Questioning myself – am I a bad everything?

Sometimes my brain tells me I am a bad (insert noun for whatever I am thinking about at the time). I know it's a chemical imbalance and makes no logical sense but it still creates more doubt about what type of person I am.

 

Obviously a TOURIST with that much luggage!
Obviously a TOURIST with that much luggage!

Sometimes my brain tells me I am a bad (insert noun for whatever I am thinking about at the time). I know it’s a chemical imbalance and makes no logical sense but it still creates more doubt about what type of person I am.

I am not going to get down and deep in to the dark places an affected mind can go but rather focus on the frivolous, the questions that make no sense to be asked in the first place, but the questions that come to mind when you read or hear someone else’s opinion.

Let’s start with a couple of easy ones. Since I decided to start this blog I have been reading; tweets, Instagram comments, other blogs and the comments they draw. Now I am wondering if I have any right to be writing about my experiences or if I should simply keep them to myself. The first questions are…

Am I unqualified to be a “traveler” because I carry more than just two backpacks which contain my entire life?

Many comments I read suggest I am merely a “tourist” because I dare venture out into the world with a suitcase, have never stayed in a Hostel, and am willing to spend more than $50 per day to entertain and feed my family when we travel. This makes me wonder if I have any stories worth telling or should stick to spending each vacation at the local Caravan Park, or better still, at home watching real “travelers” on Lonely Planet documentaries.

bad 2
OMG, you’re such a TOURIST!

Am I wasting my money traveling overseas and visiting famous landmarks?

Again I keep reading how people who visit popular places, iconic buildings or landmarks do not have the right to the lofty title of “traveler”. OK, I admit it, I have seen the Eiffel Tower, Tower Bridge, the Colosseum and dozens more touristy things, I will even admit to loving Disneyland!

So according to some sources I am destined for a boring life of the “tourist”. I hope I find it fulfilling enough to justify my continued existence. I do like to get off the beaten path and prefer lesser know and smaller towns to the big city but it seems that “once a tourist, always a tourist” from what I read.

The next area of discussion that gets me questioning my philosophies and life decisions is parenting. I recently read some of the wonderful articles on the Gypsy Nester website which caused some debate over how we deal with our children growing up and leaving home.

Some people believe we should protect our children from the world forever and never let them leave, paying for them to do as they wish as long as they don’t venture far from home, while at the other end of the scale we have parents who can’t wait to get rid of the money pits they brought in to the world 15 or 20 years ago.

These and other discussions have lead me to the following self interrogation.

Am I a bad parent for sending my daughter out in to the dark and scary world alone?

At the beginning of 2016 my daughter will have graduated High School, turned 18, and jumped from our nest with the smallest possible parachute. Some will say it is irresponsible to allow an 18 year old girl to travel and work around the world, especially when even your local area can be a dangerous place.

Should I be keeping her home, funding her University studies at the local institution, or better yet online so she doesn’t have to leave the house, getting her a degree in something she doesn’t really want and will probably never help her find work?

Instead some will say I am throwing her to the wolves, pushing a child out the door with a sandwich and $10, telling her she has had it too good for too long and it’s time she learned some tough lessons the hard way. They say it builds character after all!

Here's $10 and a sandwich, now of you go!
Here’s $10 and a sandwich, now of you go!

Am I a bad parent for destroying my child’s education?

It is fast becoming a jailable offence to take a child out of school for the useless and unrewarding purpose of travel. It seems my daughter is destined for a poor life in a minimum wage job, or with no prospects beyond social welfare because I committed the unspeakable sin of taking her to foreign soils during the school term.

Those few months have now rendered the 13 years of schooling useless, or so some teachers and governments now tell us.

I was under the illusion that a person can actually learn some important life skills by experiencing new cultures, experiencing the places they learn about in history or geography classes, meeting and talking to people of different religions, with different tastes and different ways of living their daily life. Looks like I’m wrong again though.

Meeting kids from other countries and cultures is no substitute for school!
Meeting kids from other countries and cultures is no substitute for school!

And finally I question myself about my writing, how I write, why I write, and what I write about. Which leads me to the next questions.

Am I a bad blogger for featuring my family, or for not featuring my family?

“You should never personalise your blog posts as it alienates the reader since it is your experience”, or words to that effect. I have been reading a lot on successful blogging for a couple of months now and thought this was the advice I needed to make a start and to guide my writing style.

“Put yourself in the story. people want to get to know you to make a connection”, or words to that effect. The next day I read this and I almost gave up. Perhaps I needed to create two blogs, one using each piece of advice.

I will say that both philosophies came from creators of very successful blogs which made it even more confusing.

So now I just write and see what happens, even if I am blogging the “wrong way”.

Am I a bad blogger for wanting to make some kind of income from my writing in the future?

The saying goes that money is the root of all evil, and it seems some believe it is also the root of evil bloggers. I feel that you will be cursed and doomed to fail if you consider making money from your writing.

It destroys your creativity, your content will be rubbish, the poor people who mistakenly read you work may go blind, and their computers will inexplicably spontaneously combust.

I promise I will never say the “$” word again, please forgive me.

Am I a bad blogger for not having a perfectly defined niche?

“Only people with an extremely narrow niche focus can be successful bloggers.” But I don’t want to limit myself to writing about three star hotels whose name begin with J, that are within two blocks of a train station in towns with a population less that 12,719 people.

I understand that you shouldn’t write about a ridiculously wide range of topics that have no common ground and expect a consistent and loyal following, but when all is said and done I would rather be writing to 10,000 people on a reasonable range of topics than have every single one of the 87 crazy people in the world that want to know about my niche above, and would hang off every word I type.

