Hard To Grasp Life Concepts: Children, Travel, and the Remote Life
Has anyone told you that being childless in your 30’s might be one of the hardest life choices that you face?
You will come across hardships in your 30’s that no one will ever warn you about, except for maybe Bridget Jones. For one, if you are a childless woman who either cannot have kids or chooses not to procreate, everyone around you will whisper, question, and judge. You become an enigma—an evil spritely boozer but also some sort of magical and free sorceress with time and money for luxuries like yoga and travel. People dislike you and approach you warily. Some envy you. Others, thank god, could care less.
All the while, you slowly drown in a sea of pregnant friends and baby showers. I swear babies just start falling from the sky. You suddenly gain status as a baby hater and heartless monster. You obviously don’t know how to talk to or treat someone else’s kids. God forbid you are a story time librarian or become a freelancer. Remote life adds one more check to the evil box.
I imagine an equal fate awaits those who have yet to choose a life partner or buy a house. And quite frankly, there isn’t enough wine in the world to get me through those awkward conversations where suddenly a stranger is asking my fertility schedule or questioning what type of spawn of Satan I am for not giving my mother grandkids. Are my husband and I getting divorced? God forbid I eat a burrito—pat, pat, maybe I am showing?! Nope, just colitis. Sorry to disappoint.
Remote Life: Freelancers, Digital Nomads, and Business Bloggers receive just as many dirty looks
Even worse, your 30’s is flagged as the zenith of career stability. One or two jobs, imprisonment until you retire or die—whichever happens first, is the golden rule. Those in skyscraper office chairs look down with ugly faces at the freelancers, wanderers, bloggers, and digital nomads. People who are willing to risk thinking outside of the norm. These taboo professions scream lazy, lost, and hippie to the untrained eye.
But these careers are what happen when one day, you almost slap a snide, miserable new boss in the face after years of endless hard work and bullshit. You decide you deserve so much better, and you want more. No longer a slave to the desk, 3-hour commutes, and homeless men cursing you out for disturbing their public library nap on the floor, passion leads you to freedom and entrepreneurship. A risk taking and adventurous life many will never understand.
Leaving behind the steady 9-5 to blog and write
Imagine telling loved ones that you quit your Masters-degreed-profession because all you want to do is read, write, travel, and practice yoga. You want to be fulfilled and happy. You want to be YOU. Luckily for me, I have a supportive group who thought all of this was perfect for me. I received cards, starter gifts, and even funds. I am so lucky there. In my mind, I would make money blogging, turn my blog into an LLC, sell digital products (courses and travel guides), and freelance. I also have narrowed my eyes on yoga teacher certification much further down the road.
Goddess Pose Armed: I am a Smithie and a Fulbright with a MLIS—I’d say I’ve done pretty well for myself. I even landed a husband, house, and 4 cats that adore me. I spent over 12+ years working in schools, non-profits, and the public library not to mention an additional 6 in high school washing dishes and developing your photos.
Judging eyes on the world of blogging
However, when I announced my blogging decision to friends, some were just schmucks. Mind you, I went to an entitled, elitist all-women’s college, which is part of the problem. I’ve heard everything from, “well, good for you if you think that really brings meaning to your life” to “how is retirement?” In fact, I just attended a party recently where everyone stood around and announced that I was not working. Must be nice to travel and lay around home all day. I smiled, debated saying something, and casually took a sip of my beer. Call it shell shock or deciding I don’t have to explain or defend myself to anyone. In your 30’s you really could give 2 foxes about what people think. I mean, I guess the sometimes 8-14 hour days I spend working on my business isn’t really work. Said. No. One. Ever.
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What remote life really means
Anyone who is a blogger or in a unique profession like travel writing, working remotely, teaching online, freelancing, or even just writing a book already faces 100 other challenges: Time management, a quiet space, unsteady paycheck, long hours, self doubt, and sometimes not being able to separate work and home life. Even on my off time, I find myself working on blog related tasks. Don’t get me wrong, bloggers reap the benefits of making our own schedule, being our own damn bosses, picking projects that we love, working with people who we respect, and wearing leggings all day. However, sometimes the challenges outweigh the perks.
At the end of the day, I love what I do—but what bloggers don’t need in their already stressful lives are others making it worse with uneducated, jealous, and downright cruel comments and judgments. I’ve never compared the importance of my job as a librarian or program manager for the nonprofits to someone else’s executive assistant job, the mailman, or your corporate life (which is NOT for me). You shouldn’t either. As one of my good Fulbright friends said, “I am glad that I only have my life to live.” Amen.
With that said, just like women who look questionably pregnant, here are 10 things you should never say to or ask the blogger in your life:
10 Blogging Myths (Crushed)
It must be nice not to work. Retirement at age 30 sounds good to me. I wish we could all do that.
One day I will write a post about what my day looks like as a writer and blogger. It starts at 7:30 AM and ends around 10:30/11PM. My day is of course segmented with breaks for cooking, lunch, working out, and chores. The gist of my day is spending a few hours scheduling out social media for Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook Business. Tailwind alone–which is essential for blog traffic–takes me a few hours.
Then, I usually spend a few hours engaging in FB blogging groups to share, promote, answer questions, and network. I’ll spend the rest of the morning and late afternoon writing blog posts, which of course involves researching keywords, evaluating SEO, slipping in affiliate links and products, linking my own relevant articles, and creating pins for Pinterest. The rest of my night is spent responding to my full inbox with requests to review and guest post. Bloggers want to join my group boards or have questions.
The work above doesn’t account for peeking around at freelance jobs, studying others’ blogs, taking blogging courses, and pitching to brands and sponsors. I have a lot to learn still. Plus, I have a ton of website maintenance. I love self-hosting with Siteground–but plugins need updating and caches clearing. Old posts need love, I need fresh pins, my homepage is always changing, and there are new features that I want to add. I also want to create sellable digital products.
