Lacking inspiration and leaving the UK

It’s only now, when we’re just about to set off on a new adventure, that I’ve felt inspired to sit down and write. Amongst all the recent summer house sits, family get-togethers and work, I somehow lost my will to write. Now the car is ready to be packed, there’s a map with a route through Europe etched in our heads and I’m ready to face the road, and the blank page, once again.

Andrew and I at a wedding in Hereford this summer

Attending a summer wedding in Hereford

On blogging and lacking inspiration

We’ve been in the UK now for almost three months, a relatively long time in our nomadic life. While this period has been filled with things we love, like hanging out with family and friends and revisiting London, it hasn’t felt adventurous. The UK, to me, rarely does. Having lived most of my life here this island is just too familiar, especially after the intensity of hiking to Everest Base Camp and novelty of living in Thailand. Perhaps this lack of adventure is what’s caused my dearth of inspiration because for a long time now I’ve had nothing to say, about travel or life.

Part of this writing drought is also down to the fact that I’ve been blogging for over five years now and while I love it, (I wouldn’t have kept it up otherwise), there are inevitably times when I wonder what the point is. It can be hard to ignore the inner voice that pipes up and asks, is anyone actually reading this, who really cares about my narcissistic navel gazing and does the internet really need more travel articles?  Plus, this site really needs updating with a new design and shouldn’t I be putting more effort into my SEO and monetisation?

View of the 2017 Thames River Race from London Bridge

Watching the Thames River Race during our latest London housesit

The world of blogging has changed since I began, when it used to be about finding blogs that resonated with you, really reading content, commenting and connecting with others. Now, it feels like it’s all about social media, stacking up followers and relentlessly sharing. There are fake Instagram accounts and automated comment bots, endless sharing threads and scheduling tools. It’s exhausting. Despite all that crap though, I keep going because I love it when that spark of inspiration does come, when I have an adventure and feel that itch to sit down and write out what that experience meant to me and share it with even just one other person.

Work woes and facing the future

This summer has also been unexpectedly hard on the work front too. When we left Thailand in April I felt like we were smashing our digital nomad goals, we had a dream lifestyle in Chiang Mai and were actually putting money back into our savings account. Things definitely took a downturn over the summer though. I lost a regular, high-paying freelance client that I’d been relying way too much on and Andrew’s online teaching trailed off as his French students took summer breaks. We’ve definitely learnt some hard lessons about the unpredictability and seasonality of freelancing.

While we’ve still been earning, I feel we badly need to knuckle down again. We need the space to get back into a weekly working routine, which I hope we’ll find in the monthly apartment rentals we’ve set up in Porto and Prague – this autumn is full of P’s! Workwise, we’re also looking to the future. Whilst I’ve set up my own freelance website and hope to continue building my writing business, Andrew isn’t keen on teaching online forever. He wants to get back in the classroom, and having one full-time, guaranteed salary alongside my freelance income would certainly take the pressure off our finances and allow us to save consistently.

Towers and statues in Prague Old Town Square

We’re looking forward to a winter return to Prague

With this in mind, we’ve been talking more about the future, specifically where we’ll be this time next year. The whole reason we got married in Thailand was to make it easier to live and work in other countries. If Andrew gets a teaching job in the USA or New Zealand, for example, it’s likely that I can come along on a spousal visa and continue to work freelance. So, a key task for Andrew this autumn will be researching and applying for jobs starting next September. The outcome will determine the trajectory of our journey and next phase of our life.

Travel in the here and now

So that’s basically a mishmash of everything that’s been running through my mind these last few months and paralysing my writing muscles. Now, as we prepare to catch the ferry to mainland Europe on Saturday, I feel that familiar itch of excitement return. All these years on, travel still has the power to inspire me in a way nothing else does. I can’t wait to watch the road unfurl in front of me as we spiral our way through Europe, bask in Portuguese sunshine and hop from one historic city to the next.

Here’s what our European adventures look like so far:

  • 23rd September: we leave the UK and take the ferry to Dunkirk.
  • 23rd – 29th September: we drive down to Portugal via Amsterdam, France and Spain.
  • 29th September to 8th October: we’re housesitting some dogs and pigs near Lagos in southern Portugal.
  • 8th – 11th October: a quick stop in Lisbon (which turned out to be too expensive for us to rent an apartment in) where we’ll catch up with my little brother who’s currently walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain!
  • 11th October: 8th November – we’ll be in an apartment near Porto where we’ll get back into a proper work groove while exploring the area, we also hope to meet up with Patti and Abi from One Road at a Time, who will also be in Porto.
  • 8th – 17th November: we’ll make our way over to Prague. The exact route is yet to be determined but we’re hoping to stop in Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany and Ljubljana along the way.
  • 17th November – 17th December: we’ll be working away in our Prague apartment whilst enjoying the city and receiving family visits.
  • 18th – 21st December: we’ll drive over to France for our ferry crossing to the UK on the 21st, Just in time for Christmas.

