shadow

I haven’t published anything in two weeks on this blog, and for that I’m sorry. You guys deserve better.

The reason for it is that I need to tell you something, and I don’t know how. Something that has been weighing on my mind for awhile now; eating me up. Most of the time, when I write something, I’m pretty confident what sort of response I’m going to get from it.

But now I need to say something and I’m not sure what you’re going to think. So I’ll just jump right in.

Most travel bloggers’ About Me snippet starts with “I’ve been traveling the world for [x amount of] years. Travel is my passion and this blog is about my experiences.”

Yeah. That’s the right way to do it, folks.

I started this blog for all the wrong reasons.

No, scratch that, I started a blog for the right reason – to inspire everyone who feels stuck to get out of their comfort zone, shock their systems, and take the first steps toward changing their life.

I started a travel blog because I had just lost my job, I was about to head out on my first solo long-term travel adventure, and I thought, “Hey, a travel blog might be a way to earn some extra cash.”

So, in true Mandie fashion, I threw myself into it. Half-assing something just isn’t in my vocabulary. I jump in head first and rarely look before I leap. (Note to self: might want to start looking first.)

I joined networking groups. I promoted myself all across the social media wastelands. I contributed to link-ups, did guest posts, gave interviews. And you know what?

It worked. I started getting readers. And comments. And shares. And traffic. This is what bloggers want, right?!

But as they say, with great power comes great responsibility. Or something like that.

I realized that this blog had stopped feeling like mine.

Parents, I get you now. You give life to this beautiful little creature that you pour your love, and soul, and wisdom into. You nurture it, you obsess over it, you want nothing but the best for it. And then…it starts to grow up. Becomes its own little person, and suddenly you realize it doesn’t belong only to you anymore; it’s part of the world now.

(Chill, I’m not calling your precious snowflake an ‘it;’ the English language simply lacks an decent gender-neutral pronoun.)

So, I’m okay with this blog growing up and taking on a life of its own. Growth is a good thing.

But…it scared me. I never set out to travel continuously forever, and now that I’m home it’s getting really hard to write travel-related posts. I know there are people who stay put in one spot and maintain a travel blog, and my hat is truly off to you. I don’t know how you do it.

At the moment I’m not traveling to any places I think you guys would be interesting in reading about. (If anyone is interested in the booming tourist destinations of Danville, Illinois, Conway, Arkansas or Churubusco, Indiana, by all means let me know!)

I haven’t written much lately on this blog for a few reasons.

1. I felt like it needed to live up to certain expectations that I could no longer meet. I felt like all the people sharing my content expect these epic travel posts. Sometimes, I just don’t have them in me. Sometimes all I have is truth, and it ain’t always pretty. Which brings me to number 2.

2. When I left my job, I wrapped my whole identity up in being a traveler. I thought, “Okay, this is who I am now. I travel.” Then I came home and WHAM. I felt like a gigantic failure. (Hellooooo, my old friends, Depression and Apathy.)

3. And finally, I’ve pulled way back from my blogging community because, as much as I want to support other bloggers….I haven’t really wanted anyone to share my recent content. Sure, I worked really hard on it. But it came from me scrounging Google and scouring other travel blogs to come up with something – anything – travel-related to write about instead of a place where I’m genuinely talking about something I’m excited about.

A very popular “how-to blog” blogger once said that the way to be mediocre was to worry about being authentic. He also said that the only posts worth writing are popular ones. Both of these statements clearly made an impact on me, and not in a good way.

But then…I had an epiphany.

Why the hell was I listening to someone who made me feel like sh*t??

I left the corporate world because it felt completely devoid of authenticity, and now you’re telling me that my blog has to be, too? Well, screw you, buddy.

I would rather be “mediocre” and authentic than “great” and totally contrived. I’d rather this blog never make a single cent if it means I have to pretend to be someone I’m not.

So I did what I should have done in the first place. I unsubscribed from his mailing list and made my own list of people who actually inspired me. From now on, I’m just going to listen to those people.

People like Tim Ferriss, who conducts lifestyle experiments in order to do less, but more of what matters.

Maria Popova, who gets 7 million hits a month just by “reading and writing about things she finds interesting.”

