Expat Life

Thoughts on Blogging

Thoughts On Blogging

A few months ago I was tagged to participate in a blogger questionnaire by five of my fellow travel bloggers (Bonnie, Jacintha, Emma, Erin and Jaklien) and it really got me pondering the question, why do I blog? It’s not an easy hobby, particularly as a travel blogger. When we go places, I have to be conscious of the story I want to tell later even as I’m experiencing it, and careful consideration has to be made when taking photos not to miss anything important. Then, all of this has to be held in my memory until I can find the time to sit down and write about it, which sometimes isn’t until a good deal later.

And let’s not forget the time element. Those who do not blog cannot grasp how astonishingly time-consuming it can be. Not only do I have a perpetual backlog of photo editing, writing, and publishing to do, there’s also the self-promotion and responding to readers’ comments to tackle, among other duties. Some days I spend hours on the computer, and believe it or not, that isn’t how I prefer to spend my free hours. Some days I feel like throwing in the towel and just traveling like normal people do – experiencing new places, taking a few photos, and then essentially forgetting about it.

But it’s when I get to that point that I’m reminded why I do this, and it’s because I love to share. I get so passionate about everywhere we go, whether it’s the Eiffel Tower in Paris or a town in Tennessee so small it doesn’t even warrant a map dot, and I have this overwhelming desire to share my enthusiasm for travel with others. I can’t think of a better way to do this than blogging. If something I’ve written can convince even one person to choose travel and experiences over material things, then all the time spent getting that article ready for that person to read was worth it.

So if you’re a reader and something a blogger has written has inspired you, tell them. Even the writers that get paid to blog need reassuring every once in awhile that their words aren’t falling on deaf ears. That’s even more true for those of us that do it for free.

And now to answer the questions…

When did you first start blogging and why?
As The Wanderblogger, March of 2013. We had just received the news we’d be moving overseas and I knew this would be an experience I’d want documented.

Have you had any past online presence?
Prior to The Wanderblogger, I wrote a family blog so small that I wouldn’t even call it an online presence.

When did you become serious about your blog?
Beginning in August of 2013, I made a conscious effort to write three times a week. I suppose, for me, that counts as serious.

What was your first blog post?
As The Wanderblogger, it was announcing our moving news. First ever, though, was about our return to Tennessee after living in Florida for three years. (Ironically, I made a promise at the end of that one to never leave. Ha! Guess I broke that one.)

What have been your biggest challenges blogging?
As I mentioned earlier, finding enough time to write. I need a 36-hour day.

What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Because I want to have things to write about, I do more than I used to. It’s so easy to become complacent and think something will always be around to do or see later, and that may be true, but you won’t always be around to do or see it. Blogging was my original kick-in-the-butt to go exploring. Now I do it because I love it!

What is the most discouraging thing about blogging?
For me, it’s falling behind – realizing I have too much that needs doing for the blog and not enough time to do it. That’s when I get discouraged and want to quit.

What is your motivation to blog?
To share, to inspire, to open people’s eyes and minds to the joys of travel and new experiences. The world is such a beautiful place and it’s a shame when people don’t make an effort to see more of it!

Where do you dream your blog will take you?
More like, where do I dream of taking my blog! I’ve got so many places on my travel wishlist that it would be much easier for me to list the places I don’t want to see. I hope to keep enjoying as many new places as I can and then sharing all of it here!

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  • Reply
    Stephany Pando
    March 5, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    Ok, I know you posted this like a month ago, but I just found your blog and I’m loving it! I found this post especially insightful. I started blogging more seriously in Jan in preparation for a trip to Europe/Asia my husband and I are going on. Initially I went back and forth on whether I should blog about it or if I should go and enjoy. Like you said, it’s a lot of work, but there is something so thrilling about sharing your experiences that I think it makes it even more fun when you share. Sorry for the novel!

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      March 6, 2014 at 9:13 AM

      Thank you for the novel! I think it’s worth it – I really do. While it is definitely more work to travel knowing you’ll be blogging about it, you’ll be really glad to have a record of this trip and any future ones to look back on later.

      I took a trip to Singapore and Indonesia back in 2007 before I even knew blogs existed. I took a few photos, but I didn’t even keep a journal back then. Now, I have only “snapshot memories” in my head of that trip. I wish I’d been blogging then so I’d have something to look at that would jog those memories back to the surface!

