How I Almost Gave up the Love of My Life. It’s Funny When I Think about it Now.

Photo of How I Almost Gave up the Love of My Life. It’s Funny When I Think about it Now. 1/4 by Prateek Dham
The Love of My Life - Travelling & Travelogues

By the way, the love that I am talking about here is “travel blogging.” I am not yet a delinquent because a woman betrayed me in love.

Quite possibly, the two definite things that I love the most are:

1. Travelling

2. Writing about Travelling

I cannot really give up on the first thing. It becomes nearly impossible for me to function without taking at least one trip up to the mountains every fortnight. In fact, only recently I watched a video on how it is scientifically proven now that travelling makes a human being happier. I have a college degree in Engineering (just like most of you reading this), so obviously I dare not challenge science and hence I recommend frequent travelling to everyone.

Coming to the second point - writing about travelling. Now that was tricky. Although it’s a human need to share experiences with fellow humans, but there’s also a human want where the desire to get appreciated by like-minded people is just irreplaceable. I thought, if at all I was sharing my itineraries & pictures & stories & videos & what not with the world, somebody in the world should, at least, be reading and appreciating it.

The Beginning

Photo of How I Almost Gave up the Love of My Life. It’s Funny When I Think about it Now. 2/4 by Prateek Dham
It was disheartening to lose my writing to cat pictures.

I soon realised that although people do ‘like’ my travel pictures on Facebook & Instagram whenever I share them, but the main chunk of trips which lay there in my stories & content went mostly unnoticed. I may be wrong on this, but unless and until I posted pictures of furry cats on social media, nobody really wanted to discuss anything with me. So, I figured soon enough that I was probably broadcasting my content on to the wrong audience day in and out.

That was when a friend of mine suggested that I should start my own blog. It was not a bad idea, I thought, so I made a Wordpress account and started right away.

It was all flowery in the beginning. I wrote and posted as much as I wanted and to the audience that I intended to target. By the way, this “audience” was none other than my group of FB and Insta friends, who were interested in my travelogues. I had sent them invites, and 53 of them decided to oblige and started following my blog.

Every now & then I used to post my travelogues with a thousand pictures, but the response was lukewarm to say the most. Hardly anyone ever discussed the trips with me, even when I wrote about my ultra-difficult treks in the Himalayas or how I lived at almost zero cost whenever I backpacked. Also, the fact that my follower count grew from 53 to a meagre 59 in the span of three months of regularly updating it, was kind of disheartening.

The Gestation

I am actually not a person who completely gives up that easily, but I did decide to give my travel blogging a bit of a break in order to understand what exactly was going wrong.

I shopped around the internet to know where the most number of travel bloggers are updating regularly and why are they so successful. Co-incidentally, around the very same time, I started seeing a lot of travel articles from Tripoto being shared on social media. Their Facebook page had a decent following too. I went ahead and read their blogs too; they were pretty well-written and researched but I realised that the authentic user-generated content that they took pride in was on the very similar lines as I was doing already on my own blog. The only difference was that the Tripoto ones were getting massive amount of traction as compared to the ones written by me on my own personal blog.

The obvious idea that struck me was to shift my travelogue pursuits to Tripoto from Wordpress, and give my love one final shot.

I poured my heart when writing on Tripoto. I am usually very critical of my own work but I really liked the first blogpost that I wrote there - Relinquishing Boyhood in Pune through Food.

Photo of How I Almost Gave up the Love of My Life. It’s Funny When I Think about it Now. 3/4 by Prateek Dham

It went live on Tripoto, and it was probably for the first time in my life that a travelogue written by me was read by more than a thousand people. It was massive in my eyes; I was happy.

I kept on writing for a couple of months there, but my happy initial feeling was overtaken by a bittersweet feeling now. Even though the traction that I was getting on my Tripoto blogposts was a lot more than wherever I tried earlier, but still they were nowhere close to the numbers that other people were getting by writing on the very same medium. While my articles did garner a couple of thousand views in a day, I had actually read blogs that garnered lacs in the same time.

The Rise

Photo of How I Almost Gave up the Love of My Life. It’s Funny When I Think about it Now. 4/4 by Prateek Dham
The writer in me was satisfied, at last.

I gradually got bored of writing on Tripoto as well, and I had mentally decided to give it up soon.

That’s when I wrote a heartfelt piece called Mcleodganj’s Shiva Cafe: The Beginning of the Cult. I don’t know whether it was blessed by Lord Shiva Himself or it was actually well-written, but it took off massively. The number of views that I got on this particular blogpost was unprecedented. I touched a lakh views for the very first time on Tripoto and I could see my article getting shared around on Facebook by random people I didn’t know. My inbox on Tripoto was flooded with congratulatory messages; people wanted to discuss my story with me, and more importantly this gave visibility to my earlier blogposts as well.

That was my first “viral” article. It was an unknown but an ecstatic feeling for a person who had been pursuing this very feeling for over a year now.

The Present

I write regularly on this medium now, without really caring about whether or not my articles will go “viral.” I guess after a point of time, when your work gets recognised and appreciated, you understand that maybe there was actually no issue with the travelogues that I was writing earlier; the issue was the lack of a familiar community. Also, if I meander a bit into the functional aspects a bit, the fact that it is relatively easy to write on Tripoto as compared to Wordpress is an added bonus. The experience is immersive and I can post my pictures, my videos, and whatever there is to go with my travelogues, all at one place instead of posting content on Wordpress and pictures/videos on Facebook/Instagram. Travel is a very niche subject that although appeals to most but very few people are actually really passionate about it. At Tripoto I finally found that very familiar feeling that I didn’t on Facebook, Instagram and on the Wordpress blog. Here, people look forward to reading my next post in order to discuss it with me; whereas earlier even if my post was outstanding, I wouldn't expect it to pass by anyone’s eyes, let alone somebody discussing it with me.

Trust me, it’s never too late to realise your potential. Maybe, just maybe, you’re performing in front of the wrong audience.