Hey blog buddies,
I spent much of December visiting my hometown (Dallas-Fort Worth) to see old friends and family. (Note: I’m not saying my family or friends are old age-wise, fyi.) Something happened during the trip which made me rethink everything. Scary, I know. But after staring at a blank screen in WordPress (what I use to power this website) for far too many hours, I realized this blog has begun to become an extension of myself, but it’s lost a lot of what I once loved about it.
Blogging has changed my life and for that I’m thankful, but it’s also begun to overpower my life. At some point, everything in my life became about the blog. Even while home on an alleged vacation, it’s hard to escape questions about blogging. Everyone’s curious and wants to know what my life is all about. (For your reference, I’m a total open book. It’s all here.) I get it. I’ve got an unusual life. I travel way more than many other people, and oftentimes I get to travel for work (thank you, blog!)—a total luxury for many. But over time I’ve come to realize I’ve let my life revolve too much around the blog, rather than let the blog revolve around my life.
I’ve worked hard to create a publication that I can be proud of. But I’ve also realized that the work has too much control over the other aspects of my life. I worry extra hard these days. I worry about what I write, who’s going to read it, how it’s going to be found and what others are going to think. Those are all natural, healthy worries, but after a point they become too restrictive. So, beginning today, I’m taking a different approach.
I’m going back to the blogging basics.
I started this blog five years ago. I didn’t tell a single friend about the blog until it’d already been in existence for a few months. I just wrote and wrote and wrote. Whatever I was thinking or doing or wanting to do. Over time, I professionalized this little ol’ blog. And that was a good thing. But now I’ve got the luxury I can go back to my roots—the blogging basics. This has always been my blog and a place for my voice, but after I started working with more and more brands on campaigns and partnerships, I realized the amount of hesitation and worry that showed up in everything I wrote. I feel as if I’ve held back a little. And, when it comes to writing, that’s not always the best course of action.
So, what can you expect here?
Back to basics means less worry about trying to attract the attention of brands. It means more spontaneous, freeform writing—the kind that comes naturally. I run this entire shebang all on my own and it’s exhausting. I know it seems silly to complain about a life I’ve created, but the blog is only a small part of my life and yet it controls so much of it.
You’re still going to get the same narrative stories from my travels, but you’re also going to see a lot more emotional blogs—ones where I lay bare my raw feelings and thoughts, however embarrassing they might be. Over the past month, there haven’t been many new blog posts here, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. In fact, I’ve written more in the past month then I usually do—but it’s all been privately, in my journal. It’s not embarrassing stuff, it’s just things I didn’t think were appropriate for the “blog brand.” Screw that. I like my writing, my words, my thoughts—and I’m going to start sharing more of it here.
About the blog
Still my favorite part of blogging is connecting with new people. It’s why this blog began and it’s always been my favorite part of “the job.” Your tweets and emailed questions, your Facebook messages, your Snapchats and your comments. They make this whole thing worthwhile and interesting. I hate boredom. A lot of you send me deeply personal messages, many of them private and carefully crafted. I always reply (and if I don’t, just tweet at me—I must’ve missed it!) and in my responses, I’m as honest as I can be. But sometimes I feel I hold back a little on this blog. But you’re not going to see that anymore.
I remember years ago, when I was in living in Israel for a summer and writing about my experiences volunteering for a center-left peace organization, my dad told me to be careful what I write publicly. He was (understandably) worried I might write something I might later regret. It was a passionate summer for many reasons, but working in the realm of the powerful business of Israel and Palestine and peace, I was careful in crafting every word. It still ended up ruining me, but that’s because while I was reserved with my passion, I also didn’t stop writing my mind. And I don’t regret a word I wrote back then. Some of that passion has diminished over the years but I’m brining it back. We’re going back to my blogging basics.
Honesty, friendliness, fun and interesting.
And you’re also going to see a lot more from me. I’m going to start publishing more often. One of last year’s last-minute resolutions was to do “30 days of something” and while I might have failed the No Fap Challenge, I’m determined to do 30 days of blogging. Writing needs to become fun for me again. And with my platform here, you’re going to get it all :-)
Thanks for reading this little blog of mine. I hope you’re as excited about the next year as I am. No more fear. No more worry. Just honest, friendly, fun and interesting stories. See you on the other side!
