It’s probably been just about a year since I started this blog. But recently in the last few months now that we’re actually on our trip it’s all been kicking off. My monthly views have shot up from just 81 in January all the way to 2,152 by the end of April. It’s been a big jump and it’s been an even bigger learning curve.
By no means is it over, the last few months have been defined by working on my blog almost every day. I’ve downloaded courses about SEO to read on buses. I’ve spent hours trying to design graphics, I’ve been trying to monetise my blog (the travel budget is virtually gone, oops) and of course while I’ve been writing I’ve been trying to find my niche. My voice if you will.
It’s definitely not easy. I know roughly that I want to promote responsible travel. But I know I’m not really any kind of authority on it. I’m just the average traveller. But I’m trying to look into things more and I hope that my blog posts, while inspiring people to travel will also encourage them to travel in a way that doesn’t hurt communities. By no means have I perfected that. Nothing close.
So yesterday, I got a comment on a post. A comment that was pretty damn harsh. The person, whose real name was not included called me a hypocrite. They told me that I was a hypocrite for speaking out against over-touristy places like the Thai floating markets but then advertising small off the beaten track locations untouched by tourism. They told me that ‘if you write they will come’ and basically blamed me and a lot of other bloggers for doing a lot more harm than the average backpacker by increasing the crowds in these places.
Initially I was angry. I felt like they had completely misunderstood me and my blog. I had maybe been harsh with my phrasing and headers in my post about the Thai floating markets. But although I wrote a blog post about somewhere remote and untouched, that post didn’t give people any information on how to get there. It was a personal post that told a story. Those two posts together were out of context in my eyes.
But maybe they were right
Maybe my blog is holding some mixed messages. Maybe I do need to be a lot more mindful about the message I put across. It’s all very well being socially responsible but then causing even more problems. Now I really don’t think I have the readership capable of that but they still have a point.
When you write anything on the internet you open yourself up to criticism. You can open up discussion, where people may disagree. You have to be careful how you word stuff. Because people won’t always understand your intention. Words are easy to misinterpret on both sides. If my blog is going to have a purpose then it needs to be consistent. Your message needs to underpin everything you do.
Putting yourself out there is scary
I am a sensitive soul. I don’t like confrontation, particularly over the internet where it’s so easy to get carried away. But it’s a reality of blogging. If you write about anything where there are strong opinions and people passionate about a cause it’s very likely you are going to encounter some kind of criticism sooner or later. Any maybe these people won’t mince their words. I guess my skin will just have to get thicker.
Keep on going
I’m not going to let that person stop me. Maybe they think I am doing more harm than good. But after all the time, headaches and money I’ve invested into this site I just can’t give it up. I’m going to keep their comments in mind. It’s important to remember your point and your message. And I don’t think that travel bloggers as a whole are a bad breed. A lot more people are travelling and if I can encourage some of them, through my blog, to try to think about how they can travel more responsibly then that’s a good thing in my eyes.
I am only one person running this site. I don’t have the copy editors and the proof readers that big travel magazines have. I don’t have those buffers to tell me that something might me interpreted wrongly. I am new to writing and I am bound to get it wrong sometimes. Even so I like to think I can admit when I am. I don’t think I’m so perfect that I never make mistakes. But hopefully I’ll learn with some time and practice.
Forgive me if I get it wrong sometimes. In the end we’re all human. And I’m just trying to find my feet here.