Travel Blogging for the Socially Awkward

I wrote my 300th post two days ago. Now, I’m not into numbers, but this number makes me a little nostalgic. Nearly four years back, I was struggling to get this blog up and working. My first blog, on random musings, hadn’t done very well. To be fair, I had shared it with only 5 people (my siblings and friends) at that time. My brother was sweet enough to actually read a post and say that he liked it. Honestly, I was having doubts of being a writer. Those doubts never go away.

I had also been toying with the thought of writing a travel blog. I had one problem though. Back then, or at least here’s what I thought back then: travel blogs were only about picturesque locales, extreme extroversion, happy people with toothy grins, and intrepid travel. Did the internet or the travel space have a place for introverts and socially awkward people like myself? I struggled for 3 months with that question. I finally made my posts public after much thought and some sleepless nights.

Now, how many of us have expected instant fandom and got crushed by deafening silence instead? That’s the undeniable reality of blogging. And as a socially awkward person, you don’t know if you’re happy when you get the attention or sad — if you don’t. It’s been a struggle to just keep writing and avoid thinking about quitting.

The torture of  baring your soul to the world will be difficult. But the true reward lies in connecting with kindred spirits like yourself. I’ve learned that it’s possible to be socially shy (even awkward), reticent, and have a travel blog. You don’t have to be too experimental. Just follow these simple rules!

1. Deflection is a good idea.

Try to focus on someone (travel partner or fellow traveller) other than yourself. It takes away the pressure of being in the frame.

2. Make it about you and umm…not about you.

How do shy people get noticed without showing their face? I think, I’ve just discovered a way to do that!

3.Keep it real!

Unlike my travel partner, I’ve never been the intrepid traveller and I’ve never lied about it. In the real world, you can get persecuted for such honesty. In the virtual world, the support and encouragement will give you confidence to conquer your fears.

4. Comments are a necessary evil.

I’m equally awkward when it comes to leaving a comment. Building a rapport with your readers makes it easier to overcome this challenge.

5. Try to forget who’s reading your post!

If you are truly able to do this, tell me how!

6. Don’t make it about numbers.

Many people like to reduce a blog to likes, follows, and page views. That’s where the problem lies. If you’re not doing well, you’ll only get dejected and want to quit. Seriously, try not to get caught by numbers. Stick with the posting instead!

7. Have fun!

If you’re not having fun, you shouldn’t be blogging. It will show and sooner or later your readers will know.

8.Don’t be shy!

This is how I start every post of mine. It works if you say it more than once.

9. Keep it Simple.

Don’t try to overcomplicate things. Simple works just as fine.

10. Stick With it!

I think this is the hardest thing to do. It’s easier said than done. Take breaks, do something else, and come back.

 

57 responses to “Travel Blogging for the Socially Awkward

  1. I have really enjoyed reading your posts and would never know that you are shy or socially awkward. It was equally difficult for us to get our blog “launched” for the first few YEARS. And that was because we only had readership amongst family and friends. That was the initial intent of our blog… to update all those that knew us and were interested in our lives. But as time wore on our family and friends either got less interested or did not bother to comment and leave feedback and so we came around to the idea of sharing our blog with the larger world out there. Way more time and effort entailed to be sure, but oh so way more rewarding!!!

    Peta

    • Thank you so much, Peta! People who really know me were pretty shocked that I have a blog. I’m not active on any other form of social media (barring an inactive Instagram account) and I’m extremely private about our lives. That was the biggest challenge.
      I’ve tried to work a lot on my introversion and many people believe I’m the opposite. I totally agree with what you say! I never force friends or acquaintances to read our blog. I prefer the comments I get from readers/fellow bloggers like yourself. It makes blogging more enjoyable and satisfying! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  2. I agree with everything you’ve written, and with Green Global Trek’s comments too. The blogging community is interesting and supportive. I often find I’m writing a post especially for one of them – a different person each time. I don’t think this matters. They never guess, but it gives me focus in what I’m trying to say. Please keep posting!

