Blogging Tips, Journal, Travel, United Kingdom

The Less Glamorous Side of Blogging

I’m writing this post in the London Stansted Airport because I just missed my flight.
I’m human too. I also happen to be a perfectionist that is very hard on myself for making mistakes.
I haven’t been a full-time travel writer for that long. Honestly, I’ve been blogging for two years but only quit my other full time projects about 4 months ago. I took a risk. A huge risk to follow my dreams.
I’ve been supporting myself on a combination of odd jobs, freelance journalism, marketing contracts and consulting. The money has been enough to survive while I invest in my business and my dreams.
I’m super lucky to have the support of my partner Lindsay, who frequently lets me stay with her and feeds me when things are tight. She also takes care of our dogs when I’m unable to travel with them and makes sure I don’t have a nervous breakdown.
It’s weird because my blog has gotten popular rather quickly. Some of my readers have been commenting and engaging with me so long that they feel like in real life friends. (Hi Emma! Hi Lorenza!) Other readers are rather new to reading my blog and don’t know me or any of my back story. They seem to think that I’m some celebrity lesbian Jetsetter balling like diddy around the globe.
That’s not entirely true.
Let’s be honest, I don’t put every tiny detail of what I do on the internet. That’d be boring and rather silly. I filter my blog for the good stuff. The highlights and gorgeous photos of far off destinations.
For every time someone comments “Wowww I wish I had your job!” I think of all the days like today.
This time the mistakes started piling up in New York.
I was working with a brand that misrepresented the details of our contract. Long story short I ended up being forced to pay a huge sum of money to WORK for them, but that’s a story for another post.
Then I left my camera behind when I boarded my flight to Kiev.
When I landed in London, they almost wouldn’t let me through immigration because they didn’t believe that I have a real job. Eventually after fighting my case, I was let through.
Once I got to my hotel things seemed to be working out just fine. I was upgraded to a gorgeous suite at the Thistle. I had a lovely time seeing the musical “Memphis” and exploring the lesbian scene in Soho. I got to tour the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and take a boat cruise down the river past the Globe Theater, London Eye and a dozen other equally amazing landmarks. When my job is good… it’s really good.
But then sometimes its bad… really bad.
Like when I missed my flight this morning and got scammed by a cab driver. That mistake cost me $400 and a night spent sleeping in the airport.
It’s days like today that make me question if I have what it takes to work in this field.
To be successful, I have to sacrifice just about everything else in my life. I’d get to travel, see the world & work on my own terms. But like any job, there is the far less glamourous side that internet commenters don’t see. That side cost me about $1000 this week and most of my dignity.
It may seem like my life is perfect via Instagram, but in reality, I work really really hard for what I do. 16 hour work days are a very regular thing. I’m constantly battling with my clients to get paid. & I have to convince people that what I do is an actual job… all the time. I have to fight everyday to make money at this point in my career, because if I don’t, well… I don’t eat.
Lately, I’ve been getting a ton of emails from folks asking how they can become bloggers. They all want to quit their 9-5s and see the world like I do. I always hesitate, because I’m not sure if I should tell them the truth or not. Honestly, anyone can buy a domain and hire someone to create a website for them. But being able to make a career out of blogging… well it takes a lot more work and effort than anyone could ever image.
I’m not trying to scare you with this, but I’d like to give you an honest look at what you’re singing up for. It’s not all fancy parties and luxury hotels. Sometimes, you have to sleep on a dirty airport floor when it’s 100 degrees in Manila. Most bloggers won’t tell you about the less glamorous side of blogging. They want you to think that it’s all martinis and massages.
I get it. It’s in their best interest to come off as perfect humans. They make money when they sell the idea that you too can have that perfect vacation, just like theirs. But ya know what? That’s not real. Nothing is perfect. For me, days like today suck. I feel sad and muck around a bit. But in the end a few nights spent spooning my pack in sketchy transit stations is enough to make me appreciate how good I’ve got it most days. Also; it keeps me humble. Lest I forget that I’m a mere peasant of a human.
Would I go back and make the same choices again? Yes, I probably would.
But then again… I’m a masochist.
 

What do you think? Is the hustle worth it in the end? Let me know in the comments below.

