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Kayaking at Turnip Rock

Disclaimer:  This post is not meant to discourage anyone from starting a blog in any way, shape or form, travel blog or other blog.  It can be a fun learning experience as well as a rewarding one.  Just know, It’s not as simple as writing great content and people will come to read it.  Nope, it’s going to take some serious work on your part to compete with the million other blogs out there all trying to do the same thing.  It’s work that will detract from your personal life and quite possibly your travel experiences themselves.  Still, we do it for the dream right?  I’m not even going to say what that is, you know, we all know!

OK, so I started a travel blog, of course, this was before I realized how much I would actually not like it. Also turns out that when you don’t really like something you’re not going to be great at it. I figured I enjoy writing, I like to travel, and I’m super passionate about photography. Logically, a travel blog seems like a good plan for me. Boy was I wrong.

Not only do I not like writing about travel I hated that I started looking at every experience differently. No longer was I looking at the experience and receiving it in a personal way. Everything I experienced became how can I document this the best for someone else. I felt like I started to neglect my own experience, my family’s experience.

Jenny wrote a post on Round World Travels before on why she does not like to take photos when she travels. You can read that here – Photo Free Travel. I thought she was crazy and although I could never forgo my camera, I came to understand what she was saying. Her basic premise was that while we go overboard documenting everything around us we don’t actually take the time to experience what’s right in front of us with our eyes.

Keep in mind; this is just the actual experience part. You still have to go home and put together a post and if you’re like me this don’t happen until days, even weeks after your experience it. Then you have to recall the experience to the best of your recollection and by this time you definitely rather be doing something else. It’s really a good thing that this is a community travel blog and some of us are better at this than others.

Here are 10 things I rather be doing than working on my travel blog.

  1. Spending time with my baby daughter: For every hour I sit parked away at my computer I could be picking up my daughter, laughing with her, and pretending to eat the baby slobber eggs she wants to feed me. OK, I may have actually eaten a few because she’s really observant. Anyway, this time when she is a baby is really so small and before you know it, it’s gone.
  2. Making more memories with the family. I guess this is similar to my first point but for every minute I spend in front of the computer I could be making more memories with the wife and kids.  I always want to be experiencing new things however small they may seem at the time. We could volunteer to help keep our park systems clean, attend a festival, or spend the afternoon at the beach. There’s just so many things that sound way more fun than working on a travel blog.
  3. Playing guitar, this is such a peaceful and relaxing hobby and you would not believe the benefits. There have been studies that suggest playing guitar can reduce stress, increase pleasure, relieve pain, sharpen your mind and even reduce blood pressure. I’m sure working on my travel blog has none of these benefits.
  4. Practicing photography. As Jenny pointed out it can certainly feel like you are missing the experience if your cameras glued to your eye when you are traveling. However, there is another way. If you are passionate about photography then photography becomes the experience. Of course, this is not everyone’s cup of tea but on one trip I woke up super early every morning and walked the beach and ended at the very same place every time. There I would set my camera up on a tripod and wait for the light to change. This was the experience for me. Sitting passionately and waiting as the sky developed into something new each day.  Some days nothing really all that great happened but on other days, the sky was a kaleidoscope of brilliant colors. My wife would ask me, “why keep going to the same spot, you already took a photo of that?”   Well, I was waiting for the magic to happen.
  5. Reading a book, watching a movie, or catching up on that show that I’ve been putting off forever.
  6. Exploring a new hobby or even reinvigorate an old one. I used to do a lot more creative writing, stories, poems, etc. I also used to paint on occasion. I could explore these further to realize their full potential, heck maybe I’m the next Stephen King or the next Rembrandt. Yeah, probably not but still, it could be fun.
  7. Going out to meet some local friends for a beer. If there is one thing I’m not good at its keeping up with friends who live right down the street. OK, maybe not literally but they are close! The days slip into weeks and even months and I’m like, “Damn, I haven’t talked to so and so forever”. Meanwhile, you’re sitting on your phone trying to amass a following of people you don’t even know. You end up spending an excessive amount of time on Twitter or one of the other million social networks trying to garner the attention of complete strangers. Admittedly, I am bad at that too.
  8. Playing Disc Golf. There is something oddly fun about walking around and throwing a Frisbee at some chains and watching it land in the basket. No, I’m not good at it, I don’t compete, I don’t even do it that often. Still, there’s something about that little bag of Frisbees hanging on the door that calls to me. “C’mon, pick me up, let’s go do this”.
  9. Kayaking somewhere, anywhere will do.  Kayaking can be a lot of work but it’s also rewarding and just plain fun especially if you are with my family.  They think the best time to go kayaking is during a small craft advisory, it’s not!  That story for another time.
  10. Hiking, yeah, I much rather be hiking and when I say hiking I mean that’s it.  Not hiking and wondering if I’m getting the right pictures for my blog.  Not hiking and wondering if I should share some photos to a social network or something.  Not hiking and taking notes and wondering how I could construct this experience into a useful guide.  Nope, just hiking, the breeze on my face, patiently listening for the peaceful sounds of nature to come mend my soul.

So there are 10 things I rather be doing than working on this travel blog or any other blog for that matter.  Yet, here I am, still working on it.  I guess there’s just something about it, you can’t quit!  How about you?  What would you rather be doing than working on your blog?

Lately I have been catching up on my fix of travel adventure by reading all sorts of my favorite travel bloggers ( TravelsWithANineYearOld, LeaveYourDailyHell, HeckticTravels, GoSeeWrite, and a whole bunch more). And to be truthful, I started becoming quite envious (and intimidated) that these travelers simply drift wherever life takes them and hop countries before I even decide to catch up on my laundry. Then I started reading blog posts like ‘Are We Really That Lucky to Travel’ and ‘The Reality of Being A Professional Blogger’ and it got me to thinking.

I’m pretty content with just being an expat.

Redecorating our house :)

For a while I was a little intimidated that I have not traveled nearly as much as these fellow travel bloggers but it took some personal discovery on my part to realize what type of traveler I am. I cherish being able to call a place home and go shopping for hours, I like getting to know the locals on a personal level and between me and you I’m quite the lazy traveler. Traveling with a backpack filled with a few outfits and constantly moving on to a different country every week is not really my neck of the woods.

I like to take things slow, really slow.

Having a snowball fight with some of the in laws and our neighbors.

There’s no reason to be intimidated by these travel ‘gods’. Simply stay true to yourself. If you don’t see yourself climbing up mountains and jumping out of airplanes, there is plenty more to do while traveling. I feel as though everyone should travel, but with all these up and coming travel bloggers out there it can put quite the pressure that your trip isn’t as ‘adventurous’ if you don’t experience the craziness that they get high off of. Everyone is different and if you want to go out and spend a week per year getting drunk in Mexico or perhaps give bird watching a try in the Midwest, go for it! Your travel itinerary is all up to you and although these travel ‘gods’ may be up to the hundreds in the amount of countries they have traveled, perhaps that is not for you.

Continue to push your limits but do it for you, not just because you think that is what you’re supposed to be doing.

A few of the many other expats I have found living in Amman, all for completely different reasons.

With time I’m sure the type of traveler you are will adjust itself and if you feel as though becoming a nomad is the right lifestyle for you then by all means sell your stuff and travel the world on a whim! But if taking a family road trip once a summer is your idea of adventure, you are still quite the traveler!

Discover the type of traveler within you and go for it!

PS. Those ‘intimidating’ travel bloggers are a much better resource than any guide book in finding ways to get good deals and learning more about where to go during your travels. So instead of dwelling on the fact of how ‘intimidating’ travel bloggers can be, use them to your advantage ;)