One Year of Blogging: Things I’ve Learned (And Things I Haven’t)

Updated September 8, 2016

Guys.

Migrating Miss has been alive on the world wide web for a whole year!

It’s totally cliche, but I actually can’t believe it. The travel blogging world isn’t exactly crying out for new bloggers, and I honestly can’t tell you if I thought I’d even make it this far.

It’s a muggy day in Edinburgh (which is weird) but its drizzling with rain in typical Scottish fashion. I’m crosslegged in an arm chair by a floor length open window, listening to the cars passing by on the wet road.

My life right now to my life last year, pre blog? Polar opposites.

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

J K Rowling

Migrating Miss was born from a need for distraction, mostly, and a frustration at being unable to achieve what I wanted to. For the previous four years since finishing university – hell, you could even say as much as nine years since I finished high school – I’d been building towards and living this dream of travel and moving to Europe. And then it all came crashing down. Debt and visas forced me home (or close to it) and although I wasn’t exactly living a hard life on the Gold Coast of Australia, moving back in with my parents at 27 and having no clue what I was doing next was not exactly my dream.

How did all those people with these fancy travel blogs get to become digital nomads, travelling, writing, and taking photos for a living? How do I get to a position where I’m not forced to return home like that again?

It was time to find out.

Don’t give up hope before you’ve even started

Type “travel blog” into google and see how many thousands of them pop up. At first, I was too intimidated to start a travel blog because I only knew about the big players in the game. They’ve all been around for years and I couldn’t see how I would ever be able to compete. I almost didn’t even start a blog because of the fear of failure. Finding out there were thousands and thousands of travel blogs out there  actually gave me the motivation to do it. If there were so many other people trying their hand at it, why couldn’t I?

Since then, the beautiful thing I’ve found out about the travel blogging community is that we all love to help each other out. One person’s success is another’s in a sense, because we are all trying to prove this really is a legit way to do business.

“There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask “What if I fail?”. Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”

Erin Hanson

Travel Quote What if You Fly Migrating Miss

There is a right time for everything, or at least, we make it the right time.

For the first while after I launched Migrating Miss I was disappointed in myself for not having started sooner. I had just finished travelling around Europe for the past 2 and a half years, not to mention trips to South East Asia, China, studying abroad in Canada, and moving from New Zealand to Australia. *Face Palm*.

I soon realised though, that travelling as a travel blogger is completely different to travelling as a traveller. And how travel has changed in the past few years. When I was first travelling I posted the odd thing on whatever social media there was, and at the beginning, that was none! (Yes, old). Now as a travel blogger, I post on EVERYTHING. I’m not complaining, it’s just different.

All this made me realise that things happen at the right time. Maybe if I had started my blog earlier I would be in a different place now. But then again, maybe I wouldn’t. I started it at just the right time for me. When I had the time and the motivation and the need to do something.

“All you have to do is pay attention. Lessons always arrive when you are ready.”

Paulo Coelho

Pursue your passion. But really.

Confession: this isn’t my first gig. I had a blog while I was living in the UK for two years, but it was very much a “look Ma, I went to Rome!” kind of thing. But I loved writing. I loved creating. And I’d loved it for a long time. Back in the days of Open Diary (please tell me I’m not the only one and SOMEBODY remembers this) when you could create your own little diary online with posts and add pictures, I got really into it. Teenage me even learnt some coding to make it look prettier. I don’t know why I never pursued it, but over 10 years later I decided it was probably time I did something about all those little stories and things I write in my head.

“Remember what wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”

Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho Quote Migrating Miss

Search for something you really love to do, or recognise it

Writing and taking photos might have been a passion, but I didn’t see it as something viable for my future. At university I studied Law and Criminology because I enjoyed it, but I was never entirely sure whether I wanted to be a lawyer. I’m still not sure. Having ploughed a significant amount of time (and money) into studying, I was spat out the other side into the big wide working world. Welcome to the recession, where you take what work you can get.

Looking back, I never made a super conscious choice to go to university. It was just what was expected of me when I finished high school. I think it’s different now, and todays teenagers (oh god, old again) seem to be much more savvy about planning their future. For me, the planning came after university. Except I was nowhere near ready to start climbing some career ladder that I knew I would struggle to jump off. Wanting to travel the world and taking whatever job I could get to do it became the norm for me. I bounced from one boring office job to another, and I was happy because I was bouncing from one country to another at the same time. I was living the dream, or close enough to it, and I was happy with that.

Except at some point, I got over working these jobs I had no passion for. I love learning new things, so I’d be entertained for awhile, and then once I knew the job, I’d be bored. It was time to find something I really loved to do, and I’ve found it in blogging. I’m not exactly raking in the money at Migrating Miss, and I’m still teaching English in Spain as a job on the side, but blogging is opening doors for me and when I have to actually start looking for jobs in the UK next year, I’m hoping they will be more closely related to what I want to do. And in any case, I’ll continue working on this labour of love!

“Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl Quote Migrating Miss

You don’t have to do it the way everyone tells you to

I already knew this of course. But I’m not sure how much I REALLY knew it. As a Kiwi, living abroad for a few years in your twenties is far from extreme. Moving to the UK is almost ordinary and hardly anyone would blink if you told them you were going to do it. I might have skipped the country a little earlier than most people I knew, but I wasn’t forging into unknown territory. I might have moved to Edinburgh instead of London, but I wasn’t the only one.

Before I started blogging I didn’t know there were a million and one ways to make money online. I didn’t know about all these amazing jobs you can have. And the crazy stuff you can do. There truly are so many different ways to do things and you really don’t have to follow the same path. There are so many ways to go after what you want and saying there isn’t just means you haven’t looked hard enough. I read all the time about travelling, blogging, moving abroad, and I both learn a lot and take it all with a grain of salt. Do what YOU want, how YOU want. I guarantee you won’t be the only one.

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs Quote Migrating Miss

If you want it, you need to work really hard for it

I think I’ve always worked hard, and yet, sometimes it feels like I haven’t worked hard at the right things. I didn’t feel like I would be able to start a travel blog, or make something of it, even though I really wanted to. Wishing and hoping and dreaming are all fantastic things to do, but no ones going to come and hand you what you want. Or even point you in the right direction. Luck is a wonderful thing, and it’s out there, but luck isn’t enough. Sometimes you need to force yourself into the space you want to be in with sheer determination and hard work.

“If you trust in yourself…and believe in your dreams…and follow your star…you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.”

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett Quote Migrating Miss

So what haven’t I learnt?

It’s been a crazy first year of blogging, and I’ve had some awesome successes. I attended my first TBEX and met so many lovely people and brands. I went on my first trip to Luleå, in Swedish Lapland and it was AMAZING. I actually can’t express how much (which is bad, for someone who’s meant to be able to do that…oops). I covered the Edinburgh Festivals in August, which was so much fun and I couldn’t have wished for better since I LOVE Edinburgh. And festivals.

But.

I still suck at organising my photos. Before I started blogging I organised all my old photos on a PC hard drive. Then I got a Mac, and that went out the window because I can’t figure out how to add new stuff to it. So I bought a new hard drive. Yesterday…

I still mostly use an iPhone for my photos. I’ve tried using a DSLR and I want to learn and practice a lot more, but I actually take my best photos with an iPhone! I think my eyes are crooked because all my DSLR photos are…

I still stress myself out. The list of blogging things to do seriously never ends. I keep thinking if I could just get a little more done then I wouldn’t get stressed about it. Instead, I think I need to learn how to not stress about it even when there are things to be done. Did I mention I’m a Virgo?

I still don’t know what I’m doing. The blogging world constantly changes (Instagram stories anyone?!) and it’s a learning curve that never quite peaks. That’s why I love it though. It’s a job I’ll never be bored of.

“You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.”

Tom Hiddleston

Tom Hiddleston Quote Migrating Miss

Where to, Miss?

After the changes of the last year I could never presume to know what’s next. On a personal level, I want to keep growing like I feel I have in the past year. On a professional level, I want to continue to improve this blog, grow it, make it better, and have amazing things come from it. I hope you’re with me.

“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you’ll just become a part of someone else’s story.”

Terry Pratchett

Sonja x

Just a note: Travel Blog Success (now Superstar Blogging)has been instrumental in helping me with my blog! It was so helpful in how I should set things up from the beginning, and the ongoing support of the Facebook group is amazing. I’d HIGHLY recommend it! Seriously my best blogging investment to date. These are my affiliate links, so no extra cost to you but helps me too :). 

If you liked it, pin it!

One year of blogging migrating miss

 

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43 Comments

  • Reply Jaimee September 9, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Awe congratulations on your first year!!! You have accomplished so much in such a short time, I am so sure there is a lot ahead of you.

  • Reply Clarissa Hirst September 9, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Sonja!

    I can’t believe that you have only been blogging for a year, I honestly thought you’d been doing this for a few years now. I really love reading your blogs, particularly the ones about what it’s like to live abroad and the hardships that you have encountered. I find that I can really relate. And your continued optimism and determination to keep doing this thing even when it might not be what everyone else thinks you should do is really inspiring. So all the best for your next year of travel blogging and congratulations on all your successes and accomplishments so far. Let me know if you ever decide to return to Sweden!