After work woes and lacking inspiration to blog over the summer, this weekend we're leaving the UK for a three-month European road trip adventure.

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We’re also ready for a big, new adventure in 2018 and will be booking flights to South America in January soon! If you’ve made it to the end of this long post thanks so much for reading and following our journey. Let me know in the comments what your upcoming travel/life plans are and if you’re a blogger, how you deal with dips in inspiration.

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37 thoughts on “Lacking inspiration and leaving the UK

  1. Hi Amy! I just wanted to mention that I have been reading your blog for over 3 years now. When I started planning my nomad journey 5 years ago, I was reading more than a dozen blogs. By the time I started traveling, I was down to a favorite 8 or so. Now, after 2 1/2 years of life on the road, I only read one – yours. I have noticed that blogs (or me? or both?) are changing. As bloggers move toward monetisation things like product reviews start appearing and content becomes less authentic,interesting and trustworthy. One blogger couple even admitted to writing several glowing posts of China while secretly hating their time there. But, your blog…YOU are different! You have realness, honesty, connect-ability and are endlessly fascinating. I seriously hope that you don’t quit blogging. There aren’t many like you out there anymore.

    • Hi Nikki, thanks so much for your lovely comment, I really appreciate you reading for so long. Yes, I’m glad you’ve also noticed how much travel blogging has changed, it’s a really different ball game now. That sounds really dishonest writing glowing China reviews while secretly hating the place, I can’t imagine being able to do that!

  2. Hi guys! Enjoyed reading this post and finding out your travel plans for the rest of the year. Sounds like it’s going to be a busy and fun-filled few months! I love how honestly you have written about blogging and lacking inspiration, I can’t say I have experienced it yet but I’m sure I will too. Ryan and I are just starting teaching in Valencia and enjoying this beautiful city. We don’t have any travel plans at the moment, but we definitely want to get a weekend away somewhere in Spain over the next couple of months and we will also be going back home for Christmas. Enjoy your travels, look forward to reading about them 🙂

    • Hi Janine, glad to hear that you’re both enjoying Valencia and thanks for reading. I think inspiration slumps are bound to happen when you blog for long periods, this one has been particularly bad though. I feel inspired now that we’re hitting the road again though! I look forward to hearing what you get up to before Christmas too 🙂

  3. Totally feeling you about the UK not feeling adventurous, the familiar is really uninspiring to me too these days. I get itchy feet staying in one place a month! Being ‘home’ for 6 months when we back, especially over winter, was just too much. I felt myself slipping back into habits that I hated about our old life and it really started to get me down.

    And on the website redesign front, eurgh, don’t get me started! We’re having a hard time at the minute trying to balance the freelance paid work (which we shouldn’t be complaining about!) with building our own stuff. And when I say balance I mean not having to work 10,11,12 hour days to fit it all in.

    Anyways, glad you guys are feeling good about being back on the road again. Sounds like it’s just what you need right now and your itinerary looks awesome!

    • Hi Sarah, glad you can identify 🙂 We definitely need to get back on the road again and also have our own apartment space to build up our earnings once more. Glad things are going well for you guys; it must have been pretty depressing being back in the UK over the winter, it’s freezing here and it’s only September!

  4. Oh guys I so know how you feel. It can be a tough road sometimes and it always seems that just when one thing is working well something else trails off. I need to get back into some writing for the winter as our time here at camp slows down and we head to the warm beaches of Baja for a few months. Enjoy your road trip and the added adventure of being back on the road. Looking forward to following along 🙂

    • So true Rhonda, we haven’t chosen the easiest path, that’s for sure! Sounds like you’re getting ready for a new adventure too, enjoy the last of your camp work 🙂

  5. Your paragraph about the changes in blogging is so spot on, Amy, it’s as if you were speaking my mind. We will hit our 5 year mark next month. 5 years! And, I completely agree, it’s a different ball game with a new set of rules and where it’s all about social media, rather than the authenticity of content on the blog. It can be discouraging, but like you I love the writing process and I love having a creative outlet.

    We’re very much looking forward to catching up in Porto!
    Patti recently posted..Lyon to Montpellier & Murphy’s Law ~My Profile

    • It’s so nice to hear that you feel the same way Patti, it really is crazy just how much things have changed. It’s great to think that we’ve been following each other for so long though! Looking forward to seeing you and Abi in Porto soon 🙂

  6. Social media is a horrible game that I don’t think anyone can win. You have such a loyal following that I don’t think you need to worry about that side at all.

    Your articles are great and so well written and I think that’s what you’ve got to focus on.

