Blogging is a lonely activity. The travel bloggers I know are some of the most gregarious, dynamic characters around but we spend a large part of our lives in the corner of a cafe plugging away on laptops.
It can also be somewhat demotivating to plug away on your own with no set way of tracking your success. Aside from comments from complimentary readers and (sometimes overzealous) tracking of page views on Google Analytics we have no official way of knowing if we’re doing a good job. No boss to pat you on the back and say ‘good job today’. No promotions or annual bonus.
Until someone forward thinking like Cinnamon Hotels in Sri Lanka comes along and decide they want to celebrate the work of travel bloggers.
This year’s Cinnamon TBCAsia was not just a conference but also a rather glam awards ceremony that recognised the hard work of travel bloggers from around the world.
700 entries were whittled down to 3 finalists across 10 categories that ranged from Best Use Of Social Media to Best Food, Aviation and Luxury niches.
I was incredibly honoured to be among these finalists in the Best Luxury Travel Blog category and as such was invited to experience Sri Lanka on a pre-conference famil trip.
I’ve spent the last week discovering the Central North Province of Sri Lanka; an outstanding area of UNESCO heritage sites, friendly faces and elephants roaming free.
The 30 finalists plus a further 30 invited bloggers were split into 4 groups in order to travel 4 different parts of Sri Lanka, whilst talking blogging on the bus or at the bar in-between.
At the end of the week the groups reconvened in Colombo for a travel blogging conference and the glittery awards ceremony that was attended by national media as well as tourism brands who came to network with the bloggers.
As it came time for the awards to be called I genuinely felt sick from nerves. I couldn’t eat a thing, which was a huge shame as Cinnamon Grand Colombo had put on a 5-star feast interspersed with national dance and live music. The finalists for each category were presented with Gold, Silver and Bronze awards and whilst I knew it was a massive feat to even be shortlisted, the competitive streak in me suddenly really wanted to take home the big one.
I have been very lucky to receive awards for blogging in the past. The British Travel Press Award I won in 2011 is what made me realise that travel blogging is perhaps something I could (and should) take seriously. However, I made the somewhat risky decision to rebrand in 2014 and to be honest have sometimes doubted whether I have done the right thing.
Although I am happy in myself with what I have created here (and from what I can see you supportive readers seem to be happy too) but sometimes we need a little outside recognition. Approval for what I do here is not something I necessarily seek but I cannot deny the confidence it gives you to keep at it if a board of professionals happen to recognise and celebrate your achievements.
So without further ado I guess I should reveal that – we did it! Girl Tweets World took home the Gold. Wahoo.
I was surprised, delighted, triumphant and a little bit hiccupy all at the same time. It was basically the icing on the cake of a wonderful week that combined all of my favourite things – travel, blogging and hanging out with awesome peeps who get what it is we do here.
So why should you put yourself forward for blogging awards in future?
- Because a pat on the back gives us the confidence we need to keep on plodding on and tap tapping on the keyboard.
- Because recognition of all the hours, thought, soul and heart we put into our blogs feels pretty damn good to be honest.
- Because some awards come with trips to Sri Lanka where you have a blast. (Well, actually that’s just TBCAsia but keep your eyes peeled for when applications open again.)
- And finally, because you might just win and it gives you a wonderful, warm gooey feeling. Especially when new friends, old readers and loyal fans like your husband act super proud and say you deserved it.
One of my favourite things about the awards ceremony was how the bloggers who had been travelling together for the week all rallied around each other and were super proud when someone from their group was called on stage. I was especially touched by Kimmy from China who presented me with a good luck present (that totally worked – thanks Kimmy) and by my new friends Annika and Kaylia who looked just as stoked as me when my name was called out.
Thanks also to Janet who was sitting on my table and did a wonderful job of taking over my Snapchat so those watching at home who see the whole thing in real time with me.
The Thank You Bit
Massive thanks to Cinnamon Hotels for pulling off this incredible celebration of travel blogging and championing our industry. Thanks to partners like Sri Lankan Airlines who flew everyone in and the Professional Association of Travel Bloggers who collaborated on the event.
Thanks to each and every one of you who comes here to read my words and thanks again to all who sent messages across the interwebs that made this (sometimes doubtful) blogger feel really good and a little bit tearful. I <3 you.