There’s no hiding from the fact that the way we’re travelling has changed.
Over the past 12 months we’ve gone from backpacking around East and South-East Asia to slow-travelling our way around Europe, housesittng and petsitting along the way, trying to live more like a local would at every opportunity. We’ve stayed in typical local house’s and tried to see things through their eyes, buying fresh produce at tiny markets, hunting out tofu in the small Asian supermarkets on street corners hidden down the side streets; but as our last post explained, we’ve feeling a growing urge to change the way we travel, with finding a base here in Berlin as the strongest option.
As the months have passed and our style of travel has changed, our style of blogging for the benefit of our friends and family back in our individual home countries has changed too. Initially we were writing just small pieces for the sake of a handful of people who we knew on a personal level, but slowly we started to make new friends online with other people who were either travelling themselves, were planning to start a life of living out of their backpacks, or were like-minded individuals who love to see the world just as much as we do.
One day we were writing for twenty people, the next day for one hundred – today we have more than 8000 new friends following us via our blog and all of our social media channels. We’re overcome by the support. At times, we can barely begin to appreciate just how fortunate we’ve been to welcome so many new friends to join us on our travels around the world. Sometimes it doesn’t feel quite real, and for every person who chooses to follow us we try our best to increase how much we’re delivering so that you’ve living each and every stop along the way with us in the hope that you too are inspired to hit the road no matter if it’s for a weekend or a decade of travel.
We’re At A Crossroads
We’re currently standing at a crossroads where we’re not sure of the direction to take, though we know the outcome that leads down each of the roads.
If finding a home base is what we truly want then that could be either a stop to our travels – which neither of us wants – or an adjustment to a few periods of travel per month, returning to our chosen home, and then after recuperating, doing the same the following month. As for the blog, we’re 100% sure that we don’t want it to slow down, go quite, or just die like so many travel blogs we’ve seen disappear over the past three years of our own personal reading of other people’s travel blogs who originally inspired us to quit our jobs and travel the world. We don’t want our collection of travel stories, photographs, and messages that you too can travel to just gather dust like some fantastic blogs seem to do when the travel slows down or ends; which means, we have to be pro-active to not let that happen.
Choose Our Path
We won’t let this blog die, we promise. In fact, we’ve spent the past week discussing and deciding just what we can do to keep this blog alive and we’ve come out with a few options. However, for all of the ideas we came up with there was always one thought in the back of our minds – “what do our friends want from our blog?“, which is why we’re putting the decision in your hands.
Without you there may never have ever been a travel blog, and without all of you who have joined us along the way, the blog may very well have died a long time ago, hence why we find your opinion so much more valuable than our own personal feelings towards the blog. That’s not to say that we’re not deeply in love with what we’ve crafted these past two years, just that everything we do, we do it for you – and we love it.
We have a fantastic opportunity to continue to build this travel blog into something we never dreamed of, but if that means your dissatisfaction then we don’t want to take that path. So what are the choices?
One Of Three Paths
With our travel funds now beginning to reach there end and no real income from the blog to speak of, we can keep the blog going whilst we start to think of post-travel jobs for the two of us, quite possibly here in Berlin. We’ll travel where we can, perhaps for long weekends, maybe for longer periods, but a lot of our time will of course be diverted towards whatever jobs we decide to choose for ourselves, whether that be looking into working online on social media for clients, or taking the first job that comes along, be it in a cafe or being cleaners.
The posts will keep coming, there’s no way we’ll ever let the blog drift away and be forgotten about. We’ll finally get around to writing all of those posts on places we’ve never really had the time to cover before; we may even begin to write about our lives as expats in the city of Berlin if it appeals to you?
The Second Path
If that path isn’t quite to your liking there are two more that we can follow, one of which being quite the norm in the travel blogging world.
This first path would lead towards us becoming professional travel bloggers, what does this mean exactly? For us it would mean navigating away from our slow method of travel, away from our typical way of ‘unplanning‘ of journey, not knowing what we’ll do from one day to the next, never doing something just because everyone else has it on their ‘bucket list‘. If you’ve been reading us for a while, you’ll know that’s just not us.
What would lie before us would be a life of writing and reviewing locations on behalf of tourism boards and destination marketing organisations, going to the places picked out and organised into group tours and press trips, documenting everything along the way with photos and posts here on the site on incredible locations around the world, with much of the activities being ‘sponsored‘ – an amazing opportunity to see some of the world’s greatest and most sought after locations. We’d be mad to turn it down, right?
The Third Path
We love the countries that we’ve read about and seen pictures from during the past two years that have been the centre of the few press trips we’ve seen covered during our time as travel bloggers, but one thought that always nagged with us was that on occasion we would read a post from bloggers who are on a whole other level to us in terms of quality of content and the writing they produce, that was very clearly not something they truly cared about. During the press trip they were on they most certainly had a fantastic time, but most certainly coving one part of their experiences because they were obligated to do so.
It’s a very tricky thing to be objective when you’re getting something for free, as we’ve found out first hand when documenting some experiences of our own in the past, the only difference being we seeked those places out, they never seeked for us.
So if we aren’t in favour of the most common path for professional travel bloggers, what else is there?
The Alternative Path
We feel that the only way in which we can truly become professional travel bloggers is to build our own business model, to do things in a way where we feel true to ourselves – and more importantly – true to what you expect from us.
We would like to discuss and build an opportunity where the both of us will visit a country, explore it in the same manner as we would normally (slow travel, car sharing, Couchsurfing, affordable design hostels/hotels, meeting locals, pro-animal rights, responsible travel, vegan lifestyle, etc), and review that country impartially and without anyone picking the places we visit or the places we stay for us. This way, we’re not getting preferential treatment from tour guides or hotel workers, we’re just regular travellers who are neither uber-cheap and smelly backpackers or luxury resort-staying travellers. We’re just two people who love to see the world, just like you.
Now this won’t be easy, in fact, it might fail entirely; but if we don’t try and do things in a way that feels true to ourselves and true to you fantastic people who read us, then what’s the point? If everyone is writing the same sugar-coated experience, are we really credible as travel writers?
Again, this could end in failure as we try to do something different from the norm. We’re not first to try this way by any means, but we know it’s not overly common to reach a partnership in this way with tourism boards; but we have to try. After all we’ve learned in these two years about reaching for your goals, for your hopes and for your dreams; how could we possibly not at the very least try?
The Choice Is Yours
So we’re handing the choice to you, our amazing community who we’d be nothing without. We want to provide what you want to read, what you want to see and to hear.
All of the paths work for us, either to keep blogging as a hobby when we can between ‘real life‘ jobs and travelling when we can, or as professional travel bloggers joining with some of the most amazing travel bloggers we’re so lucky to now consider not just our peers, but friends – but for us only one option, the alternative option really makes us truly happy, even if it means certain disaster and an unresponsive ear from the destinations we hope to pitch to.
Lastly, no matter what, both Franca and I want to thank you for every message of support we’ve ever received, every email, every donation to buy us lunch and pay the hosting costs for the site.
Without you, there is no angloitalianfollowus.com. Thank you.
— Dale & Franca
Which path do you choose for us?