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Hello there! It’s been a while…

Well, where to start? So many things have changed for the travel industry and for me personally that I barely know where to begin.

Since I last wrote, I moved to Portugal and got a base for the first time in six or seven years, so I’m no longer nomadic (though travel will always be a large part of my life). That said, I haven’t been travelling much because of COVID-19, and because I’ve really enjoyed nesting in my new home, exploring my new hometown, Setúbal, and getting to know Portugal a little better.

Lots of material here for a travel writer & blogger, so why the radio silence from me across my blog and social media channels?

View over Setúbal from Forte de São Filipe
Setúbal from Forte de São Filipe

There are several things to unpack here (not just the boxes still awaiting attention in the corners of my rooms…). First, I’ll admit to a crisis of identity. Who am I if no longer travelling (much) and no longer a nomad? (You’ll note I’m still a genius at overthinking!).

Then there’s my business and the fallout of COVID-19. My main business is travel copywriting, and that fell off pretty quickly around February/March 2020. I was lucky that some of my clients kept going, but a lot of regular work stopped almost overnight. And I haven’t felt comfortable marketing to prospective travel clients until recently.

While I had enough work from non-travel clients to keep things ticking over, I had so much going on in my head I kept resisting writing for myself.

I’m extremely comfortable travelling on my own after so many years, but I found it much more difficult moving to a new country on my own, during a pandemic, and setting up home. I could just about cope with my client work – plus all the bureaucracy I had to wade through – on top of setting up home and trying to meet people.

Add to this the anxieties of COVID-19 and Brexit, and the fact that I learned everything I most definitely did not want to know about narcissistic personality disorder, coercive control and gaslighting (yes, even more than that inflicted on us by the UK Government…), all while being unable to get home to see family and friends for 14 months. I’ll admit my self-confidence was shaken.

Writing about it just became an extra thing to do. And I simply didn’t have the headspace – or, at times, the words.

And then it became – as these things tend to do – a bit of a mental block.

Praia da Figueirinha
Praia da Figueirinha, a 15-minute bus ride from my front door – the perfect escape!

Adjusting to a New Normal in 2022

We’re slowly moving out of the pandemic – though I don’t believe we’ve seen the end of it yet – and people are returning to travel in their droves to make up for lost time. And I’ve been mulling over which direction to go with my business.

I love copywriting for travel brands and businesses, so am focusing on building that part of my business back up after a quiet couple of years – and helping travel brands to rebuild their businesses after the pandemic. Or even begin new ones.

However, I’m not sure that travel will ever return to the way it was before. And with the very real climate crisis upon us, I’m not sure that it should. This has made me question how I want to travel in the future, and made me determined to work with brands that promote responsible and sustainable travel experiences.

As for me, I adore travel and telling travel stories but I’m not sure that I’m a natural blogger, as such. Trying to find ways to fits links into articles to build passive income, using Instagram to promote my business instead of as a creative tool to experiment with my photography and create beautiful images. None of it sits right for me. And it takes away the enjoyment I get from writing and photography.

So I’m going to be experimenting a little and taking some things back to basics. Writing useful posts to help travel brands build their businesses after COVID-19, building tips and resources for travellers, and writing about travel, telling stories about people and places. But using this as a way to become more of a traditional travel writer and photographer (which was always my initial aim) and not worry so much about ‘being a blogger’. Maybe it’s more correct to say that I want to write to tell my stories, work on my photography, and provide value to travellers and travel brands, but not worry about monetising my blog so much.

My desk in Setúbal
Finally! A desk of my own again

Of course, this may all change. I’ll see how it goes. But just making this decision has taken a lot of pressure off. And that’s been necessary to tempt me back to writing on my website and get back to the ole socials – and get over the mental block of restarting something that I’ve avoided for faaaaaar too long. Let’s see how it goes. Thanks for bearing with me.

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