Scott Dinsmore, who has created a community of “living legends” by inspiring people to change the world by doing work they love.

Jaime Buckley, who is one of the most open and authentic people I’ve ever met and writes about everything from parenting to fantasy to writing advice to basic life inspiration.

If this blog is going to grow, I need to make sure it’s growing in the right direction; a direction where I can continue to guide it and nurture it and watch it grow even more. Which brings me to my confession:

I am not a travel blogger.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE travel. I adore it. It changed my life.

But I am a dead lousy travel blogger.

I don’t write about where to go or what to do or what to eat or how to pack. I’m shamefully bad at writing descriptive pieces about the destinations that I visit. I don’t write hotel reviews. (Err, Joe’s couch was great but the neighborhood was a little secluded…)

I’ve also come to the realization that, while my “20-something broke backpacker” trip was amazeballs, it’s not the way I want to travel in the future. Can you travel the world for very little money? Yes, you can, but I think I have outgrown that.

The next time I set out into the world, I’d like to have a little bit of a cash cushion. I’d like to be able to stay in an actual hotel if I feel like it. I’ll still Couchsurf and crash in hostels some of the time, but I want it to be a choice, not the only option I can afford.

I’d like to be able to eat in an actual restaurant. To be able to afford adventures like zip-lining in Croatia. I missed out on a lot of things because I couldn’t afford them.

The truth is guys, I don’t know squat about how to travel, and I’m completely unequipped to give advice on where you should do or what you should go. I’m still learning all of this myself!(Whew, feels good to get that one off my chest.)

What I do know how to do is take control of my life. To change what needs to change in it. To try new things. To get out of my comfort zone, make new friends, and challenge myself to grow.

Another thing I’m really good at is seeing patterns. I can only assume this is a result of growing up with a philosophy professor father who played ‘logic games’ at the dinner table.

I took a good look at my Inspiring People list and figured out what they all have in common.

They all write about what it means to live a good life.

All in different ways, through different methods and different topics. But it really all boils down to that.

For me, travel is a part of that, absolutely. But it’s not the only part.

I was recently interviewed by Frank Macri for a series called Travel Babble and we got to chatting “off the record.” He is a life coach in-training with a passion for travel, and I am a traveler with a passion for life coaching. It was definitely one of those universe-aligning moments.

It reminded me of the dream I had when I first set off on my trip, which was to create a program that combines intensive life-coaching with adventure travel.

So…to sum it up, that’s where I’m headed and I’m bringing the blog with me. I’ve explored (and will continue to explore) the travel aspect, but from now on this is going to be a little more of a life blog; a study on what it means to live a good life. And yes, I’m going to practice my life coaching skills. Muahaha.

So…while some of my posts may have to do with travel, others won’t. Deal with it. 😛

(To all of my wonderful friends in the travel blogging community: don’t feel obligated to share non-travel posts if they aren’t relevant to your readers. I’ll still love you! I’ll also still link-up to your blogging parties whenever I do share something travel-related.)

The thing about dreams is that they change; they evolve; they grow with you.

Every now and then you need to do a little self-check to make sure you’re still on the right road; the best road to get to where you want to be. And if you discover you’re inadvertently driving through a metaphorical Kansas then you might need to change direction.

(Sorry, Kansas, but you are the most agonizingly dull state to drive through.)

My ‘confession’ probably doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to you wonderful non-blogging readers, but other bloggers will understand what a struggle it is to clarify your niche. And mine just isn’t travel blogging, so I thought I should let you all know. Because you, my dear friends, deserve authenticity. And it makes me happy. So there.

By the way, if you’re interested in working with me to build an ‘Adventure Coaching’ program, please head on over to my contact page and shoot me an email. Or just leave a comment. 🙂

(Oh, and if you can come up with a better name than Adventure Coaching, that would be great.)

Author

Mandie

Mandie is a writer, rebel & web design junkie. In her spare time she enjoys drinking wine, traveling & working on her perpetually unfinished novel. She was a nerd before it was cool.

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Comments

  1. Jennifer Boyatt    

    Thank, Mandie, for telling the truth! Doesn’t it feel like a relief! Ha ha. This is the first post I’ve read of yours, I’m new to the blog (found you through Triberr). Keep going into the life that you love, whatever it is, and sharing your wisdom and heart with the world :).

