How I made the most of my 3rd year of travel blogging

From travel blogger to legit travel writer…

129 blog posts. 1,30,000 words. 1000 days of blogging. Whoosh! I must have blinked. Pinch me…has it been three years already since a nervous newbie first bared her soul online in the coveted cosmos of travel ‘influencers’? It’s been a joyride, this 3rd year of my third career, riding on wings of un-jaded exuberance and unscathed passion. Would it be too presumptuous to pat my own back just yet? Considering that one of my several vices happens to be an irreversible and intense intolerance for routine.

Topkapi Palace_Istanbul

Celebrating the credits

Non-essentials apart, I’m still hanging in there, partly thanks to a deliberate, deep dive into the world of bylines. Off-roading into more familiar territory, with a mission to refuel my creative engine, as a legit writer. Stoked by the challenge of unexplored topics. Fired by the push of non-negotiable deadlines. And charged by a voracious appetite to write. Hitting the high notes with over a dozen travel articles published in the last 8 months in a handful of inflight magazines (Air Vistara, Air India, Air Asia, Jazeera Airways) and a leading travel website (Matador Network) thrown in for good measure. And the most rewarding…an unexpected release in India’s top travel magazine (Outlook Traveller). Scroll through my published works here.

Personal drumroll moment? Four of these articles mysteriously synchronising their appearance in four different magazines in the very last month of my third year, inflating my balance sheet of happiness to full-blown proportions. Yayy! How does that happen out of the blue? Who’s been eavesdropping on my dreams?

Dolmabahce Palace_Istanbul.jpg

Memorabilia of moments

Note to self. Blogging or byline, ultimately both are incidental offshoots. So, rewinding to my favourite memories from the heady concoction of trips and trails from the year gone by. Starting from my own backyard. And what a backyard. A fascinating walking tour of Chawri Bazaar and Jamia Masjid in Old Delhi, where streets are still named after ancient trades. A bedazzling day gaping at the priceless collection of the royal Nizam’s Jewels, including the famed Jacob’s Diamond, in a once-in-12 years, heavily guarded exhibition in the capital’s National Museum. Impromptu self-guided photography expeditions to unearth lesser-known monuments hidden in the urban sprawl. Attending expert-led talks on a wide range of subjects ranging from religious symbolism to the evolution of magic. And a wondrous soak in a Dastangoi session, reviving the lost art form of 13th century Urdu oral storytelling in the country. No shortage of brushes with heritage in Delhi. Phew!

Residency_Lucknow.jpg

Adding first-time experiences to my growing treasury of travel. Fighting irrational fear with a rowboat ride along the crocodile-infested Mahanadi at Satkosia Gorge in Orissa. Learning about age-old art of Pattachitra in the crafts village of Raghurajpur. Plunging into lost heritage during a temple trail in Bhubaneshwar, getting a lump in my throat watching a beautiful Odissi dance performance and picking up my jaw from the floor at the majestic complex of Konark. Wow!

Bosphorus_Istanbul.jpg

Following my instinct and discovering the magic of Madikeri, Karnataka…kissing clouds, picking strawberries, going on coffee tours, and understanding the local Kodava culture. Driving with rolled-down windows and windswept hair around North Goa, in search of unknown churches, sleepy villages and vibrant Portuguese mansions. Giving in to gluttony like famished victims during food trails in the streets of Amritsar and Lucknow. And absorbing the silence of offbeat British cantonment towns of Kasauli and Dagshai in Himachal, where the thing to do is ‘smell pines and do-nothing’.

Strawberry farm_Taj Madikeri_Coorg

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Across the borders, fulfilling a long-overdue fantasy in the captivating capital of Turkey. Tirelessly tracing miles along the blue Bosphorus, unveiling the secrets of the harem in Topkapi Palace, craning my neck at the glorious mosques of Sultanahmet, wandering through the maze of the grand bazaars, listening to the musical azaan and staring transfixed at the Whirling Dervishes. Thinking why one trip is never enough, no matter how long.

