Have you ever thought about blogging as being therapeutic? It can be, much the way keeping a diary is – except better. The first definition Merriam-Webster gives for therapeutic is: “producing good effects on your body or mind.”
Blogging can do both in a number of ways.
8 Reasons Blogging Is Therapeutic
Here are my top 8 reasons why blogging is therapeutic:
1. Sharing the Amazing
When you experience something amazing, what is the first thing you want to do? Tell someone about it, right? And how do you feel when you share that experience? Happy!
That's what travel bloggers feel all the time.
As they sit down and write about their latest adventure, they relive it. As they upload their awesome photos, the memories come flooding back and it feels good.
Part of sharing their experiences is knowing that it may help others want to see and do the same thing. Every travel blogger wants to inspire others to get out and experience amazing things!
When comments start rolling in, the opportunity to help on a more personal level increases and creates an even deeper therapeutic experience for the blogger.
For example, here's what we did during 48 hours offline in the Galapagos. This is one of our favorite family experiences (and is our most-watched video ever).
2. Working Through Difficulties
Every traveler and expat faces difficulties.
There may be problems adjusting to a new culture or language. They may experience travel delays or mixed up itineraries. Whatever the problem is, they all need to find a way to work through it.
Working through something physically and emotionally are two different things.
For example, dealing with total immersion in a foreign language physically may mean carrying around a dictionary and taking language classes. Dealing with it emotionally is a totally different story.
It means working through feelings of isolation and frustration, learning how to keep your eyes focused on your goal without getting bogged down and giving up.
For travel/expat bloggers, getting their difficulties down in black and white helps them step back and evaluate their situation, creating a balanced view.
In sharing their experience they want to give a realistic view of the problem while at the same time helping their readers see why the struggle is worth it. This leaves them with a concrete well-balanced article they can return to and reread when they need a boost.
This has happened to Bryan and I as we've continued to adjust to the culture and language in Ecuador.
As a travel/expat blogger it can feel a little odd to realize you've just been encouraged by one of your own articles (past or present) but therapeutic nonetheless.
3. Pushing Comfort Zone Limits
Putting yourself out there as a blogger means that you will probably try things that push the limits of your comfort zone. The very nature of travel and expat life often lends itself to this, which causes personal growth.
For example, back in Canada we would not have eaten cuy (guinea pig) because it's not commonly eaten there.
But here in Ecuador, it is – so we've eaten it.
Eating cuy pushed our family comfort zone a little, which was a good thing. Would I have done that if I was not a blogger? Yes, but some other things I may not have, like swimming with sharks.
While we were travel blogging about the Galapagos I needed to push my comfort zone a little more. We were asked to go on a snorkeling excursion were white-tipped reef sharks were cruising around. The white-tipped reef sharks of the Galapagos are a subspecies and are not aggressive, but I'm really scared of sharks! It's a fear verging on a phobia.
Did the fact that I was on assignment as a professional travel blogger make a difference? Yes. I needed to see what it was like so I could share it with others, so I did it.
I swallowed the lump in my throat, put on the gear and went for it, twice! I'm proud of myself for doing that. Therapeutic? I think so.
It may sound a little lame that my comfort zone pushing resulted from a swim with non-aggressive white-tipped reef sharks. But the point is that travel blogging helps the blogger push the limits of their personal comfort zone (where they might not otherwise do so) to experience new things and continue to grow.
4. Battling Isolation
Oddly enough, being a traveler or expat can leave you feeling isolated. Especially if you don't speak the language or if you have no contacts in the area when you arrive.
Blogging is communication and communication dispels isolation.
When we moved to Ecuador I started blogging. I didn't know Spanish (the local language) so I was feeling isolated, some days more than others. While blogging I felt like I was talking to someone (other than my husband or daughter) and that helped me feel less isolated.
When people commented on my posts I felt even less isolated.
Being able to communicate through blogging while adjusting to a foreign language helped me work through feelings of isolation, it still does.
5. Learning From Others
As a travel/expat blogger we are constantly learning from new experiences, we are also constantly learning from others.
When we share experiences on our blogs we get comments from readers that have been there and done that, and they don't mind telling us that they did it better. They may also offer advice on how we can make things a little easier in the future.
We've learned from our readers how to better deal with government paperwork, language learning, cultural adaptation, and a lot more. That has made adjusting to expat life easier.
We've also learned things to avoid. For example, some readers will leave comments that demonstrate an unbalanced/negative view of the language or culture. Or they will share thoughts about something that they wished they had done differently.
Recognizing what not to do can be a big step in the right direction.
6. Appreciating The Details
You've probably heard it said that, when you are learning something new you'll absorb it much better if you think about how you would teach it to someone else. The same can be said of experiences.
As a blogger when you are experiencing something new, you are thinking about the best way you can share it with your readers. This makes you really pay attention to the details. You make yourself stop and smell the roses.
A travel/expat blogger is focused on how things look, (getting the best shot to make their readers feel like they are there), feel (describing the atmosphere so their readers will feel in-tune with what was going on around them), taste (what mixture of common foods could they use to describe the new flavor of that exotic dish so their readers will want to try/avoid it,) and smell (who wouldn't want to know that Monkey-Faced orchids smells like ripe oranges.)
Everyone knows that stopping to smell the orchids is very therapeutic.
Thinking about starting a blog? Here's the complete guide to becoming a travel blogger.
7. Community Support
As a travel/expat blogger you have a connection to the world community. As long as you write well and are doing a good job with SEO you will be reaching a lot of people who are interested in where you are and what you are doing.
This can be very helpful when it comes to needing help/support. As a blogger you may need to reach out to your community and ask for help in finding a location, arranging transportation, or dealing with some other difficulty.
Your community can come to the rescue and help you find what you are looking for.
8. Documenting Growth
Why do people write diaries? Is it because they want to be able to look back at all their ups and downs to see how they have grown? Is it because they want to document all their good times so they feel less like life has passed them by?
Or is it just because it helps them pause and think about what they are doing with their life and where it's heading? Whatever the reason, I think it's a healthy thing to do.
I've never been very good at keeping a diary even though I've wanted to.
My friend suggested keeping an “events diary” where I would just write the more exciting stuff down. I really liked that, and that's kind of what travel/expat blogging is.
The posts we write are often about exciting or pleasant things, but sometimes their about struggles and explaining how we figured things out and dealt with them.
As I look back over our blogs I see that our life has been anything but boring. It makes me happy to see what our family has been experiencing together and encourages me to keep it up.
I've never thought about “accidental therapy” before, but that's what blogging has been for me.
When I started blogging I never thought about all the ways it would be good for me. I just wanted to share the wonderful new things we were doing. We were also hoping to make a little money from it, which has also been somewhat therapeutic.
Have you experienced the therapeutic value of blogging? What would you add to this list? Please share your thoughts by commenting on this post.