On Saturday I drove up to Irvine for the Women in Travel Summit hosted by Wanderful. I have never been to a blogger conference before, so I think that I went in hopeful for a fun day and a few good tips, but not with the expectation to have my socks blown off. Obviously I am new to the game, because my experience was the latter.
So what was so amazing about my experience? On my drive back to San Diego, I tried to flip through my notes to read to my husband some of the inspiring stories I heard or pieces of advice I loved – but my notes just didn’t seem to do my experience justice.
In an attempt to summarize what I took away from #wits16, I think that it would be best to share what I’ve learned about myself.
- I LOVE to write about travel. Travel excites me and lights a fire inside of me! I love the idea of being able to have new experiences and see new places, try new foods, meet new people, and experience different cultures. Even just writing about my love of writing about travel makes me excited!
- I actually don’t love to write about cooking. Let me clarify though, I do love cooking. Cooking always feels very relaxing and therapeutic for me, it’s a time for me to unwind. So the thought of having to take pictures step by step feels very daunting. And then furthermore, having to upload, edit and write about that daunting experience….well, you get the picture. So after everything that I heard yesterday, I realized, why do I keep choosing to write about something that isn’t making me happy? Definitely not the point of this blog.
- I’ve been trying to do what looks like success for other people, and not what is success for me. I started out blogging knowing that I wanted to share a bit of everything with the world, but didn’t feel convinced on how to do so. So, I think that I often felt like, oh, she is successful and she also includes posts like this, so I should do that too. Not only is it not always an accurate reflection of my voice, it’s preventing me from truly figuring out what my voice is as a writer, and who I am as a blogger.
- This next one is tough for me. I am my brand. I am my brand. But who am I? The majority of you don’t have any clue who I am, because you’ve never seen a picture of me. When I first started blogging, that was literally my first step into the digital world. I had never been on Facebook (still not), Twitter (joined, but I kind of suck at it), or Instagram (follow me here!); and I think that I felt really nervous about how much that I wanted to share of myself with the world. Correction, I still feel a little nervous about how much I want to share with the world. One of the speakers pointed out yesterday, if you didn’t know who Oprah was, would you watch the OWN network or buy her magazine? Probably not. So, why is it any different for me, my blog, my brand, my product? It’s not. But honestly, this is going to be a tough adjustment for me. As much as I share online through my blog, I feel very protective of my life and keeping things private. However, I want to be successful, and I know that I can be successful. I am also now very clear on what I need to do to facilitate that success.
- What makes me, me? What sets me apart from others? Why should you, my readers, want to follow me? What makes me special? Well, I love to smile and laugh. I love to be goofy and do silly things. I love to jump out and scare my husband. I love to send people cards. I love being able to make people happy. I love to plan things. Plan parties, plan trips, plan outfits, really any kind of planning. And that is also a really huge strength for me, especially when it comes to travel. My Dad has often said to me, “you don’t miss a beat.” That makes me feel very proud. When we travel, I like the feeling that we are prepared for success. I definitely don’t stress over a schedule, but I go in being prepared for the best way to tackle a city; and as a result we get loads done, have amazing experiences and feel totally stress-free even in big busy cities. I also love that for these amazing trips, I have really honed in on my packing skills. Pretty much without fail, I am able to travel with a carry-on only. Last August when I went to Italy for a month? Yep, just one carry-on (let’s pretend though that we don’t know that I came home with more luggage filled with tons of tasty treats that I picked up along the way). It feels so easy to just keep things easy. I don’t have to dig through loads of luggage to find something and I’ve got no problem re-wearing things and doing a bit of hand-washing on the road. Definitely the price I am willing to pay for traveling light. (Let me make an aside: I actually used to be a horribly heavy packer – like going home for Winter break with 2 huge duffles, each weighing almost 75 lbs, heavy.) Anyways, it’s things like these little stories who are me, and they are also things that I want to share more of.
- My blogging has been a little too much of everything. Or maybe not too much of everything, but just not enough of ME in all of that everything. I need to find a way to better share my voice with you all in every post that I write. In line with this, I am realizing that if I could pick my dream blogging job, it would be mostly comprised of travel, with little bits of style and food thrown in – so I need to make sure that you all feel this from me 100% of the time. But how can I make this happen when I’m not traveling all of the time? Good question. I am still mulling this one over. I need to figure out a way to blog about my life, or blog about what makes me happy in between my travels, and to not just think “oh, I could do a post on cauliflower since I am going to make it anyways.” (Yuck, I am still grossed out when I think about that cauliflower!)
- Start. Just go out and do it. There is no better time than now – now with all of this great new knowledge and advice, and ideas swimming around in my head. So many women, so many people just like me are out there blogging, and I want to be different. Heck, I’m me! I want you all to know what that is, who that is! It’s time for me to take all of this knowledge and bring my blog to the next level. It’s time to just let me shine through even more in every moment…even if I decide to write some horrible post on cauliflower :)