Five Difficulties of Being a Practising Digital Nomad & Travel Blogger
On April 19th, 2018, I left for my first trip that I would be actively blogging and photographing for an audience and followers, other than my friends and family. I traveled to the Scottish Highlands and Morocco. I realized early in the trip the challenges and sacrifices that arise in order to accomplish this line of work.
It’s not easy. People that do this for a living have amazing self-discipline, organization skills, and focus. I tip my hat to all of you, as I am still acquiring these skills. Below I have listed my top six difficulties and that I am working on improving.
Difficulty #1: Working literally anywhere and coming up with ideas while overly stimulated by new sights.
I am someone who takes pride in setting up my work space. This can either be from the comfort of my home where I light a candle, have a cup of tea, close the door, have access to a printer, etc… Other than that, I seek refuge in a variety of Vancouver’s cafes with a comforting chai late and headphones.
Now on the road, the world is literally my work space. I have not been able to always seek refuge in my hotel room because of wifi issues and staying on average one night in a location. I have primarily worked on the bus, while being distracted by stunning scenery and people watching in the towns we pass. As well, hotel lobbies have also been my work space.
It becomes a challenge to focus especially as I am someone who becomes easily distracted while in a new space. Just now on the bus as I write this article, the guide just got our attention by pointing out baby camels on the road… Seriously, baby camels? It’s hard to not look up and forget my writer’s block and editor duties when that comes up!
It requires a lot of self-discipline. I admit when I see someone else working on their photos or writing, I am more motivated to work. Yet, I remind myself what happens when no one is there to motivate me and I know I should be working?
Difficulty #2: Working instead of going out at night.
After a day of exploring and finally arriving at my hotel, it is really tempting to go for a drink after dinner with your tour group. I love getting to know people who share my love of travel and have experienced the same sights and experiences as me. Plus, it is an opportunity to experience more of the new culture.
On my first night in Casablanca, I went out with three other Canadians to a cool bar near our hotel. It was a fun time, but there was definitely a bit of nagging guilt in the back of my head.
As good as it sounds, I know I should be in my room reviewing my pictures, writing, editing, setting up automatic posts on my Instagram, and more.
I don’t always want to force myself to stay in because it is not healthy to be your own personal warden, but it is a delicate balancing act.
Difficulty #3: Having the time to take quality pictures and editing.
I have taken at least 80 photos per destination. Obviously some of those I delete, will not post, and the rest I spend time deciding what to share and say. This does take up a substantial amount of my time and is not very efficient use of my time. In order to improve my Instagram feed, blog content, and share an accurate and photogenic capture of my travels, I need to think more before I press that shutter button.
This also falls under learning to become a better photographer and with practise creating a solid work flow. This is definitely a work in progress. I have currently been experimenting with VSCO for editing photos from my phone, Planoly for planning my Instagram feed, and the occasional look at Lightroom for RAW pictures from my camera.
Difficulty #4: Finding the energy and discipline to keep writing and working after a full day of exploring and driving.
A couple of days ago, my Moroccan tour toke us on a 10 hour drive from Fez to the Sahara Desert, then the following day from the desert camp to the Todgha Gorge. To say I was tired would be an understatement.
Yet, there was a lot of ‘dead’ time where I was just looking out the window on the bus. But then there were stops for mint tea, bathroom breaks, photo opportunities of incredible vistas, naps and lunch. Then there was the struggle of working on less than 4 hours of sleep, desperately needing a shower, spotty wifi and needing a good night’s sleep. This is of course mixed in with touring and going on hikes once at the destination. I mean, we don’t want me to get bored while traveling!
See you later blank screen, hello bed and pillow.
Yet, posts need to be written, edited, include photos, and uploaded because I am a practising travel blogger.
Difficulty #5: Managing tech problems with unreliable wifi, website maintenance, and updates on every device.
Not a day goes by that I do not get a notification of a plugin that needs to be updated, device and computer that require updating, and tech issues with my website that I need to fix… Good times.
It’s hard to not just shove all of this aside by saying,
“Well, I’m on the road, so later?”
Obviously all of this need to happen so that I can upload posts and photos to my blog site and Instagram.
This brings me to my other issue — wifi. On the road and in hotels, wifi tends to be weak, non-existent and the rare case very good.
I think the key to managing these difficulties and distractions is to remember why you are doing it in the first place. For me, it is to build a career away from the 9–5 and behind my laptop and camera. Every hurdle I jump over, post something I am proud of on Instagram and finish writing a post that I like, I get a jolt of pride and happiness. So I keep going.
By the way, we just passed a beautiful and brightly coloured Moroccan town!