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Perks and Downfalls of Being a Travel Blogger

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Being a Travel Blogger

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

On March 20, 2017, I was 25 years old and in the midst of a very bad quarter life crisis – like, really BAD! I was feeling very stagnant in both my career and personal life. I was making good money, but was unfulfilled. A year prior to that, I went through one of the toughest years of my life where I suffered from a bad situational depressive state and I had lost a ton of weight. Thankfully, I got out of that because I started to do the things that healed me and made me happy such as TRAVELING! (But there were things I needed to sacrifice.)

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

I was first introduced to traveling after studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain during 2012 when I was a student at James Madison University. That study abroad trip was such a life changing experience for me and I knew I had to travel more in the future. After graduating college in May 2013, I moved back home into my parents’ house in New Jersey, got a public relations job in NYC and had fun partying with my friends on the weekends and being a careless early 20-something. (I go more into my journey on what led me to become a travel blogger and the hardships I’ve dealt with in the corporate world in this article.) For the first few years living home in my early 20s, I honestly didn’t think much about my future. I remember only really caring about what I was doing on the weekends and with who. I found a very great, but comfortable job and thought I would just stay there for the rest of my working career because it was fun and paid the bills. After turning 24 in June 2015 and dealing with change, heartbreak, depression and feeling lost, I knew that was the point where I needed to do something different and start thinking about my future. That extremely hard time (or reality check) lasted for a full year for me and thankfully a group trip to the Greek Islands came to save me in early July 2016, just a week after celebrating my 25th birthday.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

I went to Greece with my cousins and friends and not only did I have fun with everyone, I also rekindled my wanderlust. For the first time in four years, I finally felt like myself again. That spark that came out through me during my 2012 study abroad trip in Spain was finally back in me. I remember starting my journey in Athens and just looking around at all of the buildings surrounding me, walking the cobblestoned streets and admiring the beauty of all the locals and their craftsmanship, dazing at the sky high mountains that surrounded the city and thinking about all the history that took place where my feet were planted. It was a feeling I will never forget. Time suddenly stopped, any negative situation or feeling that I had was taken from me and blown far away. That trip to Greece was a powerful one for me. Just like many of you reading this, I grew up under the impression that travel was only for the rich and famous and that my focus needed to be on getting a good office job and settling down with a family in a good suburban neighborhood with a reputable school system. After traveling to Greece for 12 days in July 2016, I realized I could make this happen every year! Heck, I didn’t even have to do one big trip a year; I could’ve done as many as I wanted to! If you truly want something and are passionate about it, with hard work, dedication, consistency and meditation, the universe will grant you with that gift! Always remember that!

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

After Greece, I did a big trip to Southern California with my family because at the time, I was thinking about transplanting to the San Diego area; I visited my friend in St. Louis for a long weekend and did my second big trip to Iceland right after the New Year in 2017! I remember being amazed that I was able to take two big trips in less than a year along with all of the domestic weekend getaways! Right after another long weekend getaway to Nashville during President’s Day Weekend in February 2017, I started a new job that was paying $20K more than what I was making at my previous job and I was completely miserable. I was very grateful that my cousin who owns a luxury travel agency in South Florida reached out to me to start a travel blog on her website. She saw that I was starting to travel quite often and that I loved to document my experiences on social media. I was so stoked about the idea and truly fell in love with travel blogging.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Now, 2017 was also a transitional year for me. Even though I was happy traveling quite often, I was still going through a difficult time because I was very unhappy in my career. I dreaded going into work every day and I had really bad anxiety. I had quit my job only three months into it and took a few months off to figure it out. Not having a full-time job and not knowing where you’re going is pretty scary! At the time, I was following a lot of travel bloggers on Instagram and saw they were making a full-time career out of it. I really wanted to do what they were doing and admired them for so many reasons, but I just didn’t know how to make it work for myself and I was too scared. During those few months, I did start my own travel blog, took my very first course on the business behind travel blogging and even started to teach yoga on the side. (I got my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification during the Fall of 2016. My YTT experience was one of the best of my life, but after actually starting to teach, I realized I enjoyed being a yoga student more than being a yoga teacher.) The thought of the unknown and when my next big paycheck would be was quite scary to me and now that I’m writing this, I wish I would’ve told myself to just stick it out and be patient. Instead, I decided to go back to working a corporate job and blog on the side. My very last 9-5 job lasted seven months before I was ready to say goodbye to the cubicle and hello to being location independent and a self-employed full-time travel blogger!

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

I have been a full-time travel blogger since March 2018 and I haven’t been happier! A lot of people don’t know the amount of work and hardships it takes to pursue a travel blogging career, so I am excited to get real with you all and talk about what I had to sacrifice over the past year and a half. (I am writing this in January 2020. I can’t wait to update it in the future with exciting news.)


The Sacrifices You Make When You First Become a Full-Time Travel Blogger: (What you have to get over and learn to accept in the beginning.)

