I went to a festival last night. The local village Rockfest. I got to stay up late past ten o’clock. Yes, I know you’ll be shocked, me being the classy, organic chick that I am and all but hey. What can I say? Sometimes Mummy’s just have to get down with the sounds and chill. (more…)
What are Travel Bloggers? As the two words suggests, travel bloggers are people – families (like us), couples, single adventurers, that travel and blog about it. A blog is another word for an online journal or an informational website, and a ‘blogger’ is someone who puts the content onto the page.
Most people start travel blogging to help others, to give fellow travellers knowledge about a certain destination, others blog so that they can document their journey for their family back home, and then there are those very dedicated, hardworking clever bloggers who do it because that is their job and they are making a very nice living from it thank you very much for asking.
Anyone who has dabbled in blogging will know how incessantly addictive it is. Especially when you start to make a little money out of it; but that’s a different story and not something I’ll speak about right now.
I have been blogging for almost ten months and in that time have surrounded myself with other travel bloggers. I started blogging because I longed to reach out and talk to people. Grown-ups. Adults – other than the sheep shearer.
So, Why Did You Decide To Start Travel Blogging?
I homeschool my teenagers and last year I started a theatre in education project with a group of teenage actors. I won’t go into all the details, but to cut a long story short, I wrote a play, directed my students and took the production to local high schools around the region where I live in New Zealand.
It was hugely successful and for a while, I was considered very cool by my kids. Until I crashed the props trailer into the back of the van on the dual carriageway and had to phone Brian to come and rescue me.
I’ve always dreamed of being one of those women who breeze through life. Throwing my daughter the latest Jane Austen novel to dissect while I threw a Thai noodle soup together for dinner before donning my black footless dance tights to go and direct a bunch of drama students; wearingmy black khol eyeliner and looking gorgeous of course.
Instead, I cry. Worry myself senseless that my daughter doesn’t even know who wrote Pride and Prejudice, cry again. Wish I hadn’t left Bath in England and Marks and Spenser’s where I could buy a ready meal, cry some more, (louder and much more dramatically this time), then put my grey pyjama bottoms on and drink some wine. Waiting for Brian to come in from work so he can witness his wife looking like a hormonal panda.
It’s All About The Writing…
In short, while the theatre company was a wonderful experience, the main takeaway for me was the writing. Writing the play. I could do that at home and still keep one eye on the dog when she tried to bite her stitches off.
And that’s why I started the blog. Because I love to write. Firstly, I blogged about why everyone else seemed to be so much better at parenting than me, and then, when I had my midlife crisis that led to me and Brian taking the kids backpacking around the world for a year I blogged about that.
But I couldn’t do it alone.
What Do You Love About Blogging And How Did you Meet Your Hero?
Blogging is therapeutic, it also makes you feel as though you have more friends than you actually have. Perfect for antisocial women like me. I have made some amazing blogging friends over the past year, including Gillian from Little Den and Sophie from Old House in the Shires. We chat online, support each other and leave comments on each other’s blogs.
I’m an all or nothing kind of girl. I can’t be bothered doing things by half and it didn’t take me long to realise that if I was to take blogging seriously I’d need some help. So I looked online to see who could support me on this journey. Hold my hand and tell me how to do complicated stuff. And I found Alyson.
Alyson Long from World travel family is the queen of all family travel bloggers. There is nothing this woman doesn’t know about family travel and blogging. The reason I love her so much is that not only is she incredibly knowledgeable and talented, she is so damn blunt and straight up.
Unlike me who faffs about writing long stories and tries her hardest not to upset anyone.
Why You Should Join a Group And Not Be So Antisocial Like Me.
Surrounding yourself with like-minded people when you are setting out to achieve something, be it travel blogging or anything else is incredibly important. Other people just won’t get what you are doing and this can end up being extremely frustrating. I joined Alyson’s private group,’ let’s get started‘, about a year ago and it was the best thing I could have ever done.
