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How many times do you dream of traveling to faraway places, but fail to explore what's right in your own backyard? Pacific Northwest and Beyond is a blog about places and things to do right here in the PNW as well as travel outside of this beautiful region. Follow our adventures by subscribing to our email list. You can change your preferences or opt out at any time by following a link in the footer of any email we send.
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I started seeing a lot of @mentions suddenly on my Twitter account and was pleasantly surprised to find Pacific Northwest and Beyond had been nominated for the “Blogger Recognition Award” — a way for bloggers to recognize other bloggers whose blogs they admire. Thank you fellow travel bloggers, MonkeysVentures, for the nomination! You’re terrific as well and we’d nominate you back, but I think that’s against the rules.
The Rules for the Blogger Recognition Award are This:
- In your post, thank the person who has nominated you
- Tell your readers about how and why you started your blog
- Share a couple pieces of advice for the bloggers who are starting out
- Nominate 10-15 bloggers you enjoy reading for the award and let them know on social media
So…Here’s How and Why I Started Pacific Northwest and Beyond
This could turn in to an extremely long post, so I’ll try to keep it brief and, perhaps, save the book for another time!
There are tons of travel blogs out there and, by travel blogger standards, I don’t travel all that much. So why write one?
I was a kid who was always writing. I’d write picture books and insert them onto the shelves of my elementary school classroom! By early college, I was thinking about getting a journalism or communications degree. These were the days pre-Internet, before the word “blog” was even coined.
But, for reasons we won’t go into here, I got dissuaded from trying to follow a career that involved writing and went into healthcare instead. While I’m compassionate, I’m also extremely introverted, a facet I’m able to overcome as desired or necessary, but the type of work I was doing was usually extremely stressful to me. I had a family, I took some time away from my career when my daughters were small, went back to work for many years when the economy went south.
For a while, I had a blog. OK, several — but I had fun writing a semi-sarcastic blog about Buddhism and meditation (yes!). For me, blogging felt like being a kid writing little books just for the joy of it and setting them out on the classroom shelves. I also published an article here and there. But I went back to full-time work, the blog got hacked (a learning experience) and I gave it up…for a while.
But…I just can’t keep away. What eventually turned into this website started out as a little local-blog project. Then I had the opportunity to leave my full-time job AND do some traveling (which I had always wanted to do but had never surmounted the obstacles). And the blog turned into a travel blog. But..wait! I love the PNW too, and I don’t travel all the time and I don’t plan on going nomad as, frankly, it would mean ditching family members who I love and who need me here. But I escape from time to time so I don’t go insane.
So I decided to keep up the blog, devote it to both PNW travel, with some local events, recipes and quotes and photography stuff (we’ll get there) thrown in the mix. While I still send out a query letter or manuscript on occasion, I like the immediacy of blogging and hope to just keep doing this.
So…What Advice Would I Give Bloggers Starting Out?
Blogging may seem easy, but it can be a lot of work. If you just get a free WordPress.com blog and write some stuff, it’s pretty easy.
But if you want to create content that involves video editing, photo editing, manage a self-hosted WordPress website, and then promote that content…while it can be rewarding it takes a lot of time and energy.
And if you then want to support your blog by monetizing it, it can take a long time to reach the earnings you want, if ever. So, it’s something to do if you truly want to. And then you have to stick with it and not get deterred.
I wrote this post relatively quickly, and I’ve come back to edit it a bit and will be editing a bit more. I had a link here to a post I wrote on another blog that I was working on that offered a sort of funny look at beginning blogging advice.
It’s instructive that I took that blog down.
Many bloggers get discouraged early on and quit. I know, I did that with a blog I used to write just for fun when I returned to work what seems like many eons ago. Pacific Northwest and Beyond is my pet, but I found that trying to “stay in a niche” here is difficult. I tried to offset some of the other things I want to write about to other blogs, but I quickly found out that I became stressed over then “needing” to write something on those blogs.
I wrote a post (or many) on my now-defunct Buddhist-y blog and a quote in a published article many years ago about the importance and power of doing ONE thing. But I don’t take my own advice.
I realized what I was doing and took the other blogs down to focus on writing this one and making it better and having enough time to also devote to actually taking care of my health and doing the things I like to do like photography, cycling, reading, and trying to study French.
But here’s a few points from that list of blogging advice that I took down. Without the Sloths in it (yes, there were sloths. And, unforunately, they’re not here.)
- Always Back Up: I wanted this to be ABC but it’s ABU like the monkey in Aladdin. Think of him scowling at you if you decide not to have a backup. What if you have a website error or get hacked? All you hard work and writing gone.
