The Orthopedist tells me she doesn't know why my bones are healing very slow. She says this happens in about 5 percent of cases. It would be nice to follow the crowd this time, except for the fact that I'm kind of falling in love with time and using it to create in the ways that I want.Read More
I haven't written here in so long. It's about time to say something— anything. I don't really think that I have much of a positive anything to say. Two nights ago, I cried myself to sleep, pleading with the darkness that, "I'm not strong enough for this." I watch the trees sway in the wind, as my broken ankle throbs with the pain of healing. Why is healing painful?
I hurt inside and outside I tell my Mom. I had too many expectations of what would happen between us. I was too sure that my corporate flight attendant career was, quite literally, taking off. I was going to do this, that, and the other, and that one thing, too. In a moment, that changed, and now, I face a blank slate of possibilities and the broken pieces of all of my expectation.
Expectation is the murderer of happiness.
Although you see the joy and entertainment that I somehow muster in brokenness, this leg thing, subsequent job delay, and temporarily life altering scenario is not easy, simple, or fun. But, I still have my hands. I still have my mind. I still have my family. I still have my friends. I have a lot. There are worse things than feeling broken inside and out.
Someone told me today that, "Starting over is a blessing." Ok. Let's find that blessing, because this feels like blank slates and new beginnings.
Some want to be writers, but they don’t sit down and write. That has never been my problem. Taking a minute to indulge in words and an expensive coffee at cafes around the world is my respite and relief. I love mornings when the coffee is smooth and the words flow freely. When I am the only one up way too early on a Saturday; munching through my almond croissant— which is neither Vegan or Skinny-Girl LA food— way too quickly. It’s that good, though. It’s just, that good.
There is a place with my words and thoughts that I sometimes face. It’s a feeling hiding deep that there is so much I want to type about something else— something un-personal, something business relatable, something flight attendant-esque — but instead of bubbling with creativity, I am blocked by the stories which stand in my way; those tales I would rather not tell. These are the stories that I may have been living over the past few weeks, moments I hoped to forget from far away days, or confusions that continue to ruminate. Frustratingly, I sit in that corner seat at the cafe knowing that to get to another story, I must first face the one in front of me. To get to the other side of things, I must acknowledge that something else will need to wait till tomorrow— for today what hurts is more important.
It’s shattering to hear someone tell you point blank, “No, I don’t love you, and I’m not in love with you.” You pick up your head, kiss them and every dream you dreamed of 'two together' goodbye; step back on an aircraft and smile like you are strong and ok and understand that there are better things on the other side of these things and these rejecting words. Because there are, and you believe there are. But, whether you believe or not, the disappointment displays itself by that lone tear that slips down your soft skin. He doesn’t deserve my tears, I think, as a few more disobedient drops slide past my chin.
I keep hoping someone else will magically waltz into my world to give me the answer to, “There was something worth waiting for” and tell him, “I have someone now,” but I don’t know many men (in twenty-seventeen) who waltz. I would have more luck discovering a salsa or bachata extraordinaire than a waltzing fiend, but really, I’m in the wrong country for the odds to be in my favor.
It does feel like I’m in the wrong country, but equally clear that I am in the right place. Prime-time TV interview opportunities, lucrative sponsored blog posts, and connections made that will prove to be valuable for my future. The momentum is its own sort of magic. I know I wasn’t supposed to move to Spain to kite and write this year. I have a purpose in this place, as uncomfortable as that is in the present. Purpose, like clarity, is a beautiful gift. It makes the sting of, “I don’t love you,” less cutting. It makes the state of “between things” manageable. On the other side of all of this, I’ll create ‘the something else story’ my heart is dying to live and to tell. I'm creating that right now.
'How Blogging Works:' How-To Get 'Free' Trips Around The World And Why You Don't Want To (The Press Trip)
I think there are two main categories of responses that I get when people find out that blogging is the side-dish, or dessert, to my main course career as a flight attendant. It's colorful, can be delicious, and just like the after dinner sweet, something I look forward to doing. Even more than writing, I like to blog. I didn't know that I would enjoy writing when I started my website— TheFlightAttendantLife.com. I didn't even know that I would like blogging. Starting a blog just seemed like a good idea at the time, and it has been a good idea (most of the time). (please refer to the previous posts about 'How Blogging Works').
Blogging has opened up many opportunities and allowed me to travel even more than I already do. One of the perks (if you really want to call it that) of travel blogging is that the blogger— i.e. myself— gets invited on Press Trips.
