Where SavoirThere Is Going In 2017 & Why I’d Like You To Come Along
Written by Jaillan Yehia
I’ve never been one for naval gazing on this site, or on social media in general. So this is a real first. But stick with me, there’s something in it for you. I promise.
I love travel (obvious?) and I’ve been obsessed with it for 40 years. My aim when I started SavoirThere in 2011 was to have a single place to write down my answers to all the travel questions people asked me, so I could help them out more.
I’ve always wanted to share my travel knowledge – hence the name. I really can’t stand the idea of people getting a raw deal or not having a great holiday, especially if I can help.
But since then the internet has really changed, travel has changed quite a lot too, heck the world has REALLY changed (I’m not going to get into that right here, right now, don’t worry) so I think it is time for this blog to change…
This isn’t the blog post I set out to write today. I was going to finish a nice little innocent post about my latest trip to Devon (which is delightful by the way. Blog post coming soon and all that).
But some total clickbait clip I watched yesterday on Facebook was just ringing in my ears.
Which is weird because when I watched it I didn’t think any more of it than I did the 1001 other Facebook clips I’d watched in 2016.
It was all about how social media has ruined millennials (well, all of us really) making us unbelievably self-absorbed and entitled egomaniacs (so great candidates for POTUS the lot of us. See, I promised I wasn’t going to get into that and look what I did), and causing us to think we need to present a perfect version of our lives on Instagram and Facebook. I know, hold the smartphone, that is brand new information.
It was just the way the guy in the clip described the narrative of modern life: ‘My life is perfect. Even though I’m depressed’ that got me thinking about blogging, without me quite realising I was.
(And no I’m not going to link to the clip because it looks so clickbaity that it will ugly up my blog post something chronic. It’s from a Facebook page called Vine Survivor which I think says it all.)
This connected with something else I’ve noticed lately – a lot of travel bloggers sharing long posts about all the amazing things they did in 2016, partly to inspire you to think about your travels for 2017 of course – and also to show what a brilliant life they have. I’m not saying for a minute I am not guilty of this behaviour too. In 2016 we were all guilty.
It is part of the job to be fair, but while showing the most glamorous side to your travel life probably inspires a lot of people it must make others feel, well, bigly bad, maybe even depressed, and I don’t want to be part of that.
And then I realised that something has been niggling me for a while. There’s a massive lack of honesty to today’s online world that I find really troubling. When I started a travel blog I never set out to share my life online, or to make anyone else feel like they aren’t good enough, I just wanted to give information and tips and ideas for what to do with your time off.
I’m not knocking travel bloggers for doing these posts – I have done them myself (though I always tried to spin it so there was a lesson or two in there rather than just a big ol’ brag list), and I don’t want to get into the territory of blogging about blogging here, because that is the polar opposite of where I want to go with this.
But to tell you the truth, I realise they even make me feel like a bit of a travel slouch because – and I can’t believe I’m going to highlight this sentence – I only went to a handful of places in 2016. Then again I doubt the internet is demanding to know where my 2016 travel round up post is.
Last year I spoke at a conference in Austria, I visited my mum in Newcastle and my dad in Denmark, I went to Rome and Menorca, saw Man United play Arsenal at Old Trafford pootled about in Canada for most of the first half of the year, and then I moved 2 people and a cat from Canada to the UK, before rounding the year off with a couple of little sojourns in the UK. That’s it. Thinking about it, before social media, this would have seemed like quite the big year.
But somehow I feel like I didn’t do enough. Not to make it worthy of a travel blog post anyway.
Maybe because it’s New Year and I’m reading a ton of inspirational quotes on Instagram and Facebook (isn’t it ironic) but I find myself wondering what kind of standards I must be setting myself that it feels like travelling to 3 countries and living in 2 isn’t quite exciting enough?
