Last month, I went on a two week trip to Madison and Chicago. I’d been to Madison before, but it was my first time to Chicago. I found it to be a vast yet charming city with a darn good public transportation system. I took over 900 photos. Suffice to say, photography is forthcoming.
During my adventure to Chicago, I began consider this question:
If you’re a traveller, should you blog your adventure as the adventure is happening or should you wait and write about your adventure when things settle down or you return home?
If you decide not to blog and wait until you return home, will this allow you to become more immersed and engaged in the midst of your adventure? Or is it better to take extra time during an adventure to try and blog about your experiences as the adventure is in full swing, perhaps a couple times a week? Does having to write about your adventure, as it occurs, take you out of the element?
Option 1: Wait to Gain Perspective
Each approach has its own advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, I chose to wait last month and probably have enough material to last me until the end of this year. Currently, I find it beneficial to wait until after an adventure to write about it. Giving my unconscious mind time to process the adventure and allowing some time to rest helps me get a better perspective on the journey as a whole. However, this clarity does come at a price: no one gets to experience the trip with me as it’s happening.
Option 2: Blog from the Road
The alternative is to take some time every day, or every few days, to reflect on the journey so far. However, creating the typical travel blog entry takes more time and more steps than you may realize. Blog entries need to be roughed out, written, refined, and corrected; and photography needs to be imported, post-processed, and uploaded. All of this takes time, and time is a funny thing. Whenever someone says “Yes” to something they must say “No” to hundreds of other alternatives.
The advantage of this method would be a higher degree of freshness to this blog. In order to pull this off, I would need to be especially careful to remain balanced. Perhaps setting aside one day a week is a good balance. During my next trip, I plan on experimenting to see what travel blogging rhythm works best for me.
Option 3: Balance Blogging and Travelling
Of course, there is always the third option, and this third option is used by many longterm travellers who blog: Do Both!
Releasing multiple updates a week, perhaps just photos, maintains interest for the reader and keeps them coming back for more. These “updates” wouldn’t be full entries, just something to keep the interest alive. Then, perhaps weekly, a travelling blogger can write a spotlight entry on a certain location they’ve been to that week, complete with pictures or a video, the whole shebang.
And there are other ways to provide fresh content, as well. By implementing Twitter into the conversation, a traveller can provide up-to-the-minute news about how their adventure is going and even teasers about what will be coming out next. I plan on using the @hellocrusoe twitter account in this way next time I travel, and I anticipate this little life experiment will be easy to implement since twittering from my iPod Touch is pretty effortless.
By using both techniques, the traveller can provide both refined content and more spontaneous content, therefore keeping the site fresh, but not allowing it to digress into a blog without compelling, well thought out content.
Up to You to decide
What about you? Would you wait until after a trip to write about it, try to make time while on a trip, or try to balance spontaneous with refined content?