Adulting Keepin' It Real Public Journaling Travel Blogger

The Price Of Living The Dream

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

Santorini, Greece |
Santorini, Greece

While I’m 100% aware of how fortunate and blessed I feel every morning to wake up and do what never really feels like work, I think there’s a voice missing from the conversation that’s so important, especially if you’ve ever found yourself scrolling through my or another traveler’s Instagram feed, feeling inadequate about your own life.

Whether to my face or to my inbox, I hear that I’m “living the dream” every single day, and while I try to be excited about confirming their observation, I can’t help but cringe inside, because I don’t think people really take into account how much of a price is paid to live said “dream”.

Like anything worth having in life, there will be trials, obstacles, road blocks, but most importantly, fears that usually hinder most from the initial pursuit.

Ios, Greece |
All my travel goals strapped to one pole. I dig it. | Ios, Greece

And while I know several others “living the dream” might not feel as comfortable talking about the negative aspects of this lifestyle, y’all know I’m an open book, and I always try to foster inspiration from my transparency more than anything else.

Living the dream ultimately comes at a price, but I knew it was one I was willing to pay. But what exactly are those costs and sacrifices? Let me try to break it down in cute terms.

The Currency of Criticism

Bangkok, Thailand |
Bangkok, Thailand

For any writer starting out, the first time you press ‘publish’ on a piece of your innermost thoughts, you’re literally opening yourself up to a world of criticism, and the thought makes you want to sh*t yourself, which I don’t recommend, however tempting/gratifying it may sound.

And this is where Stay-At-Home-Steve and Hate-The-World-Holly come out of the woodworks to nitpick and criticize every waking detail about your articles, your travels, or even your outfits. Like, seriously? What did my $5 thrift store top do to draw such negativity from Nancy-The-Nobody?

Strangers feel entitled to tell you how much you suck, and this is hoping they even read past the title of your articles, because newsflash: most won’t.

Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand

They’ll channel their inner-jealousy into half-coherent thoughts, and they’ll stalk every single social media channel you have to remind you how much they can’t stand you. It’s so adorable.

While some may call that borderline obsessed, I just hope it’s not too late for somebody to hug them in life. They’re just deprived and I’m confident their happiness is a few bear hugs away. Keep searching for those standing cuddles my laughable lilies. Somebody in this world loves you. It ain’t me. But hey, somebody!

If you have time, check out the round-up I did of my Top 10 Hate Comments From 2015, as I show these fools who’s boss. Sassy Pants all the way on.

Hue, Vietnam |
Hue, Vietnam

The most recent hate mail I got was actually pretty funny. A gal found my Instagram and proceeded to flood my inbox with several questions, haphazardly, lacking any sort of fluidity.

When I suggested she send me one big email with all her messages so I can answer accordingly, she scoffed and literally sent me eight separate emails, each a copy and paste of the individual messages she originally sent, defeating the purpose of sending an email to begin with.


But alas, I had some alcohol downtime, so I got back to her a day later with some general tips, pointers, and linked her to articles where I wrote answers to the very questions she had, in detail and everything.

Her response?

I didn’t write you so that you could link me to articles. I wrote you so that you could answer me directly.

She is so lucky I found Jesus. She never heard from me again and I blocked her on Instagram to make sure she didn’t benefit from any more free information I posted.


The Payment of Pressure

Santorini, Greece |
“Today’s office!” JK. Literally, NOTHING gets done at the beach. Ever.

There’s this inherent pressure from being a travel blogger or online influencer that makes you feel like you should always be doing something.

You need to always be engaging with your audience. You need to always be pumping out content. You need to always be “on”. And while I don’t know anybody who does that better than Drew Binsky and his insanely popular Snapchat, I simply can’t be that person.

I’ll burn myself out and I’m okay with not flying my Wonder Woman cape for a few days to fall into a sleep coma, and pretend adulthood is more of an aspiration than a reality.

Not to mention, I’m a ball of estrogen, throwing myself into a world that continues to manhandle me in the best way possible (hey-ohhh!), loving me and leaving me, as I find myself falling head over heels with cities that I have to break up with a few days later.

And if you think traveling solves your problems, lol, that’s cute.

Santorini, Greece |
Santorini, Greece

If anything, it exposes them. Because if you have anger problems at home, try having those same issues in a country where you don’t speak the local language.

But it’s okay to allow yourself to have your human moments, take a break from social media, or go on an emotional rant about something that tugs strongly at your heart.

But no matter what you do or what you say, people will always be watching, and you have to make sure to exercise caution and responsibility with the platform you’ve built.

It’s actually the people that aren’t showing up in your notifications that are watching you the most — and that’s what makes things tricky. Lurkers be lurkin’ yo.

And while I don’t want to be held to a higher standard than the next 26-year old, I understand it comes with the territory, and that’s something I try to work on daily.

But sometimes, it’s just easier to say F&% IT. As in, FIX IT. Jesus. What were you thinking?