And, it’s a wrap

Solving every dilemma, wiping away every doubt with my very own ‘never-fail’ quote, “Do what you do if no one was watching.” From almost-trapped-in-the-abyss of a social-media driven existence, to a free-willing-waltz down an alternative avenue of my own design, its been a liberating third year. I still do a small jig when blog traffic spikes and crease my forehead into a frown at all-time lows. But the obsession for visits, clicks and views has melted away, leaving behind the soft silt of peace. Even Instagram is not that close a friend anymore. Sticking my neck out, in admitting that the follower game seems so last-season to me now. But there can be no raves without rants. So, despite all the intelligent improvising, fatigue still manages to raise its ugly head sometimes. Fortunately, a gentle inner voice whispers in parallel, “Remember, this is the life you wanted desperately”. Always works.

Sunset_Madikeri_Coorg

Endnote, then. Living a dream is nothing like it sounds…it has its own share of tedium, trauma, toil and tears. Ok, much less dramatic. So, reality bites for all those glamour-stricken 20-somethings, mid-career shifters and everyone else who harbours the illusion that a life revolving around travel is a cakewalk…have you ever tried walking on cake? Meanwhile, Year 4. Bring it on.

 

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From travel blogger to legit travel writer in my 3rd year of travel blogging #travelwriter #travelblogger #travelblogging #blogversary #travelphilosophy #travelwriting

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46 thoughts on “How I made the most of my 3rd year of travel blogging

  1. Congratulations, hope there are lots more to come. 🙂
    So glad that you’ve found your own “free-willing-waltz” as you’ve put it. How ever uncertain you were at the beginning, it seems that you’ve hit the right spot. Those articles are a sign of the step in the right direction, right!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love reading your blog posts and seeing your photos and I honestly thought you have been blogging a lot longer than three years. Hopefully more to come and keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on making it to your third year of blogging – and huge kudos for getting articles published in major publications! Best of luck in your future blogging career.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so amazing – and so well-deserved! Working in journalism, I know how hard it is to sell your stories at an appropriate price to magazines, so you definitely did a great job! Keep it up – we are waiting for more stories from you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! Congratulations! So glad to hear someone not obsessing with Instagram numbers. Love your style of writing. Can I ask which article/post is your personal favourite?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so impressed you’ve already written for inflight magazines, within your first three years of writing. That’s awesome. I’m working on my fifth year. I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned in the process but in awe of how much more there is to learn and experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What awesome accomplishments to be published in so many magazines for your travel writing! And I just love your unfaltering attitude of pushing through even when the process is tiring, along with focusing on what’s really important instead of all the numbers behind the blogging game. Congrats on an amazing third year!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. SO so very happy for you…Happy Blogiversary..if that is a thing! Perhaps I need to have, how you said it, to be “Fired by the push of non-negotiable deadlines!” Cause it has been probably my biggest challenge getting my words out, written & published. But after reading all the stuff you did in just 8 Months is truly amazing. You are an inspiration for me to keep chugging along. Congrats and continued luck..now where is that fire stick!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a bunch, Eric 🙂 That is such a generous comment. I feel we all have our personal fire sticks hidden inside us, they self-ignite when we know we’re on the path truly meant for us. You’ll find yours.

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  9. Congrats. Always good to celebrate success and 3 years is a nice milestone. Never lose sight of the fact though, that no matter how long you have been blogging, or how many articles have appeared in national mags, or how many awards you have won, you are, ultimately, only as good as your last article. Given your success and drive, I suspect you realize that. Keep going, Keep writing, Keep traveling.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow ! What a journey you had ! I’m still in my first year, taking baby steps. I hope to reach where you are at my 3rd year ! =)
    Glad it is working out for you, and you are starting to reap your labour !
    To more travelling, more writing and more stories ! =)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Such a great journey you have been on! Congratulations! Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in the nitty gritty of the stats but I love how when you step away and follow the course, peace fills the space and the writing flows! Whoop! Whoop! Very inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Omg that’s insane! Can’t believe you took a rowboat through crocodiles. Definitely sounds like you’ve had accumulated some wild adventures and memories of a lifetime. It’s super amazing too that you got published in all these well-established magazines! Congrats and give yourself a pat on the back!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You are having an incredible journey and we are happy to read your achievements!
    We have done some trial & errors in the past and now we have finally a blog up and running.
    It is a morale booster to read real inspiring stories like yours! Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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