What Being a Travel Blogger Really Means (To Me). Lessons From My 4 Favorite Bloggers.

BLOG, INSPIRATION 79 Comments

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MY BLOG WILL TURN 3 NEXT MONTH. FOOD FOR THOUGHT!

 

This post is one of those rare cases when you have an idea and you just have to write it down immediately, a spontaneous non-planned post. It all started the day I decided to un-follow something like 6000 people from my Twitter account.

When my  spring cleaning was done I felt light. VERY LIGHT. I was tired of the game: “I follow you, you follow me” shit. I didn’t really care if I was going to lose all my followers overnight. If they didn’t stick with me, they were not worth following anyway, and I wasn’t worth a follow from them either. A win-win situation for everyone.

 

This is the message I put on my Twitter Account:


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The Result?

As expected, I lost more than 7000 followers overnight. Not a big surprise.


This “drastic” decision really made me feel  as I had just started a detoxifying diet, so naturally  I started wondering why It felt so damn good: Did I really want to be the “conventional” Travel Blogger only defined by traffic, followers and numbers? But most importantly, was I happy with what I had created so far?

After almost 3 years of blogging, sweating blood and swallowing bitter remarks to get where I am today, I needed to stop for a second and think about what I was doing, not what other people thought I was doing judging from my twitter following or how many likes I was getting on each post.

I hate when someone tries to define who I am by the numbers I have, even when they congratulate me for my “success”. When you are a travel blogger, half of the population probably doesn’t even know what that really means, and the second half (usually other bloggers) is silently judging your work one way or the another.



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Story of my life!



A WAKE-UP CALL FROM MY EX…

That’s what Ex’s are for: they secretly enjoy throwing at you innocent, yet harsh, remarks here and there. Usually things about yourself that you don’t really want to hear.

A few months ago I was living in Chiang Mai and my ex-boyfriend decided to help me with my blog for a while. He is not a blogger, but he was curious to see what was behind this -apparently- glamorous job. During one of our conversations, he pointed out that I was probably starting to compromise my voice for the sake of making money. Eeeeeek… excuse me?

Even if he also politely indicated that I give the idea of someone who never listen to what others have to say, I actually do. As a matter of fact, I think things over a lot more than people would imagine. Well, I am a woman, what do you expect?

After that conversation, I took the afternoon for myself  to reflect about what he had just told me. Was he right? Was I really losing my authenticity?!

I tried to focus for a moment, I was in Pai and thinking  with 40 degrees outside wasn’t an easy task. A few hours of sweating and countless cold showers later, I finally got it.

He had a point there.  I wasn’t exactly trading my authenticity for the sake of money, but I saw myself obsessively checking my Google analytics every hour and feeling constantly under pressure because I wasn’t writing any guest posts. Heck, I wasn’t even writing enough content for my own blog, not to mention that I still had to cover a good part of my previous year’s trip. CRAP.

But hey, on the bright side, my numbers were great! My traffic had more than tripled in just a few months, my main posts were ranking quite high on Google and I started receiving more sponsorships offers that I could physically manage. Not to mention that my revenue with the affiliates was going way better than the previous year. Bragging much? Not really.

I should have felt happy and proud, but I  wasn’t nearly as thrilled as one would expect. These were just numbers. Where in hell was my voice in all this?


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HERE’S THE TRUTH: I HATE BEING A TRAVEL BLOGGER.

Let’s put it this way. It’s the phrasing. I ‘d rather say that I am a Traveler AND a blogger.


When I started my dream trip I didn’t know much about this crazy world, I  just found  a few blogs that gave me the balls to write that damn resignation letter and screw up my entire existence. I thought that these people were  cool and If they had managed to change their lives, why couldn’t I?

I remember that girl very well: A 15-year-old excited teenager, trapped in a 35-year-old body.

I didn’t give a damn about blogging back then, I was itching to hit the road as soon as possible and start writing my adventures  on my brand new travel journal. A gift  from a girl who had spent the previous 5 months traveling in South America. She definitely knew a thing or two about the perfect gift for a soon to be traveler!

 


 

MY TRAVEL JOURNAL… AFTER 3 YEARS OF TRAVELS!

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This is that very first diary … 3 years later!

