I’m writing this post in the London Stansted Airport because I just missed my flight.
I’m human too. I also happen to be a perfectionist that is very hard on myself for making mistakes.
I haven’t been a full-time travel writer for that long. Honestly, I’ve been blogging for two years but only quit my other full time projects about 4 months ago. I took a risk. A huge risk to follow my dreams.
I’ve been supporting myself on a combination of odd jobs, freelance journalism, marketing contracts and consulting. The money has been enough to survive while I invest in my business and my dreams.
I’m super lucky to have the support of my partner Lindsay, who frequently lets me stay with her and feeds me when things are tight. She also takes care of our dogs when I’m unable to travel with them and makes sure I don’t have a nervous breakdown.
It’s weird because my blog has gotten popular rather quickly. Some of my readers have been commenting and engaging with me so long that they feel like in real life friends. (Hi Emma! Hi Lorenza!) Other readers are rather new to reading my blog and don’t know me or any of my back story. They seem to think that I’m some celebrity lesbian Jetsetter balling like diddy around the globe.
That’s not entirely true.
Let’s be honest, I don’t put every tiny detail of what I do on the internet. That’d be boring and rather silly. I filter my blog for the good stuff. The highlights and gorgeous photos of far off destinations.
For every time someone comments “Wowww I wish I had your job!” I think of all the days like today.
This time the mistakes started piling up in New York.
I was working with a brand that misrepresented the details of our contract. Long story short I ended up being forced to pay a huge sum of money to WORK for them, but that’s a story for another post.
Then I left my camera behind when I boarded my flight to Kiev.
When I landed in London, they almost wouldn’t let me through immigration because they didn’t believe that I have a real job. Eventually after fighting my case, I was let through.
Once I got to my hotel things seemed to be working out just fine. I was upgraded to a gorgeous suite at the Thistle. I had a lovely time seeing the musical “Memphis” and exploring the lesbian scene in Soho. I got to tour the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and take a boat cruise down the river past the Globe Theater, London Eye and a dozen other equally amazing landmarks. When my job is good… it’s really good.
But then sometimes its bad… really bad.
Like when I missed my flight this morning and got scammed by a cab driver. That mistake cost me $400 and a night spent sleeping in the airport.
It’s days like today that make me question if I have what it takes to work in this field.
To be successful, I have to sacrifice just about everything else in my life. I’d get to travel, see the world & work on my own terms. But like any job, there is the far less glamourous side that internet commenters don’t see. That side cost me about $1000 this week and most of my dignity.
It may seem like my life is perfect via Instagram, but in reality, I work really really hard for what I do. 16 hour work days are a very regular thing. I’m constantly battling with my clients to get paid. & I have to convince people that what I do is an actual job… all the time. I have to fight everyday to make money at this point in my career, because if I don’t, well… I don’t eat.
Lately, I’ve been getting a ton of emails from folks asking how they can become bloggers. They all want to quit their 9-5s and see the world like I do. I always hesitate, because I’m not sure if I should tell them the truth or not. Honestly, anyone can buy a domain and hire someone to create a website for them. But being able to make a career out of blogging… well it takes a lot more work and effort than anyone could ever image.
I’m not trying to scare you with this, but I’d like to give you an honest look at what you’re singing up for. It’s not all fancy parties and luxury hotels. Sometimes, you have to sleep on a dirty airport floor when it’s 100 degrees in Manila. Most bloggers won’t tell you about the less glamorous side of blogging. They want you to think that it’s all martinis and massages.
I get it. It’s in their best interest to come off as perfect humans. They make money when they sell the idea that you too can have that perfect vacation, just like theirs. But ya know what? That’s not real. Nothing is perfect. For me, days like today suck. I feel sad and muck around a bit. But in the end a few nights spent spooning my pack in sketchy transit stations is enough to make me appreciate how good I’ve got it most days. Also; it keeps me humble. Lest I forget that I’m a mere peasant of a human.
Would I go back and make the same choices again? Yes, I probably would.
But then again… I’m a masochist.
What do you think? Is the hustle worth it in the end? Let me know in the comments below.