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Not Getting a Paycheck Every Two Weeks or a Steady Income:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

No matter who you are, if you decide to leave your corporate job to start a business, you will not be making a steady income or receiving a paycheck in the beginning. In all reality, it actually takes a few months before you really start to earn something. My recommendation for those who are thinking about leaving their job for self-employment is to have some goals in mind, a savings and a foreseeable path to where you want your career to head towards.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Even though it is completely okay to not know everything you want at the moment, I believe it is still important to know the direction you want to head towards. Think about the person you look up to or want to be. (For me, it is Kiersten from The Blonde Abroad!) Always look to him or her and see how far they have come in their own journey. Starting a business is all about trial and error and it’s important to take things day by day. Even though I wish I started travel blogging full-time a year earlier, part of me is glad I waited until I was ready and knew the direction that I wanted to go in.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Next, starting a business is an investment and you have to spend money to make money. The beginning is definitely when you’ll be spending the most money because you have to pay for your website, hosting company and some plugins. These are all things I started with. I also invested in a lot of online courses to educate myself (they have been the biggest help when growing my business); I also redesigned my website to make it more user friendly; attended events, retreats and conferences to network and learn and I needed to invest in travel too.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

When it comes to actual traveling when you first become a travel blogger, you will need to invest more than you would a year into it. Travel blogging means having to hit the road to get content and, in all honesty, you will not be getting sponsored or paid travel right away. It takes building your blog traffic, social media following and overall brand to start getting collaborations with hotels, tourism boards and travel companies. There are so many ways you could travel affordably if you aren’t making a lot of money. Hostels are great to stay in and they are also super cheap! Finding flights through budget airlines are an awesome way to save when it comes to air travel and you could always find great food at a low cost at street stands and specific cafés and restaurants (if you do your research).  

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Even though not making a steady income in the beginning could be discouraging and scary, please don’t let that stop you from pursuing your dreams. You should be a blogger because you love it, not because of the money. Also, the only way you fail as a blogger is if you give up!

Living at Home with Mom and Dad, Moving Back Home or Having Someone Support You:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Unless you start a blog in your teens and work your way to a six-figure income into your early 20s; you come from a wealthy family that provides you with a hefty trust fund; you’re in your 30s or older and have worked many years and saved a lot of money or if you’re married/in a relationship and your significant other supports you, it is almost impossible to afford rent or a mortgage on your own when you first start blogging full-time as a beginner. That is the truth and I’m not sugar coating it. All of those influencers you see living in beautiful apartments in a posh city have either been doing it for a few years and personally worked their way to a nice blogger salary; they worked a high-paying corporate job for many years and saved enough money to afford their bills or they are beginners and have someone supporting them.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Hey, everyone’s situation is different and I’m not judging, but I personally didn’t have the funds to start a full-time blogging career and afford a nice apartment in a cool city. Unfortunately, I have had people misunderstand my situation and judge me for still living at home in my mid-to-late 20s. I even lost a friendship out of it, but I figured it was best for me to just focus on my career that makes me happy in life. Honestly, even though living at home at 28 isn’t the most ideal situation, I’m very grateful I have parents who allow me to live home while I pursue my dreams. (I know a lot of people don’t even have that privilege and still need to work a 9-5 or have a side hustle to support themselves. Shout out to you all; you’re doing amazing!) I am also gone at least 10 days out of the month, so it’s not even worth it for me to spend the money I am currently making on a place I can’t see myself living in long term at the moment. Yes, another side job would help if I wanted to move out, but travel blogging alone is very time consuming. I know if I were to get another job (such as freelancing), it would take me twice as long to reach my goals. I’m grateful for the time I have available to work on my dream as well as the money I do have coming in because it does help me pay for business expenses and it also pays my other bills. I vision myself becoming the successful blogger I long to be and I know I will afford my dream apartment or house one day. I also hope to revisit this blog in the near future and be proud of myself. (If you’re in a similar situation, repeat that to yourself.)

Negativity and Doubts from Friends and Family:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

“Travel blogging, that isn’t a real career.”; “What is she doing with her life?”; “Is she going to quit another job again?”; “Wait, she actually did quit her job again?”; “I’m so worried about her!”; “Is she ever going to move out?”; “What is she going to do when she gets married and has kids?”; “Will she ever meet someone while being in this career?”; “How do you make an income as a blogger?”; “Bloggers and influencers are so fake.”

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Yes, those were the comments and questions I got from both family and close friends when I decided to become a full-time travel blogger. Honestly, becoming a business owner definitely made me realize who was truly supportive and happy for me and who I needed to let go. It’s very unfortunate when family and friends knock you down when you decide to pursue your passion, but it is best to move on from it instead of letting it get to you. In the very beginning (circa 2017/2018), I definitely let it get to me and it was mentally draining. Even after repeating how travel blogging works numerous times to certain individuals, they still didn’t “get it” and it was almost like talking to a wall at that point.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

(I was also contemplating putting this in here, but in all honesty, when someone has to make those comments about your career move or what you’re doing in life it’s because they are jealous over what you are doing; they don’t have the guts to go out of their own comfort zone and pursue their dreams or they are just miserable with their lives. Plus, those people don’t deserve to be in your life, period! There is no time for negativity when you have goals to achieve.)