    1. Mandie    

      Hey Jennifer,

      Thanks so much for hopping over! 🙂 When I first started blogging, I wasn’t expecting to learn so much about myself, but it’s definitely helped me to clarify where I want to be in life. I love the name of your site, by the way! Will absolutely be checking it out.

  2. Alex    

    Hey Mandie,

    Good article, theres nothing worse then lying to yourself. Travel blogs, or any blogs don’t have to only post link and share bait. They started as stories and it’s good your keeping it as a life story.

    1. Mandie    

      Thanks Alex!

      I love travel a lot, I just really want to write about a few other things! 🙂

  3. kelli    

    Hi Mandie
    I loved reading this post so much, and props to you for being so honest with how you feel, and following your heart on the direction of your blog. A lot of people in your position wouldn’t budge on the niche with the idea that this is what they started it as, and this is the persona they have built, even if it felt like a huge energetic drag and brought zero pleasure. It’s interesting to me because as much as I love travel and as huge a part of my life it is, I have zero interest in writing about it.

    Everything unfolds as it should, and all the work you did on this blog thus far is certainly not a waste, and I am sure you learned so much. It was just part and parcel of the extreme growth period you went through after making such bold changes. This whole living life made to order thing can be some uncomfortable shit at times..I speak from experience on that one. So long as you are honoring your intuition and working from there, no matter what you do, you will be successful with it. And I too disagree with authenticity equating with mediocrity…in my own experience, it is my authenticity that has drawn people to my blog. I am looking forward to all the amazing things that are bubbling up within…just remember that the ‘low’ moments pass, and there is a lot of wisdom in them. You’re awesome!

    1. Mandie    

      Thanks Kelli!

      I’ve discovered that I feel the same way about travel. I love it so much, but I do not love writing about it in the typical way that a traditional travel blogger would.

      I too, have to disagree about authenticity. I think you can deliver excellent quality while still being authentic. At least, I sure hope so. 🙂

      And you’re very right in that there is always wisdom that comes from the low places. There is a quote I used to love that said “life is like a photograph; we develop from the negatives.” Of course, now everything is digital so it’s no longer relevant but still…haha

  4. Erika    

    I think this is brave and wonderful and you figured this out really quickly. Way to understand when something wasn’t serving you and turn it into something that feels true to who you are. I was an assistant in France for a while and I felt like I needed to identify with that for my blog, too. But now I just write about what I want — which sometimes includes travel but is just about life.

    The good news is that now you will unlock your passions which will attract people to you who are into the same things. Like me! Everything you said you are about to write about excites me even more than your travel posts, to be honest. 🙂 Can’t wait to see what is next!

    1. Mandie    

      Thanks so much Erika, and I think you’re completely right. You attract what you put out there, and I’m really excited to make even more like-minded blogging friends. 🙂

      Ummm, okay I just checked out your blog and I love it already. I love your colors!!! (I know that’s weird, but I’m a designer; I can’t help it.) Reds and oranges represent passion, courage and positivity, which I am all about. And your writing is seriously inspiring…okay, I’m going to continue my comment over there now. 🙂

      1. Erika    

        Oh wow! Thank you for these kind words! I’m all blushing now! Hahah 🙂

  5. Amy Lynne Hayes    

    Wow… never in all my internet connectivity days have I ever heard anyone advise me to sacrifice my authenticity in favor of popularity!! Though they might have… I just might not have been listening lol. I spent a damn long time figuring out who I am, and accepting that I too am a constant work in progress, always evolving, and doing anything other than embracing the process will lead to nothing but depression and defeat.

    My blog actually started as a design blog… and how often do I mention that now? lol Yes, I appreciate design, and yes, I love creativity, but it’s not all I want to talk about. I think it’s the multiple dimensions that give us our unique spark. Sure, I’m envious of those travel bloggers out there who thrive living out of a backpack, on the road year after year, but that’s not me. I came face to face with that reality when I decided to ditch New Zealand after 3 weeks (seriously… who has ever ditched New Zealand before so quickly? Surely I don’t deserve the label “traveler”!)

