I have been a busy bee lately, as all of you probably know from the ahem, lack of shiny new content on the blog the last couple of months and my rather apologetic post rounding up what I have been up to. When mulling over creating this month’s travellinkup post (yes, it is that time already!) it dawned on me that I have had this little corner of the interwebs to call my own since 2013…that is five years now, when blogging, forget travel blogging wasn’t even a “thing”. Blogging has for the lucky few become a career however for me, writing this blog started out as a passion project, albeit a rather expensive and time consuming one and this became my space where I could share and inspire those of you that do read what I put out here to you to follow in my #FootstepsAcrossTheGlobe. Being a full time lawyer and part time Wanderluster is hard work but for the moment, I am happy with the status quo. I may feel differently at some point in life but that’s a musing for another day. Today’s post is all about what I have learned in my journey as a part time Wanderluster, a few musings on why I travel and what being a part time luxury Travel Blogger means to me.
1. Travel and Travel Writing has made me realise that: holy smokes! People actually READ my stuff!
I have been writing for as long as I can remember and this header has probably given it all away but yes, in my early days of being Harpreet’s Wanderlust and when I first started putting my content online, I was sceptical as to who would even want to read the musings of some Kenyan girl who has these lofty dreams of setting #FootstepsAcrossTheGlobe and then some. It is confession time. I wrote this blog secretly for a year and a half before sharing it with the world. Why, do you say? The sole reason was that at the time, in 2013 when blogging was a new concept, creating content and having a blog was a delicious little secret: something that I started as a passion project and it excited me because it was so different from the humdrum rigmarole of being a corporate lawyer. I thought that sharing would make me lose that sense of wonder and what was fun would soon become another thing “to do” on the never -ending checklist. My reasons then and my reasons now remain the same: I don’t ever want blogging to feel like a chore because then that would defeat the purpose of the very core of the blog: sharing whilst being my authentic self. I don’t want to be dictated by that pressure of having to publish 3 posts a week or whatever it is that drives “traffic” to my little corner. I don’t want to be shackled to this “concept of blogging” because Harpreet’s Wanderlust is the one portfolio that makes me feel well and truly alive.
Back to my story: eventually, when I did have the courage to go live, I thought the only people who would read what I wrote were my family. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. I have in the last few months come to find that I do have quite a loyal following because I have so many of you reach out to me saying that something I wrote inspired you. And yes, some of you are family (you know yourselves and thank you so much for supporting my lofty dreams) but most are people I have never met and THAT is what warms the cockles of my heart, that there are thousands, yes, thousands of anonymous readers that DO read my stuff: those that I have never met, those that take the time to click on a link when I hit publish, those that leave me comments on the blog or send me heart warming emails or DM’s on Instagram: and THAT is what keeps the passion flowing. The knowledge that someone somewhere has taken the time to visit my lil space and read the words that I put out into the blogosphere and take something positive away from my adventures or my musings. This was one of the nicest discoveries I made when I recently published my post on the luxury lodge Lentorre which crossed over 1000 views within less than 24 hours of going live. Now, that may not be a lot to some bloggers but to me it meant the world and I was doing the happy dance and thinking to myself: holy smokes, people DO read what I put out there and that has made me so overwhelmingly grateful.
So now, when I do travel I find myself taking copious amounts of notes to put into future blogposts and I have relegated myself to write when I FEEL the urge to: simply because that is when I am being my authentic self. In my journey as a part time luxury Travel Blogger (aka Wanderluster in my world), I have learned that authenticity above all else is what matters. Yes, content is king but being authentic means that good content will be curated. I have also learnt that those who want to follow will, those who want to stalk because I evoke curiosity will also peek into my world albeit silently (yes, snoopy Instastory stalkers, I DO see you!) and those that don’t want to follow won’t and that is totally fine. Each to their own. If I manage to inspire even a handful of people through my #FootstepsAcrossTheGlobe then all the time and effort invested in this blogging malarkey is totally worth it.The biggest lesson I have learnt from part time luxury travel blogging and Wanderlusting is to be authentic and do YOU. The rest will follow.