 

Writing diaries has always been one of my passions. Yellowish pages plastered with half scribbled notes, entrance tickets to some random site, the phone number of a guy I met at the beach and most importantly: my inner journey.

That was what I always loved to do after all. Writing diaries, collecting memories and… cursing.

In a diary, you don’t have to put  the filter mode on for your audience, no one would read it anyway. I  opened my blog too, but as soon as I arrived in Asia, I completely forgot about it. I was too busy being happy and enjoying the new adventures to care.

Blogging about it? Naaah, maybe one day I’d sit down and write a few articles. Making a career out of travel blogging? It didn’t even crossed my mind at the time.

I had sacrificed my social life for months to save enough money for my trip, and that was enough to rock my world. The future? why worry about it?  Screw the future, my present was much better!

 

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And then, I don’t even know how exactly, the impossible happened: Almost 3 years later, I am now a full-time travel blogger.  Last November I was even invited to Sri-Lanka together with some of the bloggers I use to read when I was  a 15-year-old girl (still trapped in this now 38-year-old body).

It was a weird sensation. I don’t see the top bloggers as “celebrities”. I mean, come on, even if my soul is still 15, I’m not a groupie. In the end, they are just people like me. And that’s the main reason why they were able to inspire me during my pre-trip exciting months, and later when my blog was slowly becoming my full-time job. Against my will 🙂

 

They inspired me because they were travelers and adventurers, before being “bloggers”.

 

The blogging part was a tool to show their love for the ride, not just a money generator business, and that’s why they stood out from the crowd (Do you want to know who I am referring to?keep reading to discover it).


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SO, WHAT BEING A TRAVEL BLOGGER MEANS TO ME?

 

When I started taking my blog seriously I did it because I genuinely enjoyed writing stories. One day I would wake up with an idea and I’d simply write it. No pressure at all. I didn’t care if I got only 1 or 1 million likes. The point of writing was to share my experiences, entertaining myself first and my readers as a consequence.

My English was probably far worse than it is now (yes, it can get even worse than this) but when I hit the publish button I felt happy and accomplished.

It’s not a coincidence that some of my old posts like the 17 Italian gesture explained or the top 10 list of weird travel stories are still among my most popular posts. I didn’t even know what SEO meant back then and yet they are still on top of Google searches.

Am I making money with them? Nope! But I can see myself shining through those posts, even considering my poor English. So that’s what being a travel blogger means to me:

 

 STAYING REAL AND TRULY ENJOYING WHAT I DO.

 

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This is me being “real”.. and for the records: NO I’m NOT  going to make a video out of this. Case closed 🙂

 

I’m not saying that the other posts are fake. Not even a little. It’s still me with the difference that  I wrote them with the pressure of creating “good content“, neglecting the spontaneous, joyful part of me.

So now I want to go back to the origins: lifting the lid and letting go of the pressure. Screw my obsession for writing in perfect English  or writing the perfect piece (wake up call: it will never happen!).

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A NEW BALANCE.


From now on I want to keep a healthy balance: I will still create static pages with  informational-factual articles, as I know first hand how useful they can be, but when I write a story, I want to do it without thinking too much.

Even if writing in Italian is way more spontaneous and easy for me, I’ll do my best to convey my emotions and experiences in English as well. After all, the people who started following me a few years ago liked my less-than-perfect style anyway.

They are not English teachers (well, my high school English teacher is one of my most affectionate readers, but she is not here to correct my mistakes).

If you are a native English speaker, I invite you to put yourself in my shoes for a second: Try to master Italian at age 30 and open a blog in a very competitive “market”. It’s like climbing mount Everest with only one leg. That’s how it feels like for me. Every single day.

Am I complaining? Nope, I had the choice to write in Italian, but I love the challenge and that’s OK. There will always be people who criticize you, whatever your job is, and people who’ll love what you do.


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THE  4 TOP BLOGGERS WHO TAUGHT ME THE VALUE OF AUTHENTICITY

 

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But before I give you the names of my fabulous 4, let me tell you what this list is NOT about.

 

1 | This is not a list based on “numbers”.

I only considered the person behind a specific travel blog and why that person taught me the value of being authentic. Personality over numbers. It’s not a surprise that these people also make it to the other top lists, they have great personalities and are not afraid to say things as they are. They didn’t sell their soul to make money and somehow managed to stay true to their real nature over the years. And that’s a great example to follow.

