Why, hello there!This is a new series I will be starting on MLA about my personal development through my blogging journey. I am not one to start blog about blogging but one of my favourite bloggers, Sam Brown from Smart Twenties, talks about how blogging can be used as a tool for personal development – and I completely agree. Like any other new experience, it’s something that will change and evolve, and help me grow as a blogger and person.
My Blogging Journey
To kick off this series, I feel that I should being a little introduction into my blogging story. MLA is (I think) my fourth blog. I’ve attempted this multiple times and in this post, I will bring you through a timeline of all of my failed blogs (embarrassing photos included) to see how I got here today.
This was my first was my blogspot blog (where I really didn’t know what I was doing) about my travels through Italy in 2012. I quickly gave up on it. And 30 countries later, I think I could have been a viable travel blogger. I spent the next 5 years across 5 continents by myself – volunteering in Tanzania, backpacking through Asia, sleeping in a back of a van to travel New Zealand, and exploring Europe even working as an au pair for a bit. But I’m so glad I didn’t pursue this. It was maybe one of the better decisions I made at 22. This was when Instagram was just also starting up (see here my oh so filtered first picture on Instagram) below and I think the idea of travelling has changed a lot with social media (more on this later).
But traveling was the best part of my life. I’m so glad I had time to just enjoy it, soak it and learn my lessons instead of constantly being on my computer and phone posting and blogging. I’m so glad I could live in a monastery completely offline with no phones without worrying about uploading or followers. Also, 22 year old me was very insecure. I think I would have been greatly affected by what other people thought of me at that time, and I’m glad I got to learn through travels without that insecurity.
As I mentioned, for 5 years, my life was very chaotic between traveling, school, and burning myself out by working 2-3 jobs whenever I was home; I never really considered blogging. I barely had time to sleep and was always on the next adventure. Then in 2016, some personal things brought me back home and I found myself with a lot more time on my hands.
I’d always loved writing. I’ve been keeping journals since I was 10 and PAL was a blog about figuring out my life after school and navigating adulthood. The name was a description on how I felt about life – that I was pretending to have it all figured out. But the blog lacked a lot of focus and was overall a very messy collection of my thoughts. All my posts were about lessons I learned about travel but it wasn’t really a “travel blog” so I that’s why I decided to re-design it to my next blog….
This was actually my first very serious attempt at blogging, and while it failed, it was my biggest learning lesson. While trying to find a niche topic to blog about (since PAL was so incredibly general) I decided to focus on travel because that’s what I knew the most about. But that was a big mistake. I realized that I did not enjoy it. Just because you are knowledgeable about a topic (I also worked in travel for 7 years), does not mean I wanted to write about it. I learned SO much (which I will include in a later post) about just the workings of WordPress, SEO, Social Media, etc. And to be honest, one of things that really deterred me from continuing with it is really just learning how artificial the travel blog world can be.
It’s a really competitive and lucrative blogging community because you can get hotel stays, press trips, thousands of followers for displaying a very filtered view of traveling. I have nothing against travel bloggers, but after trying to become one, I realized it’s not for me. Most importantly, it’s not how I like to travel. I have transferred some of my favourite posts onto MLA for a small travel section. I like to think of my posts as “boutique travel posts” as they are not about popular activities/cities per se – more underrated places or experiences like the sand dunes of Vietnam (even most of my Vietnamese family haven’t heard of this place) or the secret villas of Italy. Overall I’m really happy I went through the process even if it didn’t work out because it made my next endeavor that much easier to transition into.
And now we are here! I came across the term “Life Admin” one day while I was reading this article on the Financial Diet (one of my favourite personal finance blogs). And the term just stuck with me – that’s exactly what I wanted to write about “Life Admin” topics; the general everyday tasks of growing up. I hear so so many people talk about how there’s all these “#adulting” tasks that we were never taught in school.
This really struck a chord especially when I was buying an apartment and had to go through all the logistics of obtaining a mortgage and the legalities of buying a place. Now, unless you are in finance, you may not everything about a mortgage (heaven knows I didn’t), but it’s an important topic to be informed about if you ever plan on buying a place because not everyone will have your best interest at heart.
After I had gone through the whole process, I remember specifically reading my friend’s mortgage approval terms and they were horrible. I was so mad because I know there are people who would have actually signed on to terrible terms and it would have cost them a lot. But unless you studied finance, this is a life task that you might not have previously known about. The same goes for finding a job. Because I love career development and writing, I’m constantly being asked by my friends to read over/redesign their resumes. I also love personal finance and watch full on documentaries and news stories especially on the student debt crisis, because yah, a lot of people didn’t know what they were signing on to at 18 years old.
That’s what I want to focus here on this blog because that’s what I’m passionate about.
BONUS: I didn’t count the time I tried to blog in French with www.danslavingtaine.com (‘dans la vingtaine’ directly translates to ‘in your twenties.’) This was actually super short-lived. I just needed an outlet to practice my French for an upcoming exam.
Why I Still Blog
One of the reasons I’ve continually tried to blogging (instead of just giving up) is because I do love to write. I’ve always been an avid journaler, so I like to think that this is my online journal of my progress, challenges, and growth. So if I do become a “successful” (I’m just aiming for consistent at this point) one day, I’ll be able to reflect on this journey.
Have you ever started a blog and had it fail – let me know down below! You are definitely not alone.
Thank you for following along! In a few days I will be publishing a post on 5 Things I Am Doing Differently for this blog (it was too long for this post).