    But hey, that’s life. And if we don’t allow ourselves the kindness and space to evolve, then we truly stay stuck in one place. It’s just a different kind of journey than hostels and elephants and using chlorine tablets in your only accessible water and shit. 😉

    1. Mandie    

      Right?! I know what he meant – don’t be more worried about staying “true to yourself” than your audience, but I’m hoping that I can do both. I am simply too self-aware and sensitive of a person to continually operate on a surface level without feeling like I’m being authentic. It makes me feel like I’m being a fraud, which in turns leads to depression.

      It did, really? I think that’s cool. You’re such an artistic, creative person but I really like the different facets of your blog. I also admire how truthful and open you are. And yes, you definitely deserve the label of traveler – because you’re someone who is traveling through life, not just surviving it. 🙂

      By the way, for some reason your comments get stuck in my spam queue every time and I can’t figure out why! Luckily I get emails whenever someone comments so I go in and rescue them, but you’d think with all the ones I’ve approved by now it would have figured out you’re not a spammer…hmmm.

      1. Amy Lynne Hayes    

        Spam, hey? That is weird! No idea why that would be happening! One of the joys of technology… lol

        It makes more sense to say keep your audience in mind as well as your true self, but I feel like the two blend. It depends on your goals, I guess. With so many blogs out there, I find myself drawn to ones that show a real person, and the cycles they go through – different phases, changing interests, etc. It’s like a glimpse into the life of someone you may never meet in person, but you feel like you get to know. So staying authentic and nurturing a close readership are intertwined for me. I probably (definitely) don’t expand my numbers as much as I could, but that’s fine. I like to think of my readers as friends – ones that would have a smashing good time if we ever did cross paths on the other side of the computer screen. 😉

        1. Mandie    

          I know! Actually, there are a few people who are somehow flagged as spam by Akismet, so I’m going to try a different plugin. Apparently a lot of people have this issue. I totally agree, I consider my readers my friends – well, because most of them are at this point. 🙂 I love to dream about having a giant blogger meet-up where we all just share some cocktails and have no real agenda other than good conversation.

  6. Jaime Buckley    

    Hello Ms. Wonderful,

    Maybe I came into the game late–but I never really got the impression you were a travel blogger.

    I thought you were a master strategist, trying to discover a creative way to get the rest of us to step outside our own minds. It was why I’ve been so comfortable all this time…cause I left my mind and haven’t found my way back.

    I’m one of your top 4? Really??
    Wait a sec…I am SO taking as screen shot and blogging about this…

    HOLD PLEASE

    Hey–I’m in for helping you create a program–maybe for kids…but the names I come up with probably aren’t as catchy as you’d like. Each time I read your blog and the changes you’re making, the name “The Long Shortcut” comes to mind.

    But, meh. Don’t count on me. I’m still trying to find a TRON suit to fit into so I can look sexy for Kathi, but they don’t make them in size, “Oh-My-Heck-It’s-Coming-Towards-Us.”

    Not sure why my wife kept laughing when I asked her if they made that outfit in 5X, but she ticked a lot of couples off in the theatre that night.

    Authentic. Again–wow. I really like that. Thank you.
    You know where to find me via email–count me in and let me know what I can do to help facilitate the shift and growth…and you can count on me to engage and bring friends.

    What I do know, Mandie, is you’re going to be a LOT happier…and that has me pretty freakin excited.

    1. Mandie    

      Well that, my friend, is because you know me outside of the travel bloggers network. But you’re absolutely right – I’ve really never been a travel blogger, I realized. I just happened to write about that because it was what I was doing at the time. Now I’m doing crazy lifestyle experiments like going 30 days as a vegan (and I am a highly carnivorous person), writing 1,500 words a day (I know that’s nothing for you but it’s a challenge for me haha).

      Okay, while I would love to work with you on a project…how many kids need intensive life coaching? Lol. Most of the kids I know have it together so much more than adults. They’re still in that “I-have-so-much-potential-the-world-is-my-oyster-I-can-do-anything-I-dream” phase of their life. It will be years before they get to the “I’m-30-and-still-don’t-feel-like-an-adult-what-the-heck-am-I-doing-with-my-life-where’s-the-vodka” stage. 😉

      Now I’m just picturing you in a TRON suit. Hahaha, it’s even better than a toga. I think this needs to happen. I want to see a post about it. Something like “The Things We Do For Love.”

