Why I started Travel Blogging – Reflections One Year On

Early to rise and early to bed. I fail to master it. Always more a creature of the night, I am consistently at my most productive at 1am on a quiet night but this is not conducive to a regular routine so one tries one’s best to adapt. Earlier this week was no different. It was a balmy midnight in London town, our tower fan making a whimpering effort at relieving us of our heat intolerance; Pumpkin fast asleep, not quite snoring and me on smart phone responding to a couple of blog comments. Ironic really considering that it was just then that WordPress reminded me that it was my 1st blogiversary (blogiversary is another term I have come to learn in the last year.) Reminded, in actual fact, is too strong a word. It implies I knew it in the first place. I didn’t – which is uncharacteristic since I’m a sentimental sap 90% of my life.

I promised myself I wouldn’t write a post about “what I’ve achieved in a year of blogging.” I suppose I kind of felt I should reserve that for bloggers bigger and better than myself but then I started to reflect, always a dangerous endeavour for those of us who express ourselves best in prose. I am fully aware that my humble, little travel blog is a small fish in the expansile blogosphere ocean. I am Nemo. Except that I don’t feel lost.Patagonia coast

You hear of travellers heading abroad to “find themselves”, a term I’ve never fully grasped. I’ve been trotting around the globe for years but it’s only here, since putting the proverbial pen to paper, where I hasten to say that I’ve found a creative space for myself. When I started the blog, I told nobody for four months (except my parents and Pumpkin, who took a lot longer than 4 months to forgive me for the nickname). I suppose I was shy and a bit self-conscious about it and whilst dipping my (rather wide) foot into the overwhelming social media world, I cringed at having to share my own posts. Self-promotion and patting yourself on the back are painfully awkward exploits for those of us totally unfamiliar with the worlds of sales, marketing, advertising or performance.

I started the blog up for myself. I had no agenda, no entrepreneurial thoughts and no expectations. I thought it would be a nice travel journal for Pumpkin and I to reminisce over in future years, simultaneously giving me a chance to write about travel, which I love. Anything else and I mean anything was a bonus. What I never expected were the wonderful readers, the accommodating and welcoming travel blogger community, the kind-hearted comments, the new friends, the meet ups and tweet ups, the odd perk, the new knowledge (I’d never even heard of a widget this time last year) and most of all, the boost in self-confidence.

I spend much of my working life reassuring people that opening up about their feelings is not only acceptable but actually necessary and encouraged. It has been cathartic to take a wafer-thin leaf out of my own book today by doing just that but I apologise if the spiel has been a little heavy for the end of a working week. I feel privileged to have made it to 11 countries in the last 12 months, a personal record that I doubt I’ll be able to reproduce but to end, here are the blog posts that have (perhaps) left the deepest thumb prints – it’s hard to pick just a few; it would be like choosing the favourite of your children. So without further ado:

The original blog post

The unique, rugged scenery of Iceland (with the most rainbows I had ever seen) was the original inspiration for the travel blog.

iceland rainbowThe most viewed blog post

Ever the hopeless romantic, I wrote about the Salzburg love-lock bridge on a complete whim, whilst feeling loved up on Valentine’s week this year and was totally stunned to find out it has been my most viewed post!Salzburg love lock bridgeThe most quirky blog post

This peculiar little red, phone box library is packed full of heart and soul and encapsulates everything that is great about community spirit. Found completely by chance one Saturday morning, I’m delighted so many of you have warmed to it as much as I did! Lewisham micro-libraryThe country my fellow travel bloggers inspired me to visit

It is a hand-on-heart truth when I say that this was entirely inspired by reading so many wonderful travel blog posts about it. I’ve always thought that Italy was my favourite European country but after discovering this little gem of a land, I no longer know where I stand! From the beautiful Lake Bled to the tasty treats on tour in Ljubljana, I remain infatuated with mesmerising Slovenia.Lake Bled SloveniaAnd last but not least – the post I enjoyed writing the most (I’m as predictable as they get)

Pumpkin has actually travelled far more than I have – if he were on the blogosphere, he’d be my biggest competitor! But he also happens to be a quite perfect travel partner  Blogging about our honeymoon in the remote African bush (my first trip to Africa) brought back so many special memories that it just had to win my vote for favourite post.Selous Tanzania

What have you loved most about blogging?

49 thoughts on “Why I started Travel Blogging – Reflections One Year On

  1. Congratulations! I haven’t had my first blogging birthday yet, but i started for the same reason as you – for myself – and, like you, I’m amazed at how much more it’s become! Looking forward to reading lots more of your posts! Now go have some cake to celebrate…..:)

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 26, 2014 — 9:46 pm

      Awww Molly thank you 🙂 that’s so kind & anyone who instructs me to eat cake always wins favour with me! I’m so glad to hear that you’ve found the blogging experience just as rewarding – I love reading your posts!

