This year has been a momentous one for this travel blog. Pack The Suitcases has gone from getting a couple of hundred views per month to up to 25,000. What used to be the occasional ‘like’ on its Facebook page has now escalated to emails and messages flooding in every week from people all over the world asking me things like ‘Where can I find soy milk in Madeira?’ (I have no idea mate). And most exciting of all, I was shortlisted for a travel blogging award in the Northern Blog Awards.
I thought I’d better update you on it because I haven’t mentioned it on here since. So here is said update…
A whopping big thank you
It was such a huge honour to be shortlisted and even better to receive so many messages from my friends, readers and all kinds of random people saying they’d voted. To be fair, I did mention it every five minutes so they probably just took pity on me. But it was lovely nonetheless! I really couldn’t believe the response.
I wanted to officially say a huge thank you to everyone who voted for me. Votes counted for 40% of the final score. It really meant a lot to me that people would take a few minutes out of their own time to do something for me. You are the bestest.
The awards night
The awards ceremony was last Saturday (29 September). It was at the Midland Hotel in Manchester and was a super glam evening, kind of like being at the Oscars but with more selfies.
Unfortunately, I didn’t win on the night. I never thought I would. I was up against some very talented and professional travel bloggers, some of whom do it full-time for a living. The travel blogging category winner was a blog called Haarkon, which is about greenhouses around the world. This was clearly revenge from the greenhouse gods because the week before the awards night, me and Chris had our rotting greenhouse demolished. Fate.
But I was the antithesis of ‘in it to win it’. I didn’t mind being an official loser and had a brilliant evening. The best bit was that I got to talk to my fellow losers – namely other travel bloggers. Not only are they a lovely and talented bunch, they gave me a much-needed boost and lots of new ideas. Blogging is a weird thing. It’s something I enjoy so much but I never actually get to meet anyone else in the same boat who I can talk to about it.
[Excuse the swift blurring on the above – gross backdrop!]
Obviously, I’m going now to improve the blog ten fold so that I can be victorious next year (ahem, unlikely).
I will go to the Northern Blog Awards night again though, because it was such a hoot and I loved getting glammed up. In case you didn’t know, I’m in my early 30s, which is an age when you spend pretty much every weekend at a wedding and the week before panicking about an outfit. The awards night was kind of like a wedding, only I didn’t have to make polite small talk with strangers because we all had blogging in common. And there was just as much wine as at the average wedding…
Making Pack The Suitcases better
As already established, I write Pack The Suitcases as a hobby. I love having this outlet for my photography and my writing, even if I don’t have as much time or energy as I’d like to put into it because of my demanding full-time job.
Talking to some other bloggers who do it for a hobby too has been so interesting.
My numbers of monthly readers on the blog are actually pretty good. In fact, it turns out they’re better than some successful bloggers. It’s my woeful Instagram that lets me down, but I just cannot be bothered with it. Soz. On both the blog and on the blog’s Facebook page, I have some great regular readers. And they (seemingly) trust my judgements on places.
Most other bloggers work with tourist boards/agencies. I’ve realised there’s nothing stopping me doing that too. Obvs, I don’t mean being paid to lie about how great somewhere is. You know that’d never happen because a) I’m brutally honest and b) I’m far too lazy to do tax returns and become self-employed on top of my actual job. But I’d be happy with working with a tourist board/agency to get, say, a discounted pass for museums and galleries (places I go anyway), in exchange for promising to mention them in my usual honest writing. If I’m going to write about something anyway, I may as well accept a bit of a money-saving option before doing it.
Coming soon on Pack The Suitcases
Before I sign off from this alarmingly long ramble, I thought I’d add that I have some exciting travels coming up over the next few months. This hopefully means I’ll also be churning out some interesting blog posts.
So keep the very beadiest of all your eyes out for:
- the Lake District, UK
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Hamburg, Germany
- Southport, UK (the glamour!)
- Shrewsbury, UK (again!)
- JAPAN (again, but different cities!).
I may also finally finish a blog post on Boston, USA that I’ve been half-heartedly writing for over four months. See below graffiti for my thoughts on that. TTFN.