Sacrificing Losing Close Friends:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

One of the main things I have learned through my adult years is that friends are going to come and go. When I was younger, I would have a tough time accepting that certain people were meant to be in my life for a certain season, but now, I am completely okay being separated from those who no longer serve my happiness.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Admittedly, when I first started blogging or just traveling in general and sharing my life and experiences on social media, it started to bother a lot of my friends. I got a lot of judgement for it and was even told that I was being fake. I am a naturally quiet person, so putting myself out there on social media definitely was out of my comfort zone, but it seemed to have made my friends feel even more uncomfortable. It was almost as if they didn’t know me anymore. I wasn’t being fake at all; I just gained a lot of confidence by pushing myself and getting my blog out there. (I wasn’t going to get anywhere by staying silent.) Yes, I’m not the same person I was, but I’m happy and that is all that matters. I figure if my happiness makes someone upset or uncomfortable, it was best for us to just separate and focus on ourselves. It’s upsetting that it gets to that point sometimes, but when you are building a business and brand (which is not the easiest thing to do), it is best to find friends who do support you and are genuinely happy for your endeavors.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

In addition, as you get older, you just grow apart from certain people and that is completely okay. People chase their dreams, start a business, go back to school, move to a different city, get married, start a family and so much more. When you go down a different path than a friend, it could be very easy to misunderstand each other’s lives and situations. A lot of my friends think that all I do is be on social media all day and that I have all the time in the world to work around their schedules. Meanwhile, I’m the one who is gone almost every other week and I don’t have a steady income coming in (like I would at a corporate job) to spend at a rooftop or fancy restaurant. As frustrating as that is, I understand that they simply just don’t get it and that’s okay.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

I also think that people in general just get annoyed with bloggers/influencers. They simply don’t like you growing a large social media following, getting paid to advertise free products, traveling the world through sponsorships and just plain ole succeeding with it. I understand it isn’t a typical job and it does seem too fun to be true, but many people don’t understand the hard work that is involved when it comes to growing a blog, business and social media following.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Even though I lost a handful of friends since I have become a full-time blogger, I am so grateful to have met so many amazing and like-minded people through my blog and Instagram. I travel the world solo and always meet up with a friend I have met through blogging in each city that I visit. It is the best feeling having friendships in different countries, cities and states! It’s also amazing finding people who understand and support you in both your business and personal life!

Sacrificing Relationships or Putting Your Love Life on the Backburner:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Another aspect of life that I had to sacrifice when starting the entrepreneurial life is romantic relationships. I am currently 28 years old and have been long term single. Honestly, being single for this long is not necessarily something I asked for, but it is just that life hasn’t allowed me to find my person yet. Throughout most of my 20s, I have spent my time figuring out myself, my career and what I want in life. Some people put finding a special someone at the top of their priority list, but I personally would rather have my life and career in order before I find a soulmate. I just feel more comfortable being able to support myself before getting into a romantic relationship that may lead into something long term (because in all honestly, you don’t know what the future holds). I also am a firm believer that you need to find yourself and learn to love YOU before you love another person.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

When it comes to dating, I just simply don’t have the time. First off, with an online dating culture like we currently have, it would end up being a 10th job downloading an app and taking the time to interact with people who are usually talking to 20 other people… (Even though I have a lot of friends who have been successful with online dating, I personally don’t have the most favorable opinion about it due to personal experiences, but that is for another blog post LOL.) I already spend all day and night on the computer and my phone that during my free time I just want to give my eyesight a break and interact with people in real life. Second, I still live home with my parents in the suburban town I went to high school in and I work from the house… so needless to say, I’m not around any attractive single men around my age.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

I will admit that I get a bit down when it comes to my love life at the moment and I sure do wish I had a special person that I could share my love for travel with, but for now I have to accept where I’m at and know that my situation living at home, being single and hustling is only temporary. Once my blog takes off, I plan to move to a new city where it will be easy to meet new people. I also know that one day, whether it be next month or within the next decade, it will be my time to meet the person who I’m meant to share my life and passions with. In the meantime, I am embracing my single days, building a successful blogging business, enjoying the beauty of solo travel and living my best life shamelessly.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

(Now, I hope you didn’t misread this section. I do understand that people start blogs at different stages of life. I know so many people that start a blog in college when they are in a relationship and those who are already married with a family. The above is all based on my very own experience of being a single, 20-something travel blogger living at home.)

Limiting Going Out and Having Fun on the Weekends:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

I remember when I first graduated college and everyone started using the term, “adulting”. It was when people started working full-time office jobs, getting their own place and paying their own bills. Well, let’s just say “adulting” becomes a whole new level when you start a business. If you want to be successful and be treated seriously, you have to get a reality check and grow up.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

In my earlier 20s, I would go out and party every single weekend. My Saturdays were spent day drinking at a pier in Hoboken and nights were turned into early mornings in Nyack, New York. Once I reached my mid 20s and started to take my life and future seriously, I limited my days and nights going out and having fun. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in working hard and playing hard, but I simply can’t just rage all day Saturday and blow away over $100 anymore. I’ll admit, as I’ve grown older, I definitely don’t desire those party days anymore and do not enjoy drinking heavily either. I love waking up without a hangover and full of energy where I could go about my day and get work done on the weekends. It’s also a great feeling not throwing away money that you could put towards your business and travel expenses.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Nowadays, I love meeting friends at a winery or brewery (or even brunch) where we could enjoy the day and be able to talk to each other without having to deal with drunk crowds and yelling over the noise to get a word in edgewise like I used to at sports bars and nightclubs.

