Maybe it’s time to face reality…
This site has been my hobby (TheIntentionalTraveler.com at Intend2Travel.info). I was a photographer, an engineer and a business owner with a fair amount of success in each. For the past decade I’ve been retired, and now in my seventies I live to travel. Six continents, over 80 countries and islands and every one of the worlds oceans.
I started up with a free WordPress site almost five years ago to let friends and family see where I am and where I’ve been. It was a casual pursuit and had nothing to do with money, but as people visited and subscribed it may have become about validation. At some point fame and money started becoming a possibility but it was still my hobby.
Today I manage two additional free websites, a paid WordPress site (I ran out of room) two online store sites (only marginally successful) and almost a dozen social media sites along with two Etsy outlets, mostly to feed the sites. After all that, I confess that I understand very little about how to succeed on the web.
Before diving into the internet I traveled with a camera, a tablet, usually loaded with a dozen books to read and a laptop that I used to edit photos and write various essays on things that interested me.
After getting involved in posting things to the internet my time spent traveling shifted to working on this travel website. Less book reading and casual writing. I used to plan my trips understanding that I would mostly be without internet. Today finding internet service has become much more important to me and it often comes with a price.
The e-commerce stores were originally set up as a project for one of our sons and after he lost interest and moved on, we were left with keeping the business going. In retirement we are reasonably comfortable with enough savings to support our world travels – so what the hell are we doing? If I look at the income the stores provide much less than minimum wages and it’s not like we need the money. The web sites are now clearly OCD with literally no chance of producing much income and consuming way too much of our lives.
If I’m honest in my evaluation of the travel sites traffic almost 80+% of those thirty or forty daily visitors come from inside the echo chamber – they’re not “organic” visitors interested in finding travel information. Their main motivation is to help their own websites traffic.
The e-commerce stores are about to enter the holiday shopping period that could produce a major amount of the years income. At best it means a few thousand dollars of net sales for a couple of thousand hours that were invested over the past ten months. By January sales will again drop off to a one or two hundred dollars a month.
Were To From Here?
It’s obvious I’ve been deluding myself. I can no longer invest in a future that is increasingly not likely to produce any return either financial or emotional. Without some miracle over the next 45 days it will be time to shut most of my internet projects down and return to my life of travel, reading and writing in my journals.
The investment in keeping the travel site active is well under $100 a year but I already have experience with websites that aren’t adding content. My original free travel site active after I transferred to a paying site. The free site continued to attract traffic but each month it dropped in half. It’s still there but while it once saw two or three hundred visitors a month it now has none for over six months. If you don’t post the search engines just stop paying attention. I have no reason to believe that a site that currently attracts an average of two thousand visitors a month with over a thousand subscribers won’t see the same fate.
It’s Not Just An Obsession We’re Being Played
I can think of no other human activity, except pushing drugs, that is as invested in keeping you obsessed in a habit than the online social media companies and the major search engines. These companies know us better than we know ourselves and they have the ability to keep us involved and prevent us from walking away. Every time we start dialing back something happens to get us back in the game. Even a number of the software inventors that gave us “likes”, and “shares” and “comments” believe that what they created is destructive.
It’s time to understand that what we are involved in is a form of OCD and maybe it’s time for a plan for us like AA for what ails us.
Questions We Need To Ask Ourselves
- Is this better than what we did before?
- How much time do we invest in the internet each week?
- Being honest, where do we see ourselves a year from now?
- If we weren’t doing this what could we do?
- Can we just stop and walk away?