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Secret Diary Of A Travel Blogger: I Have A Massive Chip On My Shoulder

Yesterday my husband asked me to pick up his dry cleaning and I nearly divorced him.*

His simple request, politely made, literally sent me into a meltdown over that evening’s sausage and mash dinner. Not because I resent helping him out or because he has some old-fashioned notion that women do the housework, but because my paranoia had translated his simple request into an accusation that I have nothing better to do with my time.

“Do you think I have nothing to do all day? That my time is less precious than yours? That my days need to be filled with tasks in order to make myself useful?”

These and other irrational questions raged thorough my head all afternoon.

As it transpired my supportive husband thought nothing of the sort. **The truth was he had tried to collect his own laundry that morning before work but the dry cleaners couldn’t locate it. He desperately needed a clean shirt for the following day so asked his wife (for what can be no more than the 5th time in our marriage) if she would kindly drop in and collect it instead.

When this all came out, over when turned out to be very good Cumberland Sausages, I left the table red-faced and scurried to the bedroom to chisel away at the giant chip on my shoulder.

My not-so-good-mate Chip has been with me ever since I quit my full-time job and begun freelancing. It’s caused me doubts over what to refer to myself as – travel blogger, writer, freelancer? which one sounds like a legitimate job/business? – and has caused a lot of pain when acquaintances have innocently joked that my life is one big holiday.

I write quite a bit about the business of blogging and the slog behind a travel blog, partly because I get emails about the topic and hope people find it useful, but also partly, I’ll admit, because I feel like I have something to prove.

I think that there is a common misconception that if you do something you love you don’t have to work hard at it. I feel that this especially applies to travel and blogging, which is such a bloody great gig. A big part of our job is to inspire or entertain and writing about fantastic experiences can certainly give out a message that the travel blogger’s life is breezy.

There’s also the assumption (let’s be honest) that we as bloggers don’t make much money. I’ve seen snipes made in some corners of the internet at female bloggers (of all niches) who have been referred to as kept women. Whilst first and foremost it is no-one else’s business how a couple support each other, secondly, in some cases, this is absolute garbage. I know a good deal of women whose husbands have given up their full-time jobs to work on their wives blog/ online business. I know #girlboss digital entrepreneurs who are raking in more than their male counterparts (take that glass ceiling!) and men who are happy to be the primary care-giver so that these women can continue to kick their career goals into the back of the net.

There are also bloggers, like myself, who don’t make as much as their other half but who contribute to the relationship in ways that cannot be measured monetarily. As a couple Justin and I have dined under the stars in Uluru, cruised the South Pacific and been front row for shows at the Sydney Opera House all because of what I do for a (sometimes meagre) living. When we’re not globe-trotting I break up the monotony of working from home with doing the laundry, the house-work and trips to the dry cleaners (on days when I’m not freaking out about my self-worth) and take pride at being able to do these tasks for both of us in a way that works for me.

I do see that the perception of bloggers is starting to tilt. The idea that blogging can be a viable career is becoming more common and as publishers like myself try to be more transparent about what we do I have noticed attitudes both within and outside the industry start to shift. More and more I have conversations with people about what I do and hear the words ‘gosh, there’s a lot that goes into this blogging thing.’

In time I think we’ll need a new word for blogging. It doesn’t quite cover the multiple businesses that have been born as offshoots of a personal ‘weblog’ and can give the wrong impression to the uninitiated who have no idea how many different forms of blogging you’ll find on the internet in 2016. Perhaps that’s a topic for another time though.

I guess I’m sharing my chip in this post today partly because it’s therapeutic (thanks for listening) but also because I would like to know if any of you have a similar experience? Is this just a travel blogging thing? A female thing? A you’re-completely-paranoid-jayne-no-one-cares-about-what-you-do-or-how-much-you-earn-get-on-with-your-life-and-stop-caring-about-what-other’s-think-thing?

I’d love to hear your (paranoid or not) thoughts!