Working 24/7:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

When you first become a full-time travel blogger, the work is nonstop. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to be busy, but somedays I do burn myself out, which is definitely not good. I will admit that I am still working on a healthy work-life balance and I hope to master it sooner than later. In addition, I have also sacrificed working out too and I am ashamed of that.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

In the beginning stages of travel blogging, it is very easy to want results right away. You will spend hours on end engaging on Instagram to grow your following; you will also spend hours sending out pitches to get press work and you will also spend hours working on blog posts to increase your traffic. What I have learned through overworking myself is that it is okay to take breaks, do a digital detox and to SLEEP!

Doing Free Blogger Work:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Another aspect to blogging that I will not sugar coat is that you will start off doing a lot of free work for brands… and I mean A LOT. I started blogging in March 2018 and got my first paid Instagram brand collaboration in August 2018 for only $25. I got my first big paid Instagram collaboration in January 2019, which was almost a year after I started taking my blog as a business. During that year, I did a lot of free work, which helped me get the bigger paid collaborations that I’m currently getting, but I know just as much as many of you how it isn’t fun doing free labor.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Please do know that there comes a point in your blogging career where you need to say no and value your worth. I no longer accept any unpaid collaborations unless it is a major travel opportunity; if it’s a brand I’ve been dying to work with or if it’s for a reputable cause that means something to me. When you learn to say no and value your work, brands will begin to take you more seriously.

Social Media Becomes a Job:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Yes, when you become a full-time blogger or influencer, social media (especially Instagram and Pinterest) is no longer a pleasure. As a blogger, a lot of my work is through social media so I have to treat all of my accounts like a business. I do still enjoy being my real self on my platforms, especially on Instagram, but I don’t just spend hours scrolling away and looking at people’s profiles from college.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Nowadays, I have to use chunks of time to engage and interact with other travel bloggers, influencers and enthusiasts in order to grow my brand. It is very time consuming and I have to deal with algorithms, but I make so many amazing friendships out of it!

Holding Yourself Accountable:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

No matter what type of business you start, you are your own boss and you have to hold yourself accountable. Thankfully, when I first started my self employment journey, I was on the ball the very first day and couldn’t wait to begin all of the projects I had in mind for my blog and business. Some people, on the other hand, will be lazy, hold things off until later and goof off until they get a reality check. It is always important to know the small steps you need to take each day in order to move forward.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

If you are currently self-employed, a new business owner or someone who is thinking about the entrepreneurial life, please know that I have faith in you and you WILL SUCCEED in what you love!


Moving Forward as a Travel Blogger

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

I hope you all enjoyed reading about the sacrifices I have made in my blogging journey thus far (1.5 years into it). I can’t wait to continue sharing updates with you all on my journey to success. If you have any questions, please email me at info@browneyedflowerchild.com.

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13 Comments

  1. Michele on January 10, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    Love this and you. And we can relate in so many ways! I’m so thankful to have found you on Instagram and can’t wait to meet IRL so you can give me your tricks when it comes to taking gorgeous pictures. They are all amazing!!!!!

    Michele

    • Taylor Deer on January 10, 2020 at 9:42 pm

      Thank you so much Michele! Love you too and so happy we can relate to each other in so many ways! Yes, let’s hang soon! 🙂

  2. Kim Deer on January 10, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    I have lived your dream with you and have seen how hard you work for everything ~ keep setting goals and follow your dreams and you will continue to be very successful ~ hard work pays off ~ skies the limit ~ keep reaching for the stars ~ love you tons, mom xoxo ♥️♥️♥️

    • Taylor Deer on January 10, 2020 at 9:43 pm

      Thank you so much mom! I love you too! <3 xoxo

  3. Emma on January 11, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Ok firstly I have to say that your pictures are always so incredible, like it actually amazes me! This was so inspirational to read, I’m trying to become a full time blogger so I loved this!

    • Taylor Deer on January 11, 2020 at 6:42 pm

      Thank you so much Emma! I have enjoyed getting real in my latest blog posts. 🙂

  4. Jim Deer on January 11, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    Your passion and determination will bring you everlasting success . Your work ethic is incredible and I witness that first hand every day. I’m very proud of you !! Keep up the great job your doing!!
    Love ya
    Dad

    • Taylor Deer on January 12, 2020 at 12:42 am

      Thank you dad and love ya too!

  5. Catherine on January 12, 2020 at 8:25 am

    Another amazing blog post!! I love being able to relate to alot of the things you said!

    • Taylor Deer on January 12, 2020 at 9:32 am

      Thank you so much Catherine! I’m glad you liked it! 🙂

  6. Christina on January 14, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    Such a great read Taylor!! This was really inspiring and so totally relatable. I hesitated for so long to start my own blog and I kick myself that I didn’t have the guts to years ago because I was worried what my friends and family would say and think. Thankfully I have a great support system and they all wondered why I didn’t start my blog sooner! It’s been so nice to connect with you through social media 🙂 keep doing great things girl!

    • Taylor Deer on January 14, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Thank you so much Christina! Having a great support system is totally key when starting a business. I’m so happy you have an amazing tribe. I’m so happy we connected as well and same to you! 🙂

  7. Aswani Kurra on January 15, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    Thank you for this article Taylor and being truthful about it. Still working full time and being torn between travel and work, I appreciate your honesty and all the sacrifices it does indeed take to travel fulltime and be a blogger. I totally relate to no weekends or social parties!

