Search

Les Talk, More Travel

Category

Uncategorized

On Blogging: Don’t Change! Be Yourself!

20180108_174251

Last year, I paid a lot of money to change my blog membership to a ‘Business Plan’. I’d never earned a cent from writing, but for the first time ever, I’d been offered a paid opportunity to host an ad on my blog, for an organization that was incredibly aligned with everything I write about. The amount of money I would have made would have *just about* seen me break even for the upgrade, but I figured it was more than worth it, since I gave myself a crash course in creating a contract, a price list, changing my blog around so that I could include plug-ins and ads, and making it look nicer with an upgraded theme.

Then it fell apart. The company, and the person who contacted me, were legit and genuine, but the guy just ghosted me, right when he was supposed to sign a contract. I saw a travel blogger who I’ve followed for years do an ad for the company on Instagram, maybe a month later. He’d probably decided that ads on Instagram were better investments, and no doubt that this blogger in particular had a much larger audience, and I really didn’t have enough knowledge about any of this to write back and try to convince him to still work with me.

So… I had changed my entire blog layout, spent hours working through tweaks and getting caught up on everything I needed to learn, and spent a lot of money. It ended up being an expensive, intensive and unnecessary professional amateur development opportunity, I guess. I can’t afford to keep the business account, so I’ve downgraded, back to the much more affordable basic account. All the fancy stuff disappeared this week, but that’s ok. Because the experience taught me to ~~~*** be true to myself ***~~~. For real though, I’m not going to do that again. Here’s why:

1. It was stressful! Why did I spend so much time changing something I loved to cater to someone who hadn’t even paid me yet!? I should have been more honest and just confessed that I hadn’t hosted an ad before, and offered something that I could have provided. Maybe a sponsored post, or an Instagram post. He could have said no, and that would have been ok.

2. What was motivating me? I’ve decided that I don’t want to alter something I love in order to make money. (Okay… that’s a lie… I’d alter things A BIT to make MONEY to do what I LOVE!) This guy wasn’t asking me to change – in fact, he’d contacted me because a lot of what I write about is very much in line with the travel campaign he was advertising, but it got me thinking about this. I like autonomy, and I like to be wacky with my writing. I do like to grow and evolve, but sometimes IDGAF how something should sound; I’m going to write it the way I want to! For example I consciously choose to use the word ‘like’ a lot. Like (case in point) I wouldn’t mind someone telling me what to do, just not how to do it. You know? You don’t know? You don’t follow my crazy brain? TL;DR: don’t change! Be yourself! You do you! Ba dap ba dap bah I’m lovin it!

3. It was a pretty dope year, blog-wise, sans advertising, which was empowering. Late in 2017, a talented, lesbian blogger couple (Mei and Kerstin) asked me to write a guest post for their blog. I worked on it for a long time, and what came out was a vulnerable, long piece about how my coming out was related to travel. This post was the first one in a while that I really put myself into, which was rewarding in itself. It also generated a lot of positive reactions, and – I believe – directly led to my blog/Instagram being featured on an AUTOSTRADDLE LIST (basically the Buzzfeed of lesbians, but imagine if everyone who read Buzzfeed was your target audience). My blog was on a couple of other cool lists (Only Once Today, The Rainbow Route), I won a bit of money in a contest, and I got to work with ANOTHER talented and hilarious writer (Jenna Wimshurst). We wrote guest posts for each other’s blog, which for me meant collaborating with Kyla on a piece for the first time! The fall was a little quieter in terms of collaborations and features, but you know what? My readership has increased in a way that I’m really proud of. The number of visitors and views on my blog have more than doubled compared to last year. Let me stress that I still have a very small number of visitors compared to bigger blogs (come at me, potential advertisers, lolz!), but it’s been cool to see the growth on my blog.

4. I want to make more specific goals for growth (and potentially $$) for Les Talk, More Travel in the future, where take initiative and remain in control. I have a few ideas for potential collaborations, along with posts I’ve wanted to write for a long time, and at the very least I will continue “creating content” (i.e. exposing you to my crazy brain) at least once a month. I’ll be back with more travel posts soon!