 

16 Comments

  • Reply Natalie Tanner at 1:46 pm

    Sorry to hear about your missed flight. BUMMER! Nothing is perfect as you said, there is a downside to every job -even the awesome ones! Thanks for sharing the real deal!
    Natalie, The Educational Tourist

    • Reply Meg Ten Eyck at 10:29 pm

      Thanks for commenting Natalie, you’re right. There are always pros and cons.

  • Reply Jeh-C at 2:15 pm

    Thanks for this. I’m a new blogger and while I don’t plan on making blogging my full time job, at least not anytime soon I’ve always thought that the lives of travel bloggers are fabulous all the time. This really gave me something to think about on days when I get fed up with my job and think about quitting to go live off blogging alone.

    • Reply Meg Ten Eyck at 10:29 pm

      Don’t get me wrong. There are definitely some fabulous perks, but it’s definitely an ups and downs kind of job.

  • Reply Teacaketravels at 1:42 pm

    Hello Meg! Thank you for writing this post! I write about solo female travel and I don’t hold back about the downs. Sure, just like you, travel is just the absolute best for me and I have had some amazing experiences but travel really does have its negative side too. I’m sorry to hear about the scam and the missed flight. Thinking of you and hope things get better this week!

    • Reply Meg Ten Eyck at 10:28 pm

      Thanks for the love and support. It feels good to know that I’m not the only one. This week is already looking up. I’m in Berlin and having an excellent time.

  • Reply delia at 1:17 pm

    I love this post Meg! I appreciate it when folks share the crummy sides, too. It’s easy to forget that even the best job in the world is still hard work, and everyone has bad days. I actually think the honesty helps others appreciate your job for what it is: a real job that takes a ton of work! Here’s hoping this week is better than the last.

    • Reply Meg Ten Eyck at 10:27 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Delia. You’re right. A bit more transparency in the field might help folks understand what exactly it is that bloggers do… I think I should add that to my mission.

  • Reply Jen @ The Trusted Traveller at 1:00 pm

    Love the honesty of this post. I’ve had many jobs in my life time and each one no matter how great they seem on the outside, has a less known ugly side to them. But they are 100% worth it for me so long as the bigger picture is me doing what I love and am most passionate about.

  • Reply Tanj from A Travelogue at 1:07 pm

    So honest! Blogging is not easy and its real hard work. Thanks for writing this part of blogging for the world to see. Great job!

  • Reply beingglutenfree at 1:44 am

    Great post! Blogging is hard work – bravo to you for taking the risk to go full time. Like everything, there is a good side and a a bad side… you have to be willing to endure both 🙂 And sometimes that hard work pays off really well.

  • Reply Zofia Bałdyga at 10:59 am

    So true. Thank you for this post. I guess we all need entries like this while we are being flooded with articles highlighting ONLY the good side and creating a false picture of bloggers and blogging. Nice to read something real.

  • Reply Emma Todd at 2:45 am

    I just came across your site and really like your writing style. I especially enjoyed that post. Real, genuine and insightful. Keep doing what you’re doing, it’s still very early days and with your talent things will only get better. If you’re ever in Dublin I’d love to shout you lunch and show you about. Keep up the great work. x

    • Reply Meg Ten Eyck at 5:45 am

      Thanks Emma! This post was written at a particularly low point for me. I think vulnerability brings out my best writing. Showing my soul to the world is painful, but ultimately leads to authenticity. That’s ultimately what’s important. I’d love to meet up if I find myself in Dublin. I’ll reach out when the time comes. Thanks for reading.

  • Reply Jessie at 6:07 pm

    Love this post. Love the honesty. You should always tell the truth I hope that’s what people come to blogs for, for the honest truth. I’ve recently got myself my own domain name and all that jazz. It’s hard work just writing a few posts a month with very few views. So I can’t imagine doing it full time and I doubt I’d be able to eat. Haha.
    Again great post
    Jessie

    • Reply Meg Ten Eyck at 7:03 pm

      You’ll get there. If you want it bad enough and are willing to fight hard enough, you can make it happen. My one bit of advice would be to jump while you can and move to another country with a lower cost of living. Good luck Jessie and thanks for commenting 🙂

    Leave a Reply