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Perks and Downfalls of Being a Travel Blogger

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Being a Travel Blogger

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

On March 20, 2017, I was 25 years old and in the midst of a very bad quarter life crisis – like, really BAD! I was feeling very stagnant in both my career and personal life. I was making good money, but was unfulfilled. A year prior to that, I went through one of the toughest years of my life where I suffered from a bad situational depressive state and I had lost a ton of weight. Thankfully, I got out of that because I started to do the things that healed me and made me happy such as TRAVELING! (But there were things I needed to sacrifice.)

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

I was first introduced to traveling after studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain during 2012 when I was a student at James Madison University. That study abroad trip was such a life changing experience for me and I knew I had to travel more in the future. After graduating college in May 2013, I moved back home into my parents’ house in New Jersey, got a public relations job in NYC and had fun partying with my friends on the weekends and being a careless early 20-something. (I go more into my journey on what led me to become a travel blogger and the hardships I’ve dealt with in the corporate world in this article.) For the first few years living home in my early 20s, I honestly didn’t think much about my future. I remember only really caring about what I was doing on the weekends and with who. I found a very great, but comfortable job and thought I would just stay there for the rest of my working career because it was fun and paid the bills. After turning 24 in June 2015 and dealing with change, heartbreak, depression and feeling lost, I knew that was the point where I needed to do something different and start thinking about my future. That extremely hard time (or reality check) lasted for a full year for me and thankfully a group trip to the Greek Islands came to save me in early July 2016, just a week after celebrating my 25th birthday.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

I went to Greece with my cousins and friends and not only did I have fun with everyone, I also rekindled my wanderlust. For the first time in four years, I finally felt like myself again. That spark that came out through me during my 2012 study abroad trip in Spain was finally back in me. I remember starting my journey in Athens and just looking around at all of the buildings surrounding me, walking the cobblestoned streets and admiring the beauty of all the locals and their craftsmanship, dazing at the sky high mountains that surrounded the city and thinking about all the history that took place where my feet were planted. It was a feeling I will never forget. Time suddenly stopped, any negative situation or feeling that I had was taken from me and blown far away. That trip to Greece was a powerful one for me. Just like many of you reading this, I grew up under the impression that travel was only for the rich and famous and that my focus needed to be on getting a good office job and settling down with a family in a good suburban neighborhood with a reputable school system. After traveling to Greece for 12 days in July 2016, I realized I could make this happen every year! Heck, I didn’t even have to do one big trip a year; I could’ve done as many as I wanted to! If you truly want something and are passionate about it, with hard work, dedication, consistency and meditation, the universe will grant you with that gift! Always remember that!

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

After Greece, I did a big trip to Southern California with my family because at the time, I was thinking about transplanting to the San Diego area; I visited my friend in St. Louis for a long weekend and did my second big trip to Iceland right after the New Year in 2017! I remember being amazed that I was able to take two big trips in less than a year along with all of the domestic weekend getaways! Right after another long weekend getaway to Nashville during President’s Day Weekend in February 2017, I started a new job that was paying $20K more than what I was making at my previous job and I was completely miserable. I was very grateful that my cousin who owns a luxury travel agency in South Florida reached out to me to start a travel blog on her website. She saw that I was starting to travel quite often and that I loved to document my experiences on social media. I was so stoked about the idea and truly fell in love with travel blogging.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Now, 2017 was also a transitional year for me. Even though I was happy traveling quite often, I was still going through a difficult time because I was very unhappy in my career. I dreaded going into work every day and I had really bad anxiety. I had quit my job only three months into it and took a few months off to figure it out. Not having a full-time job and not knowing where you’re going is pretty scary! At the time, I was following a lot of travel bloggers on Instagram and saw they were making a full-time career out of it. I really wanted to do what they were doing and admired them for so many reasons, but I just didn’t know how to make it work for myself and I was too scared. During those few months, I did start my own travel blog, took my very first course on the business behind travel blogging and even started to teach yoga on the side. (I got my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification during the Fall of 2016. My YTT experience was one of the best of my life, but after actually starting to teach, I realized I enjoyed being a yoga student more than being a yoga teacher.) The thought of the unknown and when my next big paycheck would be was quite scary to me and now that I’m writing this, I wish I would’ve told myself to just stick it out and be patient. Instead, I decided to go back to working a corporate job and blog on the side. My very last 9-5 job lasted seven months before I was ready to say goodbye to the cubicle and hello to being location independent and a self-employed full-time travel blogger!

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

I have been a full-time travel blogger since March 2018 and I haven’t been happier! A lot of people don’t know the amount of work and hardships it takes to pursue a travel blogging career, so I am excited to get real with you all and talk about what I had to sacrifice over the past year and a half. (I am writing this in January 2020. I can’t wait to update it in the future with exciting news.)


The Sacrifices You Make When You First Become a Full-Time Travel Blogger: (What you have to get over and learn to accept in the beginning.)

