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The Travel Blogger's Three Years: $500,000 a Year as a Programmer, Now Earning Half as Much

May 4 (Xinhua) -- The spring of 2022 is over in 1 day, but the spring of tourism has not yet come. This May Day holiday, the two major theme parks in the north and south, Disney and Universal Studios, closed, many places cross-province travel restrictions, crowded popular attractions for the first time "belong" to the locals, suburban camping has become home camping.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic is now the third year, in these times, some travel practitioners have switched to do insurance, chauffeur, intermediaries, etc., while others choose to stay on and get out of a new way.

"will always do tourism, even if 60 years old I can" "cultural tourism is my life to do things up, this is my mission", in the new warp recently interviewed three travel bloggers, in this "never look back In this "never look back" love, listen to how they seek new opportunities in the business hit hard by the epidemic. The following are self-reports, slightly edited.

Bai Yu: from free and jobless to entrepreneur

I am from Huangshan City, Anhui Province, and have been working as a programmer in Beijing for 8 years after graduation. Out of my love for travel, I quit my job when I was 30 years old. Since then, three and a half years have been spent basically on the road. In the last two years, because of the epidemic, travel destinations have been narrowed down from all over the world to domestic, which is actually still a pretty sad thing for me.

The Travel Blogger's Three Years: $500,000 a Year as a Programmer, Now Earning Half as Much

Baiyu backpacker period photo Source: provided by the interviewee

In February 2021, after finishing a driving trip around China with my father, I started to think about whether I should go back to work or do something. It was then that my current partner suddenly asked me if I wanted to do a niche itinerary custom tour together. Without hesitation, I said yes.

Turning something I like and am good at into a job and making money while traveling is the best choice for me. I don't want to go back to a 9 to 5 life where the income is stable but the time is not free at all, and that's not what I want. That's how I went from being a free and jobless backpacker to an entrepreneur.

I chose to settle in Chengdu and then started leading tours. Each trip has about 3-8 guests, the average unit price in 1200-1300 people / day, I take guests to Yunnan to feel the Meili Snow Mountain, to Linzhi to see the sunset Jinshan, to Naqu to see the glacier canyon up close, over the Tianshan Mountain north and south to embrace the Saarim Lake ......

The Travel Blogger's Three Years: $500,000 a Year as a Programmer, Now Earning Half as Much

Bai Yu with group travel photos Source: provided by the interviewee

From one person's free trip to a group of people's leader, I have to take more responsibility. I have to drive, lead and photograph by myself during the day, and fix the film at night, except for 8 hours of sleep, I am working all the time. To take care of the needs of each guest is indeed very tired, but I am also very happy.

Our clientele mainly comes from the first-tier cities, and these two months are affected by the epidemic, basically in a lying flat state. 2021 March-April about seven or eight trips, this year there is not a trip. In terms of income, I resigned in 2014 that will be about 500,000 yuan a year, now is less than half.

But I am always more optimistic. When I was a backpacker in the first few years, I could live well without any income. In the last two years or so, although the whole environment is not so good and there are times of frustration, but when the situation has become bad, the future must be getting better and better. When I realize this, I feel that no matter how hard it is at the moment, but as long as you work hard to do something there will always be a reward. I will always do tourism, even at the age of 60, even if it is not as good as it should be, but I do not think about changing careers, and I never feel like I am wasting time.

Although we can't go out and lead now, we have some guests inquiring about summer or other destination routes, indicating that they will come out again after this wave of the epidemic, and these wishes give us great hope. I've been putting together foreign itineraries for the days I can't go out and lead, and although it still seems far away, the process itself is full of anticipation.

Faye Wong: once dreamed of "marrying" the world

In 4 years, more than 10 countries, more than 20 cities, I wore a wedding dress and took pictures with the iconic scenery of the world. However, the epidemic outbreak forced the dream to be temporarily put on hold.

The Travel Blogger's Three Years: $500,000 a Year as a Programmer, Now Earning Half as Much

Faye Wong in a wedding dress "married to the world" Source: Interviewed by the subject to provide

At the beginning of 2020, I could not return to Beijing because of the epidemic, so I had to stay at home in Dalian. At that time, people did not know much about the new crown pneumonia, especially when they saw the information online every day, and their mood would be affected by both panic about the unknown and a strong sense of powerlessness and insecurity.

But every time I put the phone down and see my parents sitting there watching TV or eating together as a family, the contrast suddenly makes me feel that no matter how much happens outside, as long as a home is stable and safe, our hearts have a sense of security.

Before, everyone would joke that after staying at home for a long time, my parents and myself would get tired of each other, but after 4 months at home, I found that I could actually communicate with my parents about many things, and the distance was instantly brought closer. I used to run outward and pursue my dreams more, but after the epidemic, I suddenly felt the importance of home and wanted to continue to realize my dream of traveling as a family unit.

So far, I have taken my parents to Hainan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Fujian, Gansu, Qinghai, Guangxi and Tibet, exploring Miao villages, traveling around the Erhai Sea, riding camels in the desert, and tasting food on the stone streets.