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 9, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      Thanks Clarissa! That makes me so happy that I come across that way! And thanks so much for the feedback it’s lovely to know what people actually like so I can try and keep that up :). I will be sure to let you know if (when!!) I’m back! Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later 🙂

  • Reply Silvia September 9, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    I’m also really surprised you’ve only been blogging for a year – I totally thought you had been around for way longer than that! Which is pretty impressive. Excited to see where this next year takes you!

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 9, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      Aww thanks! It’s been a lot of hard work but I’m so happy it’s come across well!! 🙂

  • Reply Paul September 9, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Great post Sonja, read it front to back and that doesn’t happen often :). It feels like the story of my life in some ways too. And I feel it is a great post and message that ill share with some friends.

    Cheers, Paul

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 9, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      Thanks so much Paul! That’s really great to hear :). It’s probably similar to a lot of people’s story, and I hope maybe helps out some more!

  • Reply Andi September 9, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    I like your comment “I still don’t know what I’m doing”. I’ve been stumbling through the blogosphere for almost 9 months and many times I feel that way. Congratulations on your one year anniversary!

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 9, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      Thank you! There’s so much to learn and it never ends. I wonder if we ever get to the point where we feel like we know what we’re doing?!

  • Reply Yvonne September 9, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Congratulations, well done on achieving all that you have in your first year! Love reading your blogs and keeping up with what you are doing. 🙂 Keep up the great work!

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 12, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      Thanks so much! I have so many ideas and plans so hoping it all keeps going up! 🙂

  • Reply Michelle September 10, 2016 at 3:29 am

    Congratulations Sonja, that is incredible! When I discovered you and your blog last year, I for sure thought you had been going for at least a couple of years, so I am shocked it’s only your one year anniversary. Good on you though, you’re doing a great job and it’s so nice to see a fellow kiwi doing so well in the travel blogging sphere. I would love to know how you got noticed in the industry and built up your following. But I so appreciate your modesty – “I still don’t know what I’m doing” – haha, well you’re obviously doing something right! 🙂 x

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 12, 2016 at 12:41 pm

      Aww thanks Michelle! That’s so nice to hear! Although I did blog before it was TERRIBLE and nothing like this one so it’s nice to show my inexperience hasn’t shown though.

      I basically just got involved in a lot of Facebook groups and have tried to make lots of connections that way. I also went to TBEX in July which was awesome. I’d love to go to more in future but I can’t make the next two unfortunately :(.

      Keep doing what you’re doing with your blog, we Kiwi’s need to get noticed more haha x

  • Reply Alissa September 10, 2016 at 5:44 am

    Hey there, nice post! It seems like you’ve really accomplished a lot in your first year of blogging – congratulations! I definitely didn’t realize how much work went into blogging before I started my blog, and how much of an industry is travel blogging itself. I’m glad to hear that you’re doing something that you enjoy and that it seems to fulfill you! Good luck in year two!!

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 12, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      Thank you Alissa! I had no idea either, it’s like a whole other world haha. x

  • Reply Amanda Williams September 10, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    I love this post. You are so right on many things here. It is hard work, very hard work. And after two and a bit years I still don’t know what I’m doing on some things, and things change so fast. I haven’t even had the energy to even look at INstagram Stories yet! But congratulations on your first year and building a great blog.

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 12, 2016 at 12:45 pm

      Thanks Amanda! It is such hard work but when you have those little wins it all seems worth it! the struggle for me is in putting out work I’m proud of, and not just scraping by. Sometimes it’s harder than others! I’ve decided to use Snapchat and Instagram stories when I can, but not put on the pressure to use them everyday. Especially since I’m an expat rather than constantly being on the road! My day to day can get boring haha. I love your blog too so best of luck!!! x

  • Reply Anisa September 10, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    I can’t believe you have only been doing this a year. You have accomplished so much! I always enjoy reading your posts.

    I also mostly use my iphone for pictures. I have asked for a new camera for Christmas. I hope I will really use it!

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 12, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks Anisa, it’s nice to hear people actually come back and read stuff, not just pop in from pinterest and disappear again! It’s so hard to tell when you’re putting it all out there :). I still really want a new camera, but I think actually looking up tips and truly learning how to use it will be key, otherwise I’ll never get better! Good luck! x

  • Reply Karin September 10, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Wow, I thought you´ve been blogging here a lot longer! You are doing a great job and congrats to the blogiversary!

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 12, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks Karin! It’s so nice to hear that because hopefully means I’m doing something ok! It’s so hard to know when you’re throwing things out there if they are actually working! x

  • Reply Flo September 10, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    What a fantastic recap of your journey! Like you I also suck at organizing my photos, and mainly use an iPhone for travel shots! Can’t wait to see what you do next 🙂

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 12, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks Flo! My hard drive arrived so now I have no excuses! Time to get organising haha. I just take much better photos with an iPhone, but maybe that’s just years of practice as opposed to having no clue with a real camera haha. I have lots of plans and ideas in the works, so hoping I can put a lot of them into place! Eek. x

  • Reply Cassandra Le September 10, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Yay!! I loved this entire post!! (: Congrats again, Sonia, on everything Migrating Miss has accomplished! I’m so excited to see where your blog will take off to next!

