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Is travel blogging my unhealthy addiction?

blogging, dangers of blogging

The Dangers of Blogging:  Is Travel Blogging my Unhealthy Addiction?


When I was in my twenties and thirties, I exercised faithfully as if it were my religion. If I skipped just one day, I was certain my body would go to “fat hell.”  Focused. Driven. I was a slave, obsessed with repenting the sins of fat.  And yet, a part of me enjoyed this sadomasochism. As a dancer and a ex-collegiate athelete,  this intense physicality gave me an endorphin high… A rush… I felt healthy, radiant, a disciplined warrior fit for a marathon.

But mentally, physically,.. I was probably far from it. Que sera…

Now that I’m in my forties,  I’m glad if I just make it to a forty-five minute workout, two to three times a week. When you get older, a voice inside you says, “Bitch, you’ve earned  the right to not exercise!”  Or it says, “Go ahead, order the fries and be happy with your pudge.” Mentally, it’s like I’ve already crossed the finish line and some lack of discipline is forgivable.

Until my body’s real estate discovers those nasty flaws, which now has me enslaved to pants vs shorts. No longer prime, everything past forty seems to droop, wrinkle, sag or bulge . Being forty isn’t so pretty from my backside .

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Women my age, who are mothers are lucky…

Okay, I know a mother’s life isn’t always sunny-side-up. I have a mother and know how hard she works. I wasn’t an easy child. But a mother’s  privilege is to pudge without budge. They hold the battle scars of motherhood divinity, the gift of holy trinity.  The privilege of raising tiny human being, who will need you and love you back. What more could you want?

But when you’re a solo traveler, career woman and “mother” of a blog, you don’t have any gift, much less an excuse. It’s as if any battle scars you’ve gone through in life are reduced to a feather-weight comparison, next to those who have taken the chastity of real parenthood.

When my laptop hard drive had a meltdown, I was playing Ms.Fix-It — instead of paying for a costly repair.  I was feeling overwhelmed with the juggling I was doing:  installing a computer hard drive (when I’ve never done so before), finding work so I can live a normal life, maintaining my weekly blog and vlog posts, its social media work, etc…  As a joke, I posted the above instagram photo to my Facebook account and got instant replies from friends~

Wait until you have kids. “

The response was for a good laugh…. But somewhere it hit a nerve.

First of all, as a single woman in her forties,  if I felt I could have a child at this time, I’d gladly grant myself that gift tomorrow with a turkey baster, knowing in full, my life and all it’s choices would not be my own.  I’d gratefully bear that cross. But that wasn’t only it.

I resent the idea that if you’re single, people see your life as one giant bowl of freedom Cheerios!

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Is travel blogging my unhealthy addiction?

I feel overworked as a “parent” of a solo travel blog. alone and that’s gotta count for something.

My blog cries, the moment it’s not given enough attention in reader hits. The moment my server goes down, I hold my breath waiting for the fever to pass. If something goes wonky on it, I drop everything and for the next several hours, I’m digging into online tutorials, troubleshooting forums and absorbed in ways to fix it.  I juggle so many hats from video, photography, writing, graphic/web design and troubleshooting, that I  easily lose track of the hours. There’s social media to attend to, promoting my  posts so they get read, dealing with advertisers, learning about the travel blogging business, finding work with sponsors, uploading photos, etc…  my day never feels like it ends.  In fact, you’d be shocked to find that often, it bleeds into the following morning.

Many assume that bloggers clock out of work, the moment readers read a post and walk away.  Friends and family think all I do is write for a hobby. And take photos. And shoot videos. And play on Facebook, Instagram, Google, Twitter, Pinterest…  And let’s not even start in with the other career jobs I juggle,  so I can afford to travel and live an American lifestyle, that doesn’t include a sleeping bag and a cardboard box!

Although being a traveler, it’s not like I haven’t experienced bits of that already

This blog is my metaphorical baby and as a business, she’s a lot of work! If I had the money to spare, I’d love to hire a blog babysitter, to handle email tasks and social media blasts. Sometimes, I even fantasize about a blog husband, where I say:

Honey, you take the baby tonight.” Or  “We’ll tag team it together. You edit video and photos, while I write and handle email.

No, life is not easy for a solo travel blog mother, swinging it all on her own.

Insta-death-blogger, blogging success

Is travel blogging my unhealthy addiction? The Dangers of Blogging

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When I die, I don’t want my epitaph to read:

“Please LIKE, share, tweet, watch, follow, subscribe.”

When a reader comments on my work or emails me that I’ve inspired them to travel alone or  teach abroad, my work feels rewarding and meaningful. It’s like telling me my child has scored an “A” in school,  that she looks lovely in her dress or that she’s inspired other kids to have fun, but play safely.  To know my blog affects people in good ways, might help them conquer fears or give them that extra push to follow through on their travel dreams.. is why I love doing what I do.

But travel blogging isn’t helping my “health regimen” at the moment, and something needs to change. It swallows my gym time and disrupts time between me and my yoga mat. It devours my meal time and interrupts my sleep, to the point I find myself writing blogs in my dreams!  Of course, there is also a pressure to be successful, get sponsors,  grow followers and have folks read and view my posts. I’d love to make a living doing this.   But the amount of “living” that I sacrifice for my blog is getting out of hand. This obsessive cycle of work, reminds me of when I was an artist and used to smoke cigarettes. Fueled by creative ideas, I’d keep puffing, forsaking meals and sleep, while racking up an ashtray of genius ideas and cigarette  butts. Yes, I’ve lived many days and nights on nicotine, water and air.

Okay, maybe I have an intense personality. ..

