I’ve felt like an outcast for most of my life. From wanting an unconventional life full of travel and choosing not to have children to to creating a life where I live by my own rules, there’s never been a point in my life where I’ve felt like I fit in with the “crowd.” As I look back after eleven years of growing my first blog, I’ve come to realize that not fitting in may have been my greatest asset.
The idea of becoming a full-time travel blogger never actually crossed my mind when I originally started my travel blog. When I launched Ordinary Traveler, my biggest hope was to keep a diary of my travels and maybe provide some tips to help friends and family during their travels. In 2010, full-time travel blogging didn’t even exist. There were a few nomads with travel blogs, but I didn’t know of any travel blogs written by people who were just like me.
How Not Fitting In Helped Me Grow My Business
While the nomadic life looked enviable, I didn’t feel it was right for me at the time — which is why I ended up naming my site Ordinary Traveler. I wanted to connect to the majority of people who craved a fulfilling home life, but also enjoyed traveling as often as they could.
Little did I know, for the next eleven years I would feel like I was constantly trying to explain the name of our blog. In a time when being extraordinary and standing out from the crowd was seen as #goals, other bloggers and travelers who found us online seemed to be puzzled by our name. Why would you want to call yourself Ordinary?
Over the next several years, thousands of travel blogs began popping up with the same theme: extraordinary, fearless, and adventurous souls who were different from mainstream society. This is who everyone looked up to.
So initially, my desire to connect to people by showing them I’m just like them actually made me feel like even more of an outsider with all of my peers and other travelers. It took me several years to realize that this was my journey. This is what needed to happen in order for me to accept myself and realize that I don’t need to fit in.
In blogging, on social media, and in life, you will never please everyone. Owning your truth and being yourself is exactly how you will find your community. So while I might not be #goals in the standards of everyone, I’m not changing who I am to conform to what sells in social media and blogging.
Accomplishments and fame will come and go and what you’re left with at the end of the day is how you feel about yourself. Are you being true to yourself or are you trying to fit in?
It may have taken me a few years to realize the gifts of not fitting in and there were plenty of times, when looking through my limited lens, I felt as if I had fallen behind compared to some of my peers. But during an Ayahuasca ceremony in Ecuador, I was shown how everything that has happened in my life was necessary in order for me to become the person I am meant to be.
Even though it felt difficult at times to accept, maybe I was not meant to be a full time travel blogger for the rest of my life. There is more that I am meant to do. The twists and turns of my journey have taken me to heights I could have never even imagined. If I had been handed everything I had wanted in the past, I wouldn’t be the person I am today — and for that I am beyond grateful.
I still make an amazing living off of my travel blog and I’m extremely grateful for all of the adventures it has brought into my life. If I would have fit in with the majority of society, I would have focused more of my attention and energy on Instagram than my blog — and instead of a thriving business, I’d be l scrambling to figure out my next move as Instagram becomes less and less lucrative.
I’d rather have a thriving business that can withstand the fluctuations of online fads and one that allows me the financial freedom to live the life I want versus millions of adoring fans to feed my ego.
My story may not look exactly like yours, but maybe it will give you a little peace of mind to know that everyone struggles with feeling like they don’t fit in and sometimes the thing you dislike the most about yourself is actually the thing you should be embracing.