Whether you love traveling or writing or both, it’s hard to make a name for yourself in the industry full of writers. With a world filled with billions of humans, it’s hard to make a name for yourself in any industry! There has to be a technique, a niche, a method behind the madness. All three of those tactics take time, planning, and strategizing. Writing is about creating a fantasy space, finding a light, connecting your readers with your words and storytelling. A safe space for someone to connect with you and your story, make your content worth reading.
Katie McKnoulty is the blogger behind The Travelling Light, aligning her aesthetics with her content and photos, all while her journey is about finding her light. The traveling light.
Katie’s story started with traveling quite often. Growing up in Brisbane, Australia, her family took jobs that allowed them to travel and see the world together, seeing other countries for up to a month per year.
“…Asia, Europe, Africa, the UK, the US..”
“I was never homesick, I was always spending my time poring over guidebooks before every trip – finding places for us to go, photographing it all on my little camera. Without knowing it, I guess I was training to be a travel blogger from a young age.”
We all start out a bit confused about our goals, our niche, and even what we want to do with our lives. Most college graduates even feel this way and dread the question from THAT ONE family member “So, where do you see yourself in 10 years?”With that said, Katie followed with a suggestion,‘...even with all these clues, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, just that it would involve travel’
When Katie entered a job for travel marketing, it wasn’t what she was expecting. Disillusioned, generic, and all too touristy. The audience was far too broad to cater to.
‘Go see Big Ben when you’re in London!’ 'Don’t miss the Eiffel Tower in Paris!’ I knew there was more to traveling than that. I knew there were more stories to be told if I could just dig a little deeper. I knew the kind of travel I loved, stories that could open you up new things and inspire and surprise you.”
Finding her goal, story, and niche- this was it. Instead of advertising to what felt like a tripadvisor pitch, Katie showcased hidden and unique places- stories of which weren’t already being told through photography and the combination of words.
“The blog has evolved into a journal for digital nomads as well as showcasing these special, soul-lifting places all around the world.”
The Industry of Blogging/Influencing
Writing is a talent and how we all execute it is entirely different. Journalist, reporters, bloggers, and even the industry that Instagram and social media have opened for us. So open that everyone and anyone is competing for the same spot of becoming ‘known’ through their work. It’s tough, but it doesn’t have to be so cut-throat competitive. Many writers want the recognition and don’t have the passion for the industry. When I started to scroll through Katie’s blog and content, I knew it was a passion that formed the talent.
“My best advice is to just follow your bliss and your inspiration. If something captures your attention, a certain niche or problem or way of presenting information, if you can’t help but shout about it, whatever it is, then you should share it with the world.”
I agreed and replied with the fact that ideas are all your own, they are intangible.
Start wherever you are, with whatever you have, but just start. Because you’ll learn a million times more in one week or just blogging/Instagramming and by starting to get your stuff out there than you will in a month of ‘pre-planning’ and pre-strategising.
I followed with asking Katie a few tips and pointers for drafting and starting out with your blog. You have the idea down. Now let’s get planning!
Katie gave great advice and points out the key to planning and consistency.
“I think you refine your niche and figure out what you’re passionate about as you go, I think a lot of times you can’t figure that out unless you’re in the thick of it, just doing it.”
“Just put in the hours! You can’t help but become a better writer/photographer/traveler when you’re spending hours and hours creating and surrounding yourself with aspirational work in your field too.”
Afterall, “If you love what you’re doing, you should be happy putting in hours and hours, if it doesn’t feel joyful a lot of the time then what’s the point of doing it?”
Biggest Illusions About Traveling
We all scroll through our Instagram feed and get immediately the feeling of envy from the spectacular posts that seem so out of reach! I get it, I get that feeling! So, I wanted to ask Katie more about how the glamorized posts may be illusions.
“People sometimes ask me how I afford to travel so much but apart from the airfares…traveling is just living, if you want it to be.”
Here are a few tips from Katie regarding living abroad, affordably:
- “Skip the hotels and stay in Airbnb apartments or spare rooms, renting out your place back at home to cover the cost”
- “You can find cheap airfares pretty easily these days if you are flexible with dates and days”
- “Take pictures as souvenirs instead of buying clothes and trinkets.”
Challenging Sacrifices Amongst Traveling
We can all assume the worst, but it’s best to stay light and stay positive. Traveling is a blessing! Since Katie was a world traveler starting at such a young age, I was curious to understand some struggles of the blessing!
“Not being there for your family and friends. I’ve missed so many weddings, births, parties, holidays, moments with the people I love. With traveling you have to be prepared to miss people, disappoint people, fall in and out of touch with people, let your attachments go and just hope you’ll see the people you love somehow and that whatever you can manage in terms of keeping in touch with your friends and family will be enough to keep the relationship going.”
Secrets to Packing Lightly
Packing. We all dread it. Unpacking. We all dread that too. Honestly, I just want to bring every. single. item. I own! What if I regret not bringing it? What if I can’t stop thinking about it? Katie...help!
“When you’re packing, pretend you’re only going away for one week- you only need the bare minimum! After packing, look back at what you’ve packed and try to imagine if you could possibly live with just this collection of stuff for a month, six months, a year- however long you’ll be away.”
“Particularly when I go to places like India or Indonesia though, it feels really good if I can bring not so many clothes and to free your mind from fashion a bit, and buy a few local things too and dress in a different way to match your surroundings, embody a different part of your spirit and the more free nature of Asia.”
Wow! Okay, from now on, I am going to think like a minimalist! I even pack far too much just on my daily commutes. Carrying a heavy bag(s)...sucks. Especially alone, it’s practically impossible and definitely painful.
Take Katie’s advice,“Start packing with a technique and stick to it!”
See more of Katie’s stunning photos on her well-designed, aesthetically pleasing, will make you very jealous you are not traveling with her...blog!
Words: Emma Goodnough
Told By: Travel Photographer & Blogger, Katie McKnoulty @thetravellinglight