These are crazy times! Things are moving at such a crazy pace every day that this year simultaneously feels 6 weeks long and 6 years long. Or is that just me? But I was also wondering recently about how I could continue to write a travel blog even though all travel is pretty much put on pause for the foreseeable future.
Also, my new podcast.
I should also say that I’ve been quiet around here because I also started a podcast about one of my other loves: horror movies. So when I haven’t been sitting in front of my laptop trying to write about somewhere I’ve traveled to, I’m on my laptop editing an episode of my podcast.
It’s called “Who’s There? A Podcast About Horror Fans” because I’m a horror fan and I grew up with thinking horror fans were all freaks. It’s something a lot of us horror fans deal with. So, I started a podcast to start the process of de-stigmatizing horror fans.
Back to How To Write a Travel Blog When You’re Not Traveling…
I digress. Back to the topic of this post, right? I know I went to Salem at the end of July, so I have technically been on one trip this summer. Road trips have had a renaissance, which is great, but what I would’ve called typical adventurous travels have basically halted for those of us who live in the United States.
And I can’t fault the rest of the world for banning our entry right now. I mean, how could you? We’ve handled this pandemic like a toddler on speed with the keys to a monster truck; translation: not well.
There’s a reason why chalkboard signs have been popping up outside of pubs in Europe stating, “Americans admitted only when accompanied by adults.”
But that’s a post (rant) for another day.
So that leads me here: I’ve been thinking about how to keep writing a travel blog even though I’m not traveling. Luckily, there are a lot of great things to do in the Northeast, where the COVID response has been handled much better, so I’m lucky in that.
In fact, I started writing this post from a house on a hill in the Catskill Mountains right now that I was invited to with five other women, all from the Northeast who are pro-mask wearers. (Have you been wearing your mask? You better be.)
I may not like driving, or be great at it, but I’m grateful for other people during this pandemic who have cars or can rent them and are good drivers.
So while I was thinking about how to write a travel blog even though we’re not taking wild adventures to foreign countries for the time being, I came up with this list and I thought other travel bloggers would be interested in my thoughts so here you go:
How To Write a Travel Blog Even When You’re Not Traveling
- Make a list of all the trips you’ve ever taken: Go ahead and think back to the first time you went away with my parents (if you were that lucky) and make a list starting there. Then think of anything that might stand out from those trips and write about it.
- Take account of the things you’ve done but haven’t written about yet: At the start-ish of the pandemic, I made an Excel spreadsheet of all the cities that I’ve visited since about 2008 and I added to that everything I’ve already written about on here, but then I added to that list all of the things I’ve wanted to write about but keep forgetting to. This helps so that anytime that I’m stuck on what to write about, I can reference this list, pick one, and go.
- Use your hometown (or city) for inspiration: Especially if you live in a city like New York, San Francisco, Boston, Memphis, etc. there’s a good chance that someone will be someone looking for travel tips for that city in the future when the pandemic is over, so get to know your own city again and write about that because I’m 99% sure you haven’t written about all the things there are to do there. (Or if you have previously, Google your hometown and see if anything new has opened!)
- Write about the things you would’ve done differently: I once wrote about the things I would’ve done differently when I studied abroad. Dig deep in your memory and see if there’s a trip that you’d love to re-do and write about what you’d do differently. I think my next ‘Do Over’ post will be on Copenhagen.
- Write about your dream itinerary: If money and time off from work weren’t an issue, what would your dream trip be? Write about it.
- Interview your favorite travel bloggers: Reach out to your favorite travel bloggers and see if you can interview them for your blog. We have all the time in the world in lockdown, right? You can also ask your friends that you’ve traveled with, or who you know also like to travel about what their favorite trips have been.
Is that enough? I’ve also been using these months in lockdown to scrapbook all my past trips. So that’s something to do – if that’s something that you’re into! (It certainly was for me growing up and in college!)
Next on my list: Denver, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Memphis, and Nashville. (So many US cities!)
Then I’ll be moving onto Iceland, Israel, and Portugal.
If You Don’t Know If You’re Up For Writing a Travel Blog in Lockdown
But you should also know that it’s OK if you don’t feel like blogging as much as usual during this time. Despite the fact that countries are starting to re-open, there will likely be second waves – at least if you’re in the United States. It’s definitely a weird time in the world and it’s OK to feel off.
When we first went into lockdown and I was laid off, I made my spreadsheet and thought, “Now I can write about all the things that I haven’t had time to write about yet!”
Do you think that happened? If you’ve kept up with my posts over the last few months, then you know that would be a big fat NO.
I still have my spreadsheet though, so that makes it easy any time I’m looking for something to write about, I can just pull that up and pick something from the list – a memory, a city, a historical landmark.
But let me say:
I think our real work now is to take any shred of calmness that we’ve been able to access during this time, as well as this lack of pressure to do (or make or travel or write or produce) back into “real” life as things slowly head towards normal again.
Quite honestly, I don’t know why anyone would want to go back to the soul crushing pace of burn out again, but I know some people just love to feel like they’re busy all the time.
But one word of caution should you choose to make a spreadsheet.
You might find yourself paralyzed and unable to write. The list might look so big that you don’t know where to start.
I should know because I froze when I realized how much I hadn’t written about over the past 3 years of being a travel blogger.
But that’s okay.
How To Write a Travel Blog? You just have to start.
That’s what I’ve learned over the decades that I’ve had a blog – the hardest part is just starting. So just pick something and start writing about it.
I find that setting a timer for 30 minutes or an hour is helpful too, that way you can have an end point and you don’t have to feel like you’re endlessly writing or make yourself write for hours and hours (unless of course you’re making money off your writing, in which case you should probably write for hours).
So, here’s your pep talk: You can do it! Just start.
If you live in the United States, it doesn’t look like we’re controlling the pandemic anytime soon so you should get used to staying home and not being able to travel abroad. Sorry, if that sounds like a downer but it’s really just the reality of the situation. Of your situation. Of our situation.
And it sucks. It really does.
But there are ways to keep writing a travel blog even when we’re not allowed to travel and these were my best suggestions.
Now, it’s time for me to take my own advice and pick something off my list and write about it. Who’s with me?
Do you have other suggestions? If so, let me know in the comments.
Until we can safely take long trips abroad again, stay home, and if you go outside in your hometown, don’t forget to wash your hands and wear a mask.