Adam, I think it’s great that you’re listening to your instincts and doing what is right for you.
I think one of the big misconceptions in blogging (or running any kind of business) is that it’s linear — that you’re always moving in a particular direction and continuing to evolve in one singular way.
But it’s not always so. Things ebb and flow. And sometimes you learn that things were actually better the way you did them previously.
One thing that is for certain is that people follow PEOPLE. People are nosy, people are gossips, and people are always hungry for the inside story. (I first learned that back when I waitressed during college. If I dropped kitchen tidbits like, “We just threw another rack of bread into the oven — it takes about five minutes to bake,” I would always get a higher tip.) So if you share your story of what’s really going on in your life, I bet you’ll get a wonderful response from readers.
I can relate to much of what you wrote. My blog has evolved enormously since when I began, and a few readers have commented that they miss the way things used to be. One reason for this is that my income, especially in 2014, was largely tied to sponsored content and I took on way too much. There wasn’t room for anything else, and a lot of the sponsored content wasn’t an ideal fit for me.
I feel like I’m starting over this year — hitting the backpacker trail once again (this time in Central America), back to my smaller backpack, no comps planned, solo once again. It will be good. :-)
Thanks for the comment. I like that point you make about blogging not being linear. It’s a great point. And it’s been fun to watch your evolution in blogging as well. Ever since meeting you back in Boston years ago, it’s been nice to keep in touch. Can’t wait to see what 2015 brings for both of us. Much love!! xx
This is such a different post… and you should definitely keep writing more like this! It’s so interesting to see yourself and Kate’s sides of the ‘success’ story. I was with blogger friends this week and we’re just at the start, already feeling how crazy the rush is once you begin getting picked up and beginning to wonder if it’s all worth it.
Whatever the best way is, I think after leading the way for so long you both deserve to go back to what you enjoy most! Plus we are definitely all nosy beggars so feel free to share with us ;) Good luck with the 30-day challenge!!
Hi Katie – thank you for the kind comment and for the friendly tweets yesterday. I really appreciate it! I know that wonder/curiosity you’re speaking about. I love blogging and all the things it’s done for me, and this retreat back to what made me enjoy it from the get-go will hopefully be a reminder of all that. Stay tuned for much more!
Adam, I salute you for your decision and, as your posts become more personal, you will in fact relate to readers like me more closely than heretofore. I think it’s not only the right personal decision, but one that will enhance the blog.
Wishing you a great 2015!
It means so much to get support from people and I really appreciate it. Hopefully this new attitude to blogging will go over well – but if not, who cares?! Hahaha
Happy new year!
Nice. It’s kinda crazy that the reason why one’s blog has become so successful in the first place – personal stories that others can relate to, or would like to be able to relate to – ends up taking a bit of a back seat once some measure of success comes. The bigger the beast gets, the more difficult it is to resist pandering to it.
I salute your decision to get more personal! After all, that’s why most of us have become your fans, because we enjoy getting to know you as a person, not because you get to go on all those comp’d trips (though of course we’re jealous about those). That’s really why my travel blogging had dropped off… what started out as a passion project became more and more like “work” once I started learning about SEO and shizzz like that. I started brainstorming articles based on what might get me more hits, rather than what was interesting to me. That ended up killing my desire to blog.
So, I’m happy that you’ve taken a step back and realized what’s more important!
I completely agree with Ren. I’ve been in an endless cycle of deleting and making new blogs because I was always working harder than I should on it and constantly striving for perfection when I see other travel blogs (such as yours).
I’ve given up on all that and have ever since used my blog as an escape from life and to organize/share my travel/daily life photos.
p.s. SEO ruins lives!
Woot! That’s the right way to do it, I think! Blog because YOU want to, not because you feel you have to :)
You’re totally right. The bigger the beast, the harder to contain it. The blog has become so overwhelming recently, I haven’t known how to deal with it. So I’m basically just going back to my roots and doing whatever I feel like it. It’s what made me happy in the first place and I hope this new attitude to blogging will get me back there. Hope to see you again in Berlin sometime!
I have loved your blog ever since I found it a few years back, Adam! I cannot wait to see what’s ahead as you follow your heart and go back to the blogging basics!
Hey Mike – thank you so much for the support and comments recently. Much appreciated!
I’m excited to read about your adventures of course, but I always enjoy the personal stuff since it makes you and your readers (like me!) more connected! Happy 2015!