    • You say it so well, Margaret! I agree with you too! The blogging community is fantastic! I’ve got so much support and encouragement from people from different parts of the globe. I’ve even had conversations in different languages (using translator)! It’s been such a rewarding experience. I just need to keep reminding myself that. Thank you so much for your comment too! Means a lot! 🙂

  3. Love this. You do a beautiful job of taking photos and letting your socially awkward personality shine through. Hope to read more of your work!

  4. So truly noticed, dear…i believe every writer thinks that his/her pieces can change the world, but it doesn’t always happen and what is left is simple enjoy of being able to compose you thoughts…

    • How are you, Ann? I know it’s been a while since I’ve stopped by your blog. I hope you’re doing well. Thank you so much for your comment. I agree. We start with an urge to change the world. It’s a slow process. You learn so much about yourself when you write. But what matters the most is the act of enjoying the process. The end result is not one needs to focus on. 🙂 Have a good week my friend!

  5. Pingback: Experimental: Passing on the Horizon 3 – What's (in) the picture?·

  6. Congrats on your 300th post for your last post, Cheryl. And Basil too since he helps out so much with the photography 😉 I’m so glad you persisted with this travel blog. Yours really is different from the others in that it is real, and you are not afraid to tell us how you can’t complete certain routes, or when you didn’t like an experience or when you simply had a good time. Your blog is one of the most down-to-earth travel blogs out there 🙂

    I am also quite socially awkward, in real life and even in the blog world, I feel very shy – which is why I don’t like to show my face much (which I notice you don’t unlike many travel bloggers, but that’s fine and we can all focus on your words of wisdom) and don’t talk about certain parts of my life. These tips you gave resonate with me a lot, especially the simple one. Nothing like being honest and just telling your own experiences and what you see and what you feel. Honesty is always appreciated 🙂 Wishing you many more blogging posts and years ahead 🙂

    • Your comment made my day, Mabel! Thank you so much for your kind words. I’ve struggled to find my voice and I wondered if anyone would like what I had to say. It’s not easy to have people appreciate your point of view and in the real world — I mostly try to keep my thoughts to myself. I’ve found the blog to be a wonderful outlet. Your comment means a lot!

      Many people feel I’m too simple. I’ve got a lot of advice and flak on that front. And I’ve wondered why is it so bad to be simple or keep things simple. I’m so glad you understand! I agree with the sharing bit too. How much one should share is a very thin line. I’ve struggled to maintain a private space (I’m an extremely private person) and ensure the blog is a personal account of our trips.

      Initially, there were a couple of posts where I showed my face. But, I’ve always wanted a post to be about my writing and thoughts. How I looked shouldn’t matter. And I have low confidence too. 🙂

      I’ve always enjoyed reading your posts and am fascinated by the amount of research you put into each post. And you’re so brave to write about things that aren’t easy to talk about otherwise. I’m glad we connected on this platform!

      Thanks for your support and wishes! Have a great week ahead my friend!

      • You deserve that comment. Thanks for keeping it real, and above all for being yourself. Nothing wrong with being simple at all. Sometimes I also feel like I am too simple – that I keep repeating myself (at least some ideas) on my blog. Now I’ve come to realise that that is what makes you certain and who you are.

        Haha! Very hard to see you have low confidence. Reserved, maybe, but you come across as very articulate and forthcoming in your posts 🙂

    • Thank you, Adrian! I absolutely love your photography. I’ve noticed that most photographers are a little shy. 🙂 Thanks so much for overcoming your social awkwardness and commenting on our blog! I know how hard it is. Truly appreciate it. Thanks so much for the congratulatory wishes! I hope I touch 600 too! 🙂
      Cheryl

  7. Unlike most bloggers, I started backwards – my friends and family had no idea my blog existed until it had been around for quite a long time. Many still don’t know about it as I am uncomfortable pushing it on friends or acquaintances. I like connecting with strangers because it seems less likely they’ll judge anything (oddly), and I’ve found the WordPress community to be among the most supportive, inspiring groups I have ever “met” anywhere. I don’t follow any rules to make my blog more popular, and keeping true to myself and my writing goals has made the blog so much more enjoyable to me. I like the honesty of yours as well, so keep up the good work!

