Exactly five years ago I started this blog. Five years… my goodness has it been that long?
First it was a legal blog, but when that career path got derailed, then it became about… nothing. Then it morphed into a series of online screeds about internet dating sites and how their creators needed to be exterminated from existence for unleashing such a vile plague onto the world.
But then I focused on… errr…. writing more rants on internet dating sites.
Yeah, it seemed like the well was pretty much dry. I kept rehashing the same complaints over and over again, and just had nothing new to say anymore. I thought many times about just deleting this blog altogether and moving on, because the hard truth was, my life, and thus my blog was going around in circles.
But then somewhere along the way, I decided to take a nice long trip to upstate New York after a very lengthy vacationing hiatus. And eventually a seed was planted in my head: why not blog about traveling?
Not too long after that trip, I eventually bought a GPS, discovered the joys (and horrors) of geocaching, and before I knew it, I had something new to write about again.
The more I focused on the traveling niche, the more I liked the idea of being a travel blogger. Ever since I gave up on pursuing a legal career, my dream evolved into a desire to earn a living through the Internet, whether as a blogger or by some other means. I wanted the freedom to move and live anywhere, the freedom of not having a boss or group of co-workers who dragged me down. Being a travel blogger seemed like a good fit to achieving that dream.
But could I pull that off? Eh.
I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I would be doomed to fail, just like I’ve failed at everything else in life. Indeed, Mashable.com had just celebrated their own blogging anniversary a few days before me. They only started their site a year earlier than I did, and they are now a multi-million dollar enterprise. In my case, I grinded away on this blog for 5 years, trying to brainstorm ways to rake in traffic, develop an income and ultimately achieve my dream. And after 5 years, I have nothing to show for my efforts. At one point though I thought I was making progress, as my site was gaining almost $600 of revenue a month during its high point, money I was able to set aside to fund more traveling adventures. But then Google inexplicably reduced my ranking and my traffic, effectively erasing 3 years of the progress I was making. Now I only make $200 a month in revenue if I’m lucky. Definitely can’t quit my deadend job now.
Do I give up? I want to, but it would be stupid to abandon a blog that’s still making me money. Plus a friend of mine is convinced I may be on the precipice of something huge, especially after the year I’ve had, and that I definitely should NOT give up now.
Indeed, I have traveled a lot for the past year, more than I’ve ever traveled in decades. Before all this I hadn’t flown on a plane in literally 20 years, but in the past 10 months alone I’ve already flown 4 times, driven over 6,000 miles, and visited nearly half the states in the U.S. It has been a banner year so far, and during that time I’ve attended conferences such as BlogWorld and SXSW, worked with several sponsors who provided me free products, paid me good money, even funded some of my trips, and am now taking a travel writing seminar to improve my skills even more.
I may also wind up being a featured columnist for a company blog this fall, which could open doors to even more opportunities. As the summer winds down, I’m getting myself ready for that possibility too. I’ve been busy behind the scenes just trying to prepare myself and practice for the potential life of becoming a freelance writer, including forcing myself to research the best notetaking tools, experimenting with and reviewing iPhone apps related to the travel niche, improving my photographic skills both on my camera and on the iPhone, and finally, developing a database of newsfeeds that can inform me with relevant news around the industry without overwhelming me with too much info.
It’s been a lot of work, but I hope, truly hope, that someday, it will all come to fruition.
And if not, well, I do have that trip to the Rocky Mountains to look forward to. :-)