I love this blog, and it might look uglier from now on, at least during the transition from $$$ to $, but writing makes me happy, and I want to keep feeling that way! Thank you SO much for reading! (Seriously who doesn’t have a blog these days; there’s definitely a disproportionate amount of writers to readers, so really THANK YOU if you made it to this line!)

IMG-20180818-WA0264

Trinidad, Cuba: 5 Things to Do Around Town

Going to Cuba? Learn more about hanging out in Vinales and ideas for days in Havana.

20180106_175221 - Copy

There’s lots to see and do just outside of Trinidad, a colourful, cobblestoned, colonial, UNESCO World Heritage town in Cuba’s Santi Spíritus Province. El Nicho and Caburní waterfalls are close by in Parque Natural Topes de Collantes; you can take a slow, steam train ride into the Valle de los Ingenios and look out over the former sugar production centre from Iznaga Tower; you can even visit an island full of iguanas for the day! All of those things were on our radar for our visit to Trinidad (ok, only *I* was into having iguanas swarm me), but we didn’t do any of them! Instead, we opted to spend our time wandering around town and visiting a nearby beach.

If you’re looking for a relaxing few days in a beautiful town, here are a few ideas! (Sidebar, I’ve noticed a theme in a lot of my posts: “this is how to relax in ___”. I really like downtime!)

 

Continue reading “Trinidad, Cuba: 5 Things to Do Around Town”

4 Reasons Why Japan is an Introverted Traveller’s Paradise

This one’s an oldie – it’s one of the first posts I published on this blog. I’m currently in the home stretch of my master’s degree, so it’s rerun time for blog posts!

dd

Mt. Misen, Miyajima

I’m a major introvert. I like meeting new people and hanging out with friends, I but need a good dose of alone time afterwards to curl up in the fetal position re-energize. When travelling solo, I will almost always choose to spend time touring around on my own, rather than with a “new friend” (i.e. person I just met who I have to make small talk with).

When I visited Japan, I was feeling particularly introverted. I hadn’t travelled across the Pacific to get there; I’d come over on an hour-long flight from Seoul, where I was living at the time. I really just wanted to see all the cool things (and eat all the food) during the day, and retreat to my hostel to read and hang out in the evenings. I was a little worried about whether I would be missing out, but it turns out Japan is a great destination for solo-travelling introverts!

Here are 4 reasons why Japan might appeal to other solitary souls:
Continue reading “4 Reasons Why Japan is an Introverted Traveller’s Paradise”

Happy New Year!

20161231_210545

Happy 2017! I have a couple of posts in the works at the moment, which I’m excited to share on here soon! In the meantime, I wanted to look back on three favourites from last year:

  • Ways that Coming Out Surprised Me: In 2016, I reflected and wrote a lot about coming out; it was my 5 year coming-out-iversary last February! Yes, I keep track of it! It changed the way I communicate and how confident I feel, among other things.
  • Faking Extroversion: Making Connections in New Cities: Some strategies I picked up after lots of moves overseas and back, and across the country. Adventure and change are invigorating but the social aspect can be overwhelming for the introverted-soul! A year and a bit after moving to Victoria, I’m continuing to expand my social circle, and I still use these tools.
  • Wanting the World: This one’s a little cringe-worthy; a letter I wrote to my “future self” 6 years earlier about the importance of travel. So yeah, it’s from my baby brain, but it reminds me that’s it’s okay to prioritize travel, and that being passionate about it (a little obsessed with it?) is part of who I am.

Last year, I was lucky enough to travel to Portland and Seattle, and to do some camping on Vancouver Island. I relaxed in Mexico with friends, and remembered not being able to relax on Boracay. I got to celebrate Pride in Victoria and Vancouver, and I turned thirty! I’m pretty excited about new adventures in 2017. Cheers to a New Year!

