Around this time 10 years ago I hit publish on my very first travel blog post. It, and several others, had been in drafts for months, patiently waiting until they were good enough (or I was confident enough) to push them out to the world.
A lot has changed since then. I was working as an English teacher in Singapore at the time, and thanks to a scheduling quirk I had 10-15 hours of free time a week (as long as I spent it at school). For the first year I mainly slept and discussed, at great length, the ups and downs of my and my workmate’s Fantasy Premier League teams.
Somewhere along the line I figured I should do something productive. I was reading a lot of travel blogs at the time, in preparation for a world trip. Nomadic Matt, Wandering Earl and the like made writing about travel seem easy, and I began to dream of a life that wasn’t tied down to a 40-hour work week.
Six months later I finished my contract (I was pushed out a couple of months early due to not wanting to extend — frustrating at the time!) and set off to China, Malaysia and Indonesia while my girlfriend (now wife) finished up her job in Singapore. We then travelled for close to two years, a world trip I’d dreamed about since I was a kid.
It was everything I wanted it to be and more. Freedom was the biggest factor — waking up each day and deciding what it is you truly want to do and then doing it. Of course, it wasn’t always like that. Long bus rides, early morning flights and constant packing and unpacking weren’t fun, but everything in life has a downside, even indefinite travel.
This travel blog was helpful during that trip. We got a few hotels and tours paid for and the occasional bit of money, but it wasn’t until we moved to New Zealand at the end of 2016 that it became my job. There was a press trip to Indonesia, which made me realise I don’t like press trips (not ones with so many people and so little control of what you do and where you go at least) and a little bit more money through ads and affiliates. There were trips abroad in 2018 and 2019 with plenty more planned.
I also started another site (seethesouthisland.com) which focuses on New Zealand’s South Island. It was a good excuse to get out there and see the island I grew up on from the perspective of a tourist. What I found surprised me — there’s world class nature in every corner of this island, with thousands of free walking trails to explore. I’ve come to see it as the most beautiful island on Earth and it has been a pleasure helping locals and tourists alike get to know it better.
So, everything was going well up until February 2020. We had a three-month Europe trip booked and the blogs were finally providing a full-time income (not a very high one though). That all dissolved in a matter of weeks, only bouncing back towards the end of 2022. It was shocking at the time but we got through it — having a wife with a good job helped! I put more of my energy into my South Island travels (plus lots of golf) and tried to stay positive about when the New Zealand border would reopen (it didn’t for more than two years).
A year later and things are good. This blog didn’t fully bounce back but the other one picked up the slack. We bought a house in 2021 and recently had a baby. You might think that’d encourage me to get a proper job but it’s the opposite — I’m more motivated than ever to keep this travel blogging dream alive as it allows me to spend heaps of time with my little one. We’ve got big travel plans for the years ahead and I can’t wait to show him the world one trip at a time.
Thanks for all the support and here’s to another 10 years (hopefully a lot more than that!).
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