Is spending time on the computer a productive use of time whilst on the road?
When friends (or people that I once met and mystifyingly haven’t blocked on Facebook yet), go off travelling, there is one thing I see time and time again. “We’re off!” they will cry with unnervingly overzealous enthusiasm and an unnecessary exclamation mark. “And you can keep up with our adventures on our new blog.”
What then happens is that you get about three weeks of dedication to keeping said blog maintained, often with exceptionally tedious recollections of events that are interesting only to the writer and his or her mother. Then there’s silence. And four months later comes the follow up.
“Oh no, has it really been four months? Sorry! I guess we’ve been having too much fun!!!” It’ll then descend into a cursory re-cap, spilling exclamation marks around as if there’s a barrel-full of them that has to be used before the world can have another ration. And then there will be a couple of months of silence again.
I understand why people decide they’re going to blog about their travels, and everyone has a slightly different reason. Some are under the deluded impression that they can make money from their blog and that said money will fund their travels. If this is you, give it up now – nobody makes a good income from a travel blog. If they did, everyone would be doing it and the world would come crashing down because everyone’s travelling and writing about it rather than doing real work.
Others blog to keep people at home in touch with what they’re doing. A noble aim, but flawed, as no-one will read the blog beyond the first three posts unless it’s really good. The folks would much prefer a phone call or personal e-mail.
The third reason is that people use blogs in a way that their ancestors used diaries in the old days. Blogging regularly about your travels is a way of recording the moments and thoughts for the future. The blog is something you can look back on to bring the memories back. It’s subtly different to a diary – it’s for the world to see rather than just yourself, so you may hold certain information back – but the basic premise is similar.
To me, this third reason is the most valid one for keeping a blog on the road. But you have to be the right sort of person to do it. It’s something that takes a fair bit of dedication, regularly pulling yourself aside from what’s going on to sit in an internet café or hammer away at the laptop. It’s something that suits people with a more reflective nature, or who enjoy the craft of writing it. That’s not everyone, and there’s one key question you should ask yourself before setting up a blog to chart your travels. That is: “Am I doing this because I want to or because I feel I ought to?”
If the latter, forget about it – go out there and enjoy yourself. The memories will still be there in years to come, and you’d probably never look back at what you’ve written anyway.
All content copyright David Whitley.