Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hello, I am Firefly and I'm a travel blogger

Sunrise on the Wild Coast near the mouth of the Qolora River

Hello, I am Firefly and I'm a travel blogger.  It's been 6 years since my first blog post.
 
I have an absolute passion for travel and tourism and that is why I work in the tourism industry.  Not the other way around.  But being passionate about travel doesn't mean that I only work in the field, I also play in the field.  Having been a tourist guide and these days also an avid Geocacher, I like to be out and about and I try to take my family for holidays, weekends or just an afternoon out as much as I can.  Because I enjoy taking photos on these outings I decided to find a way to share the beautiful area I live in with the world by starting a blog.  The initial plan wasn't so much to make it a travel blog than to just share photos of things and places (hence the name of this blog), but it evolved towards it very quickly. 
 
Writing a travel blog fast became more than just something I did for fun.  It became a way of life and up to today, my 6th blogoversary, I have done 1405 posts on The Firefly Photo Files and 1939 posts on Port Elizabeth Daily Photo.  Jip I agree, for somebody who doesn't know me it may seem like I have some kind of problem and yes, over the years I have endured many dirty looks from the Damselfly while sitting in bed with the laptop and uploading / editing / writing / researching / or whatever else fits in after the last forward slash.  Right from the start I decided to keep my blogs as informal as possible as I have no journalism training and as an Afrikaans boytjie often get words and tenses wrong.  All my posts contains photos and I prefer to use my own as far as possible.  I mix up the posts between generic (general information and history) articles and experiences I've had either travelling on my own or with the family - the family being the Damselfly, Chaos Boy (12) and Drama Princess (9).  The other thing I decided on at some stage was to keep the posts fairly short.  I've seem to develop ADD here in my middle age and I just can't read long blog posts without loosing interest so I decided to accommodate others like me and not bore them to death (unlike today).  
 
Blogging continuously like this does have it ups and downs though.  Firstly time is always an issue when trying to fit blogging in between work, family time and some personal time.  Then there is the fact that one tends to run out of photos and material every now and then, specially if I've been very busy at work and unable to get out to get pics.  The third issue is followers and comments.  Posting to Facebook and Twitter means that the blog potentially reaches more people but often I get very despondent when I don't get comments on the posts.  Is it worth blogging when nobody comments?  But then I get an email from somebody I don't know thanking me for my posts, get a FB comment doing the same or a face to face one from people I know who I never realized followed the blog.  These lifts one's spirits immediately and shows that its worth all the effort.  Looking at my blog stats though I shouldn't worry about comments as there is a steady stream of traffic through both my blogs.
 
I have met some wonderful people in the travel blogging industry over the last year or two thee.  Some who I am proud to call my friends and who are great inspirations for my own blog and social media presence.  This also brings me to one of my biggest gripes.  Knowing all these travel bloggers and following them on Facebook and Twitter I'm also a lot more conscious about what goes on around the country as far as travel blogging goes.  I am the most prominent (I won't say top) travel blogger in the Eastern Cape (that's not counting travel journalists who also post online as they are journalists and not purely only bloggers) but the travel industry in the Eastern Cape doesn't quite seem to get bloggers.  Bloggers are widely recognized in Cape Town and Johannesburg and they get treated as such.  They get invited by tourism products to come and experience what is on offer and to write about it,  new restaurants, product launches, sporting events, cultural events, online campaigns and so much more.  Here in the Eastern Cape I can probably count on my one hand the invites I have had to go somewhere as a travel blogger (and not because I work in the tourism industry) and nationally its only been the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa who has hosted me on a travel blogging trip.  I get really down when I see how Cape Town and Jozi bloggers get treated and hosted while I (mostly) pay my own way to visit somewhere to be able to write about it.  Just a week or so ago a marketing organization in Port Elizabeth had a media lunch to thank local media (print and radio) for promoting the city and events taking place here on their various platforms.  The fact that I post something about Port Elizabeth and its surrounds every single day seems to have gone unnoticed by them.  But I'm not here to rant and moan.  I'm trying really hard educate the tourism industry in the Eastern Cape about the value of bloggers and social media and hopefully at some stage people will start to get it.  Maybe even SA Tourism will notice me at some stage and include me on some of their #MeetSouthAfrica or #ShotLeft trips.

For now, I'm proud to say that I have kept biting the bullet and kept going as a travel blogger for the last six years and plan to keep going for many more.  I hope there will be many new places to visit, things to see and experiences to, well, experience along with revisits to many of the places I've been to before.

I am Firefly and I'm a travel blogger         

2 comments:

  1. Keep doing what you doing! You might not know it, but you do inspire folk who see your blogs.

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  2. You're doing great. It's not about comments but how many people read and look for information here. I too have been travel blogging for 6 years and don't get invites. But like you, will keep on plugging along.

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