    • I totally agree with you! After the the initial sharing spree with few friends and family, I stopped doing it anymore. I rarely tell new friends about the blog. If I do (small talk), and don’t share the url — they think I’m going to write about them. 🙂 I’ve found the WordPress Community to be extremely supportive too. And I’ve found so many like-minded people! 🙂 Thanks for your support! I remember how tough last year was and it was always nice to read your comment.

  8. This is inspiring. While I have yet to reach that 100 post mark, I can see why the virtual journey is a good adjunct to the real traveling. And I’m definitely going to work on your advice about “have fun!”

  9. Congrats on writing 300 posts Cheryl. I can relate to so much that you wrote here. Like you I started my blog feeling very unsure of myself and wondered whether anyone would be interested in what I had to say. After all, there are so many travel blogs out there, millions in fact. But you have a unique voice and I always love your perspective and the way you look at things. Keep it up my friend, we’re part of such a wonderfully supporting community and it’s pretty special isn’t it? xo 🙂

    • Your comment truly means a lot to me, Miriam! 🙂 You’ve always been such a support. I’ve never been able to read my posts as a reader. I get lost in typos, grammatical mistakes, warped thought flow, contradictory ideas, historical accuracy etc… After all of that, I’m too zonked to make sense of what I’ve written! 🙂 I’m going to take your word for the ‘perspective’ and ‘unique voice’ bit! xo
      P.S. Weather update! It’s cold and grey here. Winter is coming sooner than I thought. 😦 Brrrr…

  10. Congrats on your 300th post! There are so many wise words that I agree with here that I shall make a confession. When I first started my blog, I only told 2 of my friends about it so I would use different computers to search for my blog so that I can have a little bit of traffic rather than none…hehehehe Those were the days…my family still doesn’t know and I would rather they don’t. I like making friends anonymously rather than someone who already knows me in real life so that I don’t have to deal with any judgmental comments from anyone I know. Oh and I definitely agree that it’s not always about the follow and the likes. One of the reason why I keep taking breaks and coming back writing is that I miss the interactions on the blogs. More than likes, I would prefer if someone comments on my post instead. I value that much more. 🙂

    • Your comments never fail to make me smile. 🙂 Since we’re at confessions, I used to read spam and feel so good about our blog. Spam has the most flattering comments you’d ever receive! lol…I know the whole family and friends thing can be difficult. Our family rarely reads our blog. Friends don’t have the time either. It’s good to make new friends who have similar interests and understand the effort that goes into a blog! So good to connect with you (via Shelley)! 🙂

  11. Congratulations on your 300 posts! How cool is that! I think that blogging is a great niche for introverts ( the most interesting humans) because they have so much to tell.
    Way to go!

  12. Hi Cheryl, Great tips and reminders. I really enjoy your blog. It is a journey for sure, of growth in self-confidence and creative exploration. I find that it keeps me continually on “alert” for shooting new photographs and thinking through posts. I also enjoy all the interesting people I meet virtually!

  13. what a wonderful post Cheryl! To be honest I’m happy to have stumbled upon your blog. I love your style which is easy, simple and fun to reach. I also admire your honest approach. We can always work around things which pose challenge -mostly psychological!
    I believe the goodness of blogging world is that people who love and like you & your work will find you. Unlike physical world where we have to put up with people who may not like us, blogging world s different. And that is its beauty. Congratulation on completing 300 posts! You have been a wonderful writer, traveler and blogger, inspiration in many ways! Keep going, Cheryl!