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Not Getting a Paycheck Every Two Weeks or a Steady Income:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

No matter who you are, if you decide to leave your corporate job to start a business, you will not be making a steady income or receiving a paycheck in the beginning. In all reality, it actually takes a few months before you really start to earn something. My recommendation for those who are thinking about leaving their job for self-employment is to have some goals in mind, a savings and a foreseeable path to where you want your career to head towards.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Even though it is completely okay to not know everything you want at the moment, I believe it is still important to know the direction you want to head towards. Think about the person you look up to or want to be. (For me, it is Kiersten from The Blonde Abroad!) Always look to him or her and see how far they have come in their own journey. Starting a business is all about trial and error and it’s important to take things day by day. Even though I wish I started travel blogging full-time a year earlier, part of me is glad I waited until I was ready and knew the direction that I wanted to go in.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Next, starting a business is an investment and you have to spend money to make money. The beginning is definitely when you’ll be spending the most money because you have to pay for your website, hosting company and some plugins. These are all things I started with. I also invested in a lot of online courses to educate myself (they have been the biggest help when growing my business); I also redesigned my website to make it more user friendly; attended events, retreats and conferences to network and learn and I needed to invest in travel too.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

When it comes to actual traveling when you first become a travel blogger, you will need to invest more than you would a year into it. Travel blogging means having to hit the road to get content and, in all honesty, you will not be getting sponsored or paid travel right away. It takes building your blog traffic, social media following and overall brand to start getting collaborations with hotels, tourism boards and travel companies. There are so many ways you could travel affordably if you aren’t making a lot of money. Hostels are great to stay in and they are also super cheap! Finding flights through budget airlines are an awesome way to save when it comes to air travel and you could always find great food at a low cost at street stands and specific cafés and restaurants (if you do your research).  

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Even though not making a steady income in the beginning could be discouraging and scary, please don’t let that stop you from pursuing your dreams. You should be a blogger because you love it, not because of the money. Also, the only way you fail as a blogger is if you give up!

Living at Home with Mom and Dad, Moving Back Home or Having Someone Support You:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Unless you start a blog in your teens and work your way to a six-figure income into your early 20s; you come from a wealthy family that provides you with a hefty trust fund; you’re in your 30s or older and have worked many years and saved a lot of money or if you’re married/in a relationship and your significant other supports you, it is almost impossible to afford rent or a mortgage on your own when you first start blogging full-time as a beginner. That is the truth and I’m not sugar coating it. All of those influencers you see living in beautiful apartments in a posh city have either been doing it for a few years and personally worked their way to a nice blogger salary; they worked a high-paying corporate job for many years and saved enough money to afford their bills or they are beginners and have someone supporting them.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Hey, everyone’s situation is different and I’m not judging, but I personally didn’t have the funds to start a full-time blogging career and afford a nice apartment in a cool city. Unfortunately, I have had people misunderstand my situation and judge me for still living at home in my mid-to-late 20s. I even lost a friendship out of it, but I figured it was best for me to just focus on my career that makes me happy in life. Honestly, even though living at home at 28 isn’t the most ideal situation, I’m very grateful I have parents who allow me to live home while I pursue my dreams. (I know a lot of people don’t even have that privilege and still need to work a 9-5 or have a side hustle to support themselves. Shout out to you all; you’re doing amazing!) I am also gone at least 10 days out of the month, so it’s not even worth it for me to spend the money I am currently making on a place I can’t see myself living in long term at the moment. Yes, another side job would help if I wanted to move out, but travel blogging alone is very time consuming. I know if I were to get another job (such as freelancing), it would take me twice as long to reach my goals. I’m grateful for the time I have available to work on my dream as well as the money I do have coming in because it does help me pay for business expenses and it also pays my other bills. I vision myself becoming the successful blogger I long to be and I know I will afford my dream apartment or house one day. I also hope to revisit this blog in the near future and be proud of myself. (If you’re in a similar situation, repeat that to yourself.)

Negativity and Doubts from Friends and Family:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

“Travel blogging, that isn’t a real career.”; “What is she doing with her life?”; “Is she going to quit another job again?”; “Wait, she actually did quit her job again?”; “I’m so worried about her!”; “Is she ever going to move out?”; “What is she going to do when she gets married and has kids?”; “Will she ever meet someone while being in this career?”; “How do you make an income as a blogger?”; “Bloggers and influencers are so fake.”

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Yes, those were the comments and questions I got from both family and close friends when I decided to become a full-time travel blogger. Honestly, becoming a business owner definitely made me realize who was truly supportive and happy for me and who I needed to let go. It’s very unfortunate when family and friends knock you down when you decide to pursue your passion, but it is best to move on from it instead of letting it get to you. In the very beginning (circa 2017/2018), I definitely let it get to me and it was mentally draining. Even after repeating how travel blogging works numerous times to certain individuals, they still didn’t “get it” and it was almost like talking to a wall at that point.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

(I was also contemplating putting this in here, but in all honesty, when someone has to make those comments about your career move or what you’re doing in life it’s because they are jealous over what you are doing; they don’t have the guts to go out of their own comfort zone and pursue their dreams or they are just miserable with their lives. Plus, those people don’t deserve to be in your life, period! There is no time for negativity when you have goals to achieve.)

