I’d like to take you back in time for a moment. 3 years ago, on the 29th of May 2014, I published my first blog post. It was short, it told you nothing about anywhere, but it told you a little about me and what the blog would be about.
This was the first blog post published under The Backstreet Nomad name. It is still up for some reason, and if you want to know what one of the first iterations looked like you can see it over on my old wordpress.com blogsite. The posts that are left up are ones that didn’t quite make the migration over to this one.
Anyway, the article looked like this:
A lot has happened since then
I upgraded to self-hosted WordPress to give me more control over the design and functionality of the site. That’s been a roller coaster of stress, learning, passion, and fun, and I’m so glad I made the jump at a reasonably early stage of my blogging life. I’ve never looked back.
As I worked to figure out my voice as a blogger and who I would be on the noisy internet, I changed my blog name to Anti Travel Guides. Anti Travel Guides came about because I was presently writing a guide book for Sydney called the Anti Travel Guide to Sydney. I thought this could be my “thing” and base the blog around the book series to promote it.
But further e-guides never eventuated and soon enough the name became irrelevant and somewhat embarrassing. So I changed back to back to Backstreet Nomad, a name I still don’t love but have come to terms with. Like many names, 3 years on it’s still a placeholder until I find something better. Though it was so much work to change brands and I don’t really feel like going through that again.
I’ve learnt a lot about blogging, travel blogging, digital marketing, SEO, social media, and all that fun stuff that comes with giving 165% to growing any website from nothing. These are skills I have actually applied to my real job, which is in a small finance firm.
I’ve met a lot of amazing people, both virtually, and IRL. And had a lot of fun with them along the way.
I’ve learnt that nothing worth doing is easy, and success, especially success in growing a blog does not happen overnight. Hell, this blog still has a long way to grow, but I am so proud of its consistency, and growth to date. (Yes, that’s purposefully vague).
As with any project, there were a lot of firsts along the way. And I think it’s important to recognise these firsts in the context of where the blog was at the time, otherwise, they can seem small in hindsight.
I remember the first time I ever interviewed someone on the blog. I was so incredibly stoked when I got their response back. It was as if someone had taken note of me, and wanted to be featured on my site, even though it was a mere microcosm of the internet. I read the entire transcript with a massive grin on my face and published it as fast as I could. And I’m pleased to say that she is still blogging as well.
I remember the first time I was nominated for a chain award. It was the Inspirational Blogger award, not unlike the Liebster Award (the bloggers will understand). I was stoked at first because again, someone had recognised me! But later I learnt that these are essentially a link building tool and it’s actually harder to find someone who has not already been nominated. Still, the post is still up on my old site (it didn’t make the transition).
That massive grin made a comeback the first time I sold my first Amazon Kindle-published travel guide on Sydney. Well, the first person who wasn’t related to me anyway. I put so damn much effort into that guide; 50+ pages including photos and maps. It even got a few reviews on Amazon, which I got a real kick out of. Overall I didn’t actually make that much
Overall I didn’t actually make that much from it, about $120. In fact, I’ve recently taken it down because it became out of date and didn’t have time to update and republish. I plan on repurposing all the content for free on the blog.
I remember the first time someone reached out to me saying they have a hotel lined up for me to review. That was in Melbourne almost a year ago and I’ve been lucky enough to have a few more comped stays since then.
Then, of course, there was my first media trip to Indonesia last year. An incredibly fun trip, but the achievement that it signified to me was more about inspiring me to keep going, suggesting that I’m onto something good here. The post that I wrote on the last night of that trip was probably the most honest thing I’ve ever written.
I’ve shared about this before, but that trip was such an eye opener for me. Firstly, it showed me what was possible as a travel blogger, but I was also rubbing shoulders with bloggers and Instagrammers who were already hyper-successful. It inspired me to become a better photographer (see above), and while I believe it’s a long journey, I’ve still come a long way in the last 9 months alone.
Travel blogging takes up a lot of time and there are a lot of moving parts to consider every day. Thankfully, this hobby is something that I love and am really passionate about. If it wasn’t, I definitely would have stopped by now. When it’s a labour of love it never feels like a chore, there is never an end in sight, and the only way to go is up.
Join me for the next 3 years!
Or at least however long your want. But I’ll be here.