'The Press Trip' is a way that companies, tourism boards, and businesses can market to a specific audience— an audience that trusts a publication or blogger— by offering an experiential media experience of a destination or place. The Press Trip's goal is to gain publicity for the company, and bloggers are a necessity in crowded digital media and advertising space to reach consumers.
The statistics show that something like 80 percent of people will buy, purchase, try, trust, love what they read on a blog. Opposed to a billboard or magazine insert, blogs are a treasure trove of accessibility and influence for companies and public relations agencies.
To get a press trip, you need to have numbers; in the form of a large social media following and unique visitors to your websites. Companies will sometimes request a Media Kit or the last three months of your Google Analytics data. What I believe to be more important than numbers though is your voice; your authenticity, niche, and honesty. Companies are beginning to pay more attention to the "real bloggers" as opposed to just influencers with large numbers.
The thing about press trips is that if you are just wanting free trips so you can travel, it's not worth it. Often, the trips are unpaid and you still might have to cover your flight expenses. And, to give you an idea of how much work goes into blogging: If I had the time to do everything I wanted for my blog, youtube channel, and monetization, it would be between 30hrs-40hrs per week! PER WEEK! And on a good month, I'll bring in an income through blogging and writing of only about $500-$800 USD. That is no a livable income and WAY below minimum wage in the Western World. Can you understand now why I still want to be a flight attendant?!?
Granted, many of these bloggers do make money and live only off the income generated from their blog, but they are working SO hard. It's not easy being a blogger and that is why only the best are surviving. What I'm saying essentially is that if you want to start a blog, and the sole reason is so that you can travel for free, forget it! You will end up hating blogging and hating travel. It took me 4 years before I even started getting noticed by larger companies, but it did happen. I've been lucky enough to work with brands like Hotels.com, WeTransfer, and Red Bull Media House.
The reason I like press trips is because it allows for a different access that regular travelers do not have when they travel. I also like that I have a commonality with people and a reason for the trip. It's great when all expenses are covered, too.
What I don't like is that press trips take away all the fun of travel, the freedom to be creative, and the enjoyment of being somewhere. There isn't time. Someone else is pushing you to do activities you might not care for, and you are working. Press trips make blogging feel like work to me and I always said that when I begin to hate blogging— that will be the day that I stop.
If you want to get a press trip, start pitching companies, tourism boards, and places you would like to visit. Tell them how you will help them and what you have to offer. DO YOUR RESEARCH. BE SELECTIVE. MAKE IT PERSONAL.
And because I really need to get on my way to work now, that's all I have time for right now. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email through the contact form on this site:)
Hey Guys! I'm back with my 'How Blogging Works'— my mini-series to explain the insides of travel blogging. If you are seeing this for the first time, make sure you check out the first post I wrote addressing the life and business of blogging. You can also check out the corresponding video, here.
I decided to blog about "blog life" because I was getting so many questions, or people had misconceived notions. about what being a travel blogger is like. In this series, I'll share info about Press Trips, Content Creation, SEO, and more— all from the perspective of a travel blogger.
Part 2 is all about monetizing a blog.
Granted, this won't be all inclusive, but simply a quick overview of what I know about monetizing a blog. There are a lot of bloggers who are much better at monetization than I am. Do a google search if you would like more information, but I hope you enjoy my two cents about the ways to bring in revenue as a blogger.
(watch the video embedded in this post or find it on YouTube for supplemental information).
You won't get rich off of blogging— just blogging. The most successful bloggers and influencers have multiple streams of income and leverage their platform into books, sponsorship deals, brand ambassador programs, tv shows, and more!
There are three main ways (or what I believe to be the main ways) that bloggers usually make money blogging, and they include:
- Ad revenue/Adsense/Selling Ad space
- Affiliate marketing
- Sponsored posts/Brand Ambassador Deals
For my blog, The Flight Attendant Life, Adsense revenue accounts for a very small percentage of my overall blog revenue, but it does add up. Mostly thanks to YouTube, as that platform is still pretty generous to content creators in comparison to other places to make pennies on views. I also have an agency that manages me; which means it sometimes sends me brand deals that I then right about. This is considered revenue coming in from "sponsored posts," and generally accounts for more free stuff than actual dollars. Although, if you are a blogger, YOU SHOULD NEVER WORK FOR FREE! You are a professional, and professionals are paid for what they do.
H0w I make the most money blogging isn't actually through my blog, but by freelancing as a writer and social media manager. I mainly work through Upwork— a platform that makes it easy for companies and individuals to work together remotely. I am a top rated freelancer on the site, which allows me to see some of the best jobs and lets me set my hourly rate pretty high. I have had problems with the site and payment, and difficulty with clients and employers who are actually scammers, but overall, it's been a super simple way for me to make some money on the side while I'm still flying. I don't have to deal with invoicing or marketing. I don't have the time to pursue work. Upwork is great, because clients pretty much just come to me. I've worked with interior designers, real estate investors, travel companies, and even a math tutor! You can check out my Upwork profile, here.
