Cancer, Travel Blogging and Life

I have not travelled since the end of 2014. I remember because that was when my health started to worsen. I remember because not long after that I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

I stopped travelling immediately because I couldn’t. Emotionally I was a wreck, and because of some complications, physically I wasn’t able either.

Now, I am entering the third year of my treatment. I am recovering, it is hard, but I am okay. Since last year, I started to accept this, all of this. The endless chemo, the blood tests, the hospital visits, the mood swings – I accepted it. It was a battle I had to fight and it was so exhausting to be angry all the time, so I took things as they came and weirdly enough, life got a lot easier. Yes, I was still doing chemo and there were days where I felt so sick that I didn’t want to do life, but those days became less and less common.

Anyway, since last year, I took a backseat in this whole “travel blogging life”. I had the chance to re-evaluate this blog’s purpose and myself as a self-pronounced travel blogger.

I had started this blog in the year 2012 when I was stressed out with my masters. When studying became too frustrating, I went to this blog to write about my last getaway. I wanted my family and friends back home to see what I saw, I wanted to share with them my joy. When possible, I also blogged about being a foreign student in a foreign land. My goal was to show them that it is possible to travel with a student budget. However, I always wrote that the main goal of a student is to study and to finish it. Travel comes second, no matter how easy and affordable it is.

 

A year later, as a blogger I had connected with many new friends. They are genuine and amazing people. I am still in contact with a lot of them and often I feel closest to them as they share the same value as me. I am forever grateful to have met them through my travel blog.

As a student, I was coming to the end of my study and had to figure out what to do next in my life. I was intrigued by the lives of several travel bloggers who made a living solely on their travel blog. I too wanted to travel the world and make money from my blog.

So I wrote voraciously, getting tips and tricks on how to boost my statistics, engaging in conversations about travel, I tried to connect to every social media platform possible and I thought to myself that I must go on blogger’s gatherings once I graduated to widen my connection in the travel blogging world.

By the beginning of 2014, I was this girl who wanted everything. I wanted to write and travel and make money from my blog. I wrote here and there, travel magazines, other blogs – I just wanted to get my name out there. It was all just very exciting for me. My blog was not yet one of the big names, but I had a handful of regular readers (who also became my friends) and I knew if I worked hard enough it could grow into a bigger blog.

Then I got sick.

Currently I am in my recovery stage. This means, I have a lot of time on my hand. I can’t go out too often as I need to avoid crowded places as much as possible and it tires me out. So I stay at home a lot, giving myself plenty of time to think.

I am aware that I am not some massive blog with plenty of following, I never got that chance to grow this blog. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough, maybe I did. Who knows.

 

As a spectator, I got to watch the travel bloggers around me. Some who started around the same time as me, have gotten bigger and more well-known. Some have given up blogging altogether. I know that it takes a lot of hard work to become a full time travel blogger and a lot of my friends work so hard to be the best and deliver the best. I am in awe of them who invest their whole lives into travel blogging.

But I also saw the dark side of the travel blogging industry. As in other industries, there are always some downsides. I saw cliques within the community I was in, people dissing one another, people getting jealous, people who got jobs not because of their achievements but for their connections, Twitter wars, content stealer and many more. It was all so complex and often it gets to me, getting me worked up.

Above all that, I still blogged. I still had stories to tell, information to share. I even teamed up with my friends Febby and Noni to publish weekly posts under #CeritaJalanAsik. Writing kept my sanity at bay. It made me focus on something else, instead of cancer. Besides, I have always enjoyed writing.

I started a new blog, one that was about my life. Often I wrote more on my other blog because I simply don’t know what else to write here. I must confess that I had thoughts of deleting this blog, because what’s the point of having a travel blog if I never travelled?

And so, that question once again popped up into my mind, hence this post. Why do I still have this blog when I hardly travel at all?

Starting from last year, I stopped being active on Twitter. I like Twitter for its flow of current news, but for me it has lost its effectiveness to reach other people. I tried Snapchat and didn’t like it. I use Pinterest to find ideas for bullet journals and other hobbies in my life, not for travel blogging purposes. I use my Facebook Page only once in awhile. The only one that I still love and use daily is Instagram (where I found that I really REALLY like to take pictures of tiles, doors and windows :D). It is probably the most positive social media that I know.

Addicted to gorgeous windows and doors

The thing with me right now is this: I need to be happy. I need happiness, positivity, rainbow, sunshine, unicorn glitter and all that. I know life is not always like that, but just for now I need all those so I can recover well.

And so, my once dream of becoming a full time travel blogger can’t deliver me all these. I know it because I know I will get myself involved in the politics of it all. While I know that travelling and writing make me so so happy, but to make it a job will probably do me no good. I will get angry, I will get upset, I will rant a lot – these negativity will probably take over me more than being satisfied and content with the travelling itself. That is not what I need right now.

I don’t think it really matters if I am no longer active in Twitter or don’t blog as much as before because as I said before, I don’t really have a big following. However, for those who read this blog, I just want you to know about a few things.