Basically, I could sit at my computer for 4-6 hours straight and not even notice. Remember forgetting to pee from my post about how to stay healthy and sane as a blogger? Somehow, I don’t think this is how I imagined ‘retirement.’ Oh wait, because it’s not.
Are you still working on that little fun hobby of yours?
To be fair, many people blog for fun. Some even blog for fun and still bring in a little cash as a side hustle. I love hobby bloggers, and they are the majority of the blogs I read and comment on each week. I used to be one of them. When I lived in Indonesia, I blogged for a full year about what it was like to be a teacher in a small village school. I didn’t worry about SEO, page views, or even care what my audience wanted. That blog was for me, and I loved it.
The Uncorked Librarian is not a hobby blog. It is part of my LLC. You can read more about turning your blog into a business here. The Uncorked Librarian is monetized and is my avenue to make money blogging and also start a potential freelancing business. Freelancing as in writing travel articles, editing, and helping authors publicize their books. My blog is my baby, and it is my career. If I did have a real baby, just like I wouldn’t want you cooing at it, please don’t cutesy talk my blog. It bites.
I wish I could get paid to lay around in my pjs all day watching Netflix.
I do love my Lula leggings, and you can bet I don’t put on makeup or straighten my hair to hide behind a computer screen all day. Netflix only happens on a lunch break or after work is done. P.S. my back hurts and my carpal tunnel is acting up from the 5-8 hours of typing I just did. I do love that I can work anywhere, but remember this also requires focus and a productive space.
Even as I write this post, I am sitting on a flight to CT. I really wish that mother f’ing kid behind would stop screaming and that woman would stop chomping on chips. I cannot concentrate, and if I don’t get this done, I’m missing a post this week. Buhhh bye stats. Any brands out there? Can you please send me a pair of noise cancelling headphones?
Good for you if you think blogging is actually a meaningful ‘career’ and makes a contribution to the world.
What the hey hoooo? I always wanted to ask the person who said this to me how his/her career contributes meaning because I could be equally baffled. Just sayin’.
Instead of defending blogging, here is why my blog is meaningful to me and hopefully contributes something special to the world:
- I take pride that part of my blog is about bringing light to invisible things: illness, books, blogging, and unique travels. I love supporting and working with indie authors to get their books out in the public eye—especially when many are overlooked. These authors work hard and need a venue to promote their greatness.
- I lived abroad and travel with Anthony Bourdain in my heart and soul. I don’t want to be another tourist–and don’t want you to be one either. Watching the world self-destruct breaks my heart. I want to share how to travel sustainably and with compassion and empathy. Not everyone can explore the world, but I hope to take my readers away with me just like Parts Unknown explored the multidimensional nature of the world that we live in. History. Culture. War. Love. Food. Community. Helping people plan their getaways and seek world educations mean everything to me.
- I grew up where you had to pick a 9-5 job. Teacher, doctor, librarian, lawyer. Definitely not a bad attitude, but also not for me. P.S. I do have strong work values. I never had the opportunity to be true to myself or explore nontraditional routes. Health insurance’s bitch, that’s me! As times are changing, I don’t want younger generations to become trapped in careers that they never wanted. Helping others blog, write, and think differently will make the world a bigger and much more innovative place.
Coming from your background, I could see how blogging would be a worrisome venture to admit to other people
My background?!? For me, personally, this comment bitch slapped me in the face. Yup, I went to good schools and even scored a prestigious fellowship. Shocked myself, even. But I left that experience humble and not entitled and bitchy. My big nose actually points straight ahead—I know, it’s hard to tell.
Since when has writing, learning, and becoming an entrepreneur something to be ashamed of? Blogging takes guts. You have to put yourself out there, and some will eat you alive. With blogging, if you don’t blog, grow, and learn, you won’t succeed. You are 200% in control of your success and fate. Creativity and possessing intuition are essential. Plus, there is no one around to discipline you or tell you what to do. How is this not anything but admirable and terrifying?
From the top of a building: I AM A BLOGGER; here me roar, proudly.
Did they pay you for that article? How much did they pay you? Wait, you can actually make money doing that?
Are we in Indonesia? In Indo, everyone would ask me how much I weighed, how much money I made, and even if I had sex before marriage. In what profession is it ever acceptable to ask someone their salary?
Nope, I don’t always get paid for guest posts. Sometimes I receive compensation in other forms. And yes, sometimes I get paid. I am buddies with bloggers who bring in $7,000-$10,000 a month. Lets just leave it there.
Maybe I should do what you do. I mean, all I have to do is post pretty pictures on Instagram every day, right?
Yup, that is ALL you have to do. Oh, and download somebody else’s presets on Lightroom. Let the cash pour in–might only even take a day.
Not entertaining this one anymore except with a big eye roll and gag gesture.
So what, you spend 1-2 hours a day ‘working’?
See above. I know people who freelance full-time and then add in an additional 80 hours a month blogging. Most people blog and freelance more than a full-time job. In the beginning, you can damn well bet that they are working for free until they start growing. Just like a business, you start in the red and must climb your way out.
Did you read that random blog post I sent you?
Not your post. I never read or share those. Just everyone else’s.
Are you looking for a job?
Blogging For Work
If you are a blogger, I’d love to know which numbers sound familiar to you. What have other people commented about your line of work. How do you handle the judgment?
If you are friend or family member of a blogger–or someone just scrolling by–I hope this gives you a little more insight into the life of digital nomads and remote workers. Have you said one of the above to your friends?
The remote life is not easy, and bloggers need your support. Support not only by using our affiliate links and commenting on and reading posts but also through encouragement and understanding. Blogging is a career.
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