*denotes exaggeration for the sake of the story

**for the record, my supportive hubby has never thought or uttered anything of the sort. He’s been with me since I went freelance, encouraged me during times I thought I couldn’t do it and has always been my number 1 champion – even when I’m close to losing the plot. He’s a good egg

Read next: Secret diary of a travel blogger – What I do when I’m not travelling

21 Comments

  • Reply
    Annika
    June 25, 2016 at 6:28 am

    Jayne, I absolutely love it!! I am currently growing a chip as I am about to embark on a press trip to SA and looking at the list of attending writers 90% of them are print. I am getting my gun and arguments ready before we have even met.
    And also, yes, the other day I bit my sister’s head off when she said: well, I never know where you are currently on holiday. I was like – WOW and GRRRRRRR and hello, seriously?! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kate
    June 25, 2016 at 7:35 am

    Great post! I work from home and have shared similar feelings more times than I can admit. It’s good to know I’m not alone with my chip.

  • Reply
    Jean | Holy Smithereens
    June 25, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    I certainly have days like this Jayne, especially in social gatherings with people from the “normal world”. While I usually extend understanding because after all, this isn’t a common profession, I sometimes lose patience because well, we’re human too!
    My ultimate pet peeve conversation:
    Friend / Family member : “So can you make it on Friday? (or whatever date)
    Me: “No, sorry”
    Friend / Family member : “Why? You said you’re not leaving till next week (or whatever date) right??”

    As though when you’re not travelling, you do absolutely NOTHING else.
    Yes I really hope the term “blogger” should be replaced by a better one that really encompasses everything else that we do. Some days, “Multimedia Entertainer” is closer than just ‘blogger’. haha! 😉

  • Reply
    Caroline Eubanks
    June 25, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    I’ve experienced something similar when a friend said she couldn’t go somewhere with me because “she works.” She may have meant it to hurt me or she might not have, but I know that I hustle and do something I love. It’s not always fun, but there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.

  • Reply
    LisaLDN
    June 27, 2016 at 3:23 am

    LOVED reading this! I’m not a full-time blogger, but I completely understand you! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    Jenn Flo
    June 27, 2016 at 7:12 am

    You sound perfectly sane to me! Not paranoid! We all have days like that, and we are allowed to! I don’t think it’s a blogger only issue either, I’m sure it’s a common thing that many people battles, although not many will admit to. I sure do, and I’m not a full time blogger yet. Keep going. You’re doing amazing things!

  • Reply
    Suze - Luxury Columnist
    June 27, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    It’s not so much my husband but many of my friends including one today who asked me how it felt to have such a lot of free time on my hands now that I’m doing this full time. I put her straight on the amount of work involved 😉

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      June 27, 2016 at 11:31 pm

      Haha it’s funny isn’t it. I guess until you have freelanced or worked for yourself you never quite understand that there is no such thing as freetime for the self-employed, just a never-ending list of MORE things you could be doing to improve your business.

  • Reply
    Gordon Lethbridge
    June 27, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    It’s not just a female thing. I know exactly how you feel and experience the same myself. Like you I also have a very supportive spouse without whom I could not continue being a travel blogger.
    A weblog, from which we get the term blog, is basically a diary. In pre-digital times we would have been called diarists. On my website (I will refer to it as a blog when it suits) I write first person experience pieces – the blog bits. However I also write reviews and opinion pieces (like this one) as we’ll as posting quizzes. I make decisions about what goes in and when, decide on a publishing schedule and which photographs to use to illustrate any post. That and a lot else besides seems to me to be what an editor does. So at times I say I am an online editor or just simply editor.