 

2 | This is not an objective list

It should go without saying it, but you never know! I see a great deal of myself in what these bloggers have to say, even if I don’t necessarily agree with everything they write. Which means that my choices were highly influenced by who I am. There are many other authentic and great bloggers out there, but  they focus on different things & topics.

SO HERE ARE MY CHAMPIONS, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER

But – And I’m sure you won’t mind- Ladies First!


LIZ CARLSON

-From “Young Adventuress”


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“…The first time I moved abroad to Spain when I was 19, I was (how do I phrase this delicately?) awkward as fuck. And not cute doe-eyed-Zooey-Deschunel-awkward, more like bumbling T-Rex awkward.”


If you’re looking for authenticity, with Liz you can’t go wrong! She is definitely not afraid to speak her mind, even if this means making controversial statements.

The thing I love the most about her blog is not only her straightforward way of writing things but  also how she replies to the rude/insulting comments. Every year she actually puts together a list of the best hate comments. Brilliant!

But Liz’s blog is not just controversial, she also writes beautiful insights on traveling and she is super popular on Instagram (finally someone who is popular on Instagram WITHIN REASON). Check out her pictures and you’ll understand why!

Plus, she doesn’t constantly brag about her many accomplishments. At all. That’s also a top reason why I like her personality.


How I discovered and loved her blog:

10 Things I Really Wish People Would Stop Doing On Airplains


Some Of My Favorites:

The Realities About Traveling As An Introvert

5 Travel Mistakes I Make Again and Again

How To be An Adventuress


LAUREN JULIFF

-From “Neverending Footsteps”


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“I managed to contract food poisoning, get attacked by jellyfish, caught a fish in my bikini bottoms […]. And then I poured a margarita over my brand new laptop. It was not a good month.”


Lauren is my personal Hero. If she’s not authentic, then I’m Marylin Monroe 🙂 Every time I read her posts I think “Damn, That could have been ME!”

I’ve been reading Lauren’s blog way before I started my own adventure and as soon as I read the first blog post I was in love! How could I not be?

Finally a blogger who isn’t afraid to admit her own issues and insecurities, but most importantly… I was totally swept away by one section of her website: “The Incidents”!

 

Almost every blogger I knew emphasized how cool traveling was. Lauren decided to take a slightly different approach and amused her readers by writing about all sort of misadventures she had on the road. To die for!

The stories were SO hilarious that a big publishing company contacted her to write (not without incidents of course!) a whole book around them:

“How NOT to Travel the world”

Want to buy it? click on the image! 🙂

 

Needless to say, I pre-ordered the book (arrived sooner than I expected)! Perfect timing actually, as I was about to leave for a trip and brought it with me. I’m Loving it!! 

Do you think that this is a tactic to let you buy the book? Nope, here is the proof! Me sitting on the floor like a bum (same old same old!) waiting for my flight connection at Rome Fiumicino Airport 🙂

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How I discovered and loved her blog:

My Packing List for my around the world trip


My Absolute Favorite:

About Lauren

This is not a post but her about page, where she bravely shares her struggles, from an eating disorder to her anxiety issues, and how she managed to overcome them.

A post that every young girl (and boy) should read. Seriously.




DEREK EARL BARON


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“.. I started to understand that every single human being feels confused and lost as well, over and over again throughout life. Nobody is exempt from these feelings, it’s all a part of the human journey.”


He’s one of the first Top travel bloggers and he still doesn’t think he’s a celebrity, Indiana Jones or… spiderman. Ladies and gents, meet my favorite Travel blogger!

When you discover Derek, or Earl… or Wandering Earl (I still haven’t figured out how you should call him “properly”, too many names man!)  is very easy to get addicted to his stories 🙂

He writes in a way that is so simple, yet  touching and immediate, no matter if he’s talking about being lost in life or why he decided that Pad Thai could be used as a currency.

He will always drag you into whatever he has to say. Even when he has absolutely nothing to say.  Only him could write a post about nothing and get 80 comments! 

All I know is this: When Earl (ok, let’s call him Earl, shall we?) publish a blog post, I always read it. And I mean it. I think I read a good 95% of his posts and each one of them has something special.

