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8 years of travel blogging (sort of)

A woman in a yellow rain jacket stands in front of big rocks at Wilson Promontory National Park in Victoria.

Hello, to anyone who may be reading this!

I have not done a travel blogging update in four years. Can you believe it? So I am very excited to be sitting at my computer and penning a personal blog post. Is anyone still reading? Hi!

Birdgehls is eight. Holy moly.

It (she?) was birthed into existed in late 2014, which to be honest, now feels like it was about three decades ago, rather than being closer to one.

I started this blog when I was 25. Now I am basically middle-aged.

Things have changed in the last eight years. Blogging has changed. The internet has changed. The world has changed.

Let’s explore this in this post!

A woman in an orange dress wearing a black backpack walks through rows of lavender.
A woman walking through lavender fields on a travel blog – evidence some things never change.

Travel blogging has changed

As much as I wish I’d started blogging earlier at the time, I’m glad I got in during what I like to think of as travel blogging’s ‘glory days’.

Back when blogs were personality centred, rather than SEO or even at the time, social media driven. Just.

Sure, there were those getting on that road train early. But still, a lot of people were blogging for the sake of creating and people were into it. It was really nice.

Likewise, you know what I miss? The days when you could stumble upon a random blog written by someone riding their bike across the USA, or going on a prolonged hike in Europe, Asia, wherever. Then, blogging about it every day. And the community that would spring up around that.

I got to experience a bit of that. But, a lot of my friends and fellow bloggers have moved on. I miss them. It’s a bit empty and sad here without them.

In general, people don’t seem to comment on blogs nearly as much as they used to. Whenever anyone does, I get very excited. Then, slightly devastated if it turns out to just be spam.

Plus, the internet is drowning in content now (so happy to be contributing to this!). And grudgingly, I have to finally admit – you have to play the keyword game now if you want to gain traction.

A snow person at Mt Buller.
Snowman (person? Do we say person now?) in Victoria’s Alpine region.

The world has changed

Well, duh. I don’t really need to point this out. I’m sure anyone reading this will have noticed that COVID-19 was a thing that happened. Or, is kinda still happening, despite the push from government and industry to just go back to ‘normal’ now, okay folks? Everything’s fine! The world’s not burning.

Keeping up with its longstanding moniker of being the ‘lucky’ country, Australia was indeed, a lucky place to be during this period of time. Our death rate was low, our vaccination rate high and in some places, the impact of COVID was barely felt (I’m looking at you, Perth).

However if you were living in Melbourne during this time – well, sucks to be you! Or us, I should say. I was there too. Experiencing what ended up being a whole year spent in lockdown.

It was horrible. We got through it, but the psychological effects still linger.

You’d think having all your social obligations come to a grounding halt would give you time to create, to do things for yourself. It certainly seemed to work for some people, who were able to write books, learn how to draw, paint, play a musical instrument and take on other new hobbies.

How they did it, I don’t know. My brain basically shut down during the lockdowns. No access to nature, imprisoned within a 5 kilometre pocket did nothing for my own creative juices. They ran dry.

It was impossible to blog, or even write during this period of time. Instead, I read my way through a small library, cooked through several cookbooks, gained about 15 kilograms and racked up 140 hours living vicariously through my Sims.

Until I got a dog. Life become exponentially better, all due to having another creature in the house. On the blog, he’s known as the Boy. Because, he is a boy. A fluffy cutie boy.

Also, I would like to go back to this post from four years ago and revise slightly. Perhaps the answer is yes, but it ain’t going to be easy.

A hand holding a brightly coloured cocktail with a  German Shepherd dog in the background.
Dogs make everything better.

What’s in the future for Birdgehls?

There were many times in the last couple of years, where I didn’t know if I’d ever come back to this blog. But something did call me back in the end, and once I started, as usual, I just couldn’t stop writing.

However, it has been interesting, returning to travel blogging post-COVID (again, post-ish).

I still haven’t been doing much travel at all – I haven’t left Australia in four years (those feet are starting to itch a fair bit now).

While this blog hasn’t been perhaps commercially successful (whatever that means), I’m always glad I started it.

Blogging is a hard undertaking, but you learn a lot. You meet like-minded people. Sometimes, you get handed some really fantastic opportunities.

If anything, it’s handy having eight years worth of content sitting on the web, to show prospective employers. This blog enabled me to pivot out of a career I didn’t much enjoy, to one that I like well enough, which is a vast improvement on life in general.

This is something I could not have predicted when I started blogging – that I was handing myself a shovel I could use, to dig out of a hole I’d found myself in after my first ten years of professional work.

A takeaway from this – if there’s a big project you’ve been thinking of starting, or change you want to make – whether it be a blog, a newsletter, more study, whatever. Just start. You never know where that first step will ultimately take you.

I still really enjoy working on this blog. I love putting together content strategies and solving technical blips. Taking photos is still one of my favourite pastimes, even if my camera did sit on a shelf, collecting dust for two years. It’s quite fun to take what I learn in my day job and experiment with this blog.

And I like optimising old articles. Which is good, as there’s over 300 posts on Birdgehls, all of which were woefully out of date at the start of 2022.

Most of all, I like talking about travel with people and telling stories about cool things (what a wordsmith!). It remains a passion, even if we haven’t been able to do all that much of it in recent times.

A woman in a ski jacket and beanie looks out at limestone rocks along the Great Ocean Road of Victoria.
Moody moments on the Great Ocean Road.

Favourite posts of the year

I’ve published 16 posts so far this year (and rewritten/edited tons more). My three favourites are:

I’m also rebooting my newsletter, so it’s an actual thing that happens monthly. If you’d like to be kept in the loop, please sign up via the box in the sidebar. I feel like I’m always making promises in these posts that I never keep, but I really enjoy creating EDMs, so at least this is a fun pledge, not an icky one.

Lastly, whether you’re a longtime reader or have just mistakenly stumbled upon this post and are left wondering what the hell you’re doing here – thank you for reading.

Here’s to the next year of blogging and hopefully no more major world disasters (just the normal cycle of fires/floods/plague we are continually experiencing in Australia).

If you’re interested, here’s the posts from previous bloggaversaries:

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