  • Reply
    Eolia Disler
    February 10, 2014 at 11:59 PM

    I’m falling in love with your blog! Oh! How much I would like to travel once in a month (at least), to see different landscapes, meet awesome people and feel in harmony/surprised/overwhelmed (etc) with a new place. I’m happy to have “met” you and your blog through the blog hop. If you want to come in Germany, say near Frankfurt, don’t forget to tell me! You will be more than welcome in my humble flat for a French/German meal. Bises, Eolia

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      February 11, 2014 at 2:56 PM

      Thank you so much for your kind comment, Eolia! I feel very grateful to be able to travel as much as we do – I would say with certainty that it’s my favorite thing to do. Your description of being in harmony/surprised/overwhelmed with a new place is exactly how I feel every time we go somewhere new. It’s that collection of feelings that keep me wanting to see more! I will most certainly let you know if we’re coming to Germany! I would love to share a meal with you and your family. The same invitation goes to you if you’re ever in London!

  • Reply
    Ashley | Domestic Fashionista
    February 4, 2014 at 9:46 PM

    Oh man…trying to remember everything when traveling…I actually use my blog as my rough draft to my photobooks. Because even though it takes me at least a month to blog about a trip I have been on…it is MUCH longer before I sit down and make a book. I often go back to my blog for names, links and resources. I also try to keep my travel map/itinerary/etc until these have been completed. Blogging is a lot of work…and I imagine travel blogs are a whole new level of my understanding of blogging. I can make up whatever I want about my house…but you have facts and specific details. Well done friend. I tip my blogging hat to you! :)

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      February 5, 2014 at 8:20 AM

      I don’t know, I think each niche has its own difficulties – no one form of blogging is necessarily harder or easier than another. Take you for instance, you have to be creative ALL THE TIME – it can’t be easy to keep coming up with ideas and finding new ways to present those ideas on your blog. I’d never be able to do that. And you’ve been doing it for what, 4-5 years now? It’s me that ought to be tipping the hat. ;o)

  • Reply
    January 28, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    I loved reading this and yes, totally share your reasons and challenges. It is SO much work to keep it going and sometimes you need a little reminder of why am I doing this? Comments, which don’t make me feel like I’m talking to myself, totally keep me going. Keep on blogging!

  • Reply
    Mandy Southgate
    January 27, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    I also get discouraged when I fall behind but have found that blogging less often (ie, setting aside an afternoon a month to blog) is working out better than constantly trying to keep up.

  • Reply
    Sunny in London
    January 23, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    This was really reassuring to read. I felt better learning that others work on posts for hours too. Your content and photography is always amazing, and your blog definitely shows all of your effort. Your blog is definitely one of my favourites!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    I agree with you on many things about the reasons for blogging. Blogging definitely pushes me to do more of exploring which I love and I think I have different perspectives to exploring because I blog. Great post!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    You are so inspiring, Sarah! Your blog is one of my very favorites. And like I’ve mentioned before, reading your posts makes me want to pack up my bags and hop on a plane :)

    Blogging is indeed very time-consuming, but I’ve “met” so many interesting people and discovered so many fascinating things.

  • Reply
    Mrs. Match
    January 21, 2014 at 8:07 PM

    I think your Dixie Creek Farm blog totally had a presence! I know what you mean, blogging is so time consuming. Now that Piglet is here, I find that I have very little time, and sometimes motivation, to blog. Ironically, I’m now keeping the blog up for him, and to be able to look back on all we’ve done together as a family, and how we’ve grown. But it’s hard to balance that and actually live life isn’t it? I agree, bring on the 36 hour day!

  • Reply
    Tina @ Girl-Meets-Globe
    January 21, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    And you have such a lovely blog!! I’m so glad I stepped out and said “Hi!” I gained a beautiful friend because of it!! Thanks for sharing your passion for travel and inspiring me to travel and improve my photography!! It was so fun hanging out with you in London and I CAN’T WAIT to see you this weekend!!!

  • Reply
    Sara Louise
    January 21, 2014 at 4:52 AM

    When I first started blogging, I had no idea how time consuming it would become (not so much now since my move prep is taking up all of my time). I love it, but it’s hard to explain to people that don’t blog everything that is involved, it’s non-stop 24/7. I think it’s completely worth it though because I’ve ‘met’ so many wonderful people :)

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      January 21, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      I suppose blogging will only take up as much time as you let it, but if you want to truly be involved in the community, it is almost a 24/7 thing! I have pushed back against social media as much as I can without alienating myself completely, but that’s still an area of blogging that I don’t particularly like/understand because it does require you to be “on” all the time.