2. Travel helps me to live in the present moment
In this day and age where everything is based on technology and we are literally glued to a screen: be it that of a tv, computer or laptop and more often than not, our smart phones, it is really hard to switch off and truly be in the present moment. I am so guilty of this. I always find that my mind is whirling at a hundred miles a minute: always thinking about either what has happened, or what is yet to come, and constantly battling to get to the day when I have crossed everything off that never ending to-do list….well, that for me as well as for most of you dear Wanderlusters is daily life. In between the lawyer day job, running a home, being a wife, daughter and sister: it can get pretty difficult to take a step back from those moments that weave the fabric of everyday life and to just: breathe.
The one thing travel does for me is helps me to switch off and live in the present moment. I love that when I travel, the days and time seem to melt into each other and I lose myself in the alluring splendour of whatever country I am exploring. The only thing that dictates the so called schedule isn’t timesheets and checklists but exploring and immersing myself into something totally different from the otherwise daily grind. I find myself stopping to smell the roses, savouring the first sip of my tea or coffee, actually tasting the flavours of what I am eating: be it a buttery croissant in Paris or a silky pasta in Liguria….and this is when I truly live in the present moment. This conscious cultivation of living in the present is what creates beautiful memories that are forever engrained in my mind when sadly Wanderlust has to come to an end. And that is why this is one of my top mantras:
The Best Stories Are Always Found Between The Pages Of A Passport
3. Giving Gratitude
Because being able to travel in the first place is a privilege and something to give thanks for! This is something I must confess I have to become better at as a practice in daily life, but seeing as I am able to live IN the present moment when I travel, I tend to be more grateful for the experiences that the Universe brings into my life. I have tried writing gratitude lists and keeping gratitude journals but it just hasn’t clicked yet. Nonetheless I do find myself bursting with gratitude as soon as I am Wanderlusting reminding me that there is SO much to be grateful for.
4. Learning to go with the flow and to be more tolerant
Now, anyone who knows me or that has been following this blog long enough will know that my personality is that of an OCD person: Type A, or “Type Awesome” as I like to call it. This means that there will be checklists, colour co-ordinated notes, route maps, guides and recommendations: you name it, I will probably have it. With a tonne of sticky notes and coloured pens to boot! But, as we all know, travel is a great teacher and life doesn’t always go according to plan and though the perfectly curated Instagram grid may show otherwise, there have been times when our plans have just gone awry. One such incident on landing in Bali, which was the nugget that inspired writing this blog taught me a valuable lesson: that of learning to go with the flow. As much as I like being in control, I have learned albeit the hard way that relinquishing control has allowed me to be more spontaneous and appreciate the direction in which travel is taking me: and in a sense created room for more often than not, amazing experiences to manifest which I would have otherwise missed out on! Being exposed to different cultures in this dynamic world has also engrained a sense of tolerance in me: appreciating that we are all same same but different and to just let people BE (albeit I am still struggling to be tolerant with plain stupidity…)
5. Bloom where I am planted
In this fast changing and ever competitive world, it is easy to get bogged down by what other bloggers in your niche are doing. I must admit I would get very nervous and think I wasn’t spinning enough plates or doing the “right thing” until a recent trip out in the wilderness of Ethiopia when the penny dropped and I realised it was ok to not do what every other blogger was doing, and to focus on watering my own patch. I decided there and then to bloom where I was planted and this has been the best thing ever for my sanity: it took me back to my WHY: I travel not for travel’s sake or for the blog but for myself and because of this shift in mindset, the opportunities to experience wondrous moments have been far more than I could have ever imagined. Comparison is the thief of joy and the lesson is: to just bloom where you are planted. The rest will unfold as it should.
If you have made it this far: simply put -thank you! Does any of this resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below! Happy September to you all and until next time, Happy Wanderlusting!xoxo
Our September travel linkup topic is all about the things that you take away from travel both literal and figurative – souvenirs, lessons… get as creative as you like!
How to link up your post
Just pop your post up over the first week of the month (the 1st – 7th September), add it to the below widget found on Adventures of a London Kiwi, SilverSpoon London, Follow Your Sunshine or on the blog of our lovely guest host Ngaire @ Kiwi Footprints.
There are no rules – basically all we ask is that you check out some of the other cool bloggers that are involved in that months travel link up; make a few comments here and there and tweet a few of the posts out to your followers that you think they will love. It’s a great way to meet some new travel bloggers and share some blogging love!
The Travel Link Up is open to all bloggers – as long as the post is relevant!