The Funds of Freedom

Paris, France |
Paris, France

If you’ve never had to chase a company down for six months because they “forgot” to pay you, man, you really oughta live life more on the edge! Ha.

Don’t get me started on the companies that pay you on a 90-day cycle. “Thanks for all the work you did for us in February! Here’s your check!” *deposits in June*

In a saturated industry of newbies throwing free work to brands left and right in hopes for sponsored work down the line, you have to constantly justify your worth when you get daily emails from marketers trying to access your audience “without a budget”. Oh the joys!

As you’ve spent years fostering an engaged community, perfecting your Instagram gallery, or just mastering your writing, photography, or digital ninja skills, that’s a tangible thing that you put your creativity into and 100% deserves adequate compensation for.

Salzburg, Austria |
Salzburg, Austria

But Marketing-Maven-Marsha still thinks that exposure to her [unengaged] 500 Facebook fans is a fair trade. Oy.

Mix tedious back and forth negotiating with chasing down months’ old payments, and it makes for a hell of a stress-free life, amirite?

I’ve learned the hard way that I needed to start requiring half the payment upfront, and while you will probably sound like a pain for that (and sometimes they will let you know it, ha), it’s a small step in the right direction of asserting yourself as a business [wo]man.

But when you first start out navigating the waters of entrepreneurship and digital nomadness, the amount of times you have to reach inside your ass magic hat to pull out a random number that defines something you’ve dedicated the better part of your life to, will happen more times than you can count.

Athens, Greece |
I’d be such a good professional, if only I knew what I were doing half the time | Athens, Greece

And sure, we might be able to wake up when we want, but we’re also never really not working… if that makes sense.

You see, if you have a 9-5, you can essentially disregard any and all work-related things when your foot is not inside that office.

But because digital nomads have no office, everywhere is essentially our work place. And while I’d like to pretend I’m one of those people who spend hours on the beach, laptop handy, goodness gracious, have you guys tried playing damage control when sand gets on your laptop?

Have you ever felt your laptop overheating from being in the sun so long and subsequently burning your thighs to feel like the grilled meat you never knew they were?

How do people even see the screen when the sun is glaring right over it? Questions That Need Answers For 500, Alex.

Buri Beach Resort, Koh Phangan, Thailand
Sure as heck wouldn’t mind this view again though. | Koh Phangan, Thailand

I don’t think I’ve ever been productive working at the beach, but hey, lemme post this sessy ass photo to the ‘gram ‘gram anyway, because hashtag, LIFE GOALS for the peasants!

But it’s really not about that. And I try to be as transparent about the plus sides as much as the down sides. And that’s why I’m writing this article.

Speaking of downsides, anybody wanna take a peak at my savings account? Like, what is that even? Yo no hablo the language of savings.

Athens, Greece |

But if the nightmare sacrifices are still worth the dream life, then I absolutely encourage you to still pursue it! Again, I wouldn’t trade this life for anything, and the day this all starts feeling like work, is the day I’ll have to sit down and reconsider the direction of my life. But alas, the wheels have not fallin’ off, so this bad boy will keep on truckin’.

If you’re a fellow online influencer in the travel industry, I’d love to hear some of the other sacrifices you’ve made to live your dream in the comments below!

And stay tuned because tomorrow I’m taking over @TapInfluence’s Instagram account to give you guys some more behind the scenes looks with a mini series called, ‘A Day In The Life of a Travel Blogger’. So don’t miss out!

So yes, I may be “living the dream“, but I hope you can also see that beyond the beauty of this journey, there will be chaos, struggles, and failures, but ironically enough, I’m able to see the beauty in that too 😉

The Price of the Dream |
PIN this to your travel boards and keep the conversation going!

  • Thank you for this honest article. It’s just too easy to look at social media and compare our lives to others forgetting that living “the dream” does require handwork and sacrifice. I follow along on your snap and insta and I love your work. Full time travel blogging definitely isn’t for me but I love following you around on your adventures and getting inspired to plan a trip or two outside the country. 🙂

    Cindy |

  • Made me lol a few times here. Appreciate the candor (that’s a word, right?) I have always been fairly easily frustrated. Not like, give up easily frustrated, but like I’m gonna start cursing real quick while I force the thing to work even if it takes me hours frustrated. But I will make it work dammit. There have been a few times while traveling that this has come out and I’ve seen the stress take over my travel mates too. The good thing is it no longer phases me. I’ve learned to accept frustrating things happen – while traveling and at home – and not to tip toe around it or hold it against myself or others when it gets to us. It’ll pass. Life goes on. It’s all about taking a deep breath instead of continuing to build on the freak out. Cuz life will go on, you just gotta choose how you’re going to pass the time.
    Hannah | CuriousWriter

  • Marie Mekosh

    What a great article! Thank you for sharing (and making me a laugh a few times as I work away at my computer!) It is great that you shared the less glamorous side of the travel blogger life – it really is a lot of work, and it often goes unappreciated! And good for you for getting so far with a lot of hard work 🙂

    This post also funnily enough makes me kind of happy to still be in the early stages of my blog – at least I don’t have any haters yet! 😉

