Why I don’t want to become a YouTuber or Vlogger

I don't want to be a YouTuber

Dude, start making videos, you will make loads of money!

Joan, trust me, you should focus on YouTube!

You can’t imagine how many times I have had this conversation with friends, readers, or anyone who is minimally interested in the industry during the last couple of years.

Today, the internet – and more specifically, YouTube – is flooded with tons of video creators and filmmakers who are creating endless inspirational travel videos, which quite often tend to go viral and reach, literally, millions of people, earning thousands of $$$, and making us travel bloggers seem that we aren’t in the game anymore.

I am fully aware of all the direct benefits of being on the most popular video platform, and I think that video is a particularly nice way to show the world and tell people about your travels, especially because traveling is highly visual, and video is the most effective way to transport your audience into a particular destination.

Nevertheless, I still don’t want to run a YouTube channel.

I mean, of course I would like to have a successful one – and I have a very small one with less than 20 subscribers – but at this precise moment, I have different goals and ambitions.

Today, I want to tell you why.


Reasons why I’ll probably never become a YouTuber

Here are my reasons:

1 – A small clarification: Vlogging can’t replace blogging

Do you know how many times I have been told:

Joan, videos are the future, why aren’t you on YouTube?

This is the equivalent of telling me:

Joan, you are getting obsolete, get on YouTube or die!

Travel videos are definitely growing in audience but the above conclusion is extremely wrong, and it’s wrong because both ways of communication serve completely different purposes. Both are valid, but they have different goals.

On the one hand, most travel videos out there are posted for pure entertainment, or serving an inspirational purpose at best.

On the other hand, those blog posts which receive thousands of visitors are usually posted to provide useful, actionable advice, serving a purely practical purpose.

I actually see it like a logical process. First, people find out about a certain destination on YouTube and then they Google it.

In fact, I think that large YouTube accounts are benefiting me indirectly because, when they post a travel video about Syria, for example, reaching hundreds of thousands of spectators, those who are interested in traveling there will later Google all the information related to traveling to Syria, potentially finding my comprehensive travel guide.

I know that some vloggers are posting videos in which they give X tips for traveling to a certain destination, but there is no way that, in a 10-20-minute video, they can cover all details and information written in a massive travel guide, like no way.

This reasoning, however, gives us bloggers an invaluable lesson.

If we want to be part of the game and survive in the long-term, we must exclusively focus on serving the purpose travel videos can’t, by providing invaluable, useful and insightful content.

Lalibela, Ethiopia


2 – You can’t be a successful YouTuber and a blogger at the same time

Whenever someone asks me why the hell I am not creating videos, I always answer:

I wish I had time…

Of course, you do! – Some say.

Do you know the huge amount of work involved in running a travel blog full-time?

When I am not traveling, I work 40-50 hours a week, carrying out an endless number of tasks that range from writing articles to Search Engine Optimization, affiliate marketing and social media, besides keeping all the content updated, defining my overall strategy, pursuing courses and finding out about the latest blogging news and updates, because the internet is constantly changing.

I work almost as much as in my previous corporate job, even though I do outsource many time-consuming tasks such as writing specific articles, translating, proofreading, photo editing and absolutely all the technical stuff. Still, my to-do-list is like a black hole.

Now, if I ever wanted to become a vlogger, I would have to learn so many skills from scratch, and not only video making and post-editing, but I would have to learn how to manage an entire new platform, with all the marketing involved behind it.

Being a YouTuber is another full-time job and there’s no way I could do both, not if I want to have a social life at least. Actually, I think there are very few ”successful” blogs that also run a ”successful” YouTube channel and, if there are any, they are probably couples each of whom runs a specific platform.

Tigray region


3 – Not everybody likes watching videos

As incredible as it sounds, not everybody likes watching videos, and that includes myself.

I never watch YouTube videos, never. I mean, I have watched a few from friends and YouTubers I know out of curiosity but I don’t really enjoy them because I don’t have patience and I just prefer reading about it.

It’s nothing personal, really, you probably did an outstanding job, but I just don’t like it, same as I don’t like watching documentaries either. I love watching movies though!

And, like me, there are many others out there who still belong to the old school and prefer reading someone’s adventures on their blog.


4 – I love working in the shadows, with no pressure

If you have been following me for a while, you probably know that I am not a big fan of social media.

I do like sharing some videos about a current trip on Instagram Stories but other than that, you know that I tend to take long social media breaks, several-month breaks sometimes, and that’s because I don’t like all the pressure involved in running an Instagram account, always trying to prove something to your audience, eventually making you a slave to it.

Nevertheless, when I am not posting on social media, I am working hard behind the scenes, on the Against the Compass website itself, something I truly enjoy, because I can be on my own, with absolutely no pressure, and the only social stuff I have to worry about is sending and replying to emails, because I am very active on email; very old school, I know, but email marketing is extremely effective, much more so than social media.

And a similar concept applies to being a YouTuber.