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      June 27, 2016 at 11:29 pm

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Gordon – it’s really good to hear a male perspective. Your comment reminded me of a reaction I got recently to my business cards. On them I’m stated I’m the editor of Girl Tweets World and someone in Sri Lanka was seriously impressed that I was an ‘editor’ rather than just a travel blogger. I didn’t know how to explain that I was the editor of my own blog/website. Just goes to show that the terminology is definitely confusing and that perhaps the perception of bloggers is not so respected as that of an online editor or traditional travel writer…

  • Reply
    Ali
    June 28, 2016 at 8:29 am

    I honestly don’t think I’ve had many people say things to me that imply they think I don’t work, but I think I do it to myself. When people ask what I do for a living, I mumble something about being a writer and a blogger and I explain about my sites and another site I work for, but I always end up downplaying things by saying “it’s not a ton of money, I couldn’t live off of it” or something to that effect. But I know I need to stop saying that because this isn’t a hobby anymore. I probably could live off of what I earn, if I didn’t have my husband, though if I was single doing this, I’d probably have to have a roommate and change a few things. But I could make it work. And what I do does earn me a decent amount of money, and it is a lot of work. I think it’s a confidence thing, but I need to work on not downplaying what I do.

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      June 29, 2016 at 4:52 am

      This is a really good point Ali! I am definitely guilty of playing things down so that probably doesn’t help with how others perceive blogging.

  • Reply
    Lauren
    June 29, 2016 at 3:25 am

    I totally understand your chip!

    I’ve just recently decided to go into freelancing so I can start writing more and devote more time to my fledgling blog.

    I’ve been given the “wide eyed half eye roll” things since I started telling my friends and family about my plans. Some have slowly started to come around and realise it is not about being a lazy bum on a beach with no real direction in life or career plans.

    But I take satisfaction in knowing they will regret those half eye rolls when I am completely self-sustaining and location independent, working wherever I please while they are stuck in a cubicle.

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      June 29, 2016 at 4:47 am

      High five!! Best of luck for your exciting new path

  • Reply
    Rachel Heller
    July 3, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Yes, this sounds familiar, and no, you’re not being paranoid! I still have a part time job as a teacher because I can’t afford just yet to go full time as a freelancer. Or rather, I don’t want to go full time just yet because I don’t like the idea of being that dependent on my husband’s income (He is, by the way, wonderfully supportive of my blogging.)

    I fit travel into the vacations and weekends, and I also go lead workshops in various cities, where I can usually add a day or two before or after to get a glimpse of the place. So I get dismissive questions from both sides: “So where are you going off to this time?” but also “Oh, you’re a teacher. You get so much vacation!”

    How about calling ourselves on-line publishers?

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      July 4, 2016 at 7:30 am

      Online publisher does sound much more formal doesn’t it? I like it!

  • Reply
    Indra Chopra
    July 4, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Hi…..I fully empathise, sympathise ….I have to explain to first time acquaintances what I do and why I do what I am doing…travel writer, blogger etc.

  • Reply
    A Lady in London
    July 9, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Great post, Jayne! I’ve seen perceptions changing in the UK over the last couple of years. I think a lot of people don’t realize how the business side of blogging works, but that’s becoming a thing of the past as more people become professional bloggers.

  • Reply
    The World First Wander – How to start a travel blog » Travel Tips » World First Travel Insurance Blog
    July 13, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    […] has a dark side. Don’t believe us? Here’s another article from Girl Tweets World with Secret diary of a travel blogger: I have a massive chip on my shoulder. It’s a brilliant diatribe about how the world perceives bloggers – in particular female […]

  • Reply
    Dannielle
    June 8, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Absolutely loved this! I’ve just made the move to full-time travel blogging now that I’m back living in the UK with my boyfriend and definitely have a niggling doubt about what people think – his family, our friends, complete strangers… but you’re so right! It’s nobody’s business how couples support each other (in the various ways, not just monetarily) and I’m at home building my empire – and sorting us some lovely luxury experiences we wouldn’t normally be able to enjoy. Excellent post and well done for tackling what can be a delicate topic.

  • Reply
    Jayne Gorman
    June 9, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Oh you were having a binge through the archives weren’t you 🙂 So good to hear from people who can relate. Good luck going full-time x

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