Living the life you want to, not the life you think you should: inspiration from Travel Bloggers Unite

Last updated on January 12, 2024

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us -Travel Bloggers Unite conference

Coming to the Travel Bloggers Unite conference in Porto was a tricky decision. I had to make the journey from Peru so it wasn’t a simple case of catching a budget flight from Europe. I agonised over it. Could I justify the cost? This was an obvious consideration – but more than that it was a question of confidence.

Six months ago I didn’t even know travel blogging conferences existed. I was struggling to know what I wanted to do with my life and started Bridges and Balloons as a hobby while I worked that out. Little did I know that it would turn out to be the answer.

Coming to this realisation was complicated. I come from a background in print journalism and copywriting – a world where blogging, unjustifiably so, is often looked down upon. My family and friends look at me confusedly when I say I want to be a blogger. To them it’s a hobby not a career – or the realm of a lucky few like Belle de Jour and Julie Powell. Success in blogging is seen as a distant dream, like a 5-year-old wanting to be an astronaut.

Follow your dreams

But astronauts fly to the moon because they had a dream. They are the few in the world who followed that childhood fantasy – and worked incredibly hard to get there. Travel bloggers – just like astronauts and anyone else doing something they love – got there because they believed; they had the confidence to follow their passion and triumph over naysayers.

This idea of passion and following your dream was the topic of TBU’s keynote speech –Follow your passion and the success will come – by Dave and Deb of the Planet D. This incredibly successful, bright and energetic couple are like a living inspirational quote. They are full of infectious positivity and a joie de vivre that many only dream of. But that’s the key thing – they did have that dream and they followed it. They allowed themselves to be happy and, crucially, worked amazingly hard to get there. Of course, perhaps the most difficult thing in this is identifying that passion.

Overcoming fear

As I listened to Dave and Deb and thought about my original struggle with coming to TBU, I realised what had held me back: I was afraid to follow my passion. This may seem crazy to some, but there can be something terrifying in coming close to the thing that lights your fire. Think about moments of love – the first days, weeks and months of a relationship. For me, that time with Steve was full of joy but fraught with fear. It’s the most beautiful feeling in the world to recognise what you love, but accepting it’s possible can be a wild hurdle. It’s scary to admit that you want something, because then people will know if you fail to get it.

By coming to TBU all the way from Peru, I’m making a clear statement: I want to take this seriously and be a professional travel blogger. This is frightening because it comes from the heart; it makes me vulnerable and open to heartbreak. But, like in a relationship, you have to take that leap of faith and believe in it. There will be ups and downs and challenges and tears, but it’s worth it when it’s what you love.

My new heroes

Dave and Deb are a shining example of the joy of living one’s passion. Their love for each other and what they do sings from their presence. They are open about both their professional and personal struggles – it’s not always been easy for them, but their current joy is clear. Listening to them, and talking to other kindred spirits at the conference, a recurring thought has sprung to my mind – that of living the life you want to, rather than the life you think you should.

The life I want is this – exploring the world with my love Steve and inspiring others who want to to do the same. My method is through writing and sharing through our blogs – both Bridges and Balloons and The Vegetarian Travel Guide. It’s hard graft but I love it. Being at TBU has only affirmed this passion – my heart soars at being among such kindred and inspirational spirits. Instead of feeling shy about my ambitions, I feel positive. Thank goodness I decided to come. Infeel I’ve found a place I belong.

Inspired at Travel Bloggers Unite

This blog was inspired by Dave and Deb of The Planet D at Travel Bloggers Unite in Porto. Thank you for being such an a brilliant inspiration.

19 thoughts on “Living the life you want to, not the life you think you should: inspiration from Travel Bloggers Unite”

  1. What a lovely post! I feel much the same… I stumbled upon this “thing” called blogging, now I’m addicted but fear that I can’t REALLY make it happen!
    I bought my early bird ticket for the TBEX in Toronto for next year, but keep thinking, “should I?” and “I can always sell it if I decide to not go.” WHY am I doubting myself? I clearly WANT to go!
    I guess it’s believing in yourself and having the perseverance to CONTINUE to follow your passion when things don’t happen right away. If I’ve heard one thing from other bloggers, its that doing this takes time, so if you don’t have the passion, you won’t keep it up.
    Enjoy Porto! Wish I was there! (:

    • Thanks for your comments Andrea. So pleased to hear the post resonated with you. You’ll have an amazing time at TBEX. If you have the passion and you’re prepared to work hard then anything is possible. Patience comes in handy too! Maybe see you in Toronto!

  2. Love this post Victoria. It feels scary to follow what you dream of because it’s a dream and they’re not meant to come true. But the most amazing thing in the world is to have the means and support to make them come true, and you do, so enjoy it, have fun and have confidence in yourself x

  3. Well said. It is one of the reasons I entered into the blogosphere. I was afraid of my life passing me by without doing what I truly wanted to do. I realized I am most happiest when I’m travelling and Dave & Deb were one of the first people to inspire in me that it IS possible to have the life we want.

    Your title and infographic is perfect!

    • It’s so important to spend your life doing the things you want. I’m so pleased you realised what made you happy. Good luck with everything.

  4. Beautiful post! I came to TBU with similar feelings, I had no idea what to expect and yes, I also only heard about these blogging conferences last spring… I look forward to following your journey, I followed my dreams few years back when I left my job & life in Finland. Since then I have resettled in Norway though and I’m working full time in the travel industry so I’m in quite a different place these days, although still traveling a lot! 🙂

    • Hey Satu, I’m so sorry I didn’t get to meet you at TBU. I hope to see you at the next one. The beach in your post looks beautiful. was it in Porto?

      • I know!! It’s quite funny although I met SO many new faces at TBU, new ones keep popping up all the time! Hope to see you at the next one too or maybe at the WTM?

        We’ve actually been to two beaches on this holiday, the first one in Ericeira, closer to Lisbon, where these images are from and at the moment we’re still chilling on a beach near Aveiro, about 30min by train from Porto. Now we’re about to head back to Porto and home though, cold Norway awaits!

  5. Well said Victoria and I am glad that you came all the way from Peru because we had the chance to meet you! LIfe is easier when you follow your passion. Not because everything simply falls into your lap or that suddenly you don’t run into any road blocks but because you now know what you want and you will continue to work to get there no matter what happens. I’m glad that we could help a little in easing your mind about your decision to come. These conferences are a great way to meet people in the industry and learn from some experts in their field. Good luck with your new career and we look forward to following you in your journeys.

    • Thank you Deb. It was so awesome to meet you and Dave. Your talk was definitely one of the highlights of the past three weeks and, without a doubt, the perfect start. I am so delighted I made the trip from Peru. I certainly learned more than I ever could sitting at a computer by myself and, best of all, I’ve made a ton of new friends. Look forward to seeing you at the next one.

  6. I’m so glad you got a lot out of TBU. It has helped me so much since I went to my first conference in Innsbruck last year and I’ve learnt something from each conference I’ve attended since then. I hope we can meet up at WTM next month and talk more about your Veggie travel guide.

    • Thanks Larissa. It was great meeting you too. I’m afraid we won’t be at WTM. Steve’s off to India and I’m starting a month-long yoga course in Mexico today! Hope our paths cross elsewhere.


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