For the past ten months, this fabulous woman has been mentoring, babying and guiding me through my first year of blogging. The small amount that she charges to be part of this group is worth ten times as much.
God knows how she managed to do it. I couldn’t have taught me. I. Knew. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. This time last year I thought that a laptop was called a laptop. My reasoning for this being that a mobile computer was something that scientists probably used in a science lab.
I know. And I’m homeschooling my kids. Scary isn’t it?
And Then Today I met Her in Real Life.
We are currently in England visiting family and on realising this Alyson, very kindly, invited me up to her place in London, to eat her food, drink her wine, sleep on her couch (because as you might remember, sleeping on couches is my favourite way to travel) and pick her brains.
Now you know me. All bras, knickers and funny talk. Easy when you’re sitting behind a computer on the other side of the world or taking a sleeper bus in India. But when it comes to real life? Like, proper real life, well. I’m actually a very boring, unfunny, terribly erratic dimwit, who likes to cry a lot and blame the reason for her feet sweating on midlife hormones.
It’s a bit weird when you know someone on the net and then you finally go to meet them. I was reminded of Sonny and his cyber online You Tuby friends.
The number of times my teenage son has tried to tell me that he has very good friends who he games with, living in Australia or wherever. Me, the every caring parent dissing him by spouting off about how the person he is talking to is probably the Texas chainsaw murderer, scrutinizing his IP address so he can come and murder us all in our sleep and steel our sheep.
And now I found myself whizzing up the M3 to meet my cyber friend.
I won’t lie, I was worried. Panicking I was. I couldn’t even finish my egg mayonnaise sandwich at the service station I was that nervous – and it cost me three quid. Brian was going to call for a doctor and everything.
Will she like me? Or will she think ‘bloody hell, what’s this lunatic all about?. She hasn’t even got a clean pair of pants on, and why are her feet sweating so much?’
Finally Meeting My Online Blogging Super Hero.
I knew we were going to get on within the first three minutes.
Alyson asked me if I wanted a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Me, not wanting to come across as a wine-swilling alcoholic, politely said “I’ll have a nice cup of tea please” then watched as she poured herself a large glass of red. My kind of girl.
I pushed the earl grey to one side, and so the night began.
No kids, wine, and my travel blogging hero, trapped in my presence. Unable to go offline. I had her all to myself. Perfect.
We had such a wonderful time. We talked about blogging and Google and money and travel and more blogging. I loved it – so much so that I had to share it with you.
So, just a quickie, If you take up travel blogging, don’t do it alone. Get yourself on the internet and join a small group. Surround yourself with as many friends as possible. I’ll be your friend. Pick me. Pick me.
If you would like to keep up with how my fabulous travel blogging career is taking off, sign up for my weekly emails and we can be friends forever x
Viral. A Quora viral post. Get me.
I’m not sure about the term viral. I think it’s a new-fangled internet thingy. The only viral I’ve witnessed these past few months is when Brian’s ears blocked up and he annoyingly insisted on cupping his hand over the side of his face when I asked him a question.
I thought he might need a hearing aid, but he said it was just viral
And then on Sunday, I discovered the real meaning of viral.
As some of you may know, I have been travelling the world with my husband and teenagers for the past seven months and writing a travel blog as I go. While I try my hardest to be a proper, grown-up travel blogger who appears professional and doesn’t get too personal, sometimes, just occasionally, I stray off the path.
Instead of telling people how to get from Verona to Rome by bus, I inform them that my Berlei bra has ripped or that the kids are driving me insane because they won’t get off their stupid, addictive phones.
Today you will get one of those posts, because today, I have something exciting to tell you.
The Day Mummy’s Quora Post Went Viral.
Picture if you will, a pigeon. A big, fat, happy grey pigeon with a puffed up heaving chest, walking around in a pair of silver high heeled shoes that are four sizes too big.
That was me yesterday.
