Three years ago I bought the domain name Get In the Hot Spot.com and started to take my travel blogging seriously.
Since then it’s morphed from a travel blog to a personal development site to a social media site and finally back to my first love of travel. I don’t recommend that because it made my blog grow so much more slowly than if I’d settled on one blogging niche to begin with.
Get In the Hot Spot is a my happy place, a place where travel lovers gather to dream, learn and laugh.
I am eternally grateful to my readers, to my commenters and to my sponsors. Having you along for the journey makes it so much more fun. Here are a few stats from three years of blogging that make me smile:
- 327,664 people have visited Get In the Hot Spot;
- 589,044 page views in total;
- 4,742 comment have been left on 259 blog posts.
I’m still learning, I’ll never stop learning. But I’ve made great strides since I started blogging learning not just about travel blogging but about so much more. Here’s what I’ve got to share so far.
1. If you want to make your dreams come true you have to take action.
If you want to be a writer all you really need to do is write and publish your writing on your blog. That’s it. Now if you want to earn money from your writing that’s another thing altogether. For help with that see becoming a freelance writer and making money blogging.
2. Be bold. Fear is nothing.
In my first blog post I declared that I was going to:
“Stare fear in the face and overcome my fear of being read, the fear that my writing would be judged.”
I never wrote another blog post for three years. But thank heavens I did get blogging again and, by sharing my writing again and again overcame, or tamed that fear.
Now my writing has been published in print and on some of the biggest blogs on the Internet. I have been hired by tourism boards to write for them, I have been paid to travel and to write. It’s a dream come true except I never dreamt it was possible until I started blogging. But anything is. As long as you are bold, brave and brassy.
3. Having 945 friends on Facebook and 4,500 followers on Twitter doesn’t make you feel loved.
Many of my social media connections feel like friends, some have become friends but that can never replace real life contact. Contact with people who really know you and who would still love you even if you didn’t have any followers on Twitter or Facebook.
4. Stop comparing yourself to other bloggers.
No matter how many friends or followers you have you always want more, especially if you compare yourself to other people who have more.
When you compare yourself to others you often trick yourself into believing you’re not as good as them. But you are, in a different way and at a different stage.
5. You’re never too old to make mistakes.
As soon as you let your guard down you slip up again, just like those pesky typos slip into your blog posts.
Making mistakes is perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of. In fact it should be applauded. If you are making mistakes you are trying new things, learning and growing. Bravo.
6. Procrastination is good.
There are more ways to waste time in this world than I ever dreamt of. I have stopped striving to be a super-focused productivity machine and accepted that I like to work in fits and starts. When the focus is there I focus. When I want to go for a walk I go for a walk. Less guilt, more productivity and I am happier for it.
7. You can make friends online.
I never started blogging to make friends. In fact I used to think that was for sad people. But then I accidentally started making friends, blogging friends and travel friends too. It just happened. Now I know one of the best things about blogging are the friendships that are created.
8. Changing habits takes time
I always over pack even though I pack less every time. When I’m 80 I’ll just take a carry on bag but until then I’m taking more.
9. I may have a psychiatric disorder
I probably have a travel disorder and I am spreading it willy nilly. I really don’t want to stay in one place forever. I love traveling. I never want to stop seeing more of the world, experiencing new cultures and meeting new people. Even if you do get culture shock or reverse culture shock sometimes.
10. If you can only entertain one person make sure it’s you.
Sometimes people don’t get your jokes but it’s okay if you’re the only one that finds something funny. Keep putting it out there, not everything will click with everyone.
11. Shared laughter makes life sparkle
Nothing is better than finding someone else who shares your sense of humour. You should seek those people out and hang around with them as much as you can. I hope my funny travel stories make you laugh.
12. The world is a terrible place
When you look at the state of the world. The poverty, the injustice, the threat to our wildlife and environment you could start to despair.
13. Optimism is the cure
But you can’t go there. You can’t despair. You have to carry on doing what you do and know that, even when you feel as if you’re not getting anywhere, you are. Just slowly.
Just as we don’t notice the world turning so we don’t notice progress for many years.
14. Mindset is everything.
Glass half full or half empty? It’s your choice and I recommend you choose happiness like the happiest people in the world.
15. There will always be naysayers and frustrations.
99.9% of people still don’t get social media and blogging. It’s not our job to explain it to them and convert them. We just have to get on with doing what we do best and ignore the rest.
16. Travel blogging is a lonely business.
For all the support and encouragement, blogging and traveling is still a lonely job. Too much time is spent alone at the computer, more family, friend and travel time will help.
17. We create many of our own problems.
I blog and travel because I feel lonely but sometimes despite all the new connections and adventures they make me feel lonelier still.
18. Feelings of loneliness are normal.
It’s perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of if you feel lonely some of the time. Not all the time though. No one should feel lonely all the time.
19. Don’t take things personally.
PR and marketing companies who send you emails don’t care about you, they’re just doing their job.
20. It’s okay to say NO!
Saying no is empowering and it gets easier in time. There are nice ways to say no too.
21. Trust your instincts.
If you think you’re not being treated fairly you’re probably not. Don’t undersell yourself and set decent rates for sponsored blog posts and advertisements on your blog.
22. Special people in your life should get special treatment.
Cherish your most dedicated readers and commenters. They will keep you going when you want to give up blogging and writing.
23. There’s no such thing as free lunch.
Press trips aren’t free holidays. They are hard work and you’ll be in the company of strangers. You may have to spend time with people you don’t really like and some people may not like you because you’re a travel blogger and feel threatened by that because they don’t understand it.
24. Some people do appreciate you
But being invited on press trips does make you feel valued as a travel blogger and you will come home with heaps of fab stories for your readers.
25. Pay attention to the details.
Little things are important. We think people don’t notice the details but subconsciously they do and they make decisions based on that. Pay attention to your blog design. I can help you with that if you need blog design updates get in touch.
26. Be honest at all times.
If you feel like you’re selling out you probably are.
27. Indulge in your passions.
If you love travel you just have to do it, even if it means leaving your family behind sometimes, or taking them with you when they don’t want to go.
28. Don’t try to be like anyone else. Be more like you.
Most travel writing is still boring, most travel bloggers are still just going through the motions, and most readers are delighted when they find something different, personal and interesting. Don’t worry if you feel like you don’t fit in, people will love you for that most of all.
29. You’re the boss of you.
Only one thing can hold you back from doing what you want to do. You. Only one person can make you get to where you want to go. You.
30. Be prepared to compromise.
Travel blogging means living in a messy house, being able to go anywhere at the drop of a hat and being prepared to work for nothing because you love it.
31. Take every opportunity that comes your way.
If someone invites you somewhere say yes. I missed out on trips to France, Hong Kong and Sydney this year because I was too busy. I still regret that though.
32. If people don’t get you it could be because you’re ahead of your time.
95% of the people you approach with your brilliant ideas won’t be interested. That’s a relection on them, not you.
33. Travel bloggers rule.
I’m convinced of that. We have fun, we write our hearts out and we make people want to travel away on their own adventures.
Travel blogging has been an amazing adventure for me. It’s taken me from covert writer to confident creator and from China to Canada (see photo up top).
My crystal ball is hazy so I can’t say exactly where travel blogging will take me next but one thing I do know is I’m hanging on for the ride of a lifetime.
Here’s to the first three years and may there be many more ahead of us.
Thank you for being here, for reading my travel tips and stories and for sharing this journey with me.
It’s been seriously fun.
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Thank you and happy travels to us all!