“Aye it’s Derencia Travels”, “Man, I saw you was to one festival…”, “I gotta get traveling like you” are some of the phrases I’ve become accustomed to over the past year of blogging. It always makes me smile and think “Well, someone is following me, maybe I’m encouraging someone to go to that festival, book that island vacation or even try a new restaurant or activity” and honestly it’s the best feeling. To know that I’m one of the reasons that my Bahamian people are more interested or knowledgeable in experiencing the best our country has to offer is exactly why Derencia Travels exists. However, with everything there has definitely been ups and downs of this journey.
So first things first, I spent a lot of money. Simply having my own space on the internet, requires an investment. However, for the more interesting aspect, since starting the blog, I traveled to three islands, an American state and went on a Caribbean cruise which visited Mexico. As a ‘travel blogger’ this may not be extremely impressive, but life throws us curve balls; my curve balls came in the form of starting a new job and two positions within one year.
Nonetheless, I found a new passion and have attended almost all of the festivals in New Providence over the past year. Since September 2018, I’ve attended and thoroughly enjoyed (at least for the most part) eleven festivals/pop ups and three major Culinary events, coining the name “Ya Fave Festival Girl”. During these twelve months, I also collaborated with a fellow Bahamian food blogger @DaFoodHunters at Greek Fest in March and what a wonderful time that was.
In my first year of blogging, I had the opportunity to guest host on three podcasts. Namely Insecure Reloaded, Pulp Fiction and The Wine Down to discuss my thoughts on various topics ranging from ghosting people, travelling and Bahamas Carnival. These opportunities were amazing and I’m so grateful that I was able to access another outlet for my thoughts and ideas.
While my Instagram/Twitter following have not significantly grown, I’m happy for the connections I’ve made. During this year, I’ve interacted with a few of my favorite Bahamian Travel & Lifestyle Bloggers and they actually followed me back. Yay! I have been following their blogs from 2017 and I was ecstatic when I saw the “follow back”. This may seem small to some, however it’s an accomplishment of mine because, I stepped out of my comfort zones and spoke with them first and they were receptive. Not only did I speak with them once but have had numerous conversations and they are just as awesome online as they are in person. Shoutout Ianthia, Ife and Sherice! Additionally, I’ve met three more Bahamian blogger babes that have been so welcoming and friendly. Shoutout Gabriela, Nikia and Sandy! Having thousands of followers and making genuine connections go hand in hand.
As in life, with the positives there are always some negatives. Remember, how I said I spent a lot of money. I mean that. Like literally thousands of dollars, just to give you an idea though: Round trip flights to Eleuthera, Abaco and Exuma were about $200 each; flight to New Orleans was about $500, Airbnb in Nola about $260, Royal Caribbean Cruise & flight was about $850, now throw in countless festivals averaging spending amounts of $50-60 and Culinary events ranging from $100-$200 per ticket. Yeah, this year was expensive, but I don’t regret anything. No, I did not make any money nor was I was invited to any special blogger events, but it has only been one year. Experiencing new things is were I’m most happy and I’m grateful to be able to do that.
I’ve learnt a few lessons over this period. However, my top three are:
- Take it one blog at a time
- Plan your blog posts at least one month in advance and try to stick to it
- It’s okay if you don’t post everyday/ every week- Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity
My goals going forward are probably just like every blogger out there. I want to grow my email/ subscriber list. Time and time again, we have all witnessed the major social media platforms crash, without warning and sometimes for hours on end. It is so beneficial to have a way to reach out to your “tribe” other than through social. Algorithms are changing and you never know when your favorite platform will cease to exist and you lose all your followers. Additionally, I want to interact more with like minded bloggers/people and definitely expand my circles and network. I believe that your work and background can get you to the door, but your real life/ human connections are what gets you inside and keeps you there.
My first year as a blogger has been somewhat of a roller coaster from drifting from my main focus, to not posting as often as I would like, even to thinking maybe this is just not for me. I’m so happy to have made it through my first year and I’m excited for whatever the future holds. To my closest family and friends who have believed in me and assisted with editing, photography and videography, don’t forget to update those resumes! Thank you to everyone who supported me, encouraged me, asked me questions and made this experience an amazing one. Here’s to you!