10 years seems like a long time, but it oddly didn’t feel like I’ve been blogging for that long. Perhaps the time just went by so fast, or perhaps it’s because I don’t post that often. Haha.
My blog began 10 years ago with the first published post entitled Europe Trip Dream. I was about to embark on my first solo trip and first visit to Europe in 2007, and decided to start a blog to update my family and friends. And also to have it documented to read back later for myself. I used to keep a diary when I was younger, documenting childish thoughts and boring events.
So this blog saw through my planning stage and finally followed me throughout my trip. It was great that I posted something every 3 or 4 days!
It is said that if you step on Km 0 in Madrid, you’ll one day return to Madrid. I was here 10 years ago with Kay @route_projects and today I’m back (in Madrid) 🇪🇸 Today, Feb 19, also marks 10th anniversary of my first ever blog post entitled “Europe Trip Dream” (link bio @wanderlass). It makes sense I guess that I celebrate it being back in Europe 💕#wanderlasseuro2017 #visitmadrid
That Europe Trip Unleashed My wanderlust
My life became exciting and filled with travels after that Europe trip. The same year, I got certified scuba diving and began to travel the Philippines to scuba dive. I also found my tribe. I decided to continue blogging and registered my domain wanderlass.com which was great that it was available!
When my blog started to get noticed a bit, I flirted with the idea of monetizing my blog. I read up about SEO and Google Page Rank and so on. Ironically though, when I learned a lot about blogging, I kind of stopped blogging. I began to fuss about how to write an article that often it never got written.
Anyway, I’ve decided (very soon after the idea came) that I can never be a professional blogger. But,
The 28 days Challenge
I’ll never stop having epic trips and I want to write about them, for me and for people who cares. I want to go back to 10 years ago when writing was effortless; when I didn’t care about SEO. So,
My friend Gidget and I made a pack to do a 28-days challenge. It’s said that if you do something for 28 days straight, it will become a habit. And so we decided to encourage each other to post an article a day on our respective blog for 28 days straight!
Her blog is called Picky Pescetarian, if you want to check her progress too
If I were to successfully complete this task, which i intend to with conviction, I would have more articles written than when I did my one year around the world trip.
On the occasion of my 10th year blog anniversary, for my first assignment, I’m reminding myself why I blog and want to continue blogging. Here are (in somewhat random order)
TOP 10 REASONS WHY I BLOG
- IT SERVES AS BACK UP MEMORY
- TO INSPIRE
- TO HELP PROVIDE INFORMATION
- PLATFORM TO PROMOTE
- FREE TRIPS
- FREE STUFF
- MAKE (SOME) MONEY
- MEET INTERESTING PEOPLE
- EXPRESS YOURSELF
- WRITE BETTER
This is the original reason why wanted to blog. Human memory is very weak, we forget so easily, especially with all these social media junk that fills up our brains. When I redid my blog last year, I had the chance to read back old posts and was surprised to read details of trips that I’ve forgotten.
I just came back from Bandung, Indonesia visiting a new friend. I was in Bandung in 2009 and actually blogged about it. It was great to be able to compare the new trip with the old one, up to how much the price of the shuttle bus from Jakarta then and now (70,000 vs 160,000).
Met someone recently who thought there are 2 types of travel bloggers; those who blog to inspire and those who write to brag. I never thought about it that way honestly, and neither have been my goal in blogging about my trips. But if you were to put me somewhere, I hope I inspire.
I’m not famous enough to have haters, but I have over the years received messages from readers who said I inspired them. I also have people come up to me during public talks to tell me so. It’s always nice to hear positive feedback from people who stumbled upon my blog.
There is a young guy traveling South America now who claimed that he used to read my blog during school breaks. He is now done with his MD. Wow, there goes what my blog of 10 years has witnessed!
Internet has been really good to me in all my research. I thought it’s only right to give back what I can. My series on VISA application for Philippine Passport Holders has been a source of information for Filipinos applying visas to Europe, UK, China, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Australia, Jordan & Egypt. Each has taken life of its own as the comment sections now serve as platform for people to exchange experiences.
One memorable encounter I had was with Neil (Dive Instructor) who I met in 2014. He told me that when he just started diving, he used the information on my post Gabajillion of Sardines to dive Moalboal, including which bus to take, hotel to stay in, and dive shop to use. Isn’t it amazing?
Because I am the chief writer and editor-in-chief, I can put whatever I want on my blog. It means I can use it as a platform to promote things I strongly believe in. Scuba Diving in the Philippines has been my long time advocacy. I’ll continue to promote Philippine Diving despite Dive Philippines (Philippines Department of Tourism) rudely dissed me after I ardently promoted their unknown event Anilao Underwater Photo Competition for 2 years. I do this out of my love for scuba diving and my country.
When I started underwater photography in 2011, I’ve given a lot of recommendation on buying Canon S series (S90, S95, S100..) and G series (G9, 10… 16). It was not sponsored. I was using them and thought they’re good. I sponsor all my camera and diving equipment!
You may not get a lot of money from your blog without hardwork, but it is definitely possible to get free trips, tours, hotel stay. It is an exciting time, because brands now recognize blogs and social media (instagram) as a legit media to invest in. So I have more invitations than ever for free trips and collaboration. I spoke about my 2016 as the year of free trips. I have been on trips to Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Maldives and various Philippine destinations by Tourism boards and Airlines.
For same reasons above, it is also possible to get free stuff. During my around the world trip in 2011-2012, I was lucky to have Eagle Creek, Columbia, and R.O.X. as sponsors and received a lot of stuff I brought with me to my trip. I’ve made a video and blog post of what I packed for an RTW trip.
I don’t accept everything I am offered because I’m really lazy in writing, so I have to pick only those products that I liked, in order for me to be motivated to write about them.
It is definitely possible to make a living out of your blog and there are a millions of information out there that can help you achieve that. I do make some money from blogging, just not enough to finance my travel and lifestyle.
I was invited as media during the 2011 Philippine Dive Seafari and was able to meet and dive with some of the world’s most prolific underwater photographers. I shared dive boat with legendary diver Bob Yin and award winning photo-journalist Gutsy Tuason. It was also through blogging and scuba diving that I became friends with the creative Lia Barrett.
Of course it’s not only about meeting famous people, but also meeting like-minded travel people; other bloggers or people in the travel industry (like airline people) I met during sponsored trips who I became good friends with.
I think I write okay, but it takes a lot of effort. It been a long time goal for me to be a better writer; for writing to be more natural for me. There are tons of writing courses and books out there, but the only way to improve is to actually write, write, and write! Practice Makes Perfect as the old adage goes. That’s what they said in the writing courses too. And so, here I am, conquering the 28 day Challenge to be a better writer!