Being able to travel extensively is a dream for many people, and it seems all the more appealing if your life is determined more by factors you can’t really control. Your boss is in a foul mood most mornings when you get in to work? Your neighbours whisper behind your back because your lawn doesn’t meet the standards of the neighbourhood? All your friends talk about is who will get a divorce next and who just bought a bigger car although he can’t really afford it?
The idea to get away from it all and to be able to set your own time tables and priorities just seems the more appealing, the less control about the factors that determine your life you have. But few of us can afford to travel for months or years…
And if you make money writing to live off while you are traveling? The solution to your dilemma, a dream come true? Yes and no.
I have been traveling South America for some years, researching and writing travel guides. It was without any doubt the most exciting time of my life. Since I was traveling by myself it as easy to get to know new people and I am still in contact with some travelers from all over the world. I even met my husband on this trip and consequently came to live with him in Spain. I learned a lot of useful things, like not letting myself getting impressed by South American Machismo, standing up for myself, overcoming fears – in short: this trip changed my life in more than one way.
But there were downsides as well. You have to be able to motivate yourself, if you really want to make a living while you travel. There won’t be a boss to tell you every minute of the day what you have to do. That is nice, of course, but you will still have to get things done, so you better get yourself organized. And you have to be prepared to put in more than the eight hours daily you would do at your job at home. As with anything you’ll do freelancing you have to be willing to work hard – that’s not really a problem though, because you will be doing something you love! At least, that’s how it was for me.
I was traveling South America when using the Internet for most people meant writing emails. So every once in a while, when I was in a bigger city I found a place where you could use the Internet (for an exorbitant price usually) and wrote some emails to my family and friends. I didn’t even know how to send an attachment, I mailed the discs with my texts via air mail to my publisher…
Since then things have changed a bit and the Internet has made the life of a travel writer a lot easier You don’t have to have an editorial anymore, you can just publish your travel diary as a blog or at your website. If you want to make money with your texts though they have to stand out from the thousands of thousands of “have been there, have seen this, the weather is awesome, people are really nice” kind of travel blogs. You have to find your unique voice and you have to see the story behind the sight. ” It was so wonderful that I can’t really describe it” won’t do. You have to be funny, or philosophical, or a great story teller, or best of all, a little bit of all. It is your very personal voice and your outlook on the things you encounter, that will motivate readers to come back for more. In short: you have to find your audience. Don’t get me wrong: you don’t have to be a Bruce Chatwin or a Bill Bryson to be successful as a travel blogger, but you have to find you voice.
And how do I make money from this? There are different possibilities to earn money form a travel blog: Affiliate programs, AdSense and the likes, advertising… In order to make money from your travel blog you have to treat it like a business. If you are new to blogging for money it won’t hurt if you learn the basics. As in any business there are things you should know, technical stuff like setting up your blog, things like how to get the traffic, and, very important of course, how to make money with your blog.