Thanks Kiera <3
I am glad you have decided to go back to the basics and refocus your passion! I look forward to seeing what will come of it! Good luck!
Refocusing my passion – love that phrase, thanks Brad!
[…] fyi) suggested a day trip to Szczecin, Poland, it was hard to turn it down. Especially considering my new “Fuck it!” attitude to blogging and […]
I love the santa hat and glad to hear that you’re back on your personal blogging track! That’s what it’s all about as Kate said above. Real people connecting with other real people. :)
Haha – I had a lot of fun with that Santa hat while I was home :) Thanks for the support Victoria xoxo
Everyone has some reasons to start blogging. For me, connecting with new people is one of the big reasons. And expressing myself is another. Very similar!
I learned a bit about how you realized them. Thank you and feel free to connect with me :)
Cheers Kozue! Glad to hear you have the same reasons for blogging
Hey Adam, I know exactly how you feel! I think it’s only natural for us all to worry a little more about what we write as our audiences grow but it’s important to not let that affect what we write (hard I know but at least once you address it you can start working at it!) I look forward to seeing more of your personal writing. J
Thanks Jayne – It seems this worry is natural for most bloggers – it’s great to get the support and feedback that doing my own thing will be just fine :-)
[…] recently read a great article by Travels of Adam, in which he talked about getting back to the basics of blogging. It made me think about a fundamental and (for me) important question: what is […]
You know I love your blogging style Adam (I always have). I’m still a relative newbie but I’ve felt a lot of the pressures you mention ever since I started blogging. I’ve tried to remain true to the spirit of Bruised Passports because that’s what makes me happy. In the process, I’ve actually lost favour with a couple of brands because I decided to dwell on the cons alongside the pros – so be it! I feel as bloggers we owe something (everything?) to our readers and ourselves – respect you for opting out of this nouveau rat race. Good on you for owning a website that promotes individuality and produces good content :-)
I <3 you and your blog - I always have, and it's great to get your support. Thanks for writing here xoxo
I hear ya. No Holding Back 2015!
YASSS! No holding back. This will be a good year.
January definitely feels like a good time to take a step back and make changes.
I sometimes self-censor my writing too, as I think the internet may not get my humour/intentions and I might look back on posts and cringe. It would be nice to let loose a bit more and not over think things too much on my own blog.
Hope your new approach is making you feel a bit more liberated :-)
Hi Cherie – Thanks for commenting! January, and winter in general, does seem like a great time to reflect on the past, look forward and make some changes.
Nice one Adam, I like your honesty and I’m looking forward to read more personal posts, even if a bit late, happy New Year!
Happy new year to you too Franca!
I can relate to so many of the points you make here, Adam. Over the past couple of years, my blog has gone through several changes because I’ve been trying to follow all those posts out there that say you “should” be doing this kind of content or you definitely “shouldn’t” be doing that kind of post. It was midway through 2014 when I realised I was putting too much pressure on myself to create a blog that was essentially not “me”. So I took a short break and came back with more passion for writing – but actually writing the things I wanted to and not the things I thought I should be doing.
Blogging is such a broad area. No two blogs are the same in any way and people follow different blogs for different reasons. Not everyone is going to like everything, but the one thing you can make sure of is that *you* like your own blog and the direction it’s going in.
Hi Lizzie – Thank you so much for the thoughtful and helpful comment. And you’re right with that last sentence of yours – it’s *my* blog and I’m gonna do with it what I want! :)
Yup, I totally relate. As bloggers, we evolve and change, but, as Kate also mentioned, in the end most blogs should be about the blogger. Writing that comes from you is what will engage people. I am searching for the same return to my own voice. It’s hard to manage it all, and usually I struggle to get the posts up that I need to finish still, but I also hope to have a fresh start of sorts in 2015. All the best to you this year, Adam! :)
Hey Jenna – glad to hear this post is resonating with so many people. It’s funny how as writers and bloggers, we sometimes “lose our voice.” But I suspect that’s normal in any profession.
this is an interesting post and something i have noticed many blogs that i have followed for years, have started posting less and less of their personal experience and insights into a destination, and more about reviews of tours they experienced or descriptions and recommendations of the accommodation that they stayed in.. I guess it is hard to find a balance between earning a living and only writing personal types of posts after all. Its great to get an insight into such experienced bloggers minds and the directions they want to take their blog in – so thanks :)
Aw, thank you Jasmine! I think you’re right that it’s a common issue in blogging – I always try to make sure any reviews I write have a bit of personality to them because it does make the writing and the story more interesting. Plus it’s just more fun for me. It’s always a work in progress, this blogging thing!
