Bashing on full time travellers – and why ‘we’ bring it on ourselves
There’s a German word that’s come to mind a few times recently. It’s Schadenfreude – ie. the pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. And in every case it’s come up because of the latest article about the misfortunes of full-time travellers. Who doesn’t love to bash on full-time travellers, those over-privileged or stupidly naive who decide to break with conventional wisdom? “Serves them right” says the frustrated couch potato surfing the net between shifts at McDonalds.
‘Media’ (and I use the term lightly) love to publish these stories because it sells. It brings out the haters. The usual suspects: Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Yahoo News and….CNN Travel. Yup, even CNN is getting in on the game. I’ll cite some specific examples below. But first I want to make another point.
Much of the Schadenfreude aimed at full-time travellers is a by-product of the “full-time travel lifestyle” sold by many travel bloggers. You know the ones. They’ll tell you that you can quit your job and travel the world, living on the cheap and making money along the way through travel blogging, free-lance writing or teaching English overseas. They’ll sell you books on the subject and they’ve become successful selling “the” dream. Most of it is bullshit. It is in my opinion both misleading and irresponsible. In my opinion, if there’s glee out there by haters it’s often because they see confirmation of what they’ve long suspected as being a sham. Many of these stories just feed on that, making the victims (full-time travellers) look like idiots, frauds and failures while allowing the haters to bask in the knowledge that they haven’t missed out on anything. That’s the basis for Schadenfreude.
But what has set me off in recent months has been stories in the Media written by bloggers on their own misfortunes. I promised specific examples. I’m not linking them and I encourage you not to google them. Here are the titles (which say pretty much everything) and a quick recap:
I Quit My Job To Be A Travel Writer, And Now I’m Broke And Unemployed (Huffington Post)
Quick summary: Single young female, persuaded to quit her job by exactly the type of bloggers promoting the “quit your job and travel lifestyle” that I referred to up above. Her blog became more popular but she never pulled a cent. Anxiety set in as her bank account plummeted. She had to come home and start looking for a job. Her message? “From one idealist to another, the next time you read another one of those articles, just remember that not all of us made it”.
This Couple Quit Their Jobs To Travel And Now Scrub Toilets To Get By (Buzzfeed)
Quick summary: A post on a couple of South African bloggers who discovered that the full-time travel lifestyle has taken a physical and mental toll, that they’re not getting enough sleep, eating unhealthily, and feeling the stress of lugging baggage and finding accommodation. The author says the couple realized that the social media posts about their trip was not telling the full story. “But the couple wants their readers to know, when they aren’t doing yoga on a beach in Greece, they are scrubbing out toilets and scrounging for cash” (written in typical Buzzfeed fashion).
Jaded, numb, bickering: Travel blogging couple reveal pain behind perfect photos (CNN Travel)
Quick summary: Australian bloggers who’s “unhealthy lifestyle that saw them both gain weight and struggle to cope without day-to-day contact with close friends and family”. They found themselves fighting, losing the appetite for travel, and neglecting their relationship. They’ve temporarily split up to have some time apart. Their message? “We just wanted to show the world that long term travel isn’t one big holiday. There’s a lot more to our lives than just sunsets and pretty landscapes, which doesn’t get shown on social media. Our goal with this piece was to dispel any myths that we are ‘living the dream,’ rather than just ‘living.‘”
Why have these bloggers written or contributed these stories? It doesn’t shine a good light on any of them, in all cases the bloggers are made to look naïve, foolish or deceiving. Even the titles ridicule. Maybe they contributed based on the theory that ‘no publicity is bad publicity’? They all relate in their accounts that behind their smiling faces, candy-coated stories, and glamourous photos (striking yoga poses on white sand beaches) they’ve been miserable, broke, and fighting among themselves. The life of travel was not what it was made out to be. And now they want the world to know. I guess there’s no shame in being fodder for Schadenfreude. That’s my issue.
There’s truth to every article above. Full-time travel is not a vacation (which I wrote about here) and you have to learn and adjust. If you can. Being together with someone 24/7 is also not the easiest thing and you can have times where you find yourself fighting more than you used to. It’s not the legitimacy of these personal experiences that I have an issue with or even the recounting of their problems on their own personal blogs. My issue is what I consider the “selling out” of these stories to tabloid journalism where they’ve been ‘spun’ and sensationalized and where the subjects end up at the butt end of ridicule. I’ve seen more and more of these posts recently, it seems to be a growing trend. In a society where full-time travel is outside the norm and where people are just waiting for you to fail so that they can point a finger at you and say “see, you should have known better!” it seems to me that some bloggers are just too willing to be the meat that feeds the wolves. That’s why I say ‘we” bring Schadenfreude on ourselves.