Of course there are varying opinions on every topic, and everyone thinks their opinion is the right one. Some even disagree with my opinion but obviously they are misguided. You see, I thought I was wrong once but I was mistaken!

There is no black and white in the topics I have mentioned above so people should write opinions, not make out that they are the one grand authority and everyone else is wrong.

I would love to hear what makes you a bad…. ?

Dean is the main creative force behind La Vida Global. A road trip veteran with over 30,000 miles of driving in more than a dozen countries. He has also worked in the Australian travel and tourism industry for the past 6 years.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Oh how liberating!! I agree with you wholeheartedly as I am new to blogging and the information out there is so overwhelming and conflicting. They say that art is in the eye of the beholder and this is true in blogging. I would rather not be ‘successful’ than follow the crowd. You have to be true to yourself as life is too short – I should know as I work with palliative patients in a Hospice. Thankfully with age comes the ability to go your own way and not feel that you have to follow the crowd … and don’t get me started on the ins and outs of social media! 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting Angela. I think you are exactly right in that if you spend too much time worrying about everyone else’s opinion then you will never find your own voice and maybe even never get started.

  2. Ha. This is a great post. I can relate to a lot of it. There’s so much judgment on the Internet about how and what everyone should be doing. I think we all question ourselves at times.

    • Thanks Karen. It was written a little tongue in cheek after I spent a lot of time reading “expert” guides on how to create a blog and what to write about. It seems half of the world does the wrong thing… I just can’t work out which half!

  3. I think we all have moments when we doubt ourselves. I go through the same emotions, so you’re definitely not alone! I also wonder sometimes if there’s any worth in me blogging about my travels, when I only travel part time. And then sometimes there’s doubt about the work that I do, and if I’m doing the right thing or if I’m good enough… but at the end of the day, we all of dreams and we won’t achieve anything if we’re worrying about what others think… and if we don’t try!

    • Good advice Bryna. I still read what others suggest but never do it just becuase someone more popular said it was the way. I take it on board and see how it can fit in to the plan I have in place now.

  4. Great post, Dean! This is the constant difficulty for all bloggers, though we each have our own things we worry we’re bad at… and unfortunately, social media doesn’t help because there are always more successful people against which we can compare ourselves.

    What I would say is that A) I feel bad about how I perform and what I want out of travel blogging all the time. I’m trying to shake off those shackles! B) Sending your daughter out into the world is a great idea — I wish I could have been afforded the opportunity as a young woman. As long as she learns how to be safe in this big, scary world (which really, sadly, it is), it’s definitely a great thing for everyone! 🙂

    • Thanks Valerie. My daughter already has 14 countries under her belt and is already more mature than me today! I wish I had grown up with the means and opportunity to start my travels much earlier than I did.

  5. I think you should stop worrying about what other people think. You should live your life the way you want to, travel the way you want to, raise your kids the way you want to, etc. If you try to emulate how other people think you should travel, it won’t be unique to you or unique to your blog! It is great learning tips online and such, but if you prefer to visit touristy places or eat at nice restaurants or travel with a suitcase, you should do it! It is easy to get caught up in these sorts of things….but hey, I travel with a suitcase, I like to go to the touristy places, and do I think any less of myself? Hell no! Keep doing what your doing and don’t look back 🙂

    • I don’t put too much worry in to what people say or think but sometimes you just don’t feel confident. This was partly about how I feel sometimes and partly a tongue in cheek shot at the “experts” online that know they know everything! Thanks for reading and commenting on this.

  6. Hi Dean,
    This is my first visit to your blog, but already I can tell that I really relate to you. Some of the criticism you’ve gotten I’ve been guilty of dishing out myself. I used to be a very smug, shoestring backpacker who scoffed at all the “tourists”. Now that I’m older, I too enjoy splurging on a few small luxuries when I can afford to do so. Does this make me any less of a traveller? Absolutely not.
    I also enjoy sightseeing, and have always felt a twinge of guilt about it. Sure, travel is about the people, the culture, the food (oh yes, definitely the food!), but it’s also about the sights for me, and that’s OK too.
    As someone who is childfree, I won’t be so presumptuous as to comment on your parenting skills, but I can tell you that I’ve personally learned a heck of a lot more from travelling than I ever did in a classroom.
    Conflicting advice is everywhere, and you’ll never please everyone, so don’t even try. Just be you. Most importantly, be the best you you can be 🙂

    • Welcome Wendy and thanks for the support. As a Travel Agent in Australia most of my clients want to go and see the sights. It’s a very long way to get to anywhere from Australia and never cheap. Not something most can afford very often. It always annoyed me reading people’s opinions that those like my clients who want to see 10 cities and all the sights in 4 weeks on a guided holiday are lesser somehow that someone who wants to stay in hostels and rough it.
      Oh, and I agree the food is a crucial part of traveling!

  7. I felt a bit odd reading your post, mostly because most of the things you say, I could have written myself. Since I started the blog, I found myself questioning what I do way too much, taking any piece of advice from ‘big bloggers’ at face value. They say you should find a niche, so I don’t include in the blog a lot of things I’d love to talk about… then they say you should make it personal and I add photos of the kids… then they say you should be less personal to appeal to a wider crowd, and the next post has no kids photos. This can become endless and I think the bottom line should be: listen to everyone’s opinions but then do what you believe is right. Blogs are popular for a variety of reasons and I think if we write like WE like it, we will eventually find a crowd of like-minded readers.

    About parenting, what can I say: no day goes without me questioning the whole of my parenting too. Se here you go: I am bad at parenting AND blogging, two thing I love. How bad is that!?

    • Thanks for reading Marta. I thought it was a bit long and nobody would get through it. I was also a bit concerned I might get some backlash from the “travelers” but it’s nice to know I am not alone in the way I feel about these issues.

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