Perhaps being a single woman in America, workaholism is in my national blood.  It’s like being on a speeding train and not knowing where to stop, because I’ve all the freedom to overwork my life, until it crashes. My blog gives me meaning, purpose, some money and even a bit of an identity.  It gives me an excuse to continue to do what I love in traveling. But if I were a real parent, I’d know where to slam  on the brakes. If my blog were a real child, I might instill stronger work boundaries, be more disciplined so that there would be no crashing.  Maybe.

I know I have to slam on the breaks, before I lose the joy in what I do. I know I have to self-intervene and step away from the computer for a bit. But it’s not easy. Sometimes, I write my blog and sometimes, it writes me and a big part of my blog has become my life.

Meanwhile, it also threatens to drain my life.

And that’s just plain unhealthy.

Or is it?

 

What’s your unhealthy addiction and how do you deal with it? 

 

23 Comments

  1. Heather says:

    Girl, I feel you. When I was working full time, I was obsessed with my health and weight and worked out all the time. Once I quit my job to move to Shanghai with my husband, I thought I’d continue to exercise as before. But then I started my blog, and slowly it started to suck up all my time. I’ve gone up a pants size since then, and strangely I don’t mind so much. I keep telling myself I need to find more balance, but then just stay online all day editing photos and reading and commenting on other people’s blogs. But I don’t have any stress and I’m pretty darn happy so I guess it’s not so bad.

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Heather: Yeah, it’s amazing how all that alone sucks up more time than you think. Your blog is doing well though; looks like it’s paying off! =)

  2. I sometimes feel addicted too. It is my baby, and the only one I know I’ll have for A WHILE.

    I also feel like my body sacrifices. It’s a constant battle between…finish a post or go to the gym. Finding the balance in it all is so difficult!

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Jessica: Yeah , I can imagine that of you and your blog too because you hit those personal moments, where you let the reader inside a little more. It’s so easy to feel it all blur between whether ‘you are your blog’ or ‘your blog is you.’

  3. This is so funny I found myself laughing out loud in several places. However, the post rings true to me too, since I’m also a solo traveler with a baby, my blog. But I may not be as good a “mother” to it as you, since more often than not, I neglect to feed it (posts once a week) and don’t do much to make it grow (find subscribers). I also don’t want to find a blog husband (this baby is mine!). LOL Anyway, great post Christine!

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Aleah: Thanks for reading and glad I could provide a good laugh. You already have a solid subscriber count though. Some of us are still working to your level. lol.

  4. BH says:

    When Im blogging I go outside every couple hours. Plus every couple weeks I do a day without laptop, tv or mobile.

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Matt/BH: Taking time away -completely away- can help replenish your energies.

  5. Loved reading this! I’m only just starting out as a blogger and aspire to have it one day fund my travel bug. I will aim to enjoy it without burning out, but I think I’m already in the OCD pile. I’ve taken the last 2 full days to research and write a post that I’m only half way through. Oi!

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Sandals: Yeah, hehe… writing takes a long time and then there’s adding photos. There are bloggers who can pop them out, but if you’re not one of those, it gets down to finding ways to being more efficient in your process and time. Good luck! 😉

  6. Jeremy says:

    Traveling can certainly feel your kid sometimes … so many things to have to do all the time!

  7. Steve Miller says:

    I think it’s more about finding out what you want and making it work so you can have everything. For me, I love what I do and follow my passions. There was a time when I was releasing 14 videos a week. Now, I’ve scaled back to just 7 and the podcast. Why, because life outside the net is more important. I know what I want and currently working towards it.

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      Oooh, even 7 vids/week is a lot, with all the editing and shots I do! I can’t believe you once did 14! Congrats on reworking a formula that works for you. I need to aspire better to that. I thought by adhering to a set sched was enough but seeming to be more about finding an efficient process that works also.

      I spend too much time on the final product — w/video, I edit too much for it to be efficient and my brain forks too much for my writing to be easy. Creating more efficient systems and scaling back is key.

  8. fotoeins says:

    I think I’ve replaced the part of me that’s scientifically obsessive-compulsive, which I think is a part of the reason why I was decent at doing research, with something’s blogtastically (and photographically) obsessive-compulsive. It’s a reason why I have an UNsmart mobile phone, why I don’t have a tablet (yet something else to consume content), and why sometimes it’ll take ages (epochal!) for me to write something. I’ll stew and marinate over things, sometimes for weeks and months, even years. “Is there a story in here somewhere?” “Does the story answer a possible set of questions someone out there might have?” Thanks for writing about this, Christine – addicts unite!

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Henry | foteins: I get you… writing actually takes me a loooong time too. From posts to comments and email. Finding discipline for something unchartered like blogging can feel hard.

  9. Joey Bivens says:

    I’ve always liked this quote “Too much good stuff becomes bad stuff.” Perhaps anything can become an addiction. But if you’re passionate about something and have the means to work hard on it, it might be necessary at times to become absorbed or even obsessed by it. There are sacrifices. I’ve had relationships with great people go sour because of my personal goals. If you’re feeling burnt out with doing all the leg work, maybe you just need a short sabbatical on a beach somewhere or with your family in your hometown to regenerate yourself – without feeling like you have to document or blog about it.

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      Agreed @Joey! Anything can be bad if you overkill on it. It’s pacing… and yes, short sabbaticals, where you allow yourself to walk away. =)

  10. When I die, I don’t want my epitaph to read:

    “Please LIKE, share, tweet, watch, follow, subscribe.”

    The funniest thing I read today! I believe everything we’re into is healthy (as long as it is really unhealthy..think cigarettes or drugs), so we should be happy that we have these little (or big) things in our lives. You have the blogging. I have it too. Yay!

  11. fileeep! says:

    Imagined if you smoked and drank to excess as well!! 🙂

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @fileeep!: If that were the case, I’m sure I’d look 10x older than I am. Noooo. 😉

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