Am I being overly critical? Let me know what you think when you read these type of stories.
Related: Is it safe to Travel? The weird and scary from 6 years of full-time travel
Credit for photo at the top of post: Yogatrail.com
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It is what it is … pros and cons, like real life. At the surface level, travel blogging seems like a dream job. But at the end of the day, this is a business. And you have to dedicate a lot of time and hard work to succeed. And most travel bloggers are simply not successful. If you look at Dave’s Travel Corner he has a list of 8000 bloggers or so. Every year a large percentage of those bloggers have left the business.
And for those bloggers who misrepresent themselves they are doing a disservice to themselves and misleading others.
You’re right Ric. And success doesn’t mean the same to everyone and I know some who haven’t made a cent from their blog despite lots of traffic. It’s just not why they got into it. And others are hobby bloggers, they’ll post every few months or so and also don’t have higher aspirations. And that’s all fine – my issue is with those you mention in your last line. Your few words described them perfectly.
I have always found that those who do not have the ‘guts’ to go out into the world themselves are very quick to, not be rude as such, but rather disregard anything you are saying about another destination as if it is not interesting to them, they sort of just ignore travellers
Thanks Alan. I think you’re right but often because they don’t care so much to travel the same way – they’re on “vacation”, they want to drink, go to the beach, and party. I have a few friends who, while they enjoy going places, have a totally different concept of travel than I do. And those people really don’t care too much about what I have to write about.
Pros and cons to every life style…the travelling one as well. Certain types though, just are not cut out for it. Without the passion for travel I don’t think it works at all….the passion is the fuel. The rest…I believe “where there is a will, there is a way.” That said it just is not the lifestyle for everyone. Many are envious, because they cling to what they know and fear the unknown. So not having the “balls” to go for it themselves it sets up a strange situation.
We try not to post negative posts,..who wants to read those? So I have no idea what the reaction woukd bd…
Anyhow, thought provoking indeed.
I think most full-time travellers wear themselves out seeing too much…there are also many (mostly the young travel bloggers who
also travel full-time) who started full-time travel thinking they could do it by monetizing a travel blog. They’ll do anything, including selling out for negative publicity, to achieve that.
I personally thing it’s good to write the good and the bad of travel and that includes our own feelings as we evolve as travellers and expats. I don’t begrudge bloggers who write about how full-time travel became exhausting or how the lifestyle affected their personal relationships. I think bloggers owe it to readers to be honest about the pros and cons of full-time travel and not make it out to be one perpetual, perfect holiday. My issue is more about some bloggers spinning it and making themselves, as well as other full-time travellers (and bloggers), look like idiots just for the sake of publicity.
I think you guys are like us: you’ve lived a life, have had kids, have saved and planned to live the lifestyle you live now. It wasn’t unplanned or frivolous. What you’ve said is absolutely right.
I agree with you on some of the blogs, they’re more a list of things to bring in ad’s and often very repetitious – I sometimes wonder if they are even “out there”. Occasionally you come across one where the author goes into a place or situation deeper than most and you find out what they felt like during the experience.
The short hop things rarely get you involved with the actual people who live there, unless you decide beforehand to do that. In which case, the usual tourist spots are not the main emphasis, but the folk who live and work in a town that can get swamped by tourists. Usually I avoid tourist traps, but have ended up in one or two. In them I found new friends and realized that they have their jobs and once you get over the initial barrier of tourism, things open up and you see aspects that most people miss.
Longer term stays are a whole different animal.
“The life of travel was not what it was made out to be.” That’s the problem. People must read some blog and charge out somewhere without taking stock of the things (maybe they were a bit too romantic about it – dunno).
The flip-side is where a person sits down and weighs up the advantages and disadvantages, then exercising some plain old common sense, makes a decision. Go, with something you can live from, treat is as a regular change of job in a new town (doesn’t matter where the town is). You need to have a skill that can be used anywhere. I’ve met people like that and you know what? They don’t have or even want a blog!
Some good points Ted.
Very true about tourist spots. Your experience also depends on the time of year, locals go through tourist-fatigue in the popular places and can be a lot less friendly than in low season. We found this very true in Prague for example. You get a much more genuine experience in non-touristy places.
“The life of travel was not what it was made out to be.” People are too romantic, they also try to do too much and exhaust themselves. You can’t travel full-time and spend everyday sightseeing. I think, from our experience, the best thing is “living” somewhere for a while as a local. Its the best way to truly get to know a place.
I agree with your article Franck.