      I think I’ll be happier as well – and a lot of it is thanks to you calling me out on being bored. I tried hard to get un-bored and then I said “Eh, screw it, I’ll write what I want. People seem to respond to me being my weirdo, goofy, hopeful self anyway.”

      Thanks for all the encouragement!!

      1. Jaime Buckley    

        Well I DO hope you’ll let me have fun with you on the project–no matter what it is.

        Yes, I work with kids all the time, but in my previous life, I ran a training crew of myself and…oh, wait…JUST me, and it was my responsibility to motivate, educate and buttkick 1080 people across the country every Monday morning for 2 1/2 years.

        If nothing else…I’m gonna haunt you and keep you laughing and encouraging you to have fun (evil grin).

        Weirdo? Goofy?
        I thought you were being normal.

        (Pssst. It’s all those…**points** people out THERE that are weird. Don’t let ’em tell ya differently.)

        Signed,
        Yer Biggest Fan

  7. Hobin    

    Mandie, dear…

    Count me in. If I can assist you in providing material–or bring my adventure experience to the table, it’s yours.

    Haven’t had a gig with the FAF in more than a month…so unless something pops up, so I have drinking money, my calendar will be free for a bit.

    Chuck and Dax won’t be needing me either–I’m here tending to my daughter, Alhannah…so let me know.

    – Hobin.

    1. Mandie    

      Thanks, Hobin.

      I’d love a guest post once the BIG REVEAL happens in January. 🙂

  8. Brittany Bullen    

    Mandie,

    I think this is awesome. So many bloggers are going to tell you that you have to stick to just one niche, but the thing is, there are so many reasons to blog besides just being a “niche blogger” and making money that way. People are multi-faceted and they like to read about all sorts of things, so why shouldn’t you write about them? I like the way you write, so I’ll keep coming to your blog. Period.

    Way to be brave! Here’s to your next chapter.

    Brittany

    1. Mandie    

      Thanks Brittany!

      As a reader, I love when one of my favorite bloggers steps outside their niche. Like you say, we’re all multi-faceted. I don’t know of anyone who is interested in one thing and one thing only. Honestly, I think a lot of travelers are also studying what it means to live a good life in their own way, so I may not scare people off the way I worried about. 🙂

      I’m actually pulling a “Brittany” (thankfully, not the head-shaving Britney) and having two separate blogs. One for my freelancing business, where I’ll focus on making your website more awesome, and one where I’ll write about whatever I want, focusing on making life more awesome.

  9. Ryan Biddulph    

    Hi Mandie,

    This reminds me of my journey, in so many ways….and hey, I just spoke at NYU last night about Blogging from Paradise….so…..yeah, you’re heading in the right direction 😉

    Refreshing post! Because you told your truth. You published this post to gain clarity, for yourself, and these posts are always the best because they flow from heart to backoffice. I like them. Actually, I don’t post anymore, unless I do heart-felt posts, because otherwise I feel like garbage. I also…..YIKES……publish for me. Like, I get clearer, with each post, or, I stray a bit, and then come back to getting clear. I do blog for my audience too but I realized long ago, that happy, clear bloggers put out the most inspired stuff. Selfishness only benefits all like-minded folks in the most empowering way.

    You are finding greater clarity, and with each post, each word, each nudge, and with more time spent in silence, you’ll get clearer and clearer.

    So happy you’re finding clarity now. Me, it was such a breeze; it only took me 4 years, HA! LOL…..Mandie, Kelli’s comment above tells it like it is. All happens perfectly, and my 4 years created a rubberband, snap back effect which created some neat things in my life, and with your love of personal development, and enjoying of travel, I see a masterpiece developing in dese parts.

    Thanks Mandie, for publishing from your heart. Such a joy to watch your growth!

    Ryan

    1. Mandie    

      Awww, thanks so much, Ryan.

      It’s really encouraging to hear that it took you awhile to settle in to your niche, too. I think I probably could have just transitioned without really announcing it, but transparency is something that’s really important to me, and you’re right – typing this out did help me become clearer on where I want to go.

