fly across the world to Colombia. I had come to rely on travel blogs almost exclusively during my travels, and reading them became not just a necessity but something I thoroughly enjoyed.
For the first time I realized that there is a whole community of people out there who are as passionate about exploring the world as I am. For the first time I realized that I’m not alone, that there are so many others who have quit their jobs, sold everything and hit the road. I suppose I felt inspired to join the conversation.
At the time I didn’t even fully comprehend what a travel blog was. And I clearly had no grand plans for this site (I’m still not exactly sure what I’m doing with it). All I know is that I’ve poured a lot of time and energy into this site during the past year and I can’t imagine quitting. It has become such a large part of my daily life. It’s crazy to think that this blog has seen me through 18 cities and 6 countries, from being a backpacker to being an expat.
I have to admit that I was terrified to start this site. I’m not the type of person who likes to draw attention to myself or voluntarily put myself out there. Honestly, it makes me kind of uncomfortable to know that people are reading what I write (although I’m starting to get better about this). I realize this makes no sense. After all, I did go to school for journalism. I have written for magazines and newspapers and worked as a freelance writer on and off for a few years. In spite of this, I have never gotten used to the idea of people reading my words, in print or on screen.
Suffice it to say that hitting the publish button on my very first blog post was a slightly anxiety-inducing task for me. It would probably be pretty comical to see just how many times I revised that post, obsessively checking for typos…Oh no, there are probably typos in it. Don’t read it!
Looking back I’m pretty sure only three people read it. Back then I didn’t have any blogger friends. I wasn’t yet a member of the travel blogging community. I remember getting a grand total of one person who commented on that post and while I cringed at the thought of someone reading it, it felt unbelievably cool that they actually took the time to respond.
Back then I couldn’t possibly have imagined how involved I would become in the world of travel blogging and the incredible people who inhabit it. In the past year, blogging and bloggers have become a huge part of my life. That idea might sound weird to some, but I know my fellow bloggers can completely relate to me when I say that one of the biggest rewards of blogging is connecting with other people.
Starting this blog has also given me a whole new outlook on my career and the possibilities that are out there, possibilities I was either clueless about or had completely given up on 12 months ago. The act of writing again and reading all of the inspiring stories of bloggers, freelance writers and digital nomads has opened my eyes to the fact that maybe there is a career out there that fits me and my love of travel and writing. Seeing that other people are doing it has made me realize that maybe I can do it too.
At this point I’m still trying to figure my career out – a feat I’m not sure I’ll ever actually accomplish. I’m still pondering what to do when I leave Indonesia at the end of the summer. And I’m still trying to decide whether this blog will remain a hobby or become some sort of money-making venture. Regardless of my indecisiveness, I do know that blogging will remain a part of my life.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past year it’s that in order to stick with blogging you really have to love it. And I do. I don’t make money off of this site (perhaps someday I will, but not yet) so this is truly a labor of love, one that has been so incredibly rewarding both personally and professionally.
Here’s what I got up to during my first year of blogging:
Most popular posts:
On travel mishaps:
On being completely gluttonous:
On my best travel experiences:
On expat life in Jakarta:
On dabbling in solo travel:
Thank you all for coming along on this wild ride with me. It has been a pleasure getting to know all of those out there who love travel as much as I do!