  • My biggest downside is sarcrificing friendships. They feel like I have abandoned them at times but I stay in contact and try and see everyone when I’m home

  • Joy Sheehan

    Love this post! I always have people telling me I’m living the dream life as a travel blogger/agent/seasonal cruise ship crew/wildlife biologist haha (I wear a lot of hats). But if they only knew about all of my constant financial struggles and stresses just to make a trip happen! And all the super sucky long distance my boyfriend of 5 years and I go through with limited contact and connection! I miss holidays all the time and I see all of my friends and family achieving adult things like buying their first houses or getting married and sometimes I feel so behind. But like you, for now, I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I totally accept the challenges and I feel they’re making me stronger and giving me a more enriching life. Even if sometimes I look at Sallie May and my empty savings and cry a little bit. haha!

  • This is a very heartfelt and well-written piece. It is easy for people to look at the lives of other with jealousy and envy because, let’s face it, who posts images that reveal the tough days on Instagram or Facebook? Your blog is a refreshing reminder that living on the road is not always as glamorous as it appears.

    It is easy to compare yourself to others and get discouraged in the blogging industry (or any industry), but I think you can be proud of how far you’ve come and how large of a following you have! Your blog is one of the best on the Internet and don’t let any of the haters make you forget that!

  • Kerwin McKenzie

    We are professionals and like all professionals, we make it look easy. :-). I just look at the positive as they always outweigh the negative.

    I get very hateful posts all the while, but I answer them nicely, the same way I do all comments. I also love it when my readers turn on the haters :-).

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions. It’s all good. No time for the haters. Keep Calm and Blog On.

  • Deepika Gumaste

    Love the way you put things in perspective. I agree with you on so many aspects, it is not even funny. Just because we are traveling people forget that we are not just travelers but writers as well. And that is just like any other job.

  • Wonderfully written! Love the honesty and your voice! You’re an inspiration as a blogger, Gloria!

  • Sacrifice: being THAT person in the hostel that just sits in on their laptop all day, emerging only to feed at the nearest cheap eats location.


  • Aleah |

    Whenever people tell me they’re envious that I get to jet around and do nothing, and yet earn a lot, I fall off my seat laughing. Ha. What do they know of the sacrifices I make to continue being a digital nomad? Ugh.

  • And this is why you Glo! You deliver honest, transparent, and real conversations. It’s so refreshing to read, and also very inspiring. You’ve let the haters hate, and in the process you’ve florished, conquered, and created a space where others can join you in the conversation, and benefit from your GLO!

  • Two Small Potatoes

    Love this! Perfectly written with refreshing humor. This probably sounds crazy, but I envy you your hate mail. I’ve never received any, and while I’d love to think it’s because my blog is insanely perfect, it’s really because I have such low engagement. *tear of sadness* Definitely remember to love your haters; they’re still reading your blog!

  • Meg

    Loved this. I think people underestimate how much work can be achieved on a sunlounger, sadly. I also have Usher ‘Confessions’ stuck in my brain now after reading that one of your tags is ‘these are my confessions.’ Perfect!

  • Renate Hjallen Leknes

    This was such a great read! I love the way you let your words flow and how honest you talk about the “dark side” of being a travel blogger. For every hater there are 10 lovers, so just sing it out ‘Haters gonna hate hate hate shake it off’… 😛 <3

  • Lovely post. I love your honesty. I think as bloggers we all understand that sometimes looks can be deceiving. There is always so much work behind the since but I think you should pat yourself on the back for making it seem like it comes natural, without breaking a sweat 😀

  • They’ve been up and down moments too as a part-time travel blogger..Ive been traveling around Eastern Europe the past five weeks with my little one..and we miss our home, and home-cooked meals..if I had to be a full-timer, I’d really need a base..but it’s something I think of often..

  • FranceF

    I keep saying this, but now I mean it: I’m done writing for those who don’t pay us or don’t pay on time. I’m still chasing down 2 checks from MAY! No more. No mas. Not I, said the cat!

  • Mikaela Ann Heidrich

    I am loving your work Gloria! I love that you are taking control and asserting yourself as a business women!

  • Beautifully done.

  • I just blog for fun, but the amount of time writing, editing, translating, researching, and sharing posts – not even MENTIONING photos – is definitely not a walk in the park. People do undermine the work you/we guys do and it’s frustrating. same for authors and vloggers, etc. Do you know how many hours it takes to edit a simple 5 minute video using nothing but iMovie on your 5″ phone screen? HELLA! lol.

  • Robin and Dave Vengadasalam

    GREAT post! I can relate so well! I’m also a blogger and understand the time and sacrifice it takes. AND I have lived abroad in Germany for the past 14 years. We do travel a lot as a family out of necessity and fun. And I’m a homeschool mom. LOTS of challenges to say the least! But SO worth it! My biggest struggle has been with language. And now that I’m pretty good at German, we go and relocate to Spain! Sacrifice well worth it 😉 Blessings! Robin