Oh hey there! Remember me? I’m Christina, that south Florida girl who’s always hopping around all over the place, instagramming circle pics, convincing locals to show me all of the things and scoping out the views.
If you’re not with me around the interwebs (Instagram, Twitter + super-live Snapchat: @crntlyexploring), you may have forgotten I existed because I just looked at the calendar and realized I haven’t posted here in a month – HUH?!
SELF REMINDER: I LEFT THE CORPORATE WORLD TO DO THIS FULL TIME.
So where have I been?
UPDATE 8/26: Post links are being added as I catch up on sharing these distracting adventures!
Well, at least that’s where some fun comes in (really, all about the snap). Here goes:
- Meeting a photographer at a music festival and taking an impromptu Yosemite trip within 24 hours
- Networking my ass off
- Snapping all sorts of amazing BNBs and hotels
- Marrying my passions to host and moderate a “How Tech is Disrupting the Travel Industry” panel event in San Francisco
- Exploring lots of new spots in Marin (just over the Golden Gate Bridge)
- Road tripping Oregon for two full weeks with said photographer — See also: hair stylist, tech startup guy, fire-making mountain man and fellow snooty coffee addict… ummm newsflash guys: I’m dating someone!
- Rushing cross-country a day after the panel to catch my Aunt Becky’s annual birthday celebration in Key Largo (just in time to celebrate my bestie’s engagement — wedding travels to come!) anddd…
- Ramping up a few exciting digital marketing projects to keep things moving in the background while I collect the deets on all these incredible experiences to share here. PHEW.
The point here is that this freelance life moves FAST, so as notes from this point in the adventure, I bring you…
10 Lessons from 10 Months of Travel Blogging
1- Chasing Your Passions Will Lead You to the Best People You’ve Ever Met
Every person I’ve met (online or in person) through this blog in the past 10 months is one of the most genuine, well-rounded, open-minded, intelligent, aware and supportive people I’ve ever come across.
There’s no deeper connection upon meeting someone than to share your life’s passion.
Every comment, like, share, coffee date and (especially!) time someone tells me I’ve inspired them to try something new through this site reassures me even more that every risky decision I’ve made to pursue life on a whim was the best decision I ever made. You guys rock!
2- Plan Days in Priorities
The absolute best part of travel blogging is traveling for work. The absolute worst part of travel blogging is having to work while you’re traveling.
Making a mental note of your top 3 “Priorities” at the beginning of each day is the best way I’ve found to keep ticking away at the To-Do’s on the road, and at home. (Still learning this as noted by my 29 Drafts and 103 To-Do’s behind this little WordPress engine… but who’s counting, right?)
The fact is things will only get completed when you focus on them one at a time, by priority.
3- FOMO + Balance — The Struggle is Real
Having the ability to be anywhere at any time is an amazing struggle to have (that I greatly appreciate every day), but it means being constantly aware of and therefore missing out on 99.99% of the things.
Also, when you’re thinking about 99.99% of the things you’re not focusing on the one you need to be focused on.
Not to mention your friends who totally won’t understand that you can’t just come hang at their house for a month to catch up, since it’s not like you’re working or anything…
4- The Income Will Come… from Secondary Sources
If your goal is to make a living as a blogger, it’s going to take a while.
Unless you’re a fan of Google AdWords, you have to prove that you’ve curated a genuine relationship with an audience to the point that they’ll trust your word on things like Sponsored Posts and brand partnerships, which is a challenge for even the most long-standing bloggers.
But the skills that it takes to get there: creative, consistency, coordination, networking, marketing, etc…. can/will open many doors for freelance work along the way. If you work it, work will come!
5- Stop Comparing, Keep Creating
I love reading travel blogs, which is a huge part of why I started one, but now that I’m writing one myself it’s nearly impossible not to compare. The fact of it is everyone’s story and perspective are wildly different, and with the amount of blogs and content floating around the interwebs, creating and staying true to your personal voice is more important than ever.
Just gotta do you.
6- How to Answer the Dreaded “But How Do You Make Money” Question with Poise
This point has been made on the website of every blogger ever but for some reason it still surprised me when people started asking “but how do you make money” all the time.
In case you’re wondering too, I’m a digital marketing consultant and am working on growing my portfolio for photography and writing, where I’d really like to focus my efforts.
I network aggressively everywhere I go and work exponentially more hours for substantially less money than I ever have in my life; but I’m building a brand I love with the confidence that a life of autonomy and purpose is more valuable to me than a steady paycheck has ever been.
7- Your Relationships Will Change
The lifestyle shift from a stable corporate world job to the roller coaster that is entrepreneurship can have a significant effect on your relationships.
You’re going to meet a ton of awesome new people, your priorities are going to shift entirely, and an unfortunate side effect of that is that some people who were there before just may not understand enough to stick around.
This is OK.
8- Whatever You Thought About (Insert Destination Here) Was Wrong
You know who has an opinion about (insert destination here)? Everyone. I used to rely heavily on the opinions of a select few about places, but now that I interact with travel people all the time I realize they all have widely varied opinions on mostly everything.
The only way to know, is to go.
9- People are the Best Representation of a Place
On that note, talking to locals, riding public transportation and finding an opportune point of conversation with a stranger in a new place is still the best way to learn what’s going on.
Tourism boards and luxury hotel concierges will give you a lot of valuable information, and I love chatting it up with them to scope the scene of a new place, but nothing beats talking with the locals.
10- Planning — A Little Goes a Long Way
When I set out for the first four-months of this, the plan was to have as few plans as possible. No timelines. No rushed itineraries. No overwhelming myself with graphs and grids and reminders of the corporate life I was leaving behind.
Since that time has long come and gone, I’ve found myself wishing I’d invested more time up front in planning on many a trip.
Special thanks to those of you who shoot me recommendations! 😀
Photos by the talented Mr. Antonio Venegas.