There’s a lot written out there about this “quit your job to travel and be happy” which can be misleading. As you say, full time travel is not a permanent holiday, and it’s something that it’s not for everyone.
And I think this is the first thing, travel is not the dream of everyone. Travel is not the key for happiness for everyone. I think it’s important to know ourselves and to define how “happiness” looks for us, and then work in that direction.
And this is the second point: even when we know what we want in life (travel or something else), a lot of work is required to succeed (and travel blogging, for example, is far more difficult than what it seems).
Thanks for the very thoughtful comment Laia – I fully agree with everything you say.
Even among us travel bloggers, there is a small percentage that are full-time travelers. Is this because our number has grown and so the types of travel bloggers have diversified? Maybe. Are there many among us that try and fail? For sure. Like with any other activity. Schadenfreude is a very old German word. It is in our nature.
Is it normal for some bloggers to contribute to the trend? I guess they consider that ‘no publicity is bad publicity’ and if this brings them the audience, they can always write a glamorous “comeback story” later.
Do we need to like it? No. But there it is… out there… yet another trend that will grow and then die….
But for now, it makes for a great topic of discussion. Thanks.
Thanks Laura. You touched on something that a few people have mentioned, it is the glamorous “comeback story”. Hey, isn’t that what Hollywood is all about, creating a story, making the characters human, then somehow having them redeem themselves. I’m sorry, that Bruce, uhh, Caitlyn Jenner story last summer was a damn joke. Our society is going down the shitter…
First off, Schadenfreude is my new favorite word, so thanks for that! I really enjoy honest posts (which is why I love your blog so much, by the way). I think it’s important to share the good and the bad, but to try and stay positive as much as possible. You guys know as well as I do that life on the road isn’t easy, but it’s the life we chose because it’s freaking awesome if you are passionate about travel, right? That being said, I can’t really relate to the whole “quite your job and travel the world” mentality… seems silly and unsustainable, and I’m never surprised that the adventure ends with cleaning toilets. At first glance, I thought that many of these types of posts were interesting because they appear to provide a reality check. I really hate all the sugar coated blogs as they are SO misleading. But the more I read the more they seemed to be a sad attempt for attention. I recently read a post where a blogger admitted that the last year of their life was miserable, despite what they were posting, and they were finally coming clean! The post didn’t make me respect the blogger for finally being honest, it made me lose respect for them for writing a year of superficial posts OR (even worse) jumping on the ‘misery loves company’ bandwagon in hopes for publicity. Ok.. my rant is over. I just have trouble understanding why it’s so hard to keep it real.
Thanks Andrea – totally agree with everything. And I also love the word Shadenfreude:)
interesting thoughts. But there are so many posts that appear in feeds these days that make it seem like quit your job and travel, write a bit about it and you can live like that forever. It’s click bait more than anything because I guess it sounds so perfect. Of course, it isn’t!
It’s a shame that the media are looking for such negative stories. I don’t travel full time but with forward planning, some savings and house sitting, it’s certainly viable for some bloggers. By the way there’s this Facebook group for bloggers aged 30 and over (I don’t have any affiliation with it)
Those kinds of stories actually don’t bother me because in my opinion, they show the other side of the candy-coated dream and the precautions that people have to take if they’re considering leaving their jobs and selling everything to live a life of full time travel. No matter how wrong and petty it is, schadenfreude is just a part of human nature. I think it takes a great deal of wisdom to make a decision regarding full time travel only after examining both sides of the coin.
Thanks Dana – my issue, as I say, is not with the actual stories but with the sensationalism by the media that makes these bloggers look like fakes and failures. I also like an honest account. But these stories also make me question if they are just fabrications…
The media’s constant negativity gets quite boring. Whether it’s about travel bloggers or anything else. Articles probably written or approved by editors whose only long journey is from their desk to the nearest bar, are becoming a waste of time.
Life has its ups and downs. Some of us like that, it humbles us when the down hits, so that we don’t get too cocky about it all. We scale the heights of reveling in ancient architecture or meeting people we never would have otherwise. All a bit like going to work on the trains in rush hour everyday, ‘cept on a larger scale 🙂
Thanks for taking time to comment Ted!
I’ve read a lot of those blog posts that you were talking about, and coupled with my friends’ comments about how I’m living the good life prompted me to write my latest post haha Long-term travel definitely isn’t the bed of roses that others portray, but I wouldn’t have it any other way…for now. Someday maybe I’ll long to go back home — cuddling with my cats, buying veggies from vendors passing by my house, chatting with neighbors. But at the moment, and in the next few months or years, no. Someday. Maybe. 😀
Thanks Aleah! When you decide you don’t want to travel full time anymore maybe you’ll want to come out with a post entitled “I quit my life of full-time travel because I miss my cat”. Maybe it’ll be picked up by CNN 🙂
I think a lot of bloggers, you guys especially, do true honest posts right. Then there’s the kind of “open and honest” posts that show the “dark side” of travel and/or blogging that just read like the usual click bait. Is “Our travel fail” becoming the next “10 things to See In…”? I certainly hope not. Great post!