Whatever actual career you have, I suggest you find something that can build your resume and income stream on the side. Job security isn't really a thing now. Everyone needs to be their own brand. Find ways to better your financial state. Work hard and you'll go far. If you want to make money as a blogger, remember to have a BIG longterm vision— books, tv series, online store. Sell stuff. Collaborate. Do more than just blog and you will make money.
How Blogging Works (The Life Of A Travel Blogger) Part 1— The Inside Scoop On Making Money Blogging, Leveraging A Digital Brand, & Building A Successful Platform
I get asked quite often how to start a travel blog, how to monetize a blog, or how travel junkies (like myself) can get tax write offs. There are a variety of reasons why people start blogs. The reasons vary from person to person, but the reasons why some achieve relative success in blogging and others don't, hinges on a few key points.
I am not the expert in blogging, but I have learned a few things about it over the past five years. Why I wanted to create this 'how-to series' is because most people don't really get it. "You get free trips?" "Do you make a lot of money?" "What's SEO?" "You have an agency that manages you?" "How can I start a blog?" All of these questions have multi-layered and multi-faceted answers, and I hope that I can take a stab at your confusion and bring a little understanding to my blogging world.
Namely, I categorize myself as a 'Travel Blogger,' but really, I'm just a girl who found a way to tell a story that people (thankfully) cared to hear. I didn't exactly plan to become popular, and I don't even know if it's that, but it's bigger than I thought it would be. Saying, "It just happened," would be a lie. Getting google page ranked, landing free trips, shoes, or an audience did not come without A LOT of work. This work though— for me— was and is always worth it.
Five years into my side-gig as a flight attendant travel blogger, I've had the privilegee of working with Hotels.com, WeTransfer, The Independente Luxury Hostel & Boutique Hotel, Abraham Tours, Abraham Hostels, Airlineshoes.com, and more. Tomorrow, I leave on a trip to Israel thanks to a company invite. How cool is that?!? There are tons of perks to being a blogger, but if you want to blog, you'll have to find more motivation than just the random free trips.
The market is so saturated with travel blogs that— to be successful— you will have to make sure you do the following:
- Niche your blog— Don't try to compete with the bazillion straight up good and popular travel blogs out there. You'll never win. Find an unmet audience who wants to hear what you have to say. Give them great content in a specific field.
- Follow a theme— If you find a theme, it will be so much easier for you to create amazing content and so much easier to capture readership. People will know how to follow what you are saying. Luckily, I landed on a perfect themed site with The Flight Attendant Life. Pretty self-explanatory, and even though it surrounds the story and lifestyle of being cabin crew, I can deviate slightly because people begin to know me. Deviation from a theme is fine, but coming across as inauthentic is NOT. (which leads me to...)
- Authenticity— STAY HONEST, AUTHENTIC, & REAL. This is SO important. Don't dish all of your secrets, mistakes, and escapades, but be the truest version of yourself that you can find while still keeping a bit of mystery. Your audience will love you, respect you, and admire you for it.
- Consistency— If you want to be a high ranked blogger, vlogger, or content creator, I cannot stress this enough— YOU MUST BE CONSISTENT. You must be constantly creating new and fresh content on a timely basis. If you can't be consistent, your audience will never grow.
- FUN— Most importantly— as a blogger— if you are not having fun and enjoying the experience of blogging, just stop. You'll never get far. I have worked so incredibly hard for so long, and although there have been rewards, it wouldn't be worth it if I didn't love blogging. Blogging is my favorite creative endeavor which is perfect. I wish I could do it more, but am often pulled away by freelance writing clients and flying.
Generally, you aren't going to get rich from blogging. Blogging is a tool and creative adventure that will lead to amazing opportunities. You'll connect with individuals you never thought you would have the chance to meet. Go to places as "Press." Be given free stuff, be invited to TV show castings, and have someone (companies) give you trips to incredible destinations. There are so many bloggers who are much more popular and have more followers than I, but the advice I just listed above is true across the board. Stay true to you and find something you love.
I'll have part 2 of this 'How Blogging Works' series up as soon as I can. Until then, make sure you follow my next blogging trip from November 11-21 to Israel, with a few days spent in Paris. It's bound to be exciting!