Sacrificing Losing Close Friends:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

One of the main things I have learned through my adult years is that friends are going to come and go. When I was younger, I would have a tough time accepting that certain people were meant to be in my life for a certain season, but now, I am completely okay being separated from those who no longer serve my happiness.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Admittedly, when I first started blogging or just traveling in general and sharing my life and experiences on social media, it started to bother a lot of my friends. I got a lot of judgement for it and was even told that I was being fake. I am a naturally quiet person, so putting myself out there on social media definitely was out of my comfort zone, but it seemed to have made my friends feel even more uncomfortable. It was almost as if they didn’t know me anymore. I wasn’t being fake at all; I just gained a lot of confidence by pushing myself and getting my blog out there. (I wasn’t going to get anywhere by staying silent.) Yes, I’m not the same person I was, but I’m happy and that is all that matters. I figure if my happiness makes someone upset or uncomfortable, it was best for us to just separate and focus on ourselves. It’s upsetting that it gets to that point sometimes, but when you are building a business and brand (which is not the easiest thing to do), it is best to find friends who do support you and are genuinely happy for your endeavors.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

In addition, as you get older, you just grow apart from certain people and that is completely okay. People chase their dreams, start a business, go back to school, move to a different city, get married, start a family and so much more. When you go down a different path than a friend, it could be very easy to misunderstand each other’s lives and situations. A lot of my friends think that all I do is be on social media all day and that I have all the time in the world to work around their schedules. Meanwhile, I’m the one who is gone almost every other week and I don’t have a steady income coming in (like I would at a corporate job) to spend at a rooftop or fancy restaurant. As frustrating as that is, I understand that they simply just don’t get it and that’s okay.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

I also think that people in general just get annoyed with bloggers/influencers. They simply don’t like you growing a large social media following, getting paid to advertise free products, traveling the world through sponsorships and just plain ole succeeding with it. I understand it isn’t a typical job and it does seem too fun to be true, but many people don’t understand the hard work that is involved when it comes to growing a blog, business and social media following.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Even though I lost a handful of friends since I have become a full-time blogger, I am so grateful to have met so many amazing and like-minded people through my blog and Instagram. I travel the world solo and always meet up with a friend I have met through blogging in each city that I visit. It is the best feeling having friendships in different countries, cities and states! It’s also amazing finding people who understand and support you in both your business and personal life!

Sacrificing Relationships or Putting Your Love Life on the Backburner:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Another aspect of life that I had to sacrifice when starting the entrepreneurial life is romantic relationships. I am currently 28 years old and have been long term single. Honestly, being single for this long is not necessarily something I asked for, but it is just that life hasn’t allowed me to find my person yet. Throughout most of my 20s, I have spent my time figuring out myself, my career and what I want in life. Some people put finding a special someone at the top of their priority list, but I personally would rather have my life and career in order before I find a soulmate. I just feel more comfortable being able to support myself before getting into a romantic relationship that may lead into something long term (because in all honestly, you don’t know what the future holds). I also am a firm believer that you need to find yourself and learn to love YOU before you love another person.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

When it comes to dating, I just simply don’t have the time. First off, with an online dating culture like we currently have, it would end up being a 10th job downloading an app and taking the time to interact with people who are usually talking to 20 other people… (Even though I have a lot of friends who have been successful with online dating, I personally don’t have the most favorable opinion about it due to personal experiences, but that is for another blog post LOL.) I already spend all day and night on the computer and my phone that during my free time I just want to give my eyesight a break and interact with people in real life. Second, I still live home with my parents in the suburban town I went to high school in and I work from the house… so needless to say, I’m not around any attractive single men around my age.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

I will admit that I get a bit down when it comes to my love life at the moment and I sure do wish I had a special person that I could share my love for travel with, but for now I have to accept where I’m at and know that my situation living at home, being single and hustling is only temporary. Once my blog takes off, I plan to move to a new city where it will be easy to meet new people. I also know that one day, whether it be next month or within the next decade, it will be my time to meet the person who I’m meant to share my life and passions with. In the meantime, I am embracing my single days, building a successful blogging business, enjoying the beauty of solo travel and living my best life shamelessly.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

(Now, I hope you didn’t misread this section. I do understand that people start blogs at different stages of life. I know so many people that start a blog in college when they are in a relationship and those who are already married with a family. The above is all based on my very own experience of being a single, 20-something travel blogger living at home.)

Limiting Going Out and Having Fun on the Weekends:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

I remember when I first graduated college and everyone started using the term, “adulting”. It was when people started working full-time office jobs, getting their own place and paying their own bills. Well, let’s just say “adulting” becomes a whole new level when you start a business. If you want to be successful and be treated seriously, you have to get a reality check and grow up.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

In my earlier 20s, I would go out and party every single weekend. My Saturdays were spent day drinking at a pier in Hoboken and nights were turned into early mornings in Nyack, New York. Once I reached my mid 20s and started to take my life and future seriously, I limited my days and nights going out and having fun. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in working hard and playing hard, but I simply can’t just rage all day Saturday and blow away over $100 anymore. I’ll admit, as I’ve grown older, I definitely don’t desire those party days anymore and do not enjoy drinking heavily either. I love waking up without a hangover and full of energy where I could go about my day and get work done on the weekends. It’s also a great feeling not throwing away money that you could put towards your business and travel expenses.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Nowadays, I love meeting friends at a winery or brewery (or even brunch) where we could enjoy the day and be able to talk to each other without having to deal with drunk crowds and yelling over the noise to get a word in edgewise like I used to at sports bars and nightclubs.