      You spoke at NYU? Wow, that’s a big deal – how awesome for you!! 🙂

      You’re one of my inspirations in terms of people who write both for themselves and for their audience. I’m still learning that balance, but I’m beginning to understand that in writing “for myself” I’m also writing to connect with my audience. Thanks for all the continued inspiration!

  10. Sylviane Nuccio    

    Hi Mandie,

    Very interesting. Lots of what you’re saying I’ve been going through, myself this year.

    What’s interesting is that as we grow, our blog is bound to grow with us. Up until last week I had 3 blogs, but I had lost all energy and will to keep writing for 3 blogs as if I were three different people.

    So, about 5 months ago, I decided to put all my blogs under the same roof.

    Some of my readers told me that it was a mistake. But I didn’t listen to them. I knew it wasn’t 🙂

    The URL of my main blog being my own kinda “unique name”, I thought that it would be great to have all my content there. I write about writing, blogging, personal development and France soon Italy and other European countries will pop up. This is all me, and I didn’t want to separate them anymore.

    And just this week, my blogs became one, under a beautiful redesigned blog, and all of sudden the fire of writing is back.

    So, all this long story to tell you that I hear you, and if you don’t feel like writing about travel anymore that’s what you need to do.

    I’m glad I finally met you recently, and I will surely come check you out regularly.

    Great success to your new endeavor.

    1. Mandie    

      Wow, Sylviane – 3 blogs!

      I’m going to go check out the newly redesigned one as soon as I finish posting this. 🙂

      I know that feeling exactly. This past month, writing has been SO sluggish for me. It felt like pulling teeth to get the words to come out. When I sat down to write this post, it just flowed right out of me. I think that’s one of the signs that you’re on the right path – it should feel natural instead of like you’re fighting against yourself.

      Thanks for the wonderful comment. 🙂

  11. Kazeem Oludare James    

    Hi Mandie,

    You ‘ve got a strong mind and heart, because there is nothing so gratifying than being real and truthful to oneself.

    I commend your courage in coming out clean about your blogging decision, allow me to share my own story.

    The concept of blogging came to me owing to my brief Google AdSense success on hubpages and wizzley ( they are revenue sharing website). And so, I launched my own blog, the first two years was total failure. I became bored, lonely and desperate.

    However, a great respite came my way when I realized that I had to be valuable through my blog, and by being valuable monetary values will set in. With this mindset, I launched my present blog and to be honest with you, I’ve been happy because all what I desire is happening to me. I meet interesting people from all over the world online, I’m making quality money and also offering values that makes me become an authority.

    Thanks for sharing this, I think the earlier the better for one to realize where he/she is heading.

    James

  12. CL (RealGunners)    

    Well, I don’t mind Arkansas, I’ve had a friend who graduated from the Ozarks, came back and constantly yapping at me about Clarksville and Little Rock being awesome and all that shit. My personal fondest memories was in Loveland and Fort Collins in Colorado. Ever since he came back to Malaysia, we have been in an epic tussle of one upping each other with the Colorado versus Arkansas thing. I’d love to read more from someone who might be on his side.
    When it comes to blogging (or anything else actually), the only good advice would be the advice that tells you to follow your passion. If you do anything without passion, it is hard to be excellent in it, and people will feel it. Once you start chasing excellence, success will follow 😉

    1. Mandie    

      Well…I’d love to help you out, but I couldn’t really argue his side. Although Arkansas is surprisingly beautiful and has plenty of charm, I’m a Colorado girl 100%. Just haven’t been able to convince my parents to move there yet, which is the reason for my visits to Arkansas. 🙂

  13. Lisa Mahoney    

    Oh. My. Goodness. Mandie – just discovered your blog and I’ve decided you’re my sista from another mista! Everything you’re saying rings so true with me and what I hope to achieve from my own blog. I blogged many years ago and after reasonable success, I canned it for the very reasons you’re describing. So I told myself things would be different this time round – I will not write a single piece of content that does not come from the heart, and I will not sacrifice who I am for likes and shares. This is really inspiring and I’m proud of you without even knowing you. Generally really interested in your ideas around adventure coaching – I’ll drop you a line tomorrow, but just wanted to quickly say a public thank you for writing this and affirming certain things for me. Good luck to you.