    So excited for your future plans and following what you get up to.

    • Yep, you’re right, social media really sucks! Thanks so much for your kind words guys, I really appreciate it. Hope you enjoy Egypt despite the tough start.

  7. Amy, I hope you never stop blogging. I have followed your journey from the start and love your writing. It is because of blogs like yours that I have not given up on travel blogs. You are right about how travel blogging has changed, some blogs that I used to enjoy have now became too commercial and lack authenticity. I am glad you have new plans in the pipeline and you are excited about the future. I will look forward to following your journey 🙂

    • Thanks so much for the kind words Gilda. We are excited about the future and I’m sure this road trip will inspire me to write more posts again. Thanks for following 🙂

  8. Hi Amy! I completely agree with Nikki T! Before we went travelling, I signed up to lots of travel blogs and read quite a few but slowly tailed off except for yours! We aren’t travelling anymore….temporarily based in the South of France….but I still look forward to reading your posts and seeing your photos even though I don’t feel so part of that ‘road to adventure’ life now. I found when I stopped travelling, I stopped blogging! I tried to come up with interesting things to write about but when I sat down to write, I thought ‘how could I make something from home sound interesting?!’ and then ended up doing something else! Also, when I was feeling a bit lost and not sure of the future and negative, I found it bloody hard to find something positive to write about! So, with all that in mind, I have been seeing your UK posts and thinking how brilliant you both are for keeping up to date and working on your blog when nothing feels very exciting! Anyway, always love your blog and love your photos and it’s brilliant to know I can always go to your site and read up about your travels when I am missing being on the road! By the way, looking at your dates, if you want a place to stay in Languedoc, France when you come back from Portugal, get in touch. We are in the Languedoc national park in the mountains and are living in an old village house if you want to stop by for a night or two and we can show you around. It’s a place called Colombieres sur Orb and is 30km north of Beziers. I can send you my email address if you guys need a stopover. E 🙂

    • Hi Esme, thanks so much for your comment, I really appreciate you reading for so long. Also, thanks so much for the offer that’s so generous, your area sounds lovely! I’ll let you know if we’re passing. I hope life is treating you well in France, it sounds like an idyllic place to live.

  9. Am I a blogger? I don’t know. I blog. Occasionally. About my trips and places I’ve visited, but it’s generally on an ad-hoc basis, with no real pattern or structure. I’ll go months without posting; it’s not a lack of inspiration directly, more a lack of motivation, for many of the reasons you state (will anyone read it, what’s the point, etc).

    I guess my difference is that “at the moment” I have a full-time non-travel-related job, so it’s almost like my brain is saying ‘I don’t “need” to blog, it’s just something you can do for fun’. I guess in that mindset, it’s hard to garner motivation since I know it really won’t make a lot of difference if I do it or not.

    But redundancy is coming, and with my payoff I’m going to be doing more travelling, and hopefully more writing, and maybe make a kind of subsistence living off it. We’ll see … 😀

    As for your thoughts on the UK – I can understand them exactly because it’s so familiar, but sometimes it helps to imagine yourself as a tourist rather than a resident. One of my travel aims is to visit every county, unitary authority, yadda yadda yadda, in the country and while much of the time it feels like the same shops shuffled in a slightly different order, there’s always something everywhere that can leap out and surprise you with beauty, quirkiness, or historical ‘coo’ factor, often things even the locals don’t realise. Conversely, I’ve seen enough Buddhist temples in SE Asia for one lifetime … 😀
    The Barefoot Backpacker recently posted..More Than Coal – An Overview Of Southern YorkshireMy Profile

    • Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. I agree, there is always more to discover wherever you are in the world, I really enjoyed heading up to North Wales for the first time this summer and hiking Snowdon, for example. It sounds like you have an exciting journey ahead and lots of blogging to come, I think it’s great to see blogging first and foremost as something enjoyable and fun to do. Good luck with everything 🙂

  10. These days I can always produce content because as you mentioned, it’s changed. Every now and then I’ll publish a story post like yours but my efforts are centered on providing quality information to people looking to visit destinations and doing so with steamingly good SEO. This is why our income is leaping forward so dramatically. My site now funds our family at a nice financial level and every day the income grows. It’s just a formula, once you have it, it’s easy and I keep wanting to grow my baby. Exciting plans! Europe for Christmas will be lovely. I think we’ve decided on a nice hotel in Singapore for Christmas with a bunch of Malaysia, Borneo and so on either side. Then Nepal again in Feb. We keep thinking Americas but the food puts us off, too bland! Catch you soon somewhere in the world.
    Alyson recently posted..Cu Chi Tunnels Tour & Cao Dai Temple SaigonMy Profile

    • Hi Alyson, it’s great to hear that your site is doing so well, I definitely want to get more of a balance between useful SEO-style posts and personal ones. It’s hard because for the last couple of months I’ve barely written anything, I’ve just felt really uninspired. Hopefully that will change now as we move onwards again and have more space to work. Yes, we’re really excited about exploring more of Europe! Your plans sound great, can’t wait to see how it goes. I’m a bit worried about the vegan/veggie options in South America next year – we’ll see how it goes!