Here's how to keep up:
Facebook: The Flight Attendant Life
YouTube Channel: TheFALife
"How did they get so many followers so quickly? Why is it taking so long to grow my audience? If I can just hit the 10k mark..."
As a blogger, brand, or social media influencer, numbers matter. How many people like you and follow you is ingrained in our culture, creates jobs that once never existed, and has allowed individuals to live as "gypsy entrepreneurs,"— aka 'Digital Nomads.'
Social platforms and internet technology has allowed me to develop a freelance writing career and leverage a travel blog into dollars, free trips, and a platform to share my values, beliefs, and passions. I'm lucky and thankful for how technology has given me the opportunity to blend my interests of travel, flying, writing, and creativity so seamlessly.
But, the audience can always be bigger. For a blogger, the bigger the audience means the better brand deals, cooler trips, and more dollars in the bank. Google analytics, social media engagement, and Facebook shares are a currency that once never existed. It's about the likes and the followers. Many brands and individuals are tempted to go the route of buying online love. I cannot even tell you how many times I have been tempted to automate or speed up the following through buying the likes .
If only my reach was wider, I would get noticed by that big company. If I just had a few more followers. It would be so much faster and better if I just automated this social stuff.
But would it?
Up to this point, I have refused— or neglected— to use Instagram automation, and most other social media automation tools. Using automation tools allows individuals to let bots do the liking, commenting, and interacting for them. It allows for a surge in followers and jump in numbers. As an influencer, you can simply reach more people through automation, but there are drawbacks to automating. For one, you can have your account closed (which is awful for someone who has spent years cultivating a community of likeminded individuals).
I have almost used automation tools for my Instagram account many times, but something always stops me. I just really like the platform of Instagram. I like using it and being part of it. I like it's creativity and the talent there. I like when it's real. I've had an account since the year Instagram began. I feel like my visitors to theflightattendantlife.com have taken their time to read through my stories, and the least I can do is to be a real person when I can. For me, that means being real on Instagram.
I just wonder why, in current culture, it is so hard to really connect with a human. We automate EVERYTHING! You call a number, and it takes about 20 mins to actually find someone who isn't a computer or touch-tone keypad.
And we automate entities like Instagram...
Because we just need more likes to show companies we are worth paying attention to?!?! I'm not sure I like this. I (personally) don't want to talk to brands if I know it's just a bot interacting with the hashtags I posted. This irritates me. I want to talk to real people!
I guess the reason I refuse to automate my Instagram growth is because I want to be real and authentic in a not so real and authentic world.
To me, that means being behind the comments and interactions. And if that means slow growth, so be it. What good is it going to do when when I have 45k followers, but none of them really care about my book, my content, videos, or whatever I create? There's a book that talks about 1000 true fans. It's much better to have people who actually listen and care, than a lot that aren't actually interested. Don't get me wrong, I see the value in automation. I just can't do it for myself and to my audience with a clear conscious. I wish it was different for me, but it's not.
If you want to be inspired to travel, pick up a new sport, or be transported to another world, Chapter One— the first full-length feature film about the sport of kiteboarding— is your ticket. And, for one day only, this ticket will be free. Yes. FREE.
Thanks to one of the partners for the film, Red Bull Media House, you will be able to enjoy 90 minutes of epic cinematography and awe inducing footage on RedBullTV.com. On October 10th, for 24hrs, join twenty-one professional kiteboarders; individuals who have molded, created, and drive the adventure sport forward, to nine locations around the world. These destinations are not always close to the international airport, remise of the regular tourist; maintaining a sort of purity in their natural state.
The film beautifully depicts a thread of connection between creativity, travel, sport, and people. It's about kiteboarding, and then again, it's not about kiteboarding. I think it simply shares how passion, purpose, and people can change your life.
Check out the trailer below:
Watch it on October 10th, here.
I expected to like Chapter One— the first full-length feature film about kiteboarding— but what I did not anticipate is the utter display of talent, beauty, inspiration, and passion that is so eloquently portrayed throughout the entire film.
Produced by Eyeforce—in partnership with WeTransfer and Red Bull Media House—I ultimately experienced the film as less about kiteboarding and more as an overall depiction of inspiring individuals living to their full potential; regardless of setbacks (cancer), fears (jumping from the top of Richard Branson's island...for the record, I didn't ask if he was actually scared), or storms (when the winds are just too powerful).