His voice. His point of view. His unique, captivating style that will let you think ” Oh I can relate to what he’s saying so much!”


How I discovered and loved his blog:

How I can afford my life of constant travels


Some of my favorites: This was fricking hard, I should have linked directly to his blog page!

I’m confused about life, just like everyone else

Why you shouldn’t care what others think about you

Everybody told me I was a useless bum 

JAIME DAVILA


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“As I am writing this I am done with everything I need to get done for my big trip. I am actually sitting here writing this with tears. They are tears of joy, tears of fear, tears of hard work paying off”


Jaime is the purest travel blogger out there. He is pure passion turned into flesh! He is too busy enjoying his trip to create a business out of it. Jaime, damn it, at least write a bloody book about your life!

How can I describe why Jaime is so special?

I never met him in person but he was the one  cheering me up when I needed a shoulder to cry on (yes, I do cry too.. surprise, I’m human!).

He is the cheeky guy who has a few shenanigans on his back, but he’s also the guy who fell in love and left his readers wanting for more and waiting impatiently to read what was next.

Jaime is able to take you with him everywhere he goes, and everywhere can be a destination or simply his inner journey.

He’s so damn honest that sometimes he freaks me out! I got literally addicted to his blog long before my trip, and he was one of the few bloggers who was really able to inspire me to say “hell, screw society, I’m living life on my own terms!”

The guy is also pretty flexible! He’s been featured by Good Morning America, Yahoo, Mashable and ABC for his famous toe-touch shots in front of the most famous monuments around the world and when he announced it to the world he was everything but bragging. That’s what I truly love about him. He’s been traveling for years, but he’s still so humble. You gotta love him!


How I discovered and loved his blog:

What I’m packing for my trip around the world


Some Of My Favorites:

The Last Goodbye

The Reality of coming home after you have traveled the world

Let your thoughts and dreams consume you

So there you have them, normal yet extraordinary people who inspired me to stay true to myself despite the pressure of being “perfect”.

You might have noticed that my top four have quite different styles but they all have these core values in common:

 

  • They are some of the most influential bloggers out there but they don’t constantly brag about their accomplishments. BIG THUMBS UP!
  • They don’t feel ashamed to talk about their weaknesses and insecurities.
  • They interact with their audience a lot more than other bloggers, they  have a real community, not just “numbers”
  • They mix it up a lot. They write deep posts about life and the next thing you know they are posting the funniest adventures ever!

 

A FINAL NOTE:

Even if these bloggers are my source of inspiration, I don’t want to copy them, but I will try to do what they are doing best: Being authentic. No matter if for me that means being  ….THIS 🙂


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THANKS TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ENCOURAGED ME TO KEEP GOING, INSPIRED ME AND KICKED MY ASS WHEN THEY THOUGHT I NEEDED IT. YOU ROCK!

Comments 79

  1. I love your blog! And now it’s one of my favorite one to read. I was checking on Siargao and then I found your blog. Glad you enjoyed your stay in my country — Philippines! God bless your trip, Clelia!

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      Awww thanks so much Micah! You bet, the Philippines are one of the best countries I’ve ever seen and I can’t wait to go back! You truly live in paradise!!

  2. Ive just discovered your blog – what an awesome post! Something to keep in mind in future for me as well. I’ve just started travel blogging so I find these sorts of posts really inspirational and through-provoking. Authenticity is so important. Keep up the awesome work!

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  3. I love that you used Liz from Young Adventuress! I’m thinking of following a similar path to her, as she has really inspired me too. I’m just starting out and I’m grateful for your perspective here. It would be so easy to be caught up in the numbers and forget why you started in the first place <3

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      Thanks Glyde, I’m happy that you found some inspiration in here as well 🙂 I wish you all the best for your blog!

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  4. I had to stop checking Google Analytics when I first started blogging because it quickly became an obsession. I was stressing over every statistic and wondering what I was doing wrong, because my numbers don’t come close to the stats that other bloggers get. I went on a trip around South America and was sitting on the top deck of a sailing boat during a 3-day cruise in the Caribbean working on my laptop. A member of the crew politely asked me why I had bothered to travel so far only to sit and write about something that I was barely even acknowledging in real life while I was actually there. The truth was, I had put myself under so much pressure to build up my blog and write about what I was doing, that I was barely actually doing it. Thankfully, this conversation happened early into the trip, so I put the laptop away and didn’t think about it again!

