So here we go again.
A new year brings a new beginning and in this instance, a new blog for yours truly.
Out here in Asia, I get the benefit of a second new year but even the fireworks and welcoming of the Rooster are now a dot in the rear-view mirror. Christmas is a distant memory and the New Year cheer has long since faded.
There are no excuses left; it’s high time to get stuck into those resolutions.
So the blog looks a little different?
My first travel adventure in 2011 birthed a feeble attempt at a travel blog, which lived a short and neglected life.
Last year, I simply resurrected it under the same name, Rambling Irish, with little thought to why I really wanted it. There was no education, no goals, no long-term plan.
Once more, it has been little more than a glorified journal, taking a back seat as I adjusted to life in Korea and pursued other interests.
While it offers some entertainment for the few keen readers back home – Hi Ma! – it’s of little interest or use to the greater masses.
But change is here.
For me, 2017 is about paving the way to a future of being able to work wherever I please.
The term ‘digital nomad’ has been thrown around the web for a while and although living from a backpack is not something I wish to do forever, the freedom of being location-independent holds a undeniable allure.
Combining my passion for writing with my love of travel, my ambition is to carve a path into the digital marketing industry, tapping into the wealth of opportunity available online in 2017 and beyond.
This site will continue to offer tales of my travel misadventures but it will also offer much more.
Firstly, it will offer advice for those interested in trying life teaching in Korea as well as insight into what it’s really like to be an English teacher here.
Moreover, the site will be a resource for those seeking advice on slow, immersion-style travel and how to maximize your travel time through work and volunteer opportunities while on the road.
As time progresses, advice and features on all things digital will become prominent as I discuss and debate the best tech to have in your backpack and how to maintain a life of travel while working from your laptop.
So, why the name change?
The previous moniker, Rambling Irish, was chosen for a few reasons when I first tried my hand at blogging back in 2011.
Aside from the obvious Celtic connection, I noticed the blogosphere was somewhat bereft of bloggers from my homeland – a crying shame that would have Wilde, Heaney and Joyce rolling in their graves.
I saw an opportunity to snatch a unique name and held lofty ambitions of muscling my way in between the many variations of Adventurous Jack and Nomadic Jill that dominated the rankings.
Now though, I can see how limiting it is to have a reference to a specific nation or city in the name of a travel blog. I love my country, but I’m no expert on travel there nor am I defined solely by being Irish.
I also liked the ambiguous definitions of ‘rambling’, which relates to writing, storytelling and exploring. However, another definition of ‘rambling’ is to ‘wander aimlessly without point or purpose’.
I loved my 20s but there was definitely times when I felt lost, as I’m sure most people have.
Living in Korea and teaching abroad were goals I harbored for a long time so to achieve them was great but what really made it worthwhile was the new perspective on the future I’ve gained during my time here.
A lot of people come to Korea and spend time here figuring out their life.
They could be registered teachers on a career break, new graduates full of wonder and looking to keep the university party life rolling or perhaps they’re a disillusioned workhorse simply needing a change from whatever industry their life is stagnating in.
The lifestyle here affords a considerable amount of free time to work on personal projects such as studying, learning languages or writing to give but a few examples – all of which I have been tinkering with to varying degrees.
Long story short, I’m no longer wandering aimlessly. I know where I want to go now and I’m pretty damn sure I know how to get there. Now it’s simply about making the journey.
Anyway, Rambling Irish sounds like I specialize in hiking trails around the Ring of Kerry.
So, you’re going to try and make a living online? Seems like a long shot!
Making a living online isn’t easy, and as a travel blogger there’s hell and high water to cross just to get to the base of the mountain.
Half the world are online now and many blog sites are profitable to a certain degree through various facets such as affiliate marketing and partner advertising.
However the boom has led to a crowded market where hundreds of blogs are started every day and probably just as many wither and die.
Maybe as little as a few hundred travel bloggers make a sustainable living solely from their blog with a few kingpins clearing six figures through related opportunities created from their blog success.
So why are you doing it?
I have no dream of being a rich travel blogger. Of course that would be awesome but I simply wish to fuse my unquenchable wanderlust with my passion for writing to polish my resume for the dream job down the line.
This year, my resolution is to develop my skills and education in digital marketing as well as create steady revenue streams from online sources such as teaching and freelance writing.
This site will chart my journey and offer advice to others hoping to walk a similar path and create their own life on the road, therefore making it easier for them to embark on their own digital crusade.
So what’s in store then?
Currently, I’m enjoying the tail-end of winter vacation before getting back to the grindstone when the new school year begins in March.
Last month, I enjoyed two weeks on the beautiful tropical island of Taiwan visiting the other half. There’s some good stories coming up about that trip. All I can say is, Taiwanese people are angels.
Seven months of hard saving lies ahead before a visit home in September and a jaunt around the Emerald Isle. It’s criminal that I have done very little travel within my own country.
2017 is the year to put that right.
After that, there will be a one-way flight into the heart of Latin America. From there, the real adventure begins…
Here’s my travel bucket list for 2017:
- Visit the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone) between South Korea and North Korea
- Verify if Karl Pilkington was correct when he called it ‘The Alright Wall of China’
- Kick off the tour of my own country by visiting the Giant’s Causeway
- Explore the areas of Ireland where Game of Thrones was filmed
- Sit on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher
- Get a picture at Father Ted’s house on ‘Craggy Island’
- Dance drunkenly (and ridiculously) with Diana to traditional Irish music in a bar in Galway
- Go hiking along the Ring of Kerry
- Enjoy a pint of Guinness from the original source at St. James Brewery, Dublin
- Study Spanish at a language school in South America
- Live with a native family in rural Bolivia or Peru
- Walk the Inca Trail all the way to Machu Picchu
- Capture Instagram classics at the world’s largest natural mirror of Salar de Uyuni
- Cycle a mountain bike around ‘The Death Road’ in Bolivia
- Volunteer on a conservation project to work with animals or the Amazon rainforest
- Escape the Latino summer heat with a dip in the waters of the world’s biggest waterfall, Iguazu Falls
- Savour some of the best steak and wine in the world in Argentina
- See one of the world’s largest advancing glaciers, Perito Moreno, at Los Glaciares National Park
- Trek and camp around Torres del Paine, Patagonia
- See the bottom of the world at Tierra del Fuego
Wishing you all the best in 2017, to new beginnings and new adventures!