Yes, it’s a fine line…
And then there are all the social media gurus who are so willing to tell us everything that’s wrong with our blog…for a price. But that’s another post for one day.
The tourism ones are doctored. You need to view the genuine ones from visitors.
Suprises can be good or bad like with your Hua Hin experience. A few videos would have saved you going.
Maybe, if they had focused on the cockroaches, rats, and dog turds everywhere – but like anything it’s easy to paint a pretty picture of everything…
A lot of news is going the way of magazines with their extremely misleading headlines – how do they get away with it? I wonder if anyone buying them actually think the headlines are truthful? My mum buys these mags and after they’ve done the rounds of the retirement village they live for a bit in our toilet (not as toilet paper because I don’t think the glossy pages flush too well). I have fun reading the cover and trying to figure out how the story actually reads inside and am getting quite good at it. I’m wondering how many times Princess Mary is going to be Queen of Denmark before she actually does get to be Queen of Denmark. It’s all a little scary and misleading. I think that the end result will be more skeptical readers who do their own research and make up their own minds.
Funny that you say that – I was flying British Airways last week and their inflight magazine was entitled something along the lines of “The rise of ugly tourism”. I was intrigued. Turns out the article was about the restoration of old, abandoned buildings. So, yes, total BS.
I agree with you. Not everyone can quit their job and be a successful full-timer, but not everyone will fail either. In one way their honesty is good, but in an other it makes other travels look bad, like liars and makes readers feel discouraged to follow their dream of travel.
Thanks Amanda, my point exactly. No problem with honesty, it’s just when they’ve been misleading people along the way – then they suddenly switch gears and use it as to create a sensationalist buzz…
With blogs and travel stories I mainly focus on pictures and videos. As the saying goes – a picture tells a 1000 words. Most of the travel blogs I’ve looked at are actually quite boring to read (this one excluded of course).
There was a famous blogger on Thailand called Stickman. He lived there for 16 years and wrote heaps of articles yet his stories seemed like made up nonsense or repetitive waffle and cliches.
I think if you want to research a holiday going to youtube and looking at videos tells you more than any words.
Youtube huh? Never thought of that. Actually, I don’t like to get too much of a visual before going somewhere, I like to be surprised. So I’ll do a lot of reading but will try avoiding seeing photos or videos.
Lately I’m really, really trying to stay positive in all this to be perfectly honest. It makes me sad how much competition there is out there, which doesn’t stem from a healthy place. It more seems mean spirited, bitter and even a little jealous. There plenty of world out there to see, I’m not sure why travel bloggers get on each other and/or sell out the whole industry just to get that (free, unpaid) Huffington Post byline! Maybe it’s Friday and maybe I just need a drink, haha. But you guys are great, I’ve really noticed. Thanks for bringing this to light!
Aww, thanks so much for the nice comment Eileen 🙂
Boy, what a storm in a teapot ! This posting looks like it will end up being your most ‘commented’ on too, Frank ?
Sorry, but I can’t get too much into it. I go along with Tom 100% . I can’t feel that the negativism out there can really affect things – or would be travellers. People (and bloggers) who REALLY like travelling, those with THE passion – whether it be slow, fast, or in between, invariably know – or quickly find out – their own pace and niche . Many may like – and might be great – doing the ‘slow’ travel thing, living a Life of Travel, although for the vast majority the financial aspect of doing so makes it an impossibility – especially for the younger set . Travellers will always find a way and method to enjoy and satisfy their travel bug. (I identify pretty much with Tom’s ‘length of trips’ options and satisfaction levels). But although that may be great for 95% of mankind, there are then the ‘professional travellers’ (to varying degrees as well). We all have to combine our Travel Dreams with the Reality and Possibilities of Life – which of course, changers and evolves over Time as well.
But you’re right Frank. There seems that in the blogging sphere – like in Life – there is a good proportion of moaners and bitchers, who no matter what, will not or cannot , help themselves with their tales of woe, bad luck, bad experiences and general negative attitude, and seem determined to spread the bad word. If they can’t enjoy the party, then they will try and destroy it . But then, who cares ? Outside of the usual ‘gaggle’ of their groupies, hangers-on, or wanna-be travellers that can’t, who gives a flying …k ?
