Eight years of this travel blog – genuinely can’t believe it.
I set it up on the 1st February 2011, while I was living in London at my ex’s mum’s house, working as a Content Writer for a travel company, and just back from a few months of travelling Europe. I had no money, credit cards and wasn’t earning nearly enough to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
I wanted to share my adventures, to bond with other travel bloggers, and work on my online skills to use in my day job.
Bless the bloggers of the early 10s, so innocent.
– VickyFlipFlopTravels.com in 2014
I’ve written about how travel blogging has changed in those years. I guess the biggest change, to sum it up, would be blogger intent, standards and the money some command. Sadly not me. But, I’m still having fun, no regrets, and I plan to carry on for as long as it works for me.
I thought it would be fun for me – while I wait anxiously for my India visa – to have a look back at some of my best moments from the last 8 years of blogging, to keep me inspired for the next eight.
8 Years of Travel Blogging in 8 Best Moments
1. Buying my house
There’d be no way I could’ve bought my house if I didn’t have this blog. For about three years I was running the blog as well as a full time job, and so any extra cash went into savings. This formed the basis of my house deposit. There was no rich great auntie for me.
When I was travelling I actually ended up saving money too. I can’t believe how much I spend now compared to when I was on the road, eating three meals out a day and staying in hostels and hotels every night. I swear travelling is cheaper than living life in England.
Keeping travel cheap and making the most of press trip opportunities meant I had a nice little stash by the time I was ready to buy.
So yeah, come October 2017 and I became a proud homeowner – FlipFlop HQ.
2. Getting an awesome job
Starting my blog got me my job at gapyear.com. It pushed me to go to networking events where I met the ‘right’ people, it gave me the edge over other applicants, and it gave me an understanding of a booming industry that was going to affect the way people choose where to travel forever.
My first week as the Content and Social Media Manager was spent in Toronto and New York learning the ropes. Honestly, I can still remember getting the email through asking if that would be ok. Yes, YES, and for anyone who didn’t hear in the back, YESSSSS.
– Living it up in Cuba
From basically being overlooked by management at my last job, all of a sudden I was in amongst them – in Toronto!
Also, £9k pay rise. YES, PUH LEASE.
Through this job I got to travel to Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Cuba and the Czech Republic. I also got to work with Macca and Monica every day for a while, and met a whole bunch of other cool people.
As the company changed I kinda outgrew it, and left a few months after I probably should’ve. I then went off travelling. Great while it lasted!
3. Winning (3rd) Travel Blogger of the Year
There are a lot of different travel blogger awards floating around, and in 2017 I won one, kinda. I won third place in the Travel Blogger of the Year at the AITO (Association of Independent Tour Operators) Awards. I must’ve entered myself at some point but I don’t remember.
That’s the thing with these awards, you have to enter yourself, and you have to remember to do it. Which I don’t.
I was mega proud of this one though and still have it displayed in my office. First of at least two certificates, I hope.
So happy to be considered one of the top UK travel bloggers!
4. My first travel blogging conference
– Casey from G Adventures, Micheal Turtle, Me, Jen from SheGetsAround and Victoria from Pommie Travels
I think I will always say that TBU in Porto, was one of my forever highlights. I’d been studying all these bloggers at work and then I met them in real life at the Travel Bloggers Unite conference, and it was SO exciting. Also, SO much fun. Such good vibes and I just had a brilliant weekend in what was to become one of my favourite European cities.
Some of the people I met at this conference remain my favourites today.
I actually went back to Porto a few weeks later with friends.
It was also my first ever press trip. I convinced my boss to let me go and couldn’t believe I was getting my (hostel) accommodation and flight paid for, and meals!
I really felt like I was something special.
5. When I got so many visitors my site crashed
I mean, it’s not ideal, and kinda ruined the buzz of seeing my ‘people on site’ rise into the hundreds, but for about two days I had so many visitors my site crashed.
It was all to do with the President of Estonia. He shared my post on Reasons to Visit Tallinn, on his Facebook page and over 50,000 opinionated Estonians came to tell me how bad my photography was / great the post was, in ONE DAY.
Now those kind of posts are all over the internet so I can’t imagine it happening again – fun though!
6. Readers’ letters
I often get letters from readers telling me I’ve helped them plan their trip, or inspired them to go somewhere, and it makes me very happy. The other day I was having a really shit day, y’know, one of those… what’s the point, no one likes me, who reads it anyway… kinda days. And then I get this message through, and immediately my day is better.
Sometimes it blows my mind to think that what I write influences others, but that’s the whole point. I want to help. I get a lot of emails asking for travel advice, which is what I’m here for, but it’s the ones where people thank me are the best. People who’ve been following for ages and I didn’t even know it.
Knowing I’ve made someone’s travels better is a buzz.
7. The friends I’ve made
I’m trying to think of a peak moment of friendship, ones made through travel blogging, but there are too many.
Maybe Glastonbury with a solid travel blogger crew? Or travelling Malawi with Helen? Or going to DisneyLand in Florida with Emily? Or sleigh riding in Finland with Monica. Memories of chilling in Greece and Antigua with Jayne. Sailing with Jen. Oh and I can’t forget the cruise this year, or that time I joined a few of my favourites in Edinburgh for Hogmanay.
Or, just knowing I have friends around the world at my fingertips on WhatsApp.
– Me, Jen, Helen and Karen at Glastonbury in 2017
A lot of my friends are travel bloggers now. Late night chats, waking up to messages, nights out in London, the annual meet ups at various conferences and following their lives through their blogs. We have a shared curiosity and passion for exploring the world that many lose when they get to their 30s.
The people I’ve met along the way are definitely one of the best things about eight years in travel blogging.
8. Driving a Mustang up the Pacific Coast Highway
Gawd I’ve done some COOL stuff thanks to this blog – stuff I didn’t even know existed. From Caribbean cruises, to ski trips in Lapland, to camping trips in Canada, to helicopters in South Africa and scuba diving in Papua New Guinea.
If I look back on all the adventures and trips I’ve had, I’ll get emotional.
I have to say one of the absolute best and most memorable press trips I’ve ever been on was to California. I was there as the only blogger among newspaper journalists and we were given the luxury experience. We ate at the best restaurants, stayed at Fairmont Hotels and saw an incredible part of California. Also, I drove a Ford Mustang coupe for 5 days along the Pacific Coast Highway, solo.
After eight years of not driving AT ALL.
I lost my nerve at one point – I think it was the 5th day actually – we arrived in LA and the roads were closed thanks to an Obama visit. But, I pressed on and completed the route. I often think back to that day and it totally proved to me I’m more capable than I sometimes think I am.
Travel blogging for 8 years
Ooo I’ve had a good time!
It’s been a crazy adventure and one I’ve loved being on. Who knows where the next few years will take me.
Thanks for reading and as always, if you have any questions just send me a message or leave a comment. And if you have any suggestions for what to write about, I’m all ears!