    I used to envy people who make their living off their blogs, but then I realised how much time they spend at their laptops, and I wonder if they ever really enjoy living in the moment at all. They must forever be too anxious about snapping this, tweeting that, and instagramming lunch. I enjoy blogging and like to write about where I’ve been, but not enough to make statistics my lifestyle.

    Now I’m going to follow your lead and purge my Twitter feed 😀

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      You summed up my concerns perfectly! Now I have a rule, when I travel …. I TRAVEL. The most I can do is post a beautiful picture on my social media if/when I have time, and when I’m back I become a hermit and work non stop on my posts and on my blog in general. This way I get to REALLY enjoy what I’m doing.
      As for the Twitter purge… glad I set the trend 😀 😀

      Good luck with your blog, keep going with one major goal: putting passion in everything you do! For me, that’s the key!

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      Thanks Jocelyn! Glad you liked it. Sorry that I had to remove the blog name from the comment (I have now a very strict policy on that), but people can still check out your website by clicking on your name 🙂

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      Thanks Fernando! Yours is a very healthy approach, I wish you all the best with your blog! And remember: never give up!

  5. Awesome.
    I agree – stay true to you, with or without followers. It’s important that you continue for personal purposes (such as self-worth and because it makes you happy), rather than because you have a deadline to meet for some monetary incentive or something.

    We have one life – live it up, and share it with whomever wants to read about it 🙂

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      Thanks Brock! I’m definitely on the right path (again!). I think my last post proves the point. It is totally personal and I had to write it to get it out of my chest. It feels so good, no pressure, no expectations… that’s how it should be 🙂

  6. Pingback: Interview With Travel Blogger Clelia Mattana Of Keep Calm And Travel

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  7. I love it!! Thank YOU for writing this…a gentle reminder to all of us bloggers out there…keep it real…remember your voice, don’t sweat the numbers. Love it. Cheers, Nicole

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      Thanks Janusz! As a matter of fact I’m heading to Poland in 2 days! I’ll have 3 days in Warsaw and 2 in Krakow! Can’t wait 🙂

  8. This is a great, refreshingly honest post (and there’s nothing wrong with your English!). I’ve learnt about blogging as I’ve gone along and am enjoying the ride. I love the fact it’s grown organically, love writing in a personal style, and often question if there are any ‘rules’ in blogging, which unfortunately it depends on who you speak to.
    Well done for being true to yourself. Keep it up.

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      Thanks Rebecca, glad you’re enjoying the ride… sometimes it’s a bit bumpy, but when you know where you’re going everything is much better. As for the “rules of blogging”, I guess everyone has their own. For me the most important thing is doing things according to my moral standards. If I can do that, then I’m content with what I’ve created. Stay true to yourself, and you can’t go wrong 🙂

  9. First of all I have to say – what do you mean when you mention your bad english?!!! I would have thought you were a native english speaker until I read that. Seems fine to me!! (I’m Australian.)

    Secondly, I think once you start associating with other bloggers online it can be very hard not to get pulled into a competitive world and I totally agree it’s about deciding what is important to you and what success means to you.

    I think it’s also important to REALISE that everyone’s version of success is different too to not get pulled into all the drama that can evolve in facebook blogging groups!! If what someone else is doing works for them, good on them.

    People also have different realities. For me with young kids, blogging has to pay off financially or I just can’t do it as I don’t have time to waste. Again, it all plays into the different versions of success. I don’t think ensuring my blog is a commercial success as selling out. Just doing what it takes to keep providing a useful resource to people in a similar situation as myself 🙂

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      Sharon, what you said is exactly the point of my post. I don’t judge anyone. I only did what I felt it was right for me. People should find their own path and screw what others are doing. This is why I’m not very active on the Facebook groups.

      My blog is also my full-time job which means that I have to deal with sponsors etc, but that doesn’t mean that I’m selling my soul for money. You can run a blog keeping your integrity, I’m 100% positive about it!