And then I realised something – I never got into this with blogging thing with the cult of personality in mind. I’m an old fashioned journalist more than I am a blogger and I believe that the story shouldn’t be about the author but instead it should really be about the reader.
I have no real burning desire to tell people about all the amazing things I have done unless it is to help folks do amazing things themselves. So it doesn’t actually matter how many places I went to in 2016 as long as I’m still helping people travel.
So for me, it is time to get back to basics.
As much of a cliche as it is to do this on New Year’s Day, while everyone is focused on change and new beginnings at least for one day, I’m going to set out my stall for SavoirThere in 2017 in black & white (because if you write it down you have to do it).
My 2017 new Year’s Resolution is to make this blog more useful for other people.
It sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?
What I’m trying to do is make my travel blog relevant for ‘civilian’ travellers; normal people who like to travel, or want to get away from time to time, but shock, horror, don’t have a blog. Maybe don’t even have an Instagram account. Say what?!
Those are the people I want to be reading my site, and if that sounds like you (and thanks for reading through 23 paragraphs to get to this bit) It is YOU I want to write for.
I haven’t totally worked out how to do this yet. After all I just decided all this about 20 minutes ago.
But I do know one thing: I only clicked on that clip about millennials because my (non-blogger) friend shared it with the comment:
‘I too almost didn’t watch this due to the enormously “clickbaity” headline but it’s actually very, very, fucking interesting.’
I wouldn’t have clicked on it at all if that genuine, honest, human, humorous and rather sweary caveat wasn’t there.
So I can promise you one thing.
That some genuine, honest, human, humorous and sometimes maybe even sweary explanations of where to go and what to do when it comes to travel will be RIGHT HERE in 2017.
My post about Devon is going to change before I even publish it. It isn’t going to be all about me and what I thought of my trip to Devon, because unless you’re my mum, you probably don’t care. And as my mum doesn’t have the internet, it’s unlikely you’re her.
Instead I’m going to really focus on what you would think of the trip, and whether it is right for you, so that if you want to go on that exact trip you won’t have to spend time researching it yourself.
So here is a little list of other things I’d like to do with my blog this year, not because I think they will make me money or because I did a bunch of focus groups (or in fact even asked a single person, because I didn’t. I work from home so I asked the cat obviously) but just because this is what feels right to me.
I hope these ideas will help or entertain you if you like to travel and stuff.
WHERE IS SAVOIRTHERE.COM GOING THIS YEAR?
Not a list of places but instead a list of priorities:
- A website redesign is on the way, to make the site prettier. And faster / easier to read on a mobile phone.
- I’ll start a new section called Weekend Shortcut, with practical posts about how to have a weekend away somewhere very easily that are reader-focused. Just read it and go.
- Be a consumer champion – I’m passionate about bigging up companies staffed by humans that treat customers like humans, and I’d like to share the best and worst experiences I have if it can help you, I imagine many will be travel related, but you know, sometimes they might not be.
- Write about travel in England more – I live here (yay!), most of my readers live here, and it is a cracking place to go on holiday.
- Share stories of people who have left the UK to live overseas with the Real Life Brexiters series which people seem to enjoy.
- Create a spa days & girlfriends getaways section, because I’m increasingly realising that finding somewhere to go with your girlfriends is NOT easy.
- Answer readers’ real travel questions and queries because that was how this all started.
- Maybe create a dedicated food section, if readers have an appetite for it.
- Share people’s Travel Tattoo stories. I love my own little tattoo (which I happened to get in Vancouver) and I love seeing and reading about people’s tattoos, I find the art and the personal stories really inspiring. Maybe you do too?
- Oh and host an amazing travel competition to kick off 2017 .
Can I Draw Inspiration From You?
If you have a cool tattoo, if you’re a Brit who lives overseas, if you have a travel question or need help with a travel dilemma, if you read my blog and have any comments about the direction you’d like to see it go in, please email me – [email protected], or contact me through social media @savoirthere
Happy New Year!
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