Watching this film is like buying a VIP ticket to a series of remote destinations, that most of us have no reason to go to, or would get bored visiting if we did not kite. This movie is not just for kiteboarders, surfers, or adventure sports lovers, but it appeals to those who have a dream or may be looking for their dream. Whether you need to find the courage to jump into your dream career, drop your 9-to-5, write that book, or be a stay at home mom, you will bask in the beauty of watching passionate people pursue their ultimate love. In this movie, that love looks like kiteboarding, but also includes deep friendships, the act of pushing limits, and the joy of traveling the world.
It was an exceptional experience being at the world premiere in San Francisco for a film that truly is history making— a masterpiece and timeless testament to those living the life that they want to live. I was invited by WeTransfer to attend the premiere and because of this, I was able to obtain a unique perspective that I wouldn't have had otherwise. When I go someplace as a writer, I pack an extra jacket of curiosity. It makes trips like this so fun because I exist in that moment to discover why people do what they do, what makes this story unique, and why you should care.
Meeting the people involved in, and behind the movie was a refreshing experience. So much talent and so much humility were packed into The Palace Of Fine Arts in San Francisco and exploding from the big screen. Both onscreen and behind the cameras, it's undeniable that the athletes and the creatives are at the top of their craft for a reason.
Arthur— Director of Photography for Chapter One and second-half to Eyeforce— has an insanely sharp eye for all things beautiful. The shots and footage is stunning. I'm not certain who was responsible for the music, but that is an incredible adventure in itself. Dylan or Jay spent hours editing and perfecting the cuts and voiceovers. It would have been much more simple to create an action packed film, but somehow, the story weaves and is guided by the twenty-one characters and nine destinations that make an appearance throughout the 90 minutes of footage.
After the showing, someone in the audience asked the professional kiteboarders at the premiere what they would be doing with their lives if they did not kite for a living. Not one of them knew what to say. I would say, they are where they want to be (for the most part I imagine). And, if you have ever had the feeling of knowing you are living your destiny or "in the flow," you know it's such a fresh feel. And if you have never had that, find it. It's magic.
So, how do you find that passionate purpose? I'm not exactly sure if there is an answer that always stays the same in every circumstance, but I believe one way to find your destiny is by mirroring successful people who you admire. Inspiration by osmosis. The people who you surround yourself with matters. Find your tribe and love them hard.
I was able to spend a day watching the kiters play on The Kiteboat and Jet Foils. With the sunshine hugging my skin and a smile dancing on my face, I felt thankful for one more opportunity to be around people who intrigue and fascinate me. As a creative myself— who dabbles in freelance writing, blogging, and various entrepreneurial pursuits— the amount of respect I have for the filmmakers, riders, and those surrounding the act of making a project like Chapter One come to life is high. It was striking to notice Ruben Lenten's spirit, his Fiance's sure strength, and their bond of mutual respect, love, and admiration. The childlike excitement of Kevin Langeree, coupled with a smart business sense and drive. And seriously, I don't even know how to say this, but I'm now absolutely starstruck by Don Montague, and I should have known this, but Nick Jacobsen is from Copenhagen. And that means he's Danish. And that means I'm already a fan.
This film is worth watching. Whether you kiteboard every day of your life or have no clue what the sport is, you will connect to the spirit and be awed by the destinations. I believe 'story' can move us to do incredible acts of greatness in this world, and this story may inspire you to travel on your own path to greatness.
If you want to travel and just haven't, start here: With Chapter One. If you want to do that one thing you have wished you would do, but haven't yet: Watch the movie. If you want to be inspired to live that crazy dream of yours, find more than a little inspiration by taking time to view Chapter One. And if you travel all the time, this film is completely your jam.
Chapter One will be available to view for free, for 24hrs, exclusively on Red Bull TV.
ON OCTOBER 10TH.
Watch it and tell me what you think!
Most of you probably don't know this about me, but I've rounded out a stormy summer. It's been tumultuous, and my natural gravitation to feel emotion to the extreme— both excitement and disappointment— has magnified the chaos that I feel. Life gives us the choice to face difficulties in different ways, and to be quite honest, I've kinda fucked up in the faith department. I haven't believed that anything is possible.
I haven't believed in my freedom. I haven't believed in the Universe conspiring in my favor. I haven't been using the f-word that I need to be using:
When I was in need of shouting, "I have FAITH in my future!" I found myself wailing; "My life is such a fuck up!" The past two days have shown me that I need to learn a new f-word; a word I know so well, but have refused to take to my core. I haven't believed. I haven't lived faith. Nothing in life worth having will ever be easy and any dream requires a whole lot of faith.
We are all in need of a little faith. You don't have to be religious, spiritual, or sing in Church choir to adopt a lifestyle of faith. Believe that your best adventure is yet to come.
"There is passion in uncertainty."— Tony Robbins