Must Eats: South Korean Foods to Accompany a Hot Summer

The weather’s nice and warm in Victoria, and I’ve been having mad cravings for some Korean summer foods. Here are a few super refreshing options!

Patbingsoo (팥빙수):

20130414_172430

A mountain of shaved ice, topped with sweet red beans. It usually comes covered in sweetened condensed milk and topped with gooey rice cakes, and you can often order it with ice cream, fruit, cereal flakes, jelly, and in different flavours. Continue reading “Must Eats: South Korean Foods to Accompany a Hot Summer”

Faking Extroversion: Making Connections in New Cities

 

20151004_133319

Moving to a new city is hard. It’s easy to pretend you’re brave and adventurous, but while you’re telling people how excited you are, it’s likely that your actual thoughts about the whole ordeal are an anxious mess. Leaving your life behind, the move itself, and the settling in period are stressful and emotionally draining. For many introverts, there’s an additional worry: how am I going to make good friends?

This problem isn’t exclusive to introverts. But in order to make meaningful friendships, you usually have to give yourself lots of opportunities to interact with people. Extroverts are generally able to create more of these opportunities.

The options for settling into a new city may seem pretty grim for an introvert: either give up your downtime to small talk with strangers, or be a happy recluse. Honestly, the second option is always the most tempting, but it turns out that having friends is awesome. So how do you get from Point A (reluctant acceptance that hermitdom is not the answer) to Point B (having consistent and meaningful social connections)? My suggestion is to fake extroversion. Just for a little while, I promise. Here are some tips for becoming a short-term, extroverted introvert:

Continue reading “Faking Extroversion: Making Connections in New Cities”

Wanting the World

i

It’s a new year: a time for new beginnings, and new seasons of my favourite TV shows! I have some life goals in progress right now, so rather than set resolutions for the future, I thought I’d look to the past for inspiration.

Six years ago, I’d recently come home from my first long trip. I had spent 13 months working and travelling in Australia and then visiting Southeast Asia. I was having trouble adjusting to being home, and I desperately wanted to write about travel so that I could continue to feel immersed in it. The letter that I came up with is the closest I’ve ever come to time travel; I ended up writing a letter to myself in the future! Some of it makes me cringe, but I’m going to include it anyway, in the interest of vulnerability (with minor edits for comprehension):

Continue reading “Wanting the World”

A Visit From St. NichoLeslie*

‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through Korea
People were freezing, due to winds from Siberia; 
The passports were placed by the front door with care, 
In hopes that Leslie Teacher soon would not be there; 

The children were sniffling and picking their noses, 
I even had one kid throw up on his clothe-es! 
And me in my jacket, scarf, boots, mitts and cap, 
Thought: “It’s definitely colder than home now, what crap!” 

But decorations are up, I have holiday cheer! 
(And I wouldn’t turn down a good holiday beer.) 
I have a small tree, and some half-working lights, 
And a plan for avoiding a cold Christmas night; 

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, 
Like Dasher and Dancer, I’ll mount to the sky! 
I will sure miss seeing you all, that is true, 
But I will be travelling (’cause that’s what I do!) 

That’s right, while you’re trudging through snow that’s knee deep, 
I’ll be indulging in a massage in Siem Reap! (Sorry!) 
Now I may not be getting a new Christmas toy, 
But I’ll be saying “Happy New Year” from Hanoi! 

The whole time I’ll be thinking of family (and food), 
Of gingerbread, injera, the holiday mood; 
Guitar songs, board games, Secret Santa, and more, 
That special warmth you can’t get from a store. (Thanks, Grinch.)

Now perhaps I will see all of you soon on Skype, 
But in case there are technical difficulties, I’ll type: 
Though I’m not there person (which just isn’t right!), 
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night! 

20141213_182706

*Last year was the third time I was away from home at Christmas. (I spent it in Siem Reap… I know, I know. Life is rough.) I was feeling inspired on a lunch break, and sent this out to my relatives.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