The Travel Blogger's Three Years: $500,000 a Year as a Programmer, Now Earning Half as Much

Faye Wong took her parents on a "trip around China" Source: Courtesy of the interviewee

During this trip, the greatest change was the increased understanding with each other and the parents. In the eyes of many parents, travel bloggers are not a serious profession, and even some friends and colleagues around them are curious, travel bloggers are not just going around to play?

As my parents followed me on my travels, they would see different brand collaborations every time I went out, see that I had to write planning, shoot videos, update content all the time, and take things very seriously the whole time, becoming more and more understanding of what I do. They used to call me from time to time and say, "Can I get a job sitting in an office and not running around blindly? But after traveling together for the past two years, they don't mention it anymore, as long as I feel like it and do it well. They are also praised by many fans, saying that they "take good pictures" and "young mentality", they will be very happy, every time they return from a trip will be very proud to share with friends, become much younger.

There was another windfall. In everyday life situations, Mom and Dad are really far ahead of us in terms of life experience and will always feel uneasy that we haven't grown up. But once we went out, this relationship suddenly swapped, and they would seek my advice on many things, such as where to eat and where to go next. They will find that the original daughter can solve a lot of problems and can take care of herself, and they will be less pushy about marriage.

I was a full-time travel blogger before, but now I'm back in advertising with a project partnership, earning money half the time back in advertising and doing travel projects half the time, and I haven't changed much financially before or after the epidemic. I think, after this epidemic, I will continue to take my parents with me, from traveling around China to traveling around the world. My parents will grow old, and I realized when I grew up that it was really a special thanksgiving to still be able to climb a mountain with them for 7 hours. In the days ahead, I hope they grow old slowly and I hope I can have more time to take them to more places.

Roy&Sue: Stopping to open a museum in Dali

I'm Roy, and this is the tenth year that Sue and I have been on this journey together. For a world travel blogger, it hasn't been a great couple of years under the epidemic. We had to fight to find a new way out and were forced to make a lot of bold decisions, but looking back, they all had a different feel.

We now have a travel museum in a village in Dali with a view of Cang Mountain. We have found many artifacts and household items with cultural imprints from our travels around the world. In this museum, we will display these collections.

The Travel Blogger's Three Years: $500,000 a Year as a Programmer, Now Earning Half as Much

Photo of Roy and Sue's "world residence" Source: Courtesy of the interviewee

In fact, according to the original plan, the museum did not land so quickly. At the beginning of the outbreak, we didn't expect it to last so long. Originally, we wanted to leave immediately after publishing our first book and continue our life as a globetrotter, but the international epidemic was not improving, so we started the "Living in Yunnan" series, hoping to keep our content as up-to-date and fresh as possible by exploring Yunnan's ethnic minorities in depth.

But then several waves of the 2021 epidemic interrupted our filming, and the book signing tour for the new book was forced to interrupt halfway through, when it felt more difficult to move and the willingness to travel was further reduced after the risks were raised.

The plan to start a traveling museum was thus brought forward. After more than two years of disruption by the epidemic, it really feels like the whole industry is gradually weakening, and clients are less willing to advertise in the travel field. But I don't think we are in a situation where we can't survive at all, and the travel museum is an attempt to diversify in the face of the epidemic.

Compared to the previous state of floating or exploring everywhere in foreign countries, we stopped in Dali to create in another form, opening the museum to those who are interested in culture, and transmitting diversified values through some old objects and utensils. We also hope that through public consumption and commodity development in the offline space, we can realize part of our income freedom and relieve the pressure of being a self-publisher. Compared with the previous self-publishing, the idea of opening a museum is completely different, but all our creations are focused on transmitting every different value, belief and cultural concept in the world, which has not changed.

The Travel Blogger's Three Years: $500,000 a Year as a Programmer, Now Earning Half as Much

Exterior view of the travel museum run by Roy and Sue Source: Courtesy of interviewees

In my opinion, travel is a way to realize the value of life, and the epidemic can be regarded as a test or an experience. We are satisfied with this report card that we have delivered under the test of the epidemic.

Although the "Living in Yunnan" series was not completed, we went to the Keno Mountains to have a picnic with tribal brothers in the jungle, to record the mysterious and ancient mountain god dance, the sacred bird dance, and various Dai dances that are about to be lost in Menglian, and to retrace the path of the old horse gang with the brothers and sisters in Yunnan and Tibet. The epidemic gave us a chance to turn our attention to the culture around us, which is an experience worth cherishing. It also showed us that in the remote areas where ethnic minorities live, there are still some old craftsmen who are struggling to keep the responsibility of cultural heritage for ten years as one day. At the same time, we also found that in the era of information explosion, the traditional culture of these ethnic minorities is rarely known by more people. We have been thinking that whether it is cultural consciousness or sense of responsibility, a self-publisher cannot follow the flow of traffic, and should guide as many people as possible to pay attention to this multi-culture.

After the epidemic, we will continue our life of global sojourn. The museum will be a way for us to talk to the public across the world. If we can still be lucky enough to rely on self-publishing to feed us or this museum, then we will continue, and if not, then there is always a way to continue practicing our ideas. (CNA APP)

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