I think you’ll do fine as long as you keep it real. People will know if you are doing it for the blog or you are merely chronicling your life.
Keepin’ it real since 2009 ;-)
[…] started to actively disconnect from social media. Maybe you’ve noticed since my earlier rant about how I want to blog better: I won’t let this blog or my social media get in the way of me doing things. Sure, I love to […]
Up until a month ago, we often felt overwhelmed with keeping up with the latest social media trends and writing “quality” and “sharable” content. Writing quickly started to feel like a chore for us, but after awhile, we realized it was because we were trying too hard to make content instead of simply creating content we, ourselves, like…which often resulted in days without blog posts because we didn’t feel the specific piece of content wasn’t “ready” yet, etc. It sounds like you went through the same thing.
We guess that, after all, it’s just a shift in perspective that maybe all of us as travel bloggers go through!
We just gotta….write!
Hello hello you two! Yes x 100! Sometimes “trying too hard” results in poorer quality. Just keep writing, just keep writing… (said in a Dory voice)
[…] doing… writing things within days of actually doing them. It’s all a part of my “back to blogging” theme of the year. Read on for my latest […]
[…] swell but I’ll be reading silently from the sidelines from now on.” But after reading this post from Travels of Adam, I decided to stick it out. I just need to change up my […]
Hey Adam, this post is fantastic. I’ve been working on my own blog for about seven months now, and it just hasn’t been…well, working for me. I loved everything you had to say about being honest and letting the blog revolve around your life, not the other way around. You inspired me to write a post (where I give you credit for prompting my blogging renaissance) and rethink the way I write my own blog. Thank you so much!
Worrying about shares, likes and traffic can literally take over your life. Don’t even get me started on SEO. Writing about something you truly enjoy will ultimate lead to improving all of these.
I just stumbled upon here today, I’ll make sure to check back.
Thanks for keeping it real! We’ve sometimes felt the same with our blog and stressing about it way more than we should. This was a nice reminder that we should write for ourselves and what makes us happy rather than worrying about stats.
Yes indeed Britnee. Write, write and write some more! It’s a challenge, but worth it in the long run…
I like the honesty of this post. I have just discovered your blog and I really enjoy it so thank for all the work you’ve done :) It was really interesting to read. Connecting with people should be the best perk of having a blog!
Thanks Anita – everything in life is almost always about the people, so no reason why blogging shouldn’t be the same!
Not worrying about site metrics and following templates/formats really sounds liberating. It might actually attract more interest since it’s about honest to goodness topics where some might even be controversial. Whatever works for you should be fine. :)
Thanks EJ! Glad to hear all of that
Totally understand but also totally jealous. As a new blogger my whole ambition right now is to get as far away from my roots as possible! Guess it’s about finding a balance, staying in the corporate “my life depends on this” mindframe but also about doing and writing what interests you.
I totally understand. :-)
I have been blogging for ten years now, and lately I found that I really miss the blogs of thoughts. The emotions…
Keep up your spirit :-)
I love this Post.. I think it’s great that you are going back to basics and reminding yourself of why you started blogging in the first place.
I think being restricted by readers expectations sometimes eventually kill the life of a blog, the feelings, the emotions, fun and simple expressions. Going back to basics will surely help you connect more with your readership. And lets face it, a travel blogs biggest asset is to be able to express what you are feeling at that moment at that place…
Totally second the bit about restriction by readers’ expectations sometimes killing the life of a blog. The basics is definitely where it’s at.
Thanks Elise :)
A perfect post . I liked it a lot. It is very sincere and makes you think about blogging as essence of expressing, not trying to get richer and get to higher limits. Congratulations for the nice words and for coming back to basics of writing an creating posts and ideas, Adam. I will definitely became a fan of your blog and style of writing.
A perfect post. Congratulations for the sincere word, Adam. You have a very nice style and touching way to jungle with words. Keep it real and keep writing :)
Wow congratulations Adam, to do something different from the rest of the blogs out there