“Real’ travellers know better , and realise that it takes a lot of time, investigating, planning and simple hard work, to arrange things in order that travelling – at whatever ‘speed’ – can be unique, enjoyable and fun to the max. Blog followers favour sites for their style, content, photos, depth etc. To learn about discoveries and experiences of bloggers that they feel they know and like.
I don’t and can’t believe that the self inflicted nay-sayers out there, with their whining and groaning, can or will , affect the audiences out there, especially those of the bona-fide blogs that fulfill such an important facet for ‘real’ travellers’.
like and they like for their positive aspects – ther style, content etc but also to learn of the fun , discovery and
The majority of my posts are aimed at the general public with travel advice/info/ and photos. This post, as Heather says, is a bit more of a rant and strikes a chord with other bloggers – that’s why you see a bit of passion coming out of some of the comments. Like any industry, bloggers know the different players, the trends, and have their own gripes. Oftentimes we keep it to ourselves. But when someone comes out with an honest piece, like Kemkem’s article, you get a lot of bloggers getting things off their chest. So it might not be your kind of post but it’s something many regular readers (some who are bloggers) identify with.
Another delicious little rant, and one that I couldn’t agree more with! Makes me feel sad that so many bloggers feel the need to sell their souls in this way, and it makes a mockery of the whole travel blog business. Or perhaps that’s precisely what the blog ‘business’ is about, and the rest of us should be happy steering well clear. Personally I blog because I love writing, and sharing, I don’t need to jump on bandwagons and become a sheep. I’d rather be the fox! And sure I have misadventures along the way, and it’s not all rosy, but since I don’t make a big thing about it (I hope) it’s all the more genuine. I also hate it when bloggers belittle those of us who are ‘only’ part-time travellers, and for not ditching everything and becoming nomads. It’s not everyone’s dream, and personally I love being able to splurge when I travel since I’ve worked my ass off for the last 5 months. It’s all about personal choice, and no-one is the same or better than anyone else. And as for all those scantily clad bikini shots and the ‘ta-dah’ arms, don’t get me started. Fake, fake fake. Anyway, great read! And it’s good to know there are still some ‘real’ full time travellers like yourselves out there!
Hi Heather. You hit it bang on in your 2nd sentence about selling souls and making a mockery of the travel blog business.
And I agree with what you say about belittling those who don’t want to be nomads. I think there’s a time and a place for everything in life: we travelled much like you did when we were younger. Now we’re older and my son has moved out – so we can do what we’ve always wanted. We’ll probably have a base at one point and no longer travel constantly. Point is that everyone goes through different stages and even those ‘nomads’ who think they know it all will eventually need a change. And when the time comes will they have the resources? Because it’s fine to say that you can ‘get by’ travelling on the cheap, but what if they one day want to settle down and have a home? There’s an ‘opportunity cost’ to our life choices that we sometimes only realize later. Anyway, I think I’m getting more on the subject of what Kemkem was writing about than the above…
So Heather, no bikini shots from you?
Oh Frank I have plenty of those shots, but like to do my readers the courtesy of believing they read my articles because they enjoy what I write and want to see the places I visit, rather than because they like looking at my tits! 🙂 At least that’s what I keep telling myself…
Yes, keep telling yourself that Heather 🙂 Just kidding, of course we love your writing.
I find it funny when tourists complain about being “scammed” when really they were only overcharged a few dollars. Some write 1000 word complaints on popular forums and then you have the overly critical hotel reviewers who give a low score cause of 1 cockroach or a piece of soap missing from the bathroom. Ive been in the reception of a cheap guesthouse and this American woman was getting really angry with staff due to lack of hot water in shower. This is despite being hot every day and night. Some people should just stay home.
You are so absolutely right. Those people need to get a life.
I don’t think you are being over critical and agree with the points in your post. For many, it’s all about publicity, be it good or bad and also about getting zillions of comments. Write about your mishaps and bad luck and you get lots of comments! And while we are on the subject, why do people write about how they have been scammed. When I’m scammed I keep it to myself! I would write more but I think it has all be said above.
Ha! I have one post on this blog about being scammed for $3000 in Bangkok way back in 2002 and it’s the most commented upon post, the reason being that it still happens ALL THE TIME. It’s a post I didn’t want to write about but I did because I thought it would help people. And it has and through it people have contributed to help others who’ve been scammed, so it’s brought people together and helped many. It’s the post I’m most proud of because of that.
But yes, the “I got scammed by a tax driver” – give me a break, nobody gives a crap if you got overcharged by $2…I know what you mean.
When there’s a lot of cash involved, I think it is the right thing to do for sure. Good on you for putting it down on paper!