I wrote an answer on Quora. Quora is a question and answer site. It’s similar to social media in the sense that people can up-vote your answer and comment, but totally opposite to social media in that people can’t just put a picture of their granny doing the splits in a pair of wooden clogs and get trillions of likes from it.
I answered a question: ‘What do first-time visitors to India not expect to find?’
That was easy for me. While everyone else on Quora was writing about the filth and squalor, I wrote about India as I saw it. Beautifully.
You see, India for me was like stepping into a different life. It’s impossible to be normal in India because everything is so unlike everything you are accustomed to. And I loved that. So, writing about how enchanting and exciting it was came easily to me.
Anyway, this is not a post about the answer that I wrote on Quora, it is about how that answer went viral.
Sonny, my 17-year-old son, has always dreamed of going viral; it’s all he ever talks about.
Jenny Penny has given birth to a baby girl and called her tube; it’s gone viral.
Black Prince has announced he’s not racist and had sprayed his big toe white; it’s gone viral.
Robbo Fortino scratched his balls with a hairbrush; it’s gone viral.
Writing The Post That Went Viral.
Saturday night. I wrote the post and pressed publish. Just before I went off to bed I checked the stats and saw that after an hour, the post had received 45 views and a handful of up-votes.
But I woke up the next morning, and my world was different.
“You’d better come and see this! That post that you wrote on Quora is going up by 10,000 views every hour!”.
Sonny. My 17-year-old son.
Happier than I’ve ever seen him in his entire life. You see because I am a kind and considerate mother who only ever thinks of others, I had linked to Sonny’s YouTube Channel in that post.
The video that he made about India was now receiving thousands of views.
Note to other mothers: How to make your teenage son love, worship, respect and adore you for a few hours. Plus, make you a cup of tea without asking. Link to his YouTube channel with a post that is set to go viral.
158.4k views in 12 hours.
Picture me at 10 o’clock that morning after being told that my post was hitting the big time. From resembling a seagull that had just taken an oil bath, I transformed into a peacock – strutting its stuff around Kensington Palace.
No, not a peacock. Let’s stay with the pigeon in high heels analogy.
Famous at Last. I could see it all now.
Me, on the red carpet, attending ‘The Best Selling Author of the Year Awards’. Wearing a sparkly dress and my Japanese headband, the one I bought from the 100 yen shop, sporting one of those posh silky girdles that hold your belly in really tight.
Over I would swan to J.K, smiling my nicest smile, and I’d ask her ‘was it true that she had written about the flying wizard while sitting in a coffee shop?’
She would look aghast as if to say ‘who the hell is this cretin and why is she wearing that hideous headband?’ but I wouldn’t care. I’d go on to tell her about my adventures. And she’d have to listen to me because I was nearly as famous as she was.
And a bit younger.
I’d yarn on and on about the fact that, like her, I’d suffered poverty. About how I’d travelled the world wearing the same filthy black dress and had eaten horse meat in Japan. How I’d inflicted torture onto my kids by making them couch-surf but that I didn’t feel one bit guilty, because I was the world’s best mother.
Not like her who had left her daughter to sleep in the pram while she wrote stories about goblins.
Imagine how it felt for me to see a bunch of numbers going up and up and up. The only thing that’s ever gone up that fast for me in the past seven months is my mortgage repayments.
It’s costing a bloody fortune this trip. Budget or no budget.
163.7k Views in 14 hours.
Going viral on that warm and sunny Sunday was making mummy girlish and scatty,
‘Let’s go out for a coffee!’ I announced, giddy and gleefully.
The kids looked slightly horror-struck.
‘But you said that coffee in France is a bloody rip-off and that we were never going out ever again. You said that that French woman at the café overcharged you because she knew we were English and that you hated France and that you wish we’d stayed in Croatia.’
‘Never mind that now children!’ I spat as I skipped out to the car. ‘Who wants a plain croissant? They’re on meee!’