  2. I love this post!! And I’ve loved reading your blog since discovering it. Congrats on the 1 year! I told no one about my blog too for months (except for like 2 friends) because I felt self conscious too. Even today, many friends still don’t know about it and I don’t know why I feel hesitant to tell them. But like you said, there should be no shame about opening up your feelings. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 26, 2014 — 9:49 pm

      You’ve been so supportive of my blog Anna – I’m so grateful! 🙂 It’s so reassuring to hear that I wasn’t the only one who felt a bit self conscious! I guess a lot of us share the sentiments when we begin our blogging journeys! Thanks so much for commenting & I really hope we’ll be able to meet one day!

  3. Congratulations!! Happy “blogiversary” 😀

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 26, 2014 — 9:50 pm

      Thanks so much for the kind wishes Dana! I found “blogiversary” such a funny word when I first heard it 😀

  4. What a beautiful post! Firstly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY/ANNIVERSARY/BLOGIVERSARY! Secondly, we understand exactly where you are coming from – we too started blogging for exactly the same reason. To collect our thoughts and experiences and share them with our family and closest friends and like you hasn’t it just become such a wonderful experience!
    Meeting people such as yourself has made the public blogging 1000 times more fun than we imagined!
    Lastly, keep it going because we love your blog 🙂 Here’s to more blogiversaries!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 26, 2014 — 9:56 pm

      Guys, what an absolutely lovely comment – exactly the kind of wonderfully kind comment that I had mentioned that I was so grateful for in this post 🙂 And I agree the interaction with other travel bloggers makes it so much more fun! Thanks so much for the support – I’ve gained so much inspiration reading your blog & hope to keep reading many more!

  5. keep on blogging! Love your work 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 26, 2014 — 9:58 pm

      Thank you! That really means a lot to me coming from someone as well travelled as you! I love reading about all your varied travel experiences – really enjoyed the recent India steam train post!

  6. LondonKiwiEmma July 26, 2014 — 8:53 am

    Congratulations!! I love your blog, and wish you many more enjoyable years of creativity!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 26, 2014 — 9:59 pm

      Right back at you young lady! There’s always something new and fresh going on on your blog & I always know I can find a good cake fix on there too 🙂

  7. A very enjoyable read. Keep it up! and hopefully many more blogs are coming our way.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 26, 2014 — 10:00 pm

      Thank you for the encouragement and support!

  8. Congratulations on your blogiversary! First time I’ve ever heard that word, but I love it! You have produced some great posts over the last year – love the one with the library in a phone box 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 26, 2014 — 10:11 pm

      Thank you Catherine! It’s a funny sounding word isn’t it?! Really appreciate you reading some of my posts this last year! I chuckled reading your recent family holiday one as there was so much of it that I could relate to! Glad you liked the phonebox library – it was one of my most exciting finds in London even after well over a decade living here 🙂

  9. Rene Young - Together we roam July 26, 2014 — 1:31 pm

    Congrats on 1 year. That is a big effort and I understand why you didn’t tell people for the first 4 months. I was / am exactly the same. Actually I haven’t told anyone I’ve met in person that I run a blog. Maybe when I get to a year 😉

    Love all the posts and yes Lake Bled looks wonderful!

    xo

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 26, 2014 — 10:15 pm

      You have a great travel blog & certainly don’t need to wait till a year to show it off to the world! 🙂 but it’s comforting to hear that I wasn’t the only one shy about my blog for a while! And thank you for the kind words about my posts – I really do appreciate it!

  10. Congratulations on your first year of blogging! It looks like you have had a fantastic year!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 26, 2014 — 10:17 pm

      Thank you Caroline – really appreciate your wishes! It has been a great 12 months and I’m trying my best to do it justice here on the blog 🙂

  11. bavariansojourn July 28, 2014 — 7:15 am

    Congrats on your bloggiversary! It goes quickly doesn’t it? I started mine when we first moved abroad. It’s a huge part of life now! 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 30, 2014 — 7:45 pm

      Thank you! Yes I couldn’t agree more – it really has flown by and I too have been amazed at how much a part of life it becomes 🙂 Congratulations on the success of your blog too – look forward to seeing more of your posts 🙂

  12. Happy Blogiversary!! You may think you are only a small fish in a big sea but you are a wonderful writer Shikha and I love every one of your posts. This one especially as it’s lead me to some of your other posts that I haven’t had a chance to read 🙂 And 11 countries in 12 months? How on earth did you manage that?!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 30, 2014 — 7:51 pm

      Hehe, well it’s certainly been a busy 12 months! Thank you so much for being so supportive of my blog Ayla – given how self-conscious I was about it in the beginning, comments like that mean so much to me 🙂

  13. Really interesting post, it’s great to look back on your time blogging. It looks like you’ve had an incredible journey!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 30, 2014 — 7:52 pm

      Thank you Becky! Your blog was one of the first that I started reading and took inspiration from so I really appreciate the encouragement 🙂

  14. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on blogging. And for guiding me to some of the older posts that I had missed in the first run:)

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 30, 2014 — 7:54 pm

      Mette, thank you so much for the comment and for reading some of my posts – as you’ve seen in this post, Italy is one of my top 2 European destinations and I’ve just loved reading your blog and “travelling” Italy through your words, photos and recipes!