- Being sedentary will kill you fast: I am telling myself this now as I have spent many may days of sitting here trying to optimize this website and solve errors. Almost done! But it’s ironic how writing a blog about going out and doing things can lead one to sit down and not do as many of those things. This is why I gave up the other blogs I mentioned earlier to focus on this one.
- Site speed is important, but don’t let it consume all of your attention: Trying to get your page to load quickly is important, but is it so important that you become obsessed; your days consumed by perusing GTMetrix reports. Just say no when you say to yourself “Just one more tweak…”
- It takes time and money: “I blogged for one year and am now making $$$$” go the pins on Pinterest. There are blogs that earn a lot of money. I started this one for joy, but then realized that I needed to earn just to support my blogging habit and to run a website like this that uses the resources this site uses. This one has started bringing in some revenue, but not yet to earn an income or turn a profit. But I never expected to make money or grow rapidly. You might be an overnight success. Maybe. We’ll imagine you are.
- Pay no attention to those who give you the glazed over look: Maybe you have positive people in your life, but if you blog and tell people (which you should tell people!!!) there’s this strange look that you’ll find some people get. Rembember in the words of Dr. Seuss: “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
My Nominations for the Blogger Recogition Award
Can I nominate MonkeysVentures back? Probably not. My picks would be some of the same as theirs…so I might nominate some of the same ones, anyways as they’re awesome:
- Wandering Crystal: She was nominated previously but deservedly. Her focus is on the “dark” side of travel — that is, spooky and haunted places and the like and she also has a podcast. I like anything that makes me feel not weird to love places like cemeteries and bone churches.
- The Uncorked Librarian: What is not to like about the three “Bs”: Boozy Book Blog. Christine’s blog started out as a travel blog, and still contains travel content but it’s more focused on “books to inspire travel” — book lists about places and travel as well as some posts about things boozy, with some posts about blogging thrown into the mix.
- Cancer Road Trip: “When the going gets tough, the tough go traveling.” While I haven’t read her entire blog, I found her on Twitter and find her quotes and her story very inspiring. Faced with “incurable” cancer, she took to traveling. Her blog and photography are beautiful and she puts together healing retreats for others dealing with cancer.
- Quiet Girl, Loud World: This is a blog devoted to travel for the introverted set.
- You Did What With Your Weiner? While I don’t (have) a weiner (dog) and never will, I’ve known and loved several. This is a PNW-based blog that focuses on exploring with your pooch. And I love the name.
- Obligatory Traveler: OK, I’ll admit that I first looked at this blog after I saw it on Twitter and it had a sloth mascot. And I’m envious that “hold a sloth” has been actually crossed off obligatory traveler blogeuse Sarah’s to-do list! But she’s traveling with challenges and I get very inspired by people who have health challenges of one type or another and go for it anyway.
- Tasty Itinerary: Kathy has a beautiful blog about food and travel, and I love both! But I first noticed it when she wrote this post about the oft-given advice to “niche down” and questions why you can’t write about whatever you want to on your blog, which is something I come back to again and again. Many years ago, I used to write a quite sarcastic-yet-heartfelt-Buddhist blog and there’s part of that blogger that keeps wanting to resurface from time to time. But I’m also aware that what I post on PNW&Beyond gets emailed to (some) subscribers. While I keep an off-topic section on this website, I always feel this tug between “post it anyway” or just setting up a little side blog where I can write whatever unrelated stuff I want to when I get in a mood. But I already have another blog about WordPress that I rarely write on so…
- Seattle Greenlaker: OK, so this is very niche, but it’s the area that I spent ALL the years of my life, up to young adulthood, so even though I’m not an actual Greenwood Girl/Greenlaker anymore, I’m still one at heart, and like to see what’s going on in the areas and look at some of the photos like the library and other places I recognize.
- Pacific Northwest Kate: She has a YouTube channel and very active Twitter account vs a WordPress blog, but I love her frequent and awesome photos and videos of birds near Boundary Bay and other Vancouver BC areas very inspiring. I actually got out there and recently tried to shoot (with a lens!) some birds of my own. While I need some practice (and perhaps a teleconverter) what I felt was joy. Thanks, Kate!
- Pages, Places, Plates: I always get the order wrong on that one…but the name says it all. Hannah’s UK-based blog is about things to read, places to go, and food — all things I like!
Hope you like these as much as I do!
And a quick addition to avoid writing another blog update. What am I doing right now? I have so many things I’d like to write about, photos to take, exploring to do. What I’m doing now is getting some of those short or long-overdue posts out of the way and scheduling them so I can get to those more challenging (either because they need more research, include a video, are difficult to put into words) posts without pressuring myself to get things written.