Behind the scenes of a travel blog

What you see on blogs and social media is everything I want you to see. Here's a behind the scenes look at what it takes to run a travel blog.

What you see on blogs and social media is everything the author wants you to see. If you strip it all away, what is left is the most captivating shot and a headline written to get you to click on the post. The story, visually-appealing photos, and cinematic 4K videos for each article take an incredible amount of time to curate and produce what you read.

This article provides a peek inside the effort it takes to photograph, write, edit and produce curated content for DESTINATIONS UNKNOWN.

Travel blog inspiration begins with you

What intrigues you about travel? The beauty of destination? The mystery around it? Whatever your answer is, people, share the same passion as you.

For me, the primary focus of DESTINATIONS UNKNOWN is to showcase Earth’s beauty, history, and raw power. Therefore, tourist traps are largely avoided unless they have a significant “wow factor.” 

The logistics of travel

Everything you hate about traveling – I do too. Traveling to a far-off destination requires time, money, and patience. Because travel bloggers are generally familiar with a lot of the day-to-day travel shenanigans, we appear to handle the stress better; In no way are we immune to last-minute changes, flight delays, COVID-19 requirements, and unexpected challenges upon arrival.

Since the 2009 start of DESTINATIONS UNKNOWN, I’ve experienced many mishaps; everything from outrunning severe weather to losing my wallet in a foreign country to unbelievable flight delays/cancellations. Each of these stories is unique and has turned out to become some of the most amazing stories throughout my travels.

The things I’ll do (and not do) for a good photo

While the story is essential, having supporting photos and videos is what draws the reader into the adventure. Photography and cinematography are two critical pieces; Unfortunately, both are incredibly complex and time-consuming.

Getting the perfect shot isn’t a point-and-click adventure, and getting “that perfect shot” usually requires a bit of craziness, requiring me to step outside of my comfort zone. Yes, some of the photos look dangerous, but I don’t get as close as you may think to the edge of cliffs. Safety is always my top priority, and I don’t condone or promote reckless or illegal behaviors. 

I was in full safety gear and securely tethered as I hung out the side of a helicopter in-flight to get the perfect shot.

I spent a total of 18-hours driving, hiking and waiting for the weather to clear in the Philippines to get the perfect shot.

It’s not as glamorous as you think

Jet lag and waking up at ungodly hours are the most glamor-killing reality of the start of the day. Language barriers and technology challenges further compound logistics as the journey to the destination begins. Camera gear is heavy, and the ideal photography locations are not (usually) readily accessible. 

There’s a lot of sweat, bruises, and sometimes free-falling blood at the end of the day very long days exploring.

I’ve hiked through an active lava field in Hawaii. The terrain was awful and full of volcanic glass rock. At the end of the hike, my legs had dozens of superficial cuts and the free-falling blood ruined my sneakers.

I hiked 8km up the side of a mountain in Iceland with 25kg of camera gear to get a better shot of an erupting volcano.

The content nightmare of a travel blog

Producing a travel blog article involves three key pieces: The story, the photos, and a professionally produced video. The race to create content begins once the journey to the destination has concluded – in most cases, this starts on the trip home.

For each picture that is posted, there’s an average of 30 other discarded photos.

For each 60-second video, there’s an average of 15-minutes of discarded video.

The average post (story, photos and video) takes more than 40-hours to produce a finished product.

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