While I agree there are a lot of scam artists out there “selling” travel and relocation to people who should know better, I disagree with your premise that the negative posts are bad. Quite the contrary, I consider them educational and important. As others have mentioned here, there will be failures. Moving from country to country is a challenge, and not everyone is up to it. And trying to make money while traveling is nearly impossible. I’ve lived in six countries over the past six years and have blogged about those experiences, good and bad, during that time. My audience wants to know about the challenges of living abroad; they want to know the failures so they don’t make the same mistakes if given the same opportunity. I have never made a dime from my travel blog, and actually have never tried to. My audience is too small (less than 500) and my subject matter is not about being a tourist but about actually moving to and living in another country, so the subject matter is not widely popular. But the lessons I have learned on this journey are what make my posts valuable to my audience. And without the negatives (my mistakes/failures), the reports would just be pablum.
Hi Ken – it’s actually not what I’m saying. I like ‘realistic’ posts and real experiences shouldn’t be glossed over. And as I say to Tanja (comment #1) some of the original posts were actually compelling. Then it was ‘sold’ to these outlets (Buzzfeed, HuffPost etc) and sensationalized. That’s my issue – bloggers selling out their pieces and agreeing to have it sensationalized for the sake of traffic.
I have quite a few negative posts on this blog, the reason being not all travel is wonderful. There are bound to be bad experiences. So totally agree with you there.
Thanks for taking the time to comment Ken!
If your dog dies and your gf leaves you then you either write a country song or become a travel blogger.
You’re really on a roll on this post 🙂
🙂 ! Love this..yes..he is on a roll, and l love it! Hah hah.. I was just explaining to Federico about country songs..:-)
I loved reading this post, Frank, as well as the follow-up comments. I’m pretty sure I read the same post about the single young female and I remember thinking, oh boy, she really fell hook, line and sinker for all the hype out there in cyber space and she was so not prepared for what she took on. I think she reaped what she sowed. And truthfully, it annoyed the hell out of me because it makes a joke out of the concept.
“The reason I get so upset about it is that I have a 22 year old son – and I sure as hell wouldn’t want him listening to advice from these travel bloggers selling their crappy ebooks or seminars and filling his head full of dreams that he can be the next Nomadic Matt.”
What you wrote about your son is why I don’t attend conferences such as TBEX or pay $$ to take some online course written by a blogger who claims to have all of the answers. I’ve come across way too many blogs in which that is just not the case.
We agree totally Patti! 🙂
Dee (Dee's Butterfly Garden)
This lifestyle is not for everyone and requires planning before you leave your home country. How will you secure a steady income? Do you have a job lined up before you leave? Did the ones who failed have these basic things planned out before they embarked on this adventure? I admire those who do and are successful! It takes an incredible amount of inner strength and bravery to visit a country full of people who are different from you, where you don’t know the area or the language.
Thanks Dee – yes, these are all things that should be at the top of the list when planning to travel full time. I’ve seen to many posts along the lines of “screw it, you’re young and you should live your life for today!”. In my opinion you shouldn’t be travelling full time without a serious plan…and travel blogging doesn’t count.
Travels and Tipples
I definitely agree that it’s the “no publicity is bad publicity” thing. And funny – I didn’t even notice the photo until I read Kemkem’s comment. I’m so over the beach/bikini/yoga poses that I think I’ve become immune to them. The jumping photos are even worse. What is that, anyway? But I digress. The “How I Failed” posts are the flavor du jour so bloggers are jumping on the bandwagon for exposure. I’m amazed that people encourage this because all I think about is what a phony that person was being in the first place. If I’ve been enjoying someone’s posts about what a great time they’re having traveling the world and making money, then come to find out it was all a lie and they’ve been miserable and broke the whole time, it makes me suspect of other bloggers. The other trend I’ve noticed recently is the “I’m going to share something very personal” post. It’s usually something negative as well; the person went through a breakup or had a nervous breakdown or someone they loved died etc. They seem to come in batches – one popular blogger writes a “heartfelt” personal post and the next thing you know 20 other bloggers post something similar in the following days. Also, if I see one more post about how someone found themselves while traveling I might scream. 🙂 Part of this comes from the fact that I’m about twice the age of the average blogger and I just don’t have the patience for dramatic nonsense.
Ha, another great comment. I see that I brought the hate out. Didn’t take much did it?
I agree with you on many things Patricia.
Exactly, well put! There should be a group for bloggers over a certain age. If there is one, I love to know about it.
Pardon me, I was referring to your comment ‘I’m about twice the age of the average blogger and I just don’t have the patience for dramatic nonsense’
Travels and Tipples
Oh good, I’m not alone! There are a few of us out there.
