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At my wits end headed to WITS

**Preface: This is a re-creation of the original blog post I just spent an hour typing and editing. WordPress decided to delete when I hit “Save Draft” and Word decided to crash when I went to grab the copy I had pasted for spell checking. If you’ve been following my scant posts over the years, and even if not, once you read through this post, I hope we can laugh together at the irony of it all.* *

Back in 2000, when I was 15 and spending my days learning more and more HTML so I could stylize my Angelfire site. The intention was to chronicle my year-long foreign exchange in Spain. Blogging, especially travel blogging wasn’t a thing yet. Travel blogging was not a job one would aspire to; let alone a create a lucrative career out of or an entire industry of it’s own. 18 years later (HOLY F* I’M OLD!), here I am sitting on a train somewhere in Canada between Montreal and Quebec. (A lot closer to Quebec now than when I wrote this post the first time. Good thing it’s a 4.5 hour trip!) I’m on my way to join hundreds of other women at the 2-day Women in Travel Summit. Some of us are attending an additional day called Blogger 101 Day.

I’ve been looking forward to the summit since I found out about it nine months ago. My excitement turned into anxiety the past few weeks leading up to the actual event. The past month or so, with the summit looming ahead of me, I’ve been forced to/forced myself to take a long hard look at why I’ve failed to actively post and maintain my blog and website. It’s not like I haven’t been traveling these past 18 years or don’t have crazy stories to tell. So, I wanted to really dig down and find the core of the issue so I can finally address it. Well, like with most issues in life, I’ve always known what the ‘problem’ was. What I didn’t know was how to overcome it.

Fortunately, the universe seems to have decided now is the time to finally tackle it and has been giving me little pushes from different angles. Yesterday, my colleague/boss and I had a 2-hour meeting about a whole lot of things. One of which was our marketing strategy which includes him writing blog posts about the work we do. In true hypocritical fashion, I am always giving him motivational pushes to write more posts. Which is why it was only appropriate the universe took the opportunity to throw my latest rendition of the encouragement back in my face when my boss gave voice to my inner challenge: I just don’t feel like I have anything new or value to add.

Let’s be honest about our industry for a minute.

It’s pretty hard to find anything out there these days with something different or new to add to the travel conversation. Everyone writes the same listicles (10 Ten Packing Tips, 2-weeks with just a carry-on, etc.) And writes about the same 10 things to do in *insert popular travel destination here.* Or, if they aren’t that kind of traveler, they write about the same 10 ‘off the beaten path’ things to do. Which, if their post drives more people to those places then they aren’t really off the beaten path anymore… (Sorry, the rewrite has made me feisty!)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say there isn’t room for everyone’s voice; there is. Each person has their unique story to tell. (Assuming they are writing from first-hand experience and not just researching and writing…a.k.a. armchair travel blogging) But if bloggers are going to put in the time and effort, they should put out quality, value adding content. Not just re-dress the same stuff that’s already been said a hundred times, adding more noise to the same conversation. With my writings and posts, I want to start a new conversation; or at least a side conversation.

Maybe there’s a bit of ego in that opinion. I can (still) hear the chubby little Buddha sitting on my shoulder whispering Zen teachings in my ear as I (re) type this. (It, unsurprisingly, sounds like a cartoon mashup of my parents – just in case you were wondering.) And there’s a little bit of the millennial snowflake struggle. We were all passively told growing up that we are unique. And special. And have to be the first to do x, y, or z. And change the world single handedly to be ‘successful’. All at the same time. (I’ll never write that blog post but if you take me for coffee or drinks you can hear way more about it than you want 🙂 There’s that re-writing feistiness coming out again!) But, I’ve also drank my work kool-aide.

What’s in my work Kool-Aide?

10 days ago, I was in Ankara, Turkey with 72 startup and entrepreneurial teams. I spent three days asking what value they add, what problem they solve for their customers, and what makes them different (and better) than what’s already in the market. I would be even more of a hypocrite than I proclaimed to be a few paragraphs up if I didn’t practice what I preach.

So, I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to answer those questions for myself as I wonder around the western hemisphere in trains, planes and automobiles. Developing hypotheses, trying to validate or invalidate them (more work kool-aide!) and at long last, I think I’ve come up with the answer! In an unusual display of patience, I’m not going to act on it though. Not yet, at least. I want to see what I learn from the sessions at the Summit and from my fellow female travelers before I decide on a course of action. You’ll just have to wait another week to find out! (In another unusual act, I built an extra day into my trip to take action on my plan once the Summit is over!)

So, this was an anti-climactic post for most of you.

When I originally wrote the title for it, I knew it would be. But it was so cute and catchy that I just couldn’t pass up using it. But then the tech gods decided to have their fun and make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Now that I’m writing this for the second time, it’s proving very true. I nearly am at my wits end with this whole blog. (May the travel blogging gods decided to team up with them to test my resolve… or maybe I’ve just been driven to spouting non-sense).

For those of you who have been following my few and far between posts over the years, waiting will not be a hardship for you. However, you may in fact be annoyed this post was not about travel and instead my inner ramblings. Well, I trust you’ll get over it. For the travel bloggers out there, or those who are thinking of making a go of it at travel blogging, you know where I’m coming from. (And if you don’t you should totally share your secret!)

Share your thoughts!

Are you a travel blogger? Do you agree with my assessment of the industry?

Are you a traveler? What do you think about the current options out there?

Are you one of my entrepreneurs? Are you glad to hear that I am as tough on myself as I am on you?