  • Reply
    Quyen Nguyen
    January 20, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    Loving to share is definitely a huge part of it. I completely agree with you. When I am taking photos, I think about what I want to write, so it makes it easier to get the writing part done quickly.

  • Reply
    Sammy @ Days Like This
    January 20, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    Monday, Wednesday & Fridays are my fav days in blogging land because your new posts are up. Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful stories! x

  • Reply
    Claire (@Kurea_San)
    January 20, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    Hey Sarah – I really enjoy reading your blog, and I appreciate the time you spend on it. Don’t stop writing!
    Claire xx

  • Reply
    January 20, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    Love this :) and yea, I would love if one day per week we got a 36 hour day!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    Love this post! Love your blog, your pictures, your story! Please never stop blogging! But I do understand how you feel. I need a 36 hour day too!

  • Reply
    Keith Wynn
    January 20, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    Blogging is very time consuming indeed BUT it’s such a wonderful way of connecting with people from all across the world! I love it :)

  • Reply
    January 20, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    Love this! I’ve been blogging for the past year and a half. There are always struggles with time, gaining readership, etc. I write a travel blog as well (I accepted a job in Alaska last year and moved 3,000miles). It is soooo easy to just come home and be a bum. Sometimes, it feels tons easier. But being able to share this amazing place with others makes it worth it. Thanks for the good words!

  • Reply
    Jen Mc
    January 20, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Great answers, Sarah! I love “traveling” with you. I love your blog and your adventures.

  • Reply
    January 20, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    Girl you and your blog totally inspire me, so yes keep going! I have loved your blog since your Tennessee days. I think one of the first posts I might have read was the one about your fireplace blowing up, or at least that is one i remember for sure. It is very time consuming and I definitely get discouraged when I get behind too but it is worth it

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      January 21, 2014 at 9:43 AM

      Oh yes, the whole lightning strike debacle! Ha! I suppose it has been long enough that I can finally laugh about it now. :o)

      You actually inspire me! When I get discouraged about not having enough time to blog, I think of you. I think, ‘If Emmy can write 5 posts a week AND take care of three kids AND run a photography business, then I can certainly keep writing, too!’

      • Reply
        January 21, 2014 at 3:20 PM

        Awe thanks! Though I guarantee most of my posts take 1/2 the time to prepare as yours, When I do similar posts to yours I know how much time they take.

  • Reply
    Amy | Club Narwhal
    January 20, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    This is fantastic, Sarah, especially “Blogging was originally my kick-in-the-butt to go exploring.” Amen to that! Blogging is definitely a time such but the rewards are so lovely (especially getting to know wonderful bloggers like yourself) that it makes it all worth it. I’m excited to see what 2014 has in store for you!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    Just wanted to say that I love your blog and you take such wonderful pictures!

  • Reply
    Jessi @2feet1world
    January 20, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    Great post – it’s so true for me as well that my overwhelming motivation is to share the enthusiasm and all the awesomeness I see while travelling. And the hardest part is definitely finding enough time to do so! Thanks for sharing :)

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      January 21, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      I’m so glad you get that, too! Travelers tend to be pretty passionate people, I think. :o) And the time thing, too. I really admire those who are able to write a new post 5-7 days out of every week. I struggle to keep up with just three!

  • Reply
    Dannielle @ Chicadeedee
    January 20, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    It’s a funny hobby when you think about it, and people don’t get how you can spend so much time on something and not get paid. It’s not about the money, it’s about what it brings to you. I think blogging about things puts everything into perspective as well, and makes you appreciate little things in life.

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      January 21, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      I completely agree – it’s not about the money at all. {Although I wouldn’t be opposed to it, ha!} I enjoy photography and traveling and writing – blogging is the perfect avenue for me to share all three of those things!

  • Reply
    Jacintha | Urban Pixxels
    January 20, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Yay! Loved reading your ‘confessions’ about being a blogger. I do recognize using your blog as a kick-in-the-butt to explore and experience as much as possible. It’s so easy to become a couch potato after a long workweek, but every time I hit that publish button I’m glad I did something new again.

  • Reply
    Emma @ AdventuresofaLondonKiwi
    January 20, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    I love this Sarah, and totally agree with all of the above (I wish there were 28 hours in a day – that’s all I’d need ;)) It is a time consuming hobby, but a strangely addictive one.
    We love what you share!

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