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Life of a travel blogger: 10 things that I do when I do not travel

by Flitter Fever
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Being a travel addict means my life revolves around my passion for travel. Before COVID-19 hit Europe, I traveled about every month. However, since I do not travel fulltime, you may wonder what else I do? Yeah, I have a house with a garden, friends, family, go to the gym, do laundry… Almost sounds like a normal person, right? Honestly, as a travel blogger I cannot get bored. Packing, unpacking, writing… never a dull moment! A glimpse of the life of a travel blogger and addict.

Travel blogging sometimes feels like a bottomless well
Travel blogging sometimes feels like a bottomless well but I love it!

1: Make money to travel

First of all: as a self-made women, I work hard to make money to travel. I have a fulltime, high demanding job as a marketing manager. That six-figure income does not happen all by itself, you know. Work hard, enjoy the travel harder is my motto. This is not a 9-to-5 job, it requires focus and dedication. Which is not always easy to combine with blogging I must say, but I can manage. My job is #1, blogging comes next. Luckily I work in animal health; I love animals, so that’s awesome.

Although I love my job, I work to live, not only to work. To travel is to live. When COVID-19 hit Europe, I started to notice how much money I have left when I cannot travel for a while LOL Travel experiences are worth every penny though. Travel memories cannot be expressed with money. I worked hard for where I am, realize that I am in a privileged position, being able to travel this much.

Whenever not working, travel is always on my mind.

In my previous job I traveled for business almost every week. That was fun for a while, but also stressful and tiring. At one point I was no longer in the mood to step on another airplane anymore; on Monday morning for work, or travel for leisure, to go on an extensive roundtrip with my boyfriend for example. That’s when I knew I had to switch jobs. With my current job I do not travel that many times for work anymore, maybe like 3-4 times abroad per year, but that’s OK. Instead of flying home on Thursday evening and having to do the household and keep up my social contacts during the weekends, I now have more free evenings and weekends to spend on my hobby: blogging. Pros and cons!

Yellow rapeseed field in eastern Czech Republic
Yellow rapeseed field on a business trip in Czech Republic
Traveling business class with Emirates Airlines
Traveling business class with Emirates Airlines

2: Write travel blogs

Writing new articles is me-time, quality time with me, myself & I. Whenever I cannot blog for a while, I start to get cranky. The to-do list is long, perhaps a never ending story. But I love it. As a teenager, I wanted to become a journalist. Nowadays sometimes I fantasize about becoming a writer one day, but it seems like a quite solitary profession and a precarious existence. Oh well, who knows one day? For now I am totally fine with writing travel blogs as a hobby. I will just always run behind schedule in combination with this much traveling, since each article easily takes a few days to write. Nevertheless, I aim to post a new article every week.

Having a travel blog does not only mean writing alone, there is much more to it than that. First of all I process experiences and tips into articles, which I share on my website with readers like you. Additionally, there is the maintenance of my website such as updating existing content and plugins, improve and try new things (including Pinterest), being active on social media on a daily basis, find new partners for affiliate marketing, etc. This easily takes a few hours a day, up to whole weekends, especially when the boyfriend is out hehe. I have got a list of at least a hundred articles to write. Travel is an inexhaustible source of writing inspiration for me.

Writing is a time-consuming yet fun hobby
Writing is a time-consuming yet fun hobby
Transavia
Transavia is one of my affiliate partners

3: Process photos

As a travel blogger I like making photos, to complete the stories to tell. Sometimes I regret not taking a photo because I did not dare to ask. A photo can say more than a thousand words, right? On a 2 to 3-weeks holiday I easily make 6K+ photos, a long weekend away 800+. All of these photos must be organized in folders and processed for articles. Selecting and preparing photos for an article easily takes a few hours. Photos play an important role in the life of a travel blogger.

Making photo albums of my travels is also something that I enjoy. I have dozens of them in my bookcase at home. Of trips to Cuba, Italy, USA, Africa, Vietnam, Ireland, etc. Photo albums are fun for both myself, it brings out the creativity in me and simply to cherish great travel memories, and also to show to friends a family. Unfortunately I have not been able to make a new photo album in the last few years. Making a photo album usually costs tons of time. Currently I prioritize processing photos for my website over making new photo albums. Also, printing quality often disappointed.