      Ps, thanks for the compliment but every time I post something I spend one more day (or two) to read it over and over and when I’m exhausted…I pass it to one of my English speaking friends 🙂

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          Ciao Matteo, I’m actually in Sardinia right now, unfortunately not much time to see a lot as I’m working non-stop on a few project I need to finish 🙂 I wish I had a 48 hr day to also enjoy my beautiful Island!

          1. I see, I am from Selargius so probably close to your hometown. If you are around there end of July we can have a coffee.
            Keep it up 🙂
            Matteo

  10. Wow sorry I’m just now reading this. Ahhhhh I loved this post. Good for you for realizing you hate doing it the way you were. Good for you for going back to basics and doing what you wanna do. I read this and literally have felt everything you have felt. When I left for my second trip around the world I told my self I’m going to keep being me like I’ve always been but I’m not gonna worry about posting twice a week and staying up to date. I’ve decided the road and my life are more important actually living them than being behind my laptop sharing them. Hello recently I forgot my blog was 5 years old lol. Ahhh anyway thank you so much for including me in your top 4. That’s an honor because im just being me and being mentioned like that is priceless. Huge Beso from Poland!

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      Ah Jaime, I owe you so much! I still remember the time spent reading your blog before my departure. I was very lucky to have found yours among the first ones I’ve ever read. So genuine! but I’m still waiting for the book release 🙂 By the way, if you are still in Poland in less than 10 days I’ll be there, it would be great to meet FINALLY hug you in person!

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  11. Wonderful post Clelia! You’ve said what many people think. I’d rather right how I want to right and have a few comment (or none at all), than care about the numbers on my twitter account. I like to be real about travel, and not just say ‘its awesome’ (as it isn’t always).

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Safe travels

    Abbi

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      Thanks, Abby! The point you make is also a good one: not sugarcoating the destinations too much. I don’t like doing that either. Even when I talk about my beautiful Island I say things as they are. If a destination is not wow, I won’t make it look wow (even if I could make much more money if i did! ) 🙂
      Honesty always pays off!

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  12. Ah those gestures! Our friendship started with that post. You don’t make money with it but you’ve found a friend (chi trova un amico… ). Great article, you know we think alike. If only travel bloggers would be more focused on learning and improving writing skills, photography, videos, design, being creative, producing quality contents and finding their own original style. But now it’s all follow/unfollow tricks, clickbait articles and listicles. What we can do about this is to start to be different ourselves, be inspired by great bloggers (with quality original contents not quantity in followers acquired with questionable techniques) and be honest to ourselves and to our readers. Thanks for being who you are, sister 🙂

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      Ahhh brother! See what happens when you are totally spontaneous and write some silly posts? You get amazing friends 🙂 I know exactly your thoughts on this whole blogging “circus” and I’m glad we are on the same page. We just need to focus on our blogs and screw what other people are doing. We shouldn’t care! I actually learned a thing or two from you guys and I’m so grateful that we were able to meet… Till next time!

  13. I loved to read this article! It’s reminded some things that I already forgot – even if I just started to write my blog;) 3 years – a lot! congratulations with that:)

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      Glad I could help Ria! I think it’s so important to ask yourself questions..when you begin but also from time to time during the “journey”. It seems like yesterday that I launched my blog! Best of luck with yours 🙂

  14. Congrats for the 3th anniversary! I loved your article and really appreciate the honesty. It’s one of the things that maybe lack the most on the web world and I can imagine is a big reason you are rocking today! I totally feel the pain on writing in different language (mine is Spanish) + being perfectionist, but it’s great to do it despite all. Wish you all the best and keep writing in your own voice. Maybe we’ll cross paths someday 😉

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      Thanks for the lovely comment Gloria! I bet you feel my pain.. bloggers who write in a different language have a very hard time and being a perfectionist doesn’t help (I know a thing or two about that!!). Where are you at the moment? I’d love to meet up and share our stories and frustrations, it always help! 🙂

  15. Rock On This is why I said you inspired me. Shocked to learn your 38. Keep up your efforts there are people who care about real stories and the people behind them.

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      Thanks, Matthew! I know you’ve been following me for a while and I’m glad you are still here reading my adventures & reflections 🙂

  16. I don’t think I have ever come across a fake post on this site, Clelia, and the only reason you may have people say so is because they are haters – which comes with being popular. And you are popular, whether you admit it or not. The best part about your popularity though is that you don’t even see how real it is. You are an added value to the blogging community and to the tourism industry, and even to the world in general. I am glad I have discovered your blog, little over a year ago now.

