Way back in January 2002, after many years of planning, I finally took the plunge and set off traveling for what was supposed to be just a year. My mother had recently passed after a long illness, and her final words to me were, “Don’t wait until it’s too late, travel while you’re still fit and able.”
So, the next day, I quit my job. Having moaned about my career for years, it felt like a heavy load had been lifted off my shoulders. I’d been talking about traveling the world for ages—now was the time for action!
I can still remember how nervous and excited I was as I waited to board my flight to Bangkok. Terrified at what lay ahead, but excited by the unknown.
I loved every minute—the freedom of travel, new adventures, meeting people from all walks of life. Travel blogs weren’t really a thing back in 2002, but I did faithfully send a weekly group email to friends and family from local internet cafés around the world—a kind of pre-blog, I guess.
In that weekly email, I would regale my friends with my latest travel adventures and observations. Seeing elephants in supermarket car parks…meditating with monks…learning tai-chi…tandem jumping from airplanes…volunteering with chimpanzees. I grabbed every opportunity that came my way!
I had initially planned to travel for only a year, but as the year came to an end, I knew I wasn’t ready to head home just yet. I’m still not, and I still haven’t, but that’s a story for another day.
However, since I wasn’t going to go home and start work again, I needed some source of income to support my travels.
I taught English, I worked as a movie extra, I helped at summer camps. Occasionally, I would write about my travel for local newspapers, and they would actually pay me. It was always a thrill to have a story published. Writing is what I enjoyed, but how was I to make a living from it?
In 2013, I met my partner, Jonathan, in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Jonathan had retired from his post as an air traffic controller in Texas in 2011, sold off all his belongings, and headed off to see the world. He had started his blog, appropriately called LifePart2, to share his adventures with family and friends.
After years of solo adventures, it was fun to travel as a couple. Together, we explored Myanmar, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Europe, and beyond. Jonathan dutifully documented our adventures, I observed. I itched to write, but Jonathan is an excellent writer and regularly had articles published in Forbes, Next Avenue, and other major publications. How could I compete?
One day, after an exciting hiking adventure through Tiger Leaping Gorge in China, my head was literally bursting with words, I needed to tell the world about this fantastic walk. As I sat down by the departure gate in Kunming Airport, I put pen to paper. As the story of our three-night adventure poured onto the paper, my headache began to ease.
I handed it to Jonathan, nervous about his reaction. Would he like it? Would he consider it good enough for his website? After all, LifePart2 was his baby. He loved it and the rest is history.
Today, we document our adventures together. Jonathan focuses on his photography, his musings on life, and the technical side of blogging while I focus on the travel side.
Neither of us had really thought about making money from our travels and we certainly didn’t want to ruin the authenticity of the blog.
However, the more we traveled, the more we wrote, the more photos we posted, the more the blog took on a life of its own. Magazines and newspapers would contact us for a story, tour companies would invite us to travel with them in exchange for coverage.
Through our blogging, we have explored Bhutan, taken a two-week river cruise in Europe, traveled off the beaten track in Slovenia, and we are currently in discussions for even more sponsored travels this year. It is all very exciting.
The freedom of blogging allows us to live anywhere in the world that has access to the internet. For now, that’s Malta, a tiny island in the Mediterranean.
Blogging not only pays monetarily, it brings us amazing opportunities we might not have otherwise had. We love it; it keeps us busy, allows us freedom, and forces us to pursue more adventures, and what’s more, it doesn’t feel like a job—the ultimate win-win!