Best Australian Lifestyle Blog 2014
Of course, I don’t write this blog for the recognition. It’s more of a compulsion, you could say. When I set off from Sydney three years ago to travel the world indefinitely, I set up Time Travel Turtle as a way to keep myself sane. I had worked as a journalist for more than a decade and I thought I would be unable to stop telling stories. It turns out that was true.
But I can’t lie to you. Recognition is nice. It comes almost every day in the comments that people leave on my posts or the emails I get directly from people asking questions or just telling me about their own travels. And it comes in the form of visitor numbers – about 50,000 people read this site every month and that is really humbling.
This week I can add another type of recognition to the list – and this one is particularly special. Each year the prestigious Australian Writers’ Centre runs an awards program called the Best Australian Blogs. About 1200 blogs were entered this year in the six categories. Time Travel Turtle was included in the Lifestyle/Hobby category, which had 405 entries – a third of all the blogs.
I was proud enough last week when I found out that this blog had been named as a finalist. It was even more of an honour to this week be named as the winner of the category!
There are quite a few ‘awards’ for blogs out there and I hope I don’t come across as bragging when I say I have been chosen by some of them in the past. But the Best Australian Blogs is slightly different. Firstly, it’s not a marketing strategy by a company to get more awareness (which, unfortunately, many are). And secondly, it’s not awarded based on popular vote – it is judged by a panel of experts from the Australian media industry. The focus is on the writing and the storytelling, which are the things I put so much effort into.
The life of a travel blogger
Blogging generally can be quite difficult. These little online publications we run are now often competing with magazines and newspapers – organisations that have dozens (if not hundreds) of people working for them. But most blogs (definitely mine) are run entirely by just one person. I am the publisher, the writer, the photographer, the marketer, the businessman, the IT department, the designer, the social media manager… and anything else you can think of. Considering I also don’t have a home – let alone an office – it makes things even more difficult. And on top of that, I spend most of my days travelling and collecting stories around the world. Sometimes I wonder how I find the time and the energy to sit down and publish all these stories as well.
Right now I’m in Arequipa – a city in southern Peru. I’ve stopped here for a few days to have a bit of a rest after a couple of weeks of very hectic travel in the north of the country and before I start another couple of very busy weeks heading to places like Machu Picchu and into the Amazon jungle.
I have seen some beautiful scenery here and found some fascinating sites that most tourists would never have the time to visit. I’ve learnt about ancient cultures I never knew existed and met people who have shown me such kindness. Already I was excited about sharing these stories with you in the next few weeks but this award has given me even more motivation to make sure I do my travels justice in the storytelling.
The judge of the Lifestyle/Hobby category, Alecia Hancock, said the following about Time Travel Turtle:
“Michael’s travel blog is not only an account of his adventures, he also immerses his readers into his destinations. He seamlessly weaves in history, facts, and stories – the result is a first class blog that many will find compelling.”
The description is so perfect, I could almost have written it myself (I promise I didn’t!). It is such a strong vote of confidence in what I am trying to achieve with my writing and the blog.
So thank you to Alecia, to the Australian Writers’ Centre, and – most importantly – to you for reading this site and offering your support. I really appreciate it, truly. And I look forward to sharing many more adventures in the years to come.