So you saw yesterday’s post explaining that I’m quitting travel blogging.
I’m sure you got to the end of that post and felt a little confused. I explained that I still love travelling and I still love blogging but I feel like a one-trick pony talking about travel all the time. I’m like a broken record and after 11 years as a travel blogger…I’m done.
I feel like I’ve achieved everything I wanted to achieve as a travel blogger.
I’ve visited the most incredible destinations and had experiences I hadn’t even dreamt of! I’ve jetted around the world, stayed in some of the world’s best hotels and met so many amazing people. My blog has grown and grown and provided a stable income for my family. I’ve created my own luggage, employed others, trained other bloggers and written words that have inspired others to do the same.
I’ve done everything I wanted to do and more.
But what do you do when you’ve achieved your dreams?
Well, I can tell you…
You plod along for a couple of years feeling so proud and grateful and with a constant spring in your step because this really is the dream. But there’s always a nagging in the back of your mind, it’s a little voice saying, ‘What now? What’s next? You can’t plod along like this forever. You’re not a pony, you weren’t born to plod.’
And then you realise that reaching your goal isn’t the fun part. The fun part is the journey getting there. It’s the hard work and the late nights, the striving, the learning, the failing, the trying harder and trying again. That’s the fun bit.
Once you get there, you lose a little bit of the spark that drove you there in the first place. And that’s exactly what happened with travel blogging.
Once I achieved all the improbable goals I was striving for….I kind of lost interest. I didn’t feel like I needed to give it 110% anymore. I stopped pitching for work because I had too much work as it was. I stopped reviewing products because I already had every travel related product you could dream of. I stopped attending events because I’d already been to a billion travel expos and they were all the same.
Basically…I lost my passion for it.
In my recent newsletter, I compared it to climbing a mountain. The climb is so much fun, it’s hard work and it’s gritty and sweaty but you get your head down and aim for the top. Then when you get to the top you snap a quick selfie, admire the view and come back down. And that’s that.
That’s how I’ve felt about travel blogging. I’d taken my selfie, admired the view and I was half way back down the mountain when I had a wobble and thought, ‘Holy shit, I’m not sure I want to come back down yet.’ But once you’ve started coming down it’s really hard to turn around and go back up. You’re tired. You’re hungry. Quite simply, you can’t be arsed.
It’s not that I can’t be arsed to be a travel blogger, that’s simplifying it way too much. It’s more that I’d conquered that mountain and now I’m ready for a new challenge.
When I realised I didn’t want to be a travel blogger anymore I had a total identity crisis. Who was I if I wasn’t a travel blogger!?
And then after my identity crisis I had a financial crisis. What the hell was I going to do for work if I wasn’t a travel blogger!?
I couldn’t imagine going back to the corporate 9-5 world and I actually still enjoyed travel blogging, I just didn’t love it with every cell in my body and I’m the kind of person that wants to love everything with all of my energy. If I’m going to do something, I want to be so passionate about it that I give it everything I’ve got. Life is too short to work on things you don’t totally love.
So for a few years I continued to plod along, waiting for ‘something I love’ to jump out at me. I was looking for a ‘passion project’, something I could make a career out of, but something that would also fill me with happy tingles. Something that made me so excited I would happily stay up until midnight each night to work on it.
I didn’t know what it was but I knew it was out there. I knew it would find me eventually so I continued to wait. It would come when it was ready….
Yes, when it’s ready…..
It’s not coming….
After 2-3 years I realised my passion project wasn’t going to jump out and bite me on the arse, I needed to go and find it, I just had no idea where to look.
Around the time I had this realisation, I was chatting online to Elizabeth Dhokia. Elizabeth is an old friend and is one of the original bloggers. She started blogging over 10 years ago and we’ve worked together on lots of projects. I knew I could tell her my woes about travel blogging and how I loved it but I’d lost my passion for it and was struggling to keep working without the passion I’d always relied on to motivate me to move forward. Elizabeth is also the kind of person who likes a new project and likes to work on things she really loves. She’s also a very good listener so I knew she’d listen and understand.
‘It sounds like you need a life coach!’ she told me.
I think I replied with a laughing emoji because, haha, I’d never have a life coach! But I sort of knew this was true but also didn’t really know what a life coach was. I was also far too proud to get a life coach (whatever it was they did!) because it somehow felt like I’d failed if I couldn’t figure things out for myself.
I didn’t really know the difference between a life coach and a therapist and I knew it wasn’t a therapist I needed right now.
I’ve also noticed that a lot of people who have a life coach will suddenly pop up six months later and they’ll be life coaches themselves. It’s like life coaches are just training up an army of more life coaches.
But I had seen a lot of people online who had worked with life coaches and then they suddenly reappeared as though they’d been reborn. They came with a new sense of purpose and a new direction with their businesses and that’s what I wanted.
Well I really just wanted someone to tell me what to do. It can be tough when you work for yourself and you’re alone in making every single business decision. Sometimes I don’t want the pressure of making all the decisions, I just want someone to tell me the best thing to do. Maybe someone from the future who can predict things like global pandemics…?
Unfortunately, I don’t have access to Mystic Meg so I went along with what Elizabeth was saying and agreed, ‘Yes, I DO need a life coach!’
Elizabeth has just launched her six week life coaching program so I signed up without really knowing what I was getting myself into.
In my first sessions with Elizabeth I told her I wanted to find my ‘passion project’ – but even I didn’t know what I meant. I had no idea where our coaching sessions were heading because I didn’t know what I wanted to do.
I should add here that I’m in an incredibly privileged position in that I have a blog that provides me with passive income. The adverts and affiliate links on this website bring in a nice monthly income, which gives me a bit of freedom when it comes to my work as I don’t need to worry too much about earning a monthly salary. I realise I’m SO lucky to have this as there aren’t many careers where you can take a few months out to figure out what you want to do and still get paid while you’re pondering every life decision you’ve ever made!
As I spoke to Elizabeth more and more, I realised that I still love what I do, I just wanted my blog to reflect me. Me. The real me. Not the ‘travel me’. The ‘me’ that I feel like I am without hiding behind an online name.
I knew I wanted to carry on blogging, I just needed to pivot.
And that’s what I’m doing!
While COVID-19 isn’t the reason for me quitting travel blogging, it has definitely given me the space to stop and think about what I really want to do. t I don’t have many campaigns I’m currently working on, so there are fewer pressures and a very unique opportunity to just have fun with blogging for a few months and see where it leads me.
Come back next week to find out what that pivot will look like!