Several years ago I had an idea for a blog. This blog would contain nothing but bitching and moaning about all the places I visit. I abandoned that project almost as soon as I came up with it, but it seems as if that long stowed away idea has resurfaced here.
My last few posts have resonated with a lot of people. Why? I think the main reason is because I’ve stopped writing what I think people want to hear and started writing what few travel bloggers do.
The truth is that travel isn’t always fun. It doesn’t always change your life. Things will go wrong, sometimes horribly wrong. It’s a messy, confusing, infuriating endeavour at times and I know I’m not the only one that thinks that.
But I am going to be one of the bloggers who writes that.
Travel blogs are everywhere these days. Sometimes it seems that anyone with a passport and some WordPress skills is a travel blogger. My Instagram feed is full of perfectly posed beachside shots full of carefully curated hashtags, one of the most common being #soblessed. I understand this on some level. Those of us who can travel full-time or even part-time are fortunate, but blessed? To me, this implies the benevolence of some deity who has bestowed blessings on you and left someone else out in the cold.
But the other thing that bothers me is that when I visit this #soblessed person’s site I generally find little of substance. There are the same bikini-clad shots found on Instagram, posts titled “5 Ways the Full Moon Party Changed My Life Forever”, or glowing reviews of hotels and restaurants because the PR departments of these establishments paid the blogger to write said glowing review.
But despite this, these blogs that reveal the narcissistic underbelly of this saturated industry, there are some beacons of light. These are blogs written by people who aren’t afraid to show their vulnerability, people who write very helpful and insightful content, and people who write with such passion and skill that I melt in their company.
I’m talking about bloggers like Kate McCulley of Adventurous Kate who truly gives the lowdown on travel as a solo woman and she does so with exquisite prose. If you haven’t read the post about her shipwreck go do so right now. There’s also Jeremy Scott Foster of travelFREAK who recently went public with his critical battle with Lyme disease. And then there’s Bret Love, a man so passionate about what he does and what he stands for that Green Global Travel is a must for anyone who wants to live a more eco-conscious life, whether traveling or not. His recent post on the Rwandan genocide moved me to tears. Talon Windwalker is another truth-teller, and he weaves together his travel and personal stories so well at 1 Dad 1 Kid.
I like reading honesty. I like reading truth. And I’ve now discovered that I like writing it too. Because while we made this travel choice consciously, we had no way of knowing exactly how it would play out. Overlanding and the challenges that come with it are far, far different from a guided tour of Paris or a comped stay at a luxury hotel. Overlanding comes with its own unique set of realities and I want to tell the truth about that.
And the realities of it are very, very raw. Just like the wounds covering my legs after I lost my balance on the steps leading up to Moby’s camper. But that’s another whiny, bitchy story.
I’m not trying to bash anyone here. I understand the fear, risk, and vulnerability that come with putting many aspects of your life online for everyone to see. Few people would say to your face the things they say in a comment box. It’s tough to be, well, tough. And I understand that everyone has the right to blog as they see fit even if I don’t personally like their style.
I’ve also never considered myself to be a #soblessed person. We worked hard to make this journey happen, we work hard every day to keep Moby and each other safe and sound, we work hard at our respective jobs, and I work hard on this blog. #soblessed has absolutely nothing to do with that.
So, I’ve decided to adopt the #notblessed hashtag. I don’t use Twitter that much but if you follow me on Instagram you’ll find it there. And for those of you who were hoping this would be another post about how much I suck at overlanding, stay tuned.
The tale of woe that is me falling off the steps, cracking my skull on the cement, and scraping up both my legs is next in the queue.