    • Thank you for such a wonderful comment, Arvind! 🙂 That’s really nice of you to write such encouraging words. It’s always good to know what bloggers truly feel about your work. I’m equally glad we connected virtually!
      I never thought I’d continue for this long or make it to 300! Comments like yours make me want to keep writing. 🙂

      • Cheryl! To be honest when there are so many blogs and bloggers (with many more joining in every day) I often think which blogs/bloggers I enjoy reading the most? Of hundreds of blogs that I read very few have distinct style or have a different take on same subject. I feel one’s blog needs USP to stand out in this crowded blog-o-sphere. Yours is certainly one such blog. Your pictures and story has very distinct style. 🙂

  14. 300! Wow, that’s impressive, especially for a blog that’s consistently well thought out and presented rather than dashed off and sprinkled with click bait. Good tips too. As for family and friends readership, I get very little of that on my blog. But I find once we develop a give and take with folks we regularly swap comments with on our respective blogs it’s like a whole new set of friends. 🙂

    • I was wondering if 300 is far too less for a blog that’s up for nearly (almost there) four years! 🙂 Thanks, Dave! Your comment is reassuring.
      I totally agree with what you say! The community of bloggers — sharing similar interests/thoughts — is fantastic and I’ve always cherished this ‘new set of friends’!
      Thanks so much for being a part of this group! 🙂

    • Thanks, Karen! I hope it works for you. 🙂
      P.S. I’m not sure why your link doesn’t lead to your blog site. I know I’ve mentioned this before. But, I was wondering if the glitch is on my end?

      • Thanks for mentioning that again. I have contacted WordPress and they say there is no problem. Try Over50travel.blog and please let me know if it works, if you have time. All those animals to herd or milk! Good on you.

  15. “..travel blogs were only about picturesque locales, extreme extroversion, happy people with toothy grins, and intrepid travel. Did the internet or the travel space have a place for introverts and socially awkward people like myself?”

    It may seem like the only people who travel these days are those who have, like, totally EPIC lives. But it ain’t true. We live in such a “look how awesome I am, Dude!” world right now. It’s easy to forget that there are just as many, if not more, people who have doubts and who are trying to find themselves in the chaos.

    Your advice is really brillant. I am super introverted and very socially awkward. I started my blog with the intention of having a place for my travel memories, because I had reached middle age and had been to so many places, I was starting to forget. It didn’t matter if anyone read it or not. My blog is my trunk of souvenirs. Then, somehow, people found me.

    Huge congratulations on your 300th post and I wish you many, many more. The internet need more real voices. –Julie

    • Hi Julie! Thank you so much for such a wonderful comment. We started our blog with the same purpose. We wanted it all written and documented somewhere. I’m so happy to have found supportive bloggers from different parts of the globe. It makes the effort of going through the torture of fighting my introversion — totally worth it!
      Thank you so much for all the encouragement and stopping by our blog.
      Have a great week ahead!
      Cheryl

    • I know how hard it is to face a blank page and type those first few words! 🙂 Thanks for joining the conversation. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one. 🙂

  16. Happy 300 Cheryl! Have always always loved your witty, candid posts and your flair to make the readers smile ! Can a writer ever be an introvert, with all the play of words and ending up sharing a bit of themselves even when they are so guarded! hehe 🙂 The social world, numbers, commercialisation both have their pros and cons but I remember when I started blogging a decade ago, it was just writing. Sometimes I asked my friends to read on gunpoint and then even that didn’t work. But I never stopped. SO when you say don’t quit. I so agree. Sometime, somewhere, someone will read and benefit from it and then you will know it was all worthwhile! 🙂

    • Thanks, Divs! 🙂 I agree, writing sets introverts free. That’s why I don’t like to share the blog url with people I know. 🙂 A decade requires perseverance. That’s inspirational! Thanks so much for your comment! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s