I launched this blog almost 6 years ago, and a lot of water has flowed under the bridge ever since. As I have developed as a person, so has my layout, style, photography and writing skills. Most importantly, I have learned a lot about life through this platform – and I have connected with some pretty great people and cultures. Are you thinking about launching your own travel blog? Or are you just curious on how I have managed to keep my website, my virtual home, alive for more than half a decade? Then I’ve written this post for you.
Let’s go back in time. The year is 2014, Autumn is starting to show its true colors, and I’m sitting comfortably behind my desk in my ex-boyfriend’s flat just outside Copenhagen. I’m about to press the launch button on a website I have been working on for a month or so. But blogging isn’t new to me. In fact, I’ve been doing it for 4 years at this time. I started out as a beauty blogger – one of the first ones in Denmark – and I slowly moved into the lifestyle category. I have always loved blogging and decided quite early on that I would use this medium to create a career. So I did. And it really began that Autumn afternoon when I hit the publish button of this website, The Copenhagen Traveler. My idea was to write about my travels and share my best tips for the hotels, restaurants and cities I encountered. In 2014, at the age of 24, I knew I didn’t want to stay in one place; I wanted to see the world, and I wanted to become a solo traveler. I had previously lived a handful of years in Switzerland where my passion for traveling had really begun.
My first official press trip – which was also my first solo trip – took off only weeks after I had launched this blog. The destination was Croatia and I was beyond excited. I still remember the butterflies in my stomach when I landed in Dubrovnik on this warm Autumn day. I think the duration of the trip was four days, and apart from enjoying beautiful Dubrovnik (which already back then was challenged by mass tourism), I had the pleasure of exploring Split and the Dalmatian coast as well. My wonderful driver, an older Croatian man who didn’t speak very well English, drove me across the border to Serbia, and I experienced the magnificent countryside of both Croatia and Serbia. A place with little to no tourists – at least when I was there. This trip resulted in several posts – all of which you can find here.
In the following years, I divided my time between Copenhagen and ‘the road’. I was almost always either traveling or planning for my next trip, and I was blessed to often bring family and friends with me. I guess I was never a true solo traveler spending months in solitude in an Indian ashram or in remote corners of the world, but then again: I never felt I had to be. Still, I’ve always preferred to travel on my own, as it gives me the ultimate freedom that I value so much. If I choose to travel with someone, it has to be someone I know well and trust. When I was on the road, I took on freelance writing gigs and became a social media manager as well. But not everything was pure joy – in Sri Lanka in 2016, the blog was hacked by unknown sources (there was litterally a skull blinking on my screen when I tried accessing it!). A freelancer’s worst nightmare, and I spend a lot of time and money getting it back on track again. That’s just one of the things you have to consider if you want to take your blogging next level: secure your website and keep it clean.
My years traveling with this blog has brought me far and wide. The farthest I’ve been is California, Brazil, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. I haven’t made it to Japan or Australia yet, but I’m definitely planning to! The continent I know best is without a doubt Europe. And to be honest, I’ve always felt that it was sort of ‘enough’ for me. Europe holds so many wonderful countries and cultures, and it’s so diverse from North to South. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown more and more fond of my own part of the world, Scandinavia. The natural treasures here are beyond imagination and something I’d wish for everyone to experience!
In 2016, the blog was nominated ‘third best luxury travel blog in the world’ by TBCAsia. Something I was very proud of – and still am. But I also realized you can’t hold on to such a title – and you don’t need to. I was never one for competitions and prizes. If you do the best you can do, that’s enough! The blog has received lots of kind words and nominations ever since, but my goal isn’t to stir it in that direction. Essentially, it’s to keep producing valuable and beautiful content that makes a difference. To me and to the people reading it.
A few years ago, I became a mother, which has slowed my world explorations down a bit. Travel and adventure is still in my blood and probably always will be, but there’s a time for everything. The journey of motherhood is the biggest and most challenging so far. Slowly, though, I’m opening up to the world again. And as I’m evolving as a human being, so is this blog. A blog should always be a reflection of you, at least if you want to keep it authentic and interesting. You don’t need to go all personal (that was never my thing anyway!), but you can bring your readers on a journey with you. Take them on a little excursion, away from their screens and into the magical world of exploring.
During the years, I’ve received certain questions over and over again, e.g. how to make a travel blog succesful. Below, I’ll do my best to provide the answers.
What’s your favorite travel destination?
Impossible to answer! I’m too much in love with the world to name only one destination, but I can tell you the ones that left a very big mark on me: Brazil, Greenland, California (driving the Highway 1), Rome, Lisbon. Perhaps I visited these places on crucial times in my life, but I often find myself dreaming about them, which makes me certain that I need to go back again soon! Do you know the feeling of missing a place like you’re missing a person? I guess that describes it best. It’s also known as wanderlust 😉
What’s your best tip to creating a successful travel blog?
Find your own voice and keep going! In a world full of noise and people, it can be a daunting task to launch a blog with one goal in mind: to make it big. So don’t think about numbers to start with – think about quality. If you deliver great content and good images, your blog will get noticed sooner or later. But you must be in it for the long run. Running a successful travel blog is not something that happens overnight. In my case, it took years! And I’m still not satisfied with where I am. You probably also need to define what success means to you – it gets less scary if you define it from an early point. To me it’s being able to always deliver quality and value along with great photos. And of course, to reach a certain number of readers every month because this allows me to create collaborations with brands.
What’s your best tip in terms of personal branding?
Your personal brand is your credit. Whatever you do, don’t try to copy your neighbor because he or she seems to be succesful! Your brand is personal because it’s YOU – no one else. Authenticity, passion, curiosity and dedication are some of the key words here. Don’t change your brand too often, either. Put up guidelines from the early beginning, e.g. what colors and fonts you want to use throughout your branding, and spend some time finetuning your voice. It takes time to develop a strong, interesting brand, so you’re going to need patience and dedication for the process.
What’s your proudest moment as a travel blogger?
I’ve managed to see the world and meet some amazing people through this blog. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with some great brands, for example as a brand ambassador, which I’m quite proud of. No one told me how to do it, but I figured every little detail out on my own, which is very satisfying in the end. Becoming an official media partner of WLHA was a highlight for me as was publishing a book on freelancing in 2018. I feel that the time is ripe for something else now, though. I had a great run, but I’m excited to explore different paths in the years to come.