The upside of being a travel blogger is being able to photograph locations like Santorini in Greece. (The Planet D)
It’s going on six years since my husband, Dave, and I quit our jobs and started a life as digital nomads. Ever since a five-week trip to Thailand in 2000 put a spark back in our 10-year relationship, we had been searching for ways to make travel a larger part of our lives. In 2008, we finally made that dream happen. It all started when we signed up for the world’s longest cycling race from Cairo to Cape Town, South Africa. If we could ride a bicycle for 12,000 km (about 7,500 miles) through deserts and over mountains in some of the most remote countries of the world, we could make our mark as the ultimate adventure couple. We could prove that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary dreams.
Deb and Dave participating in the absolutely insane (and awesome) Mongol Rally race in Mongolia. (The Planet D)
Related: How Travel Saved Our Marriage
When we returned from Africa, we shared our travel experiences on our travel blog, The Planet D. For a year, we worked full-time at our jobs in the film business by day and on our blog at night. Twelve months later, we were back on the road with the goal of becoming full-time travelers. Now, here we are, five years later running an award-winning travel blog that has given us the opportunity to partner with some of the world’s largest travel brands.
Being able to work somewhere like this truly does seem like a dream. (The Planet D)
When people see our lives from afar, it truly looks like a dream. We have been to 100 countries and all seven continents. We have stayed in everything from luxurious, five-star hotels to rugged Bedouin desert camps. We’ve had amazing adventures from diving with great white sharks to flying our own stunt plane. Sounds pretty dreamy doesn’t it?
But it takes a certain type of person to live on the road. You have to genuinely love the act of travel. Being an entrepreneur and running your own business is never easy, but doing it on the road can feel almost impossible. That is why the number one piece of advice we give aspiring bloggers is to make sure you love to travel. Find what you love about travel, and that will be your anchor. Many people discover that after a few months on the road, they yearn to go home. So travel for yourself before you decide to make a career out of it.
It seems glamorous when you see travel bloggers sharing beautiful photos from exotic places or having amazing adventures, but there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that you may not know about.
There are long hours and sleepless nights. There’s a constant feeling of jet lag and fatigue. We spend our days seeing remarkable sites, but at the end of the day, we don’t go back to our hotel and relax, we go to work.
Deb finds a few minutes to blog from bed. (The Planet D)
We wear many hats as travel bloggers. We are the marketing team, the social media managers, and the travel editors. We spend hours sorting through photos and videos choosing the best shots to tell a particular story. We sit at our computers writing articles and answering emails, and we’re constantly making plans for the next project. We don’t have a proper office. Usually we’re propped up on a hotel bed or sitting in a crowded coffee shop. We’re up at the crack of dawn to photograph in the best light, and if we do go out at night, it’s to meet with PR representatives or to show our faces at industry parties. We use every spare moment we have to catch up on work. Even as I write this, I am on an overnight flight from Asia to Europe.
Related: My Love Hate Relationship With China
The hardest part about writing about travel is the fact that you have to keep traveling. Travel keeps you away from family and friends, and that can be tough. As you spend your life on the road, friends move on with theirs. It’s difficult to fit into their lives at home, and they find it difficult to relate to yours.
Deb shooting photos for the blog in Ireland. (The Planet D)
As you sit in a hotel room all by yourself and see people at home celebrating a birthday or getting together for drinks, you can feel extremely lonely. Sometimes being alone in paradise can be the worst feeling on Earth.
Dave and I are lucky because we have each other, but working and traveling together can be hard on a relationship. You need a very strong foundation as a couple to live this life. We are always together, and we rely on each other. That means when things go wrong, we only have each other to blame. We don’t have alone time or a chance to hang out with other people. We don’t have a quiet place to relax. Emotions are amplified, and stress is heightened. When you lack the comforts of your own bed, friends to call for support, or a chance to escape and read a book in your own safe space, things can get uncomfortable fast.
Sometimes we yearn to have that circle of friends back in our lives. Sometimes we just want to hang with people we’ve known since we were kids and talk about nothing. There’s a comfort in having roots and a place to call home. When you are a digital nomad, especially at the beginning of your career, you give all of that up.
Taking time out to send a tweet while competing in a motorcycle race (The Planet D)
Sometimes it seems like everyone is longing to run away from their lives and travel the world. But perhaps everything you ever needed is right in front of you. We love being digital nomads, but we chose this profession because travel truly did change our lives. We had several extended trips under our belts before we even dreamed of traveling full-time, and we knew that travel was in our blood. We can’t live without it.
The work is nonstop, and the work is hard. We have good days and bad days, but we don’t mind because travel is our passion, and sharing that passion is our obsession. We can’t stop. We love it too much.