  14. Anna    

    I can’t believe I didn’t see this until now! I also can’t believe a popular blogger would advice to sacrifice authenticity if you wanna get popular. I believe the way we connect with readers and gain a loyal audience is by showing our personality, our personal experiences, and yes… our feelings!

    You already know that a couple of months ago, I came to the same conclusions. I’m a really crappy travel blogger too when it comes to talking about destinations. I decided that maybe my blog doesn’t provide any valuable information to readers and I’m not going to make money from it, but I’m not going to sacrifice my content for traffic. After all, no one is going to read my posts and look at my pictures as much as me (and I really do do that often!), so I want it to be filled with things I care about and memories that I want to relive over and over. At the end of the day, I just want something that’s “me” and that I’m proud of.

    I’ve been enjoying your blog for months now, and I’ve always look forward to your “life” or “heartfelt” posts the most. 🙂 I’m excited for more amazing posts from you, and I hope that with your confession, you can feel free to write more freely now. No matter what, I’ll be reading!

    1. Mandie    

      Thanks Anna!

      I thought of you when I was writing this – I know we’re both going through similar blogging things right now. You’ve actually been a huge inspiration for me in that I’ve been enjoying your blog even more since you came to the same conclusion I did. I think your posts are even more alive and exciting now that you’re just writing what you want. 🙂

      I disagree with you, when you say that maybe your blog doesn’t provide any valuable information. I think this is something we both struggle with – realizing that the value is in ourselves. In being someone that people can relate to and learn along with. Not sure why it’s so easy for me to see this in someone else but not in myself! 😛

  15. Andy Bland    

    Me too. I’m still on the path of finding myself. But I’m getting there. I hope.

  16. Anna    

    Awwww you’re too kind!!
    You’re right, I need to see that more in myself also. It’s definitely something I’m working on!

  17. Frank Macri - Life and Travel Coach    

    Mandie! Thank you so much for the shout-out and another inspiring post. I’m so excited for this *evolving* direction your life is taking. Let’s reconnect soon so I can hear about all these wonderful projects you’re working 🙂

  18. Shikha (whywasteannualleave)    

    I really admire your honesty Mandie. I do love travelling and sharing stories of my travels but I hope you realise that many of us who enjoy reading your blog do so because we love the way you write and the authenticity and personality that goes in it rather than because of where you have or haven’t travelled! I would much rather read something engaging from someone who hasn’t travelled somewhere exciting compared to a blog about fantastic destinations that is un-engaging and sounds like it’s been taken straight out of a guide book! I think blogging is so personal that you shold do it in whichever way makes you comfortable and at your own pace 🙂

  19. Heather @ TravelingSaurus    

    Hi Mandie, echoing many of the previous commenters: I actually read your blog because I think YOU are interesting, entertaining, and honest–not because you travel! Ultimately, while I love travel, I want to read blogs that are engaging, intellectually stimulating, or just damn funny. “Guide book” type travel blogs aren’t why I blog, and certainly not why I read other blogs. So, I’m excited to see what you come up with next and more than happy to continue reading!

  20. Jess    

    I spent a while trying to listen to what people told me travel blogs ‘had’ to do to be successful – and then I realized that actually following that advice would make my blog something I wouldn’t even want to read, let alone write.

    I think your adventure coaching idea sounds awesome – and I’m waiting to hear more about whatever you do next!

  21. Charles McCool    

    Wow, adventure coaching sounds wonderful. Indeed, Kansas is painful to drive through.

  22. SJ    

    Ohhh Mandie, you’ve done it again. I love how you tell a story, both in your tone and your HONESTY. Be who ever it is that you want to be, and do whatever it is you want to do. Just be happy. Screw that jerk who gave that bad advice. Sorry you missed out on the Ziplining. If you come back, I’ll go with you my treat – so long as you go first. Hugs from Croatia.

  23. Ted    

    Congrats Mandie! One of the best parts about blogging should be that you can take it in whatever direction you want. I HATE it when I read advice that is in absolutes ie you must do this to be a good blogger, you must do that. Total BS! Good luck in following your path

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