I will still write in this blog, but the writing will be whatever that pops into my head. I am not going to write things just so I can boost my statistics, in fact I no longer care about statistics.

I won’t be accepting any affiliate links, except The Book Depository in which I am an affiliate member of (because I use the site a lot to buy books). I will probably have these links when I have some books to recommend. I won’t be putting it in your face so you feel like you must click and purchase from that link.

I won’t be advertising my posts on my social media platforms as much, perhaps only when I have a new post.

I won’t be doing paid hotel review or the likes, I will though, review the places that I have visited on my own terms.

I won’t be commercializing my “travel bloggerness”.

Once I am able to travel normally again, I know for sure now that I won’t be visiting all the countries of the world. Of course, I still want to explore new countries (and trust me my wanderlust has only gotten stronger during these past years!) but I don’t mind revisiting a few. I won’t be visiting certain countries just to impress people.

I want to go back to my initial goal of this blog. I want to travel and enjoy it. I want to journal about my travels (old school style, pen and paper) and I want to take pictures because it means something to me (not because I need high-res pictures for a magazine or my next post). And I want to write it in this blog if there is a story or information I want to share. I will still write for #CeritaJalanAsik because it gives me a goal each week to achieve and I need this kind of routine.

Sometimes I take random pictures. Like this. I spotted this car in Alessandria (I had a car like that in red when I was in the UK :D)

I will also still share posts by my friends or other travel bloggers that I think are useful or interesting.

As for writing in magazines/book, perhaps in the future, but not for now.

I do not wish to delete this blog, because I love reading old posts and it makes me smile.

I may change my Instagram/Twitter username (this one I’m still unsure) in the future to something more “personal”.

Please don’t think that the travel blogging world is vicious. It is not. It is like any other jobs in the world, where you’ll have friends and competitors, ups and downs. I have travel blogger friends who work so hard and provide useful information. Heck, I even consult their blogs when I want to travel somewhere. Their dedication is remarkable and I know that to bring a useful content, they have to do many research and put in hours of work. But this world, is not suited for me. I just want to blog, and if it gives me the title “blogger” then so be it, but I don’t see it as a job.

I guess that’s all I want to share with you guys reading. It is a little personal, and I have been thinking about this and I thought you all ought to know.

Please do still say hello and I am more than willing to help you if you have any questions on any of the places I’ve visited. Don’t worry, you won’t get rid off me that easily, you’ll still see me around, pretending to be a professional blogger 😉

18 Comment

  1. Whichever topics you are going to post on this blog I will still read it, simply because I love your piece, Aggy 😀
    Keep writing yah yah yahhhh, so I can keep stalking, hihihi *hugs*

    1. Aww Debbie *hugs* thank you for your never ending support! I am blessed to have found your friendship through my travel blogging :’)

  2. Yeah good on you for keeping the blog. From experience with my other blog, you get bursts of inspiration from time to time and it’s great to have it at those times… and you go through ups and downs as with everything .

    Stay healthy!

    1. Definitely very true Adam. Would like to keep this blog just to journal my travels too, mostly for personal reasons. Thank you!

  3. Love your writing and your soul Aggy! Keep it up old sport!

    1. Thank you Kathrine! Miss you much old sport x

  4. Strong girl!!!
    Keep up the good work..
    karya karya mu selalu dinantikan..hugs from Bali 🙂

    1. Terima kasih atas kata-katanya yang menyemangati Mbak 🙂 *hugs*

  5. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I admire you and your strength. Your blog is one of my favorites and I always look forward to reading your writing, so keep it up. Sending you hugs and positive vibes from here 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Dixie for your kind words! Your blog is also a favourite of mine, us girls gotta stick together right 😉 Hugs xx

  6. Have I ever mentioned how much I like reading your writings, Gy? I enjoy reading your travel stories and your tips and reviews, but I think you write best when you’re being vulnerable and honest about your thoughts. You should think about writing a short story or a novel (or maybe you have?). I look forward to reading more of your thoughts and reflections!

    1. Aww thank you so much Ully! I really appreciate your words. I also agree with you, I want this blog to be a reflection of my personality and I hope it shows in my writings. Thank you so much for these kind words. I have also read your posts in your blog and I really like you writing too! Hope to see some new posts 😉

      1. Hahaha, thanks Aggy! Is that a sign that I should write more often (or at least regularly)? 😅 Sometimes I think I have too many excuses not to write when in fact it can be therapeutic and entertaining at the same time. Plus it’s a good exercise to hone our skills as a writer, isn’t it? I really do need to stop making excuses! 🤔😳

        1. Hihihihi, yesss writing is good therapy 😀 and sometimes I get good ideas when I write.

  7. 😘😘😘😘😘

  8. Mb Aggy, aku suka lho ngikutin Instagram mu. Juga instastory mu apalagi kalo lagi ke coffeeshop coffeeshop.

    1. Hehehe terima kasih Aqied 🙂 Hobi banget yaaa ke coffeeshop 😀

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