  15. Congratulations on your first blogaversary!!
    I really like this post and I totally understand what you’re saying about your blog being a place where you’ve found yourself in your little creative space of the internet. I didn’t travel to ‘find myself’ but I did anyway because I found blogging and it became such a massive part of my life.
    I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year brings 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 30, 2014 — 7:56 pm

      Thanks so much Monica – it’s wonderful to receive positive feedback from you because I’m constantly inspired by your blog and have been a regular reader of The Travel Hack from early on in my blogging life! Blogging has come to mean a lot more to me than I ever would have imagined and that’s come as the biggest but nicest surprise of all 🙂

  16. Love the name of your blog! I went from not wasting annual leave to definitely taking more travel time than any job would ever allow! Oops! Oh, and I’m a creature of the night too! 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) August 3, 2014 — 9:48 pm

      Haha! Love it! Good for you Arianwen 🙂 and I’m glad to hear there are several other bloggers who come to life in the wew hours of the night!

  17. Congratulations on 1 year! I’ve got a long ways to go. I really like how you structured this post. I think it’s a lot more interesting than the normal anniversary ones!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) August 3, 2014 — 9:51 pm

      Aww Tiana, thanks so much for such a lovely comment – so glad you enjoyed the post – hope you’re enjoying blogging as much as I am! It has been so much fun and the year has flown by! Looking forward to seeing more of your stuff!

  18. Amazing adventures and so many great memories sweetie! Congratulations! It’s such a milestone. Wishing you another 10 successful years of blogging and keep inspiring people!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) August 3, 2014 — 9:54 pm

      Agness, your lovely comment and encouragement means so much to me as I’ve been so inspired by your blog since before even starting my own! I look forward to seeing where your travels will take you now after leaving China 🙂

  19. That’s so amazing that you’ve been to 11 countries in 12 months! Congratulations on your one year anniversary as a blogger. What I love about blogging is the truly fascinating people I get to meet. Speaking of which, we should meet up for coffee or cocktails soon in London!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) August 3, 2014 — 9:56 pm

      Haha! Thanks 🙂 It’s certainly been a busy year but a lot of fun! I completely agree with you – I’ve loved interacting with and meeting such interesting people! A coffee/cocktail date in London sounds good 🙂

  20. Katie@From Shores to Skylines August 1, 2014 — 1:40 pm

    Congrats on one year of blogging!! I love the way you wrote this post, instead of focusing on numbers, etc, focusing on your best posts of the year. Lake Bled looks awesome!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) August 3, 2014 — 9:58 pm

      Thanks so much Katie – I guess it’s the writing and blogging I love so I try and focus on that side of things more than the numbers etc so I’m really grateful for your kind words 🙂 And yes Lake Bled was beautiful – even on a cloudy day!

  21. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) August 19, 2014 — 10:01 pm

    Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂 Really appreciate it you reading and commenting and I hope you find some posts on here that you will enjoy reading!

  22. Congratulations!!!

    I definitely did not ‘find myself’ while travelling nor did my partner, but I wasn’t really expecting to.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) September 2, 2014 — 1:28 pm

      Haha, I know what you mean – I tend to think that my blog has given me a space to “find” a creative outlet for myself and that’s probably a more accurate description for me personally! Thank you for the kind wishes 🙂

  23. Happy blogiversary! What a great commemorative post. Even though I did start my blog with entrepreneurial aspirations, I definitely feel that it’s a crucial creative outlet for myself as well. I did “find myself” traveling, as corny as it sounds. But I think it was different for me, as I had never traveled before, and my very first trip anywhere was a solo backpacking excursion at the age of 32. Lol Anyway, I really enjoyed the post. 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) September 18, 2014 — 6:12 pm

      Thank you so much for the supportive words Mandie and I think it’s really inspiring that you took off for a big trip after not travelling much before and did end up “finding yourself” 🙂 I’m so glad that blogging exists as I’m not sure I ever really had a proper creative space for myself before this!

  24. Lovely reflections and belated congratulations. I agree it can be difficult promoting yourself but I suppose we need to push the boundaries of our comfort zones sometimes. Ultimately it is your blog and it is what you want it to be. Keep doing what you love and we’ll keep loving you for it 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) December 8, 2014 — 10:12 pm

      Thank you so much for this lovely comment – it’s honestly made my day and I really appreciate that you’ve read some of my posts! The interaction with other bloggers has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my blogging journey so far and you’re completely right about going out of our comfort zones – I’ve learned so much since starting blogging and wouldn’t have done that if I hadn’t pushed myself a little 🙂

  25. Congrats! though now you will be celebrating your second blogiversary soon! Glad to come across your blog:) Keep in touch.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 11, 2015 — 9:11 am

      Thank you! Yes the time is certainly going quickly! I’ll certainly check out your blog too ☺

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