Sunday, November 11, 2018

Crown Princess Sea Day

Sea Day number I-can't-recall with another slew of busy activities, activities I am not partaking in. I find I’m spending more time nursing a cold and babysitting hubby. I wish I was able to spend more time getting caught up on writing (and blogging) than anything else. It’s kind of why I was looking forward to all these sea days. At home I spend so much time with my sewing and crafting tutorials (and fostering kittens – boy, I love those little babies) that I don’t get a lot of time to write. Plus, with hubby around all the time, needing help with this or that (or bringing me the mail when I’m in the middle of doing a video voiceover), I have lots of starts and stops with my work. But when I’m on a ship, being surrounded by water with nowhere to go, with my meals prepared and bed made, I can dedicate more time being immersed in writing. Except in these rough seas. Concentrating on the words on a screen makes me a bit queasy. So while I would like to say, even on smooth seas, blogging from a cruise ship is a glamorous life, it really isn’t.

What’s a day in the life of a blogger like when on a cruise? It’s work. Think about this – what if you had to write an essay every single day while you were on vacation? And you had to proofread the essay as well as make sure it met the needs of your audience? Some days your audience is fellow cruisers. Some days it is your neighbors who’ve never cruised before. Some days it’s your relatives who are ill and need something to take their mind off their health problems. Some days the audience is you; something may be happening in your life during your travels that you have to process through and you use your blog to do it. And somedays (most days, actually) your audience contains all of those people at the same time. It’s a big audience with a variety of needs.  And wait – you also need to take photos to accompany your essay. Don’t forget to edit the photos, too!

And you only have 20 allotted internet minutes a day to post the essay, upload the photos, pay your bills back home, transfer money, email family and friends, reply to emails from readers who are asking questions, make changes to your travel arrangements, and make necessary phones calls using the wifi network. (FYI – I’m basing the minutes on the free internet allotment for platinum and elite cruisers. None of us want to go over them because the cost of extra minutes is so darn expensive.) 20 minutes with high speed internet? Nope, more like medium speed.

And…you don’t get paid to do any of it. Not only do you not get paid to write that essay and take those photos and deliver worthwhile content to your audience, no one is paying for your vacation either. Sure, there are travel writers who get paid to review hotels and tours and cruise ships, but you’re not one of them. Every penny spent is coming out of your own pocket. You paid for your own hotel rooms and flights and rental cars. You paid for your cruise and your gratuities and drinks and tours. You may or may not have ads on your blog, but even with those you could bring in as little as just a few cents a day. Most days it won’t even cover the cost of dropping off one dollar in an encouraging word money pocket.

So why would someone do it? Why sacrifice time that could be spent with your traveling companions? Why, when all the other travelers are closing their eyes on the bus back from a long day of touring, do you stay awake and tap out words on your phone? Or participate in activities you might not be interested in just so that you can get information and pictures for your readers? Why spend all the time, energy, and effort to write an essay and take pictures for others for free?

Because you know you are in a unique position of being able to share a view of the world of travel that others can’t. You have the willingness to share information through your activities and experiences. Just like teachers who teach to make a difference in the life of a child, you write and blog and to make a difference in the life of a traveler.

Here is where I'd add a totally non-glamorous photo of a certain blogger working in the middle of the night in a closed-down buffet if the internet would have allowed it.

If you know a blogger who has added value to your travels, has made your traveling life easier or more enjoyable, please thank them. I know a couple I’ll be emailing today.