    Now, having said this – you know we still have that post to write. Who’s going to the doctor to take pictures?

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      Thanks, Claudia! Actually no one ever said that my articles were fake (phewww), I only mentioned it because some of them are more factual and less personal than usual, or at least this is the feeling I have towards them. As I already told you, I’m so bad when I receive so many compliments, so all I can say is thanks for believing in what I do.

      I think you already know that I don’t really want to be “popular”, I simply want to enjoy what I’m doing and try my best to inspire people to travel more and follow their dreams, whatever they might be. That’s all I ask for!

      Ok, now let’s go straight to our serious conversation about that post (for those reading this.. Claudia and I want to write a funny article based on the stories we hear in the doctor’s waiting rooms in Sardinia) … I shoot, erhmm I mean I take the pictures, and you write the post 😉

  17. I’m so glad I’ve found this post. I Loved your honesty, very inspirational. I already knew Earl’s website and I couldn’t agree more with you. He’s one of the best bloggers out there. I’m going to check out the others now 🙂
    Thanks for putting this together!

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      Thanks Naomi! Yes Earl’s blog is very addictive and the others I mentioned are also a great read if you are looking for real people!

  18. Nice post. It’s so easy to get swayed and have your goals blurred especially when maintaining a blog and posts like this is a good reminder on why did you put up a blog in the first place? is it for money, popularity, or you just want a platform to express, share your stories, and help future readers in their journey. I agree with you, real numbers is better than big following but not really interested with what you have to offer. thank you so much for this enlightening post. very helpful!

    cheers from Manila!

    please feel free to visit me too: http://www.lemisstache.com 🙂

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      Yes it’s very easy to lose your original enthusiasm when the years go by and perhaps you start monetizing a blog, that’s why I wrote this post… as a reminder for myself and hopefully to help other people too 🙂 Numbers are just numbers. They might make a difference when you are starting out of course but in the long run it’s your voice that will be recognizable, not your stats! 🙂

  19. it’s great to know that there are story tellers out there that still maintains passion despite challenges. ^_^ thanks for being authentic… oh and I love writing diaries too! ^_^

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      Thanks Grasya…also for calling me a “story teller”, I love it! I know that I’m not Hemingway but it’s ok 🙂 Writing diaries is the coolest thing for a traveler in my opinion. I already found myself looking at that diary with teary eyes after just 3 years. Keep writing girl, what a beautiful thing!

  20. Good on you for keeping it real and sharing inspiration and joy with your readers. Being a more visually directed medium for me makes it easier to mix it up with my personal observations vs destination travel. Congrats on the 3 years!

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      Thanks, Noel! I totally agree with your observation about the visual aspect, it’s easier to stay true to yourself and mix it up if you focus mainly on images.I still have to improve on that, but it’s a passion that I want to cultivate more in the future!

  21. I’m new here and appreciate your honesty and clarity. Such a lost talent! As I become more familiar with your blog I can only say, I bid you peace! I look forward to the inspiration! Thank you.

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      Awwww Carey, your comment was lovely! Glad you’ve found me with this post. I really had to write down these things to feel better and keep on going 🙂

  22. Hehe, I told you as well you were obsessed with Google Analytics 😉
    I think what I don’t like about blogging community is that everyone obsesses with numbers and in reality they might not mean shit as followers are easy to buy and the enagagement rate might be higher with some bloggers that have less followers. But that’s not the worsst – the worst is that you can see how it’s all staged. Like I dunno, if I wanna go to place X is because I wanna see this place and not just take photos for my facebook site 0_o
    Anyway, yep, totally agree with this!