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 12, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      Thanks so much! I have so many different ideas on all sorts of levels and I need to have a strategy meeting with myself about it haha, but I’m excited to see what’s coming next too! Love your blog and keep it up too xx

  • Reply Ellis Veen September 10, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    I just started my travel blog and loved reading this article. Really useful advice

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 12, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      Thanks Ellis! Best of luck with your blog. It’s a lot of work but when something works, then it’s all worth it!

  • Reply Kiara Gallop September 11, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    This is such a good post and one that I can relate to in so many ways – except that my blog is nearly three years old and I’m nodding along to all your discoveries after your first…doh!!! Huge congrats on the anniversary by the way! Personally I think you’re doing a fantastic job 🙂

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 12, 2016 at 12:51 pm

      Thanks Kiara! That’s so lovely to hear :). I wouldn’t worry about the time frame, sometimes you know it you just haven’t realised it yet! It took me writing this to really see how far I’ve come as well :). Good luck with your blog! x

  • Reply Eva Casey September 11, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Loved this post, Sonja!! OMG so we called it something else in the states (Livejournal) but I totally had my own little “blog” back in the day, too! I got really into it. It was a musical theatre blog and I made a LOT of friends from it and actually learned some code like you said, too! Hahah..so funny to think back on. But is it weird that I kind of feel like it prepared me a little bit for real blogging? lol. Congrats on your one year anniversary! Here’s to many more!

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 12, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      I remember Livejournal!! I can’t remember which one came first or if they were the same thing or what, but I’m so happy someone else remembers and so I’m not crazy haha. When I started doing a coding course last year which led to me starting this blog it all started to come back, and I think it definitely prepared me in a way for blogging now. Thanks so much for your comment!! Hoping for many more years too 🙂 x

  • Reply Mara September 13, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Congratulations on your year anniversary! Love this post and how supportive and encouraging you are for people to follow their passion. I agree, trust in your intuition and follow your heart. Wishing success to you and fellow travel bloggers! And for aspiring ones to go for it!

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 14, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks Mara! I’m glad to hear that you liked it :). I really think you never know until you give something a try, and if you’re thinking about it just go for it!

  • Reply Ferna September 24, 2016 at 2:21 am

    Congrats Sonja you are amazing. I have been following since I don’t know but I didn’t know you’ve been in the industry for a year now. I love the truth and real words in this article it, as I can feel every word from you. I’m more than inspired to read like this. It’s what I honestly needed this time.

    Congratulations Sonja. So happy for you

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 26, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Thank you so much! What a lovely comment :D. I;m so glad you’re inspired and I’ll keep trying to write like this! x

  • Reply Liam September 26, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Congratulations on your first year of blogging! I had no idea that your website was so young…. You’ve done a fantastic job and you should be extremely proud 🙂

    I see you went to TBEX and I’m thinking of going to the inflow travel summit in Istanbul, but a little worried that it’s not going to be worth it. Or should i just do it? hahaha

    Thanks!

    Liam and Mariana

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 26, 2016 at 3:08 pm

      Aww thanks so much! It’s so nice to hear comments like that :).

      I really loved TBEX. I found most of the talks really helpful, and the contacts even more so. If you can go to something like that where you can make great contacts and get your blog out there, then I say go for it!

      Sonja x

  • Reply Chiera McLaughlin November 15, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Amazing! I absolutely love your blog! It’s so put together I just assumed you had been blogging for years! My blog is 6 months old and I still feel like I’m scrambling to get a hold of it! It’s quite difficult to run a travel blog when you only travel 6 weeks a year haa! Congrats 🙂

  • Reply Caroline November 20, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Great read, Sonja! Well, let’s be real, you have great reads all over this site. 😉 Congrats on the success so far, and may it only skyrocket. First reaction to this post: #inspiration — so, thanks.

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 21, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment it was really lovely to read! 😀

  • Reply Dana H May 19, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Congratulations! I’m about 8 months into blogging and it’s still an up and down thing for me. I’d like to dedicate more time to it but I still seem to go through phases. Totally agree on the photo front, btw! I’m constantly moving photos around from old devices and it is THE. WORST.
    Keep it up and best of luck with your second year!

    • Reply Migrating Miss May 20, 2018 at 5:48 pm

      Thanks!! I’m actually coming up 3 years of blogging in September this year and still going strong!! :D. I’ve invested in a real camera and LOVE it, but still hate myself for old photos hahaha.

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