This is the 600th article I have written and published on Around the World “L” Travel Blog! To celebrate, I will do two things I love in this article: First, sharing photos of my favorite city in the world, Boston, in all its autumn beauty. Second, answering questions that readers have submitted. Enjoy!
Q1: What were you doing for your 500th, 400th, 300th, 200th, and 100th, and 1st articles?
A1: Click and see! For my first article ever, I wrote about why I was leaving America to travel around the world for a year. The 100th article was written in Vietnam about being attacked by monkeys on a beach. Around article 200, I was in Ghana, West Africa, being chased by gleeful kids who screamed that I have weird white skin.
I wrote article 300 in gorgeous Granada, Spain, reflecting on “ambition” and how it relates to being a woman. Article 400 is about scary “sandboarding” in Peru, South America. The 500th article shows awesome photos from my wedding in Boston, and now I write article 600 after returning to work teaching in Boston following a nine month Maternity Leave, since I just had a baby!
Q2: How have you stayed motivated and consistently blogging for 5 years and 600 articles?
A2: There are a lot of things I’m completely unmotivated and inconsistent with, particularly putting away my laundry. But blogging — it’s like a magnetic force that I HAVE to do every single week to feel complete. Getting reader comments and shares is such a high, it is the perfect motivation.
Plus, blogging means that I can experience every great thing in life multiple times: The first time when it happens, and then every time someone reads the published article about it! So, is there a secret to maintaining a blog over many years for those who are just starting? The secret is that if you love it to the point of obsession, the motivation will take care of itself.
Q3: How has your blog changed over time, and in what direction is it headed next?
A3: So many changes have occurred. If anyone is considering starting a blog now, just do it and don’t wait to know everything about how to make a perfect blog, because with practice and trying comes evolution. When I began blogging, I was hosted on Blogger (instead of WordPress as I am now), my formatting was terrible, I had a shoddy camera, and I didn’t really know who my audience was.
In fact, I got into some problems because I didn’t realize that people would actually read my site, so I wrote things that were inappropriate which I had to delete later. Now I’m in a better blogging groove, but I know that I’ll continue to evolve in formatting, style, and angle as I learn more and change, myself.
Q4: How have your travels changed over time, and where are you traveling to next?
A4: I started as a nomadic solo budget traveler sleeping in $10 broom closets amid grime and bugs. Now I’ve set down lovely roots in Boston and am full-time teaching back here again, doing my traveling during the perfect two months and four weeks of the year that teachers get for vacation.
I got married and had a baby, meaning that my travels have become less dangerous for the time being, and more luxurious. Because of the growth of my blog and the large readership I currently get, fancy hotels now often host me and my family on a complimentary basis, meaning we’ve gotten to stay at some of the most amazing places, including the #1 hotel in the world!
Q5: Did you feel guilty, shifting from being a budget traveler to lounging in the lap of luxury?
A5: At first I did, but then I realized that’s just silly. With an 11-month baby, I am not going to be sleeping in a broom closet with bedbugs. And the reality is that I LOVE writing up luxury hotels. It is so fun! I get really serious about it, spending hours and hours photographing and writing up an alluring yet quirky article in a way that I can be proud of.
In fact, my most popular article ever (with 55,500 reads and counting) is a review of an amazing resort in Belize… with a funny twist. What I would also point out is that it’s actually more relevant for the general population to read about Puerto Rico vacations than motorcycling through rural Vietnam.
Q6: So what’s it like to be a travel blogger?
A6: I LOVE it. I love it, I love it, I love it. Since 2009, blogging has been a huge part of my identity, and I hold the connections I’ve made in the travel blogging sphere (both other travel bloggers and our readers) extremely dear to my heart. I also know that being a travel blogger makes me a better teacher and mother. When I was only teaching, I lacked an outlet to get my OWN words out there.
Instead, I just elicited words from everyone except for me. Blogging allows me to model for students how to use writing for a large internet audience in a productive and responsible manner. How does blogging make me a better mother? It gives me a world-focused sense of purpose that saved me during my maternity leave.
Though it was magical to spend nine months at home with my baby, I think I would have felt very isolated if I didn’t have a global forum in which to express my thoughts with other people around the world.
Q7: Are you branching out beyond travel blogging into other areas?
A7: When I first gave birth to Devi, I feared that I would have to give up travel altogether, and that this would therefore become just a parent blog. After our epic trip through Puerto Rico, however, I realized that I needn’t have worried.
I can certainly keep on traveling with a baby, just at a modified pace, and with slightly different destinations. In terms of other topics I’m bringing into the mix, I’ve started to add in fashion blogging: Not hoity-toity fashion pieces, but rather articles for those of us who like fun clothes, but have about two seconds and a spitting-up baby on our hands. I’ve really enjoyed writing the fashion articles I’ve created so far!
Q8: What advice do you have for people interested in blogging?
A8: Cultivate a social media presence. The tens of thousands of people connected to me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Newsletter, and so on (30,000 followers at last count) are instrumental in keeping this blog read and growing. You can write the best content in the world, but if you have no strategy for getting it seen and shared, all is lost! Thank YOU, readers, for keeping the happiness of this blog going.
Q9: How many people read your site now?
A: Over the course of 600 articles, I’ve gone from getting zero views to over 18,000 readers a month! That gives me great happines, and I look forward to continued growth.
On a side note, I have now approved over 10,000 reader comments on this site, meaning that each article has an average of 17 comments. It’s great to have that interaction, so keep it coming!
So there you have it… Blogging for 600 articles has been the best, and I can’t wait to write 600 more!
Huge thanks to everyone who has made the joy of running this blog possible.
Have questions or comments of your own? Do share!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!