Looking back, it must have been terrifying.
The kids, stood there, gawping, open-mouthed. Feet glued to the floor. Unable to believe that this thing in front of them was the same old bag that just yesterday had accused Sonny of being a greedy little shit because he had made a club sandwich out of four pieces of toast instead of three.
188.3k Views in 16 hours.
Tessa, groaning under her breath as she climbed into the car. ‘Oh, God’ she mumbled to Sonny, ‘she’s not going to be famous or anything is she?’
I had it all sorted in my head. No more life of poverty for me. No Siree.
No more sneaking into the duty-free cosmetic malls in the airport and pumping a load of hand cream into the palm of my hand and then running around the corner to rub it into my blackened crusty heels.
Things were about to change.
Quora and India have made sure of that. From now on, I would be getting pedicures. Well, I’d certainly go and buy myself one of those posh foot shaver things. That gadget that looks like a cheese grater. And I’d ask Tessa to attend to my heels while I wrote more posts on the computer.
She’d love that.
223.4k Views in 23 hours.
I jumped into bed that night like a young gazelle.
Nothing like the half-dead shire horse that had collapsed onto the sheets the previous evening. No. Tonight was different. This was special.
It’s not every day that your wife goes viral. That in mind, I decided to give Brian a little treat. To stay up late into the night and chat, like we used to when we were young. Younger. This was something worth staying up for, worth feeling knackered in the morning for.
I even put a couple of drops of lavender oil on my temples to try and calm the giddiness and to make me smell attractive.
Brian came out of the bathroom, banging the side of his head to get the water out of his waxy ear.
‘Let’s talk’ I crooned. Brian, looking agitated and vaguely petrified.
‘It’s getting late Liz and you’ve had a big day…’
Never mind that! I wanted to scream, this is what it would be like if you were in bed with someone famous! I’m a viral superstar!
I wanted to jump up onto the bed, get on all fours and start bouncing up and down in exhilaration, but we are staying in a converted barn and the floorboards are old, so I refrained.
Instead, I giggled and tried to blink a lot without turning my contact lenses inside out. I smiled my special little pigeon smile, but Brian ignored me and asked if I knew where the Tiger Balm was because his sinuses were playing up.
237k views in one day.
The next day, the kids had clearly decided between themselves that enough was enough. This viral mania that had possessed their Mother had to stop. It was time to bring her back to down earth.
‘Have you washed my white skirt yet?’ ‘My bum hurts when I go to the toilet’. ‘Can I download a pirate copy of the game of thrones onto your computer?’ ‘Why does my ankle keep cracking?’
Viral. Bloody viral. Me with my ripped bra and donkey hoof feet and a post that goes viral.
Things are looking up for Mummy.
Ps: You can read about the post that went viral here. And please don’t forget to share it!
Because we are kind and occasionally like to give the kids a break from sitting on the side of the road sucking up noodles, we decided to treat them to a proper tourist day out. (more…)
Every single pair of pants that I’ve ever bought in Asia, the stitching has gone in between the legs. Gone at the crutch as my Grandma would have said. Every. Single. Pair. Either somebody is playing a cruel joke on me here, or my bum cheeks are gradually inflating by the day.
The only positive to this Thai haberdashery error is that there’s always a gentle cool breeze wafting through my knickers. To calm me down. An onsite fan to cool the hot flushes that accompany a woman of my age who is prone to bouts of frantic rage.
Welcome to the Travel Bog Diaries.
My desire to indulge in some yoga came out after I witnessed the perfect family in India. Perfect kids, perfect Mother. I concluded that this must surely be a result of partaking in either a) dancing around the full moon naked, b) drinking lots of wine, or else 3) taking regular yoga classes.
I couldn’t do the first without being reported to the police by my teenagers, the second was proving impossible in India, and so that left the yoga. Something I’ve been threatening to do for years but have somehow always talked myself out of it. (more…)