Which travel blogger has a private driver
Which travel blogger has a private driver?!
Taking photos at Diamond Beach, Iceland
Taking photos at Diamond Beach, Iceland

5: Prepare upcoming trip

Experienced taught me that preparing a trip well, really benefits my travel experience in a good way. Preparing does not mean I will have to do everything during the trip according to a strict scheme, but at least I know what there is to do and see, so that I can spend my time there as efficient as possible. I do not have a standard preparation list because it depends per type of trip and destination, but I do work out most trips (longer than a few days) in Excel.

Despite the travel experience that I have, and the evenings and weekends that I spend on preparing each trip, there is always a lot to do last-minute. For sure there is always packing involved, making sure all laundry is done, setting up a map in My Google Maps with points of interest, checking and booking tours, checking in for the flight, etc. Not rarely also shopping new clothes and travel stuff, in case of a road trip setting up a new playlist and downloading an offline map on my smartphone, download apps that I expect to use there such as Uber for a city trip and/or an airline specific app, arranging visa if required, continent specific banking settings, etc.

Packing your bags for your next trip
Packing your bags for your next trip
Dutch passport and Korean Air flight ticket
Get ready to fly

4: Make future travel plans

Nothing more depressing than coming home from a trip and not having another trip ahead. I love having at least one, if possible multiple, trips to look forward to. Since I have such a busy job, I really have to plan my travels in advance, otherwise I would never be able to go. Not kidding, last December I was planning my travels for the entire year already, at least five different trips. Puzzling around with my vacation days, how to spend them in the smartest way, to travel as much as possible.

Since several years I have been keeping an archive with notes of potential destinations that I would like to visit one day. So whenever an opportunity comes around, I have already a list available of things I would like to see/do and can consider for that particular destination. When I have a certain destination and timing in mind, I see whether I can arrange a travel buddy that would like to join, or make a solo trip out of it.

Once the travel plan becomes more concrete, I start checking possibilities and prices for accommodation and transportation like flights and rental car and/or ask my travel advisor for help, submit a holiday request with my manager, set up the first map and the first potential schedule in Excel including cost estimate, etc. Let the travel preparation fun begin!

Papua New Guinea is on my bucketlist
Papua New Guinea is on my bucketlist (photo credits Trevor Cole)
Making new travel plans
Making new travel plans (photo credits Chris Lawton)

6: Travel blogger network

When you have a common passion, it’s easy to connect. I cannot say I am friends with every travel blogger, nor that all of my friends are or have to be a travel addict as well. But I do have friends who are also travel blogger, like my friend Elizabeth, who I recently interviewed about her life as a fellow travel addict before, during and after the Corona crisis. When two people both have a passion for travel, you somehow understand each other better, do not need to explain or even defend yourself. Talk jauntily about each other’s bucket list and travel plans. Ideally with a similar travel style or preferences – when friends become travel buddies!

In a certain age category, especially as a women, you may start to notice a distinction in the people you are friends with. Friends with children and friends without children. The friends with children often cannot travel as much as a travel addict would like to. Some travel addicts will accept that, have kids and adjust their travel plans within the circumstances given. For example travel during school holidays and pick destinations that are also fun for the kids. Fortunately some of my friends with children can still join me on a trip once and while, which is great. Having friends without children with a passion for travel simply makes it easier to meet up and potentially unify travel plans.

In the meantime, I am a member of certain Facebook travel blogger groups, are connected on Instagram with other travel bloggers, try to visit the annual Dutch blogger event Blogger by Nature… In the world of travel blogging and SEO, collaboration with other travel bloggers, or actually website owners, has become very important. Travel bloggers swap links, agreeing on ‘blog post trains’, meaning that three people agree to link to each other’s online articles (A-B-C-A). To be honest this is something I did not pay attention to until quite recently. And sometimes this makes me feel like elementary school all over again. But yeah, collaboration and setting up a network can be fun and useful, so I am working on that. Let’s see what it will bring.

Elisa and Elizabeth at the Hommage to Gaudi (Prinsenhof Delft)
With Elizabeth at the Hommage to Gaudi (Prinsenhof Delft)
With Naomi Louwerens of Authentic Chica at Blogger by Nature
With Naomi of Authentic Chica at Blogger by Nature

7: Travel series & books

Although my laptop has become an indispensable buddy of mine, it would not be healthy to sit behind it 24/7. So what else do I do in my spare time? Watching travel series on TV of course! Like the Dutch TV series with Ruben Terlou in China. Earlier I wrote the article Travel series to watch. Recently I started watching Sergio & Axel: Van de kaart (NPO3), a seven-part series in which a Dutch top chef and Belgian actor embark on a culinary journey to Thailand, Japan, India, Mexico, Lebanon and Norway. In addition, I like watching good detective series and reading detective books.