On the one hand, being a YouTuber also involves being a known personality which means that, besides your business/vlog, you also need to worry about your personal branding, which only adds more pressure and things to worry about.

On the other hand, when you travel long-term (and short-term probably too), you have good days and bad days, the same as in real life. There are days in which you wake up with a real shit face and, on that precise day, I wonder how vloggers have the strength and motivation for smiling and talking in front of a camera. I know it just depends on your personality but I certainly couldn’t.

Moreover, traveling is my passion and I sometimes feel that being a travel blogger sucks because it doesn’t allow me to always enjoy the moment, since I need to constantly worry about taking the right photos, writing notes, figuring out all the information I would later include in the travel guides, and even going to places where I wouldn’t go to if it wasn’t for my blog.

For me, this is the worst part of travel blogging and I believe that, as a video creator, the amount of work involved is even more, like much more, since you need to be constantly filming and documenting your journey.

Enjoying my time with locals in Saudi


5 – Making videos doesn’t make me happy

Honestly, I don’t enjoy creating videos.

When I traveled to the Horn of Africa, visiting Eritrea, Somaliland and Ethiopia, I actually thought of making travel videos. I even bought the latest GoPro camera – which was stolen by the way – and have plenty of clips waiting to be edited, especially from the first month of the trip, because the more days I traveled, the less motivation I had for filming.

I have tried to go through all those videos many, many times, but never found the time for editing them.

Last week, I also tried to put together some clips from the day I rode the Iron Ore Train in Mauritania, but it’s a task that inevitably went onto my to-do-list, especially because I barely know how to use Final Cut Pro, and I feel I would need weeks to learn how to use it, and the problem is that I neither have the time nor the motivation to do it.

I will try 🙂 because it would actually be nice to have a few videos to complement my articles.


6 – I have different projects, starting with ATC Expeditions

Vlogging is such a nice way to make a living from your travels, but so is blogging and many other related projects.

In fact, while my short-term plan is still improving and creating more and more content for Against the Compass, I do want to start running my own tours.

This new project, which will be directly attached to the blog is called Against the Compass EXPEDITIONS, and our first EXPEDITION is going to be to Kurdistan, in May 2021.

Eventually, I’d like to start my own travel company, but the project is still in a very embryonic stage, and the upcoming expeditions are mere tests.

This is something that truly motivates me and makes me very happy, the reason why creating a YouTube channel isn’t my ambition nowadays.


Conclusion

This article was a mere opinion, and all those motives are directly related to my personality and personal goals, which may differ from yours.

Vlogging is such an amazing way to document your travels, so is blogging, and I have nothing but respect for talented video creators.

Disclosure: As a traveler, I use all the companies I recommend and you should know that, if you buy any service through any of these links, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Start planning and booking your trip

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For travel insurance (with COVID-19 coverage), I recommend:

1 – IATI Insurance (5% discount) – Cheapest travel insurance and for travelers above 70

2 – True Traveller – Best backpacking insurance (only Europeans)

 

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18 comments

  1. I do watch a few travel videos but I always come back to written content like yours. I love your photographs too!!! I have similar photos from places like Ethiopia but my own travelling life – living in the NOW – keeps me too busy to put them in any kind of order. One day…

  2. Good on you man. “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. Far too much pressure these days to do something you actually don’t want to do. I’m neither a blogger nor a vlogger but I travel loads and people tell me all the time I should start a blog or make videos. I just don’t want to.

  3. SUZANNE J DRAGAN

    Bravo! Good idea NOT to do video youtube–you are in the moment & really there. I read somewhere that people who forgo taking photos on trips remember the trip better because they were actually present. Too much technology & not enough simply absorbing & enjoying. Good for you Joan!

  4. I totally agree! Videos are nice, but I honestly never go out of my way to watch them unless they pop up on my IG feed. I’m old school and prefer reading all the information about a place. And fitting all that essential information in a video just doesn’t work.

  5. So glad to hear not everyone is going the way of videos! I realize they are great for advertising…but to me, they take away from the surprise when you visit. You don’t get to imagine the place for yourself beforehand, which is part of the magic of traveling to me 🙂 Thank you for your great posts, and may you continue to feel the freedom not to post on social media!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      I didn’t mention it in the article but like you, one of the reasons I don’t like about watching videos is also that it takes away the surprise, as you say 🙂

  6. This is refreshing to hear! You are doing what feels authentic for you and your audience will (and does) appreciate that. I enjoy that there are videos at our fingertips, but I don’t have the time or patience to go through them, and I often skim content, which is not really possible with YouTube. Keep up the good work, and do what works for you!

  7. Yipeee….stick to blogging!!! I really enjoy your blogs and pics, especially in this time that we can’t really travel much. I live in South African and at the moment we are banned from travelling to 120 destinations due to the Covid variant we have. And so far only a small percentage of our health workers have been vaccinated! Maybe we will all have had our jabs by end 2022!

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