If you take a 2 week holiday every 6 months with the planning and anticipation in between providing enjoyment then 4 weeks of travel provides 12 months of fun.
You’re being serious, right? 🙂
Oh boy Frank, you really like to prod the sleeping bear don’t you??? :-). I think you hit the nail on the head with the no such thing as bad publicity unfortunately. Getting published on one of those huge websites brings them huge numbers, even if it’s just for a day or two and they feed on that. You can put that “as seen” badge on your site instantly getting street cred. You gotta love the sites like HuffPost. They do nothing, the bloggers are clamoring to get their stuff on their site for nothing while she and the rest of her cronies rake in millions. I love it. The sad part is that l see a lot of bloggers who cater to other bloggers, and not regular people. They drink the kool-aid and since misery loves company, they try and suck other people into it, be it with the blog, instagram, etc. Just like in life, only a few people will be successful. I do hate the fact that they unfortunately have young kids believing that traditional work is bad, and one must quit and travel and fill my mother*******g screen with bikini shots and yoga poses like the one above. Haha.. I am guessing no man cares what the article states. I will say it again, hard work is where it’s at. I read a blog where this woman has been freelancing for seven years, barely making ends meet, but she loved not working the traditional way. She always got encouragement from others, and l did encourage her too while also trying to hammer home the fact that a regular job is not so bad. She tried to do a ‘fund me’ thingie for her passion, and amazingly all the “encouragers” ponied up a total of like 50 bucks in 3 months! I am so glad she had the balls to take a great job and start funding her retirement. Great article Frank, l hope the right people read it and learn..wishful thinking maybe..but l can hope:-). We are in the Maldives right now..slow internet..unless l want to pay through the nose for fast speed…mmmm…no :-).
Ha! As the “connaisseur of fine rump” I thought you’d enjoy that bikini photo Kemkem. Yeah, I’m building up to that post so beware bloggers who do yoga poses or flash boobs/butt in every 2nd photo – tons of porn on the internet, a bit of skin won’t get me to read your blog 🙂
Seriously though, interesting what you say about Huffington Post, you seem to know more about them then I do. The only thing I see is that they are quasi-news, with some serious content but also the usual titilation (love saying that word) and sensationalism. What gets me are all the other similar sites that never stop asking me to contribute content. They build whole sites off bloggers contributions that they don’t pay for…but they’ll always fill their pages, people always looking for “exposure”. I usually find though that unless there’s a hook people never actually click on the links of the contributor. Anyway, that’s a whole other post. The whole blogger circle-jerk thing is as well.
Enjoy the Maldives Kemkem! Internet sounds the same as in South Africa.
We have found that the spirited posts that folks write like this are always the best! Honest, thought provoking and real! I have a few comments on this. In our own personal life, we have found that posts that focus on our negative experiences draw more attention and engagement. We believe people don’t like to see us living our dream life of freedom, being happy. They prefer to see us fail. We share a post about what a great experience we had? Two likes. We had a major bug infestation in our apartment? 20 likes? Maybe it’s jealousy? Maybe its easier to relate? I have even seen a fairly successful female travel blogger try to buy in on her seemingly over abundant number of travel mistakes (which now we find are exaggerative and phony) because she too, has realized that this is her marketing niche. Also, I appreciated your thoughts (and your friend’s post) about phony travel bloggers selling this “Travel Longer Cheaper” scam. If you dive deeper and pay attention, much of their travel is either sponsored, grossly falsely represented, or fake. There’s a famous “guru” of travel who has a guide for a location he hasn’t even visited. Thank you for letting me rant. Great post.
Great! So true and you are right. Negative posts DO get more attention, I’ve seen that on the blog too. But there’s a line between keeping it honest and being controversial for the sake of being controversial. I think I know which successful travel blogger you’re talking about 🙂 And yes, totally agree that people want to see you fail…and that’s why I wrote this post. I’ve seen a few blogs that never get comments and suddenly there’s a post on them having lost their life savings on a scheme or going broke travelling and they get a bunch of comments from people pouring on the “I’m so sorry” crap.
I think it’s human nature – and leave it to the Germans to come up with a word for it.