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      Ahaha I don’t remember you telling me about GA but I’m sure it’s true as I was truly obsessed. The point with followers, engagement &co (at least for me) is that I don’t give a damn, meaning that I stopped a while ago checking out what other bloggers are doing. This is not a post about “oh I’m better than you because I have real followers” or what not. I’ve simply chosen the best approach for me and I’m very happy with that 🙂

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  23. Brava Clelia, non rincorrere i numeri, Google e i likes, dedica tempo a te stessa e a chi ami, arricchisci la tua anima anche grazie alle energie che gli altri possono regalarti. I tuoi post e tutti i tuoi lavori non potranno non rispecchiare poi la tua crescita interiore e saranno bellissimi, molto più emozionanti di semplici racconti . E’ un percorso che va seguito, è dura cercare di mettere se stessi in quello che si fa, come con la fotografia, ma alla fine la differenza è clamorosa! Un grosso bacio e vai così che… spacchi 😉

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      Grazie Claudio, non rincorro i numeri…sono i mumeri a rincorrere me! 🙂 Scherzi a parte, e’ vero… se non si vive per come si e’ (incluso stare rinchiusi per mesi a casa a Chiang Mai e uscire la notte come ratti a comprare cibo al 7/11) non si sara’ mai autentici. E comunque anche quella e’ parte dell’esperienza. Il viaggio per me non e’ solo mettere tacche sui monumenti e’ anche vivere la mia vita normalmente, ma da un’altra parte del mondo.

  24. In all honesty, this is the first article that I read from you and I loved it.

    I still don’t know exactly which direction I want my blog to take, but reading your post was really refreshing. Like in everything in life, there are pros and cons and you need to choose. Thinking less and finding a healthy balance is an excellent choice! I’m actually jealous of your English, but I understand how you feel. For some reason, it came more natural to me writing in English but it’s an eternal struggle to improve…

    I can’t wait to read more of your stories!

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      Thanks, Carlotta, just asking yourself where you want your blog to be is a very good start in my opinion. We are not perfect and we shouldn’t be. Just relax and don’t obsess too much over numbers. Your personality will do the rest! Regarding my English… how can you possibly be jealous?? 🙂

  25. Great reflections Clelia,

    I always love the honesty and as you know I was aware of some of the tough decisions you made. However as you’ve explained they were the correct ones. You found your voice a heck of a long time ago, just sometimes it wasn’t finding the right audience?

    Your Italian gestures is one of the first articles I ever read on your site. It drew me in and gave me a great insight to your humour and approach. It also remains my favourite article that you’ve written.

    Thanks for sharing your top 4. I must admit I was only familiar with Earl and Lauren so having 2 more to learn from is fabulous.

    Keep staying true to what feels right for you – great advice and thanks for continuing to inspire the rest of us.

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      The Guy, thanks so much for your comment. I’m seriously happy to have you as a loyal reader of my blog. And I had no doubts about your favorite blog post 🙂 Jokes aside, staying true to yourself is damn hard sometimes, especially when the money starts rolling in and it’s easy to compromise your voice when you are not that wealthy. But it’s definitely possible.

      My approach (especially with social media) is not meant to be the best one for all the bloggers. I don’t judge what others are doing. I frankly don’t give a damn. It’s their business and if it works for them, I’m honestly happy. Following your own path in this crazy jungle is not easy, but I stopped comparing my work with the work of other bloggers long time ago and I feel free now.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful comment!

  26. I love reading about your adventures, Clelia, and appreciate the honesty you provide to your readers.

    I want you to know that you continue to inspire me to stay on my journey not because I’m almost a year into it, but knowing that you’ve got three years behind you and you still have the same love/hate relationship makes me feel that much better about my life-altering decisions!

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      Thanks Mike, that’s the spirit!Continue living your life as it were an adventure every single day! As for me… you’d better have said that you enjoy reading my misadventures 🙂

  27. Authenticity comes through clearly in your posts and reflects passion for people, experiences, and the natural world. Your brand is good so content is yours to share at your heart/minds desire. Do what’s best for you the rest will flow as it should. Peace.

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      Thanks David, it’s really great that people can see that all my work comes from my heart and it’s 100% authentic. I’ll try my best to stay this way!

  28. Wow, not sure what to say about the mention above but I’m just glad to hear that you enjoy my blog and can relate to the posts…keep being authentic and I look forward to seeing where it all takes you!

    Oh, you can call me Earl or Derek or even Dearl if you wish 🙂

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      Thanks Dearl! Don’t worry, feel free to add names to confuse me even more 🙂 Of course I had to mention you. Perfect example for the point I was trying to make! You certainly have a gift… Keep inspiring your readers! People think that they can not change the world, but it’s not true. You have changed mine!

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