Working 24/7:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

When you first become a full-time travel blogger, the work is nonstop. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to be busy, but somedays I do burn myself out, which is definitely not good. I will admit that I am still working on a healthy work-life balance and I hope to master it sooner than later. In addition, I have also sacrificed working out too and I am ashamed of that.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

In the beginning stages of travel blogging, it is very easy to want results right away. You will spend hours on end engaging on Instagram to grow your following; you will also spend hours sending out pitches to get press work and you will also spend hours working on blog posts to increase your traffic. What I have learned through overworking myself is that it is okay to take breaks, do a digital detox and to SLEEP!

Doing Free Blogger Work:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Another aspect to blogging that I will not sugar coat is that you will start off doing a lot of free work for brands… and I mean A LOT. I started blogging in March 2018 and got my first paid Instagram brand collaboration in August 2018 for only $25. I got my first big paid Instagram collaboration in January 2019, which was almost a year after I started taking my blog as a business. During that year, I did a lot of free work, which helped me get the bigger paid collaborations that I’m currently getting, but I know just as much as many of you how it isn’t fun doing free labor.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Please do know that there comes a point in your blogging career where you need to say no and value your worth. I no longer accept any unpaid collaborations unless it is a major travel opportunity; if it’s a brand I’ve been dying to work with or if it’s for a reputable cause that means something to me. When you learn to say no and value your work, brands will begin to take you more seriously.

Social Media Becomes a Job:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Yes, when you become a full-time blogger or influencer, social media (especially Instagram and Pinterest) is no longer a pleasure. As a blogger, a lot of my work is through social media so I have to treat all of my accounts like a business. I do still enjoy being my real self on my platforms, especially on Instagram, but I don’t just spend hours scrolling away and looking at people’s profiles from college.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

Nowadays, I have to use chunks of time to engage and interact with other travel bloggers, influencers and enthusiasts in order to grow my brand. It is very time consuming and I have to deal with algorithms, but I make so many amazing friendships out of it!

Holding Yourself Accountable:

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

No matter what type of business you start, you are your own boss and you have to hold yourself accountable. Thankfully, when I first started my self employment journey, I was on the ball the very first day and couldn’t wait to begin all of the projects I had in mind for my blog and business. Some people, on the other hand, will be lazy, hold things off until later and goof off until they get a reality check. It is always important to know the small steps you need to take each day in order to move forward.

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

If you are currently self-employed, a new business owner or someone who is thinking about the entrepreneurial life, please know that I have faith in you and you WILL SUCCEED in what you love!


Moving Forward as a Travel Blogger

Sacrifices i've taken to pursue my dreams. The perks and downfalls of beginning a full-time travel blogging career.

I hope you all enjoyed reading about the sacrifices I have made in my blogging journey thus far (1.5 years into it). I can’t wait to continue sharing updates with you all on my journey to success. If you have any questions, please email me at info@browneyedflowerchild.com.

13 Comments

  1. Michele on January 10, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    Love this and you. And we can relate in so many ways! I’m so thankful to have found you on Instagram and can’t wait to meet IRL so you can give me your tricks when it comes to taking gorgeous pictures. They are all amazing!!!!!

    Michele

    • Taylor Deer on January 10, 2020 at 9:42 pm

      Thank you so much Michele! Love you too and so happy we can relate to each other in so many ways! Yes, let’s hang soon! 🙂

  2. Kim Deer on January 10, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    I have lived your dream with you and have seen how hard you work for everything ~ keep setting goals and follow your dreams and you will continue to be very successful ~ hard work pays off ~ skies the limit ~ keep reaching for the stars ~ love you tons, mom xoxo ♥️♥️♥️

    • Taylor Deer on January 10, 2020 at 9:43 pm

      Thank you so much mom! I love you too! <3 xoxo

  3. Emma on January 11, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Ok firstly I have to say that your pictures are always so incredible, like it actually amazes me! This was so inspirational to read, I’m trying to become a full time blogger so I loved this!

    • Taylor Deer on January 11, 2020 at 6:42 pm

      Thank you so much Emma! I have enjoyed getting real in my latest blog posts. 🙂

  4. Jim Deer on January 11, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    Your passion and determination will bring you everlasting success . Your work ethic is incredible and I witness that first hand every day. I’m very proud of you !! Keep up the great job your doing!!
    Love ya
    Dad

    • Taylor Deer on January 12, 2020 at 12:42 am

      Thank you dad and love ya too!

  5. Catherine on January 12, 2020 at 8:25 am

    Another amazing blog post!! I love being able to relate to alot of the things you said!

    • Taylor Deer on January 12, 2020 at 9:32 am

      Thank you so much Catherine! I’m glad you liked it! 🙂

  6. Christina on January 14, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    Such a great read Taylor!! This was really inspiring and so totally relatable. I hesitated for so long to start my own blog and I kick myself that I didn’t have the guts to years ago because I was worried what my friends and family would say and think. Thankfully I have a great support system and they all wondered why I didn’t start my blog sooner! It’s been so nice to connect with you through social media 🙂 keep doing great things girl!

    • Taylor Deer on January 14, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Thank you so much Christina! Having a great support system is totally key when starting a business. I’m so happy you have an amazing tribe. I’m so happy we connected as well and same to you! 🙂

  7. Aswani Kurra on January 15, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    Thank you for this article Taylor and being truthful about it. Still working full time and being torn between travel and work, I appreciate your honesty and all the sacrifices it does indeed take to travel fulltime and be a blogger. I totally relate to no weekends or social parties!

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