  11. I agree with what Nikki T said “As bloggers move toward monetisation things like product reviews start appearing and content becomes less authentic,interesting and trustworthy.” I know bloggers have to make money, but I find myself avoiding the blogs with ever-changing ads – too distracting when I’m trying to read. I also never take posts too seriously when someone writes that they were given a free room, meal, etc., somewhere in exchange for an honest review. While the reviews may be honest, I’m sure the establishment goes the extra mile in those cases, so how authentic can it be….

    Blogs like yours seem peaceful to me. I can proceed at my own pace without constant visual interruptions. I really hate the blogs where I’m reading a post and suddenly a window prompting me to subscribe pops up in front of what I’m reading. Um, hello, I’m already subscribed, that’s very annoying every.single.time. it happens! Most people are smart enough to figure out how to subscribe when they want to. I know I looked all over the place for such an option when I wanted to follow someone. Ok, rant over.

    Anyway, I love your pictures and your writing style and probably don’t comment enough, but I still read them all. I’ve enjoyed your pictures of Asia because it’s not a place I expect to visit – way too hot and humid for me to even consider. I will also enjoy your pictures from your upcoming European adventures because those are places I DO want to visit.

    I hope you get your sense of adventure back (I’m from the U.S., so I LOVE England and find it very adventurous). By the way, you and Andrew look very pretty in your “wedding clothes” above.

    • Hi Donna, thanks so much for reading and commenting, it’s great to hear your thoughts and thanks for the compliments on our wedding outfits! I sometimes feel like we’re terrible bloggers because we really don’t monetise the site properly or concentrate on SEO enough, so I’m glad to hear that you like things the way they are (not that there aren’t lots of improvements we could make to the site!). We look forward to sharing our European adventures with you over the next few months 🙂

  12. Makes me pretty glad I’m not into social media much! I’ve got a couple of travel blogs I love to read and yours is definitely one of them. Your writing is much more than just Pollyanna travel, you write about all the hard bits too and that sets you apart from most other bloggers. Hope your muse catches up with you, and enjoy the Ps!

    • Thanks so much Mel, it’s nice to hear from someone else who’s not really into social media 🙂 I’m sure this new burst of travel will inspire some new stories.

  13. Hi Amy / Andrew,

    ‘Just want you to know that I enjoy reading your blog.

    ‘So sorry that it was getting you down and you lost inspiration for a little while. You’ve been at it much longer than I have (4 years), but I’ve learnt right from the start to just do things your way, and not look at any one else especially when it comes to SEO, monetisation, social media tools, destinations, what or how to write, etc.

    I personally only blog once a week, I’m not on Instagram, SnapChat or Pinterest, and I have no plans to do so! I totally understand that back in the UK things seem a little boring, but I think you should look at it the other way around, that in the UK, there’s loads of places to explore that readers would find interesting (depending where your readers come from) e.g. Scotland, Ireland & Wales, or even the smaller UK towns that most “tourists” have never heard of or even been to, like the Lake District, the Peak District, the Merseyside, Newcastle, Sheffield, Leeds, Hull (yuk!), Bradford, Birmingham, Nottingham, etc

    Anyhoo, now that you’re on the road again, you’re going to have a brilliant time in Portugal (I don’t know why most people don’t visit), Prague (oh yeah!), Germany (obviously!), Slovenia (Italy isn’t far away. Neither is Austria or Bosnia). You. Are. Going. To. Have. A. Great. Time. And these countries are lovely in autumn/winter.

    I look forward to reading more about your upcoming adventures!
    Victoria @TheBritishBerliner recently posted..Best of Poland: Dumplings, & everything in between!My Profile

    • Hi Victoria, that’s such great advice about doing things your own way, I often get bogged down comparing myself to other bloggers, which I know is a terrible things to do to myself! I think it’s great that you’ve narrowed down the amount of social media channels you have, I think maybe we spread ourselves a bit thin and end up failing on all fronts a bit! Yes, we are so excited to be back on the road in Europe again, can’t wait to explore Portugal! I really enjoy reading your blog too by the way 🙂

  14. Pingback: 2,080 miles later… our road trip to Portugal - Our Big Fat Travel Adventure

  15. I’m a traveler and i love to read blogs like this.. it provides me a lot of info before traveling. The thread is awesome too.. im looking forward to read more!! cheers!! for the next blog

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