The start of my year looked like this:
As the year progressed, I began to realise that I actually kind of resented the process of being an Instagram travel influencer. The idea of posing for photos every single day, being picky about the clothing I wore, and constantly engaging on Instagram, wasn’t what I wanted to be doing.
I burnt out. Majorly.
Like, if I was a comet floating through space I would have fallen so hard to earth I would have protruded out the other side. I didn’t even realise that I was doing it at the time, but I wore myself so thin I could barely find the motivation to finish my second last semester of Uni. It’s no surprise then, that I began to resent everything I was doing. I completely stopped posting on Instagram, almost sabotaging an awesome brand collaboration that was in the works. I couldn’t stand to look at my blog, let alone write for it. And I convinced myself I didn’t want to be a freelance writer (which has been my dream job for a few years now).
I stopped everything, and I did nothing.
Around three months passed where I barely touched a thing. The drive, motivation, and passion had left me and in its place was emptiness. The idea of posting on Instagram or engaging with people made me want to throw my phone into a river. Logging onto oneworldwanderer.net made me want to delete the website altogether. And I’d be lying if dreams of laying under a mountain somewhere away from phone service didn’t cross my mind once or twice.
This burnout, despite being from pushing myself way too hard, I put down to four things, which I am going to go into detail about in a second.
But first, I just want to say that being a travel influencer, travel blogger, entrepreneur, and freelance writer is hard work. It’s exhausting, time-consuming, and often you will hustle and have nothing to show for it. But, it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, and despite not wanting to forge a career in the social media influencer world, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
1. I Really Wasn’t Doing What I Wanted To Do.
My dream has always been to write. I grew up with a creative flair and a passion for writing. What? I hadn’t (and still haven’t) decided. But it was the written word that I always adored more than anything in the world. Although Instagram and my blog allowed me the ability to do some writing and be creative, I was pushing my writing aside. My in-the-work novel was put on a backpedal. My university subjects suffered. I barely wrote anything because I was too focused on Instagram and pitching brands to work with.
I knew something had to give in order to make me write again.
2. I Wasn’t Making Enough Money as an Instagram Travel Influencer For it to be Worthwhile.
Although I did make money on Instagram, most of the collaborations I did were product-for-post collaborations where I got sent products and in return had to promote them via photos and Instagram stories. Don’t get me wrong, some of these were pretty awesome, but free products don’t exactly pay the bills.
The couple of ‘experience’ partnerships I had were what really kept me going. These were the things that were totally worth the hours and hours I was putting into my blog and Instagram because I got to do what I wanted to do: travel the world and document it.
Working as an Instagram travel influencer is not all about the money, but when you work and work and work your butt off, it’s nice to be earning some money for it. It takes A LOT of time, energy, and frankly, your own money, to make it in the business. And if it isn’t where your passions lie, there’s a good chance it won’t be where you find success. Nor will it be where you want to spend your days for the rest of your life.
3. I Wasn’t Taking Care of Myself.
I’m a sucker for punishment. I always have been. Some would call it a workaholic, an addiction to stress, allergy to boredom… the list goes on. And while it may be true, the older I get the more I realise I need to take care of myself- mentally and physically. I need to binge Netflix, go to the beach and read a book, and not constantly be thinking about my massive to-do list. I need to put down the laptop, the phone, and chill.
As an influencer, I wasn’t doing any of these things. I was working full time in my normal job, trying to maintain my uni workload, write a tonne for my blog, and work full time on my Instagram.
Eating healthy and exercising had been put aside for so long throughout this phase in my life, and these are two things I really need in my day to day life go keep sane. When I was super busy, I didn’t allow myself any time to do anything that wasn’t essential. If it wasn’t Uni, I was blogging, pitching, and engaging on Instagram. Things that honestly made me so unhappy. I was living my life by a clock, justifying things like how fast I can get to the grocery store and how long I can spend there before it becomes a waste of my time.
It took me a while, but I’ve since realised that is not how I want to live my life.
4. I was Letting the ‘Instagram Influencer’ Life Destroy my Confidence.
We’ve all heard the conversations about Instagram ruining self-confidence and being a platform where judgment runs rampant. For me, it wasn’t necessarily about comparing myself to others. Instead, I was being brought down by fake users and negative users. Even the wanderlust that came from looking at other incredible travel bloggers made me hate the platform because I wasn’t out there exploring the world, I was at my desk studying or trying to land the next collaboration.
Instagram made me restless. It made me think I actually sucked at what I was doing. But looking back, I can see that I was actually kicking ass. Sure I wasn’t rich or getting collabs with the Mariot Hotel or Singapore Airlines, but I was getting collabs, and I was seeing results.
The negative feelings I got from logging onto Instagram and constantly checking my comments, insights, and likes, was one of the main reasons I decided to quit the Instagram game and focus on my blog, my freelance writing, and my health.
No platform is worth feeling like shit.
And you want to know something else? Success does not always equal happiness.
The Influencer Life
How to Become a Travel Influencer
If you have ever asked yourself how to start a travel Instagram? How to travel the world as a Social Media Influencer? Or how to become an Instagram travel influencer, then I’m going to give you some advice.
Do Christina Galbato’s Influencer Course. I don’t get any money from promoting this. It isn’t a sponsored post. I genuinely think her courses, free advice, and information is the best you’ll find. She has experience as a travel influencer, working with large brands, and teaching others her ways. If you are considering joining the world of influencers, learning from the best is the only way to do it!
If you’re simply looking for ways to make money online, I recommend checking out the 17 ways to make an income online which offer an in-depth list of things you can do (that are a lot faster than influencer life too!).
Alternatively, travel blogging could be an amazing way to pair your travel influencer business and create a viable income! You can read more about that in this post.
My Journey Now
My break in blogging, writing, and Instagram has allowed me the clarity I needed to realise that writing is my goal. It always was and it always will be.
I’d love to create a life where I earn passive income from both my blog and my freelance writing, as well as with my social media VA and management business which focuses on providing affordable services to business owners and other bloggers and entrepreneurs who need assistance with their social media, time restraints, writing, and other things.
Truthfully, being an Instagram travel influencer isn’t in the picture anymore. I’ll use the platform to document my travels, and if an awesome blogging collaboration comes up that requires a photo or two to be posted on my Instagram, I won’t say no. But I’m not going to worry about who’s looking, my engagement rate, or whether or not I’m getting paid. I just want to use that platform to share my travel photos and stories with the world.
One thing is for sure, there won’t be any more burnouts!!
Are you an influencer? Ever considered joining? I would love to hear your stories in the comment!