More than that

We picked up the conversation as if we’ve only left to go to the restroom, instead of being separated for months. We caught up on each other’s lives, discussed our plans for the future, and our hopes for the nation.

Time and distance has eliminated the need to gossip and talk about other people’s lives. The evening is a joyous celebration of us — the happiness we felt about getting together again, the happiness we felt for each other’s achievements.

Age and maturity

My sister once told me to hang out with people older than me, because it gives you an opportunity to learn and grow. When you hang out with people your own age, you just gossip.

I did just that, and found it to be the truth: I gained valuable insights from my older friends, and from friends my age, a never ending stream of gossip.

What I also realized is that gossiping is not limited to the younger set — my older friends also revel in them and happily spread them around. The people I look up to, who I see as models of confidence and self-assurance, were also fraught with insecurities and have low self-esteem.

So it’s not about the age. It’s about finding friends who lift you up and bring out the best in you. Gossip will not go away, but there will be friends who genuinely feel happy about your achievements and stay with you when you’ve lost everything.

Near the end

If you do not stop complaining and writing about a certain thing, what does it mean? Does it necessarily mean that you hate it, or does it mean you are that much affected by it because you love it?

It is evident by my previous posts that I’ve been having this love/hate relationship with blogging for several years now. With the way blogging and now, social media has changed in recent years, I am finding myself wanting to give up on it.

No, not quit blogging. As my recent diligence with blogging and Instagram can attest, I still have the drive to write content and share my experiences online. What I can’t stand is how it has evolved into a giant marketing tool.

As I scroll through my feed, I see beautiful pictures of people and things, often promoting a place or an item, often not disclosed. Personally, I find it off-putting that for the right price, people will willingly peddle their sponsors wares, without clear indications that it is a paid promotion.

That is not the blogging I know. The blogs I grew up reading have heart and the blogger share their recommendations for the items that they bought and tried. Now, it seems people won’t try anything unless they’re paid to do it.

Last year, I eagerly signed up to join a conference targeted for travel content creators to network with fellow creators and more importantly, connect with possible sponsors. Back then, I was hardly blogging, and I had to wonder why I was so eager to sign up.

Looking at the community of people who are going to the event and reading their comments, I am flabbergasted at how unwilling people are to pay for things nowadays. Airlines must sponsor their flights, hotel stays have to be comped.

That’s when I realized I don’t want this anymore. I’ll continue blogging and working with companies I already have a relationship with, but I will not actively seek sponsorships (never had, to be honest). And I will always, always disclose any sponsored or paid content.

The fire without

We were told to find our passion. I found mine.

But what happens when the passion dies?

My passion is traveling, not travel blogging. I have been lucky enough to find myself traveling often — sometimes on my own dime, sometimes for work. However, through the years, the trips that do make it on the blog became few and very far in between. There are trips that I am required to write about, and when I do get trips that I am not obliged to, I don’t.

I found my passion, and it’s not blogging. If it was, I would have been posting a whole lot more. I would have been cozying up to sponsors, my social media filled with praises and plugs for products and services.

Instead I sit here in the dark, taking a short break from my 9-6 job, that I still could not afford to give up. I was one of the pioneers of the travel blogging scene in the Philippines. I have a fairly good reputation, and I have authority and credibility. I have plenty of opportunities.

I chose to ignore them. I chose to slowly back away from it.

I still get the occasional invites, and I’d be a hypocrite if I say I do not want the perks I still get. I am grateful for all of them, but at the end of the day, in my ideal world, I can afford to pay for everything and not need any sponsorships.

Maybe that will happen someday. Maybe I’ll get back my desire to write without the weight of people’s expectations. For now, I’ll continue occasionally selling out portions of my soul advertorials.

But someday.

Never worthy

There comes a point when self-deprecation is not cute anymore.

It’s annoying when you recognize someone’s skill, and they brush off your compliment, saying that their work is crap.

It’s as annoying as the egotistical maniac who just cannot stop talking about how great they are.

It makes you look like you’re fishing for compliments, which you will shoot down.

Own up to your skill. If you think your work is not up to par, work on it. Practice, hone your skill.

Stop making excuses.