Nawijn found that not all trips are created the same, especially when it comes to length of trip. Nawijn studied trips of differing durations, including seven-day trips, trips of eight to 13 days, and trips of longer than 14 days. In somewhat simplified terms, here is what he found:
– Trips of eight to 13 days are ideal, with happiness climbing by day two, and remaining high almost until the end of the trip
– Trips of seven days or less tend to start off “happy,” then decline slightly through the end of the trip
– Trips of 14 days or more actually seem to show a decline in happiness in the early going, then a steady climb at the beginning of the second week
So it seems that there is a sweet spot for vacation trip duration; anything less than seven days doesn’t allow travelers to sink into their trip deeply enough before they have to start thinking about going home, and trips of more than 14 days seem to require so much effort in the early going that it takes a bit of the fun out of things. In the end, it would seem that a relaxing vacation of eight to 13 days is your best call
Never hear of that before but found the link of what you are talking about. Interesting!
The Guardian is pro lefty. BBC is pc gibberish. CNN is repetitive scare mongering and boring.
I think most intelligent people form their own views and don’t follow the opinions of journos that closely. You can speed read the key points and skip the crap.
I go to Realclearworld for my news – it’ll dig up the best news articles from around the world on any given day so you don’t have to filter the crap from the good stuff. Anyway, we’re getting a little off topic…
Thanks for your comments Tom!
Frank, the quality of journalism on the internet is no better than newspapers. It’s all about headline grabing and getting under people’s skin. No one will read a 100% truthful boring story.
Well, I agree with you to a certain degree. I’m a big news reader and I enjoy real news so you’ve still got The Guardian, BBC, New York Times etc..But there’s too much of this ‘sensationalist’ journalism now and I even see it on the Globe and Mail (Canada’s main newspaper). It’s called the dumbing down of people…or were people always dumb and we’re just catering to them more?
Tanja, I seriously doubt many full time travellers are selling everything to travel. More likely they rent out their house and live off that. A lot of people are doing this house swapping caper now. So they get a big base overseas with a car rather that a small apartment.
The travellers selling everything are the 21yos with little to sell.
How did you know I work at McDonalds? Hahaha
I’m sure heaps of travel bloggers have failed, just like heaps of “pro” gamblers fail.
Travelling full time off a high risk internet start up is unlikely to work out. Travelling full time off substantial assets that produce income ie property and shares is very doable with proper planning. Most of the ones who fail simply do not have any substantial assets that produce adequate income and are young dreamers with stars in their eyes. Fit 50yos like you guys who plan and budget can do it for sure.
I think Kemkem’s article was excellent in covering that. The reason I get so upset about it is that I have a 22 year old son – and I sure as hell wouldn’t want him listening to advice from these travel bloggers selling their crappy ebooks or seminars and filling his head full of dreams that he can be the next Nomadic Matt. He’s in university trying to get an education. And if done right he’ll have his own chances to travel in the future (which doesn’t stop him from travelling now – he backpacked around Europe last summer).
Thanks for your input Tom.
Tanja (the Red phone box travels)
Well, I think that as with everything else in life, not everyone’s cut out to do everything, however unpopular that might be.Full-time travel might seem glamorous from the outside but I’m sure it has its own problems. So, some people can do that great while others would find it very tiring and in the end unfulfilling too. Personally, the idea to quit your job and sell everything in order to travel might seem appealing but I know that it’s not for everyone(including me) and that only a few can actually pull it off . There’s nothing wrong with working and travelling occasionally, we shouldn’t want something because others are doing it, we should only do it if it’s really what we want. As far as shaming goes, it’s just a side-product of social media, and unfortunately it’s become a norm. It’s not nice but then again maybe it’s good that there are stories from people who have failed at something too, because it makes the whole thing much more realistic.
Thanks for taking the time to comment Tanja.
A couple of points:
1) you’re right, full-time travel not for everyone. We slow travel and really that’s more like ‘living’ in different places for a while. Honestly, we can’t do the continuous, ‘fast travel’ thing anymore, it’s exhausting. We had a 2 week stretch last summer where we had to haul all our stuff from Split, Croatia up to Venice with numerous stops on the way. By the end of the 2 weeks I think we were fed up with each other, travelling that way takes its toll. So yes, totally agree.
2) As far as these stories go: I actually went to the stories, read them, and went to the links. In a few of the cases the original stories are actually well written and compelling. Then you see the version in the major Media outlets where the headline has been spiced up and the story abridged to change the tone. It’s not the message for me, it’s the way the posts were tailored to appeal to the haters. In the end, whatever was published had to be ok’ed by the bloggers in question. In the case of the one covered by Buzzfeed, I’ve seen it in at least 3 other Media outlets (including CBC and Business Insider) with varying degrees of sensationalism thrown in. The Buzzfeed version is the worst, the story doesn’t even make sense – they actually left their jobs to travel on a limited budget and to volunteer around the world. They’re not cleaning toilets to “scrounge for money”. Again though, they’ve been made to look like fakes and failures. Why did they sign off on that if not for the publicity?