In the recent months I got a lot more request from sponsors for video content. Truth be told, videos terrify me. I am not comfortable speaking in them, I am not comfortable making them when I am at a destination.
But now that blogging and social media is my main source of income I end up paying attention to trends/change in trends! And videos seem to be in demand!
Now I could bury my head in the sand or I could do something about videos! Burying my head in the sand is my favorite strategy but this time I decided to experiment.
I get a lot of requests in direct messages for tips on blogging. People seem to have a romantic view of it. The one question that terrifies me is when youngsters ask me “how do I quit my job?”
That was my starting point. I made a quick video around it. I just kept the cell phone camera steady and spoke. It took me a while to realize that I can’t ramble given the attention span of people so I did end up shooting the video a few times. The question I was trying to answer was, so you want to quit your job?
Then for a while I buried my head in sand. But another sponsor came back with a request for a video and I was forced to shoot it! That gave me the push to shoot my second video. This time I had nothing to keep the camera steady.
Since I quit my job everyone tries to fit me into the “you quit your job to follow your passion” category. Unfortunately I do not fall into it that neatly. Anything in life is usually messy, including our decisions. So the second video is the take on “so you quit your job to follow your passion.”
This also quickly lets me know what I wish to talk about next, it is if I did not leave my job to follow my passion then why did I not go back to work? But that is a story for another day!
Blogging has given me many highs, going live from Facebook Mumbai Office recently was one such experience. I was coming to Mumbai to attend OTM, which is a trade show. So, when Tanvi from Facebook asked if I would be interested in visiting their office and going live from there, I was thrilled.
I boarded a Jet Airways flight from Delhi on the morning when I was supposed to go live. The flight started getting delayed. My original plan was to check-in to Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach and then go to FB office but due to the flight delay I went straight to FB Office from the airport itself. Imagine arriving at a posh destination with lots of luggage and looking totally shabby!
It was lunch time by then and my kind host, Tanvi invited me have food. On a Thursday they have a live Pav Bhaji counter too! The cafeteria is cool and with some nourishment inside me, I went looking for the restroom.
The restroom gave me some clue into the life of Facebookers! There were toothpaste and toothbrushes in the bathroom along with face wash and moisturizers! There is a separate shower room too! I believe coordination across offices in different parts of the world demands such facilities!
I spruced myself up as much as could and then I went looking for coffee. Tanvi offered me the coffee in the mug with the Facebook logo on it. Another person was going live before me, so I had time to kill. I clicked a selfie with the mug and posted it on Facebook! And so many of my friends told me to get (pinch, whack) the mug for them! It was fun seeing the high demand that Facebook mug generated on my feed!
Soon it was time for me to go live! I talked all things travel blogging. Here is the feed of the live session. Do watch when you can!
Blogging has been such immense fun for me, I never know what fun opportunities will come next! Going live from Facebook Mumbai office was one such experience that I am going to savor for a long time to come!
The life of an Indian travel blogger looks glamorous from the outside. After all, I get to travel to exotic places and the bill is footed by someone else! I am immensely grateful for the opportunities too. But travel alone does not pays my bills and therein lies the rub.
There is another aspect of the travel blogging life and relates to making money or even getting those sponsored trips. A lot of my interactions with PR/Digital agencies are thoroughly professional. But that is not the topic for today.
When I am in a mood to laugh, I call them fun interactions. But when I am not in a mood to laugh, this is what an Indian travel blogger’s life looks like!
Recently I was talking to a young person who represented a portal. The conversation went like this-
Guy: “I can give you one way ticket to any destination in India!” I initially thought I heard it wrong!
Me: “One way you said?”
Me: “No, this won’t work as I need to get back home too!” After all I can not walk all the way back home after flying one way, right?
The actual conversation was a bit longer but what I quoted above was the crux of it.
Most of the digital agencies which contact me for paid assignments also have a particular pattern. It goes something like this-
PR Person: “We have this digital campaign … can you give me the blog post (or whatever else it is) by tomorrow?”
Me: “OK but when will you pay?”
PR Person: “We pay after 90 days!” And most will pay after 90 days and several reminders later! There are only a few exceptions (one actually) who pay on time and I value them a lot.
Then there are mails that invite me to participate in contests. One went like this-
“Dear Influencer, Great news! You have been invited to the Instagram contest…”
I don’t like contests at many levels. But the voting based ones top my hate list. Do a Google search for ‘buy FB votes’or for that matter on any other platform. I know it, the participants know it, the organizers know it, so who are we kidding? I do not like contests at another level too. I have so many people offering me the same thing (a trip, phone etc) without any contests, so why would I take part in one where whether I win or not is not even certain! But it is certain that the organizers will get free publicity!
There, after this rant I already feel better. I have often shown the glamorous aspects of my life as a travel blogger, I thought it was time to show a bit of the other side too!