I also like reading travel books, although it’s been awhile since I read a good one to be honest. Travel guides do not really count as a travel book, right? The last book I bought is this huge photo book by Jimmy Nelson called Homage to Humanity. Jimmy is one of the three world-class travel photographers that inspire me to travel. And of course I follow my favorite professional travel photographers on social media like Instagram.

Ruben Terlou Chinese man
Langs de oevers van de Yangtze © Ruben Terlou
Jimmy Nelson Homage to Humanity
Homage to Humanity by Jimmy Nelson on my garden table

8: Eat foreign food

The fact that the Dutch kitchen is not the most outstanding, sophisticated kitchen definitely contributes to my desire for international food. Mexican, Italian, Thai, Japanese… In many cases I give it my own little Dutch twist. I must say that when you have ever tasted the really good food in a foreign country itself, it only makes the desire to relive that tasty moment bigger. Bringing new flavors home is gold. My friend who has her own restaurant bought some spices on the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv for her chef to

I love inviting friends or family over to our house and being able to show off my latest kitchen skills. It would be a shame if I’d never put those cooking classes in Thailand, Tuscany, Tel Aviv, etc. to work at home, right? My friends are still glad I learned how to make tiramisu myself at Agriturismo Fattoria Poggio Alloro.

When I am not in the mood to stand in the kitchen myself, we like going out for dinner. It was actually an interesting experience when we were in Thailand, several times we concluded that our favorite Thai restaurant in Alkmaar makes that particular dish even better LOL Afterwards I like writing reviews on restaurants and hotels on Tripadvisor. Good places deserve compliments.

Thai Cooking Class in Koh Chang at Napalai with chef teacher Bunny
Thai Cooking Class at Napalai with Bunny in Koh Chang
Learn how to make your own tiramisu at Fattoria Poggio Alloro
Learn how to make your own tiramisu at Fattoria Poggio Alloro

9: Drink souvenir wine

Fridge magnets, yeah OK, but don’t you just love getting yourself a useful souvenir that is actually useful? Or drinkable? Since I love visiting wineries and wine tasting, I usually end up buying some bottles at the end. If there is an affordable transportation method homewards. Like that time when we went wine tasting on Crete and Tom brought home the purchased bottles on his ship. Or when driving back home with dozens of wine bottles in the trunk that we bought at wineries in the Black Forest in Germany or Croatia. Agriturismo Fattoria Poggio Alloro in Tuscany has a great home delivery option (within Europe) in case you decide to purchase a bunch of their wine bottles.

It’s delightful to relive your holidays by tasting that delicious wine at home with friends or family. Preferably in my own backyard, where I grow purple wisteria that remind me of Japan and pink Bougainvillea that remind me of Santorini. Of course this liquid souvenir idea can be expanded with other types of regional drinks like Limoncello, or olive oil for example.

Croatian wines of Rizman Estate
Croatian wines of Rizman Estate
Saint Clair Blenheim winetasting
Wine tasting at Saint Clair, Blenheim, New Zealand

10: Enjoy local nature & cities

Whenever the weather cooperates, I like going out for a walk in the forest, or riding our bikes to the nearest beach. This was also something I did before COVID-19, but when you are stuck to your own area for a while, I guess it makes you appreciate the nature around you even more. And once we could travel within The Netherlands again, we went to Drenthe, South Limburg, Enkhuizen and Delft. Lovely places within my own country that I really enjoyed visiting recently. And a lot cheaper than traveling abroad!

Scottish Highlander in Drenthe
Scottish Highlander in Drenthe
Corn field, cycle path and chapel in Rijckholt South Limburg Netherlands
Cycling between the corn fields in South Limburg

So yeah, when not working, my mind is mostly occupied with one topic: travel. This article should give you an honest and open impression of the life of a travel blogger. Are you addicted to travel as well? What comes to your mind when reading this article? Anything in this article that surprised you? Please feel free to leave a comment or question below.

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