There’s always room for improvement, they say. With that statement, then, I can never be stable with what I have achieved as a blogger without the wake-up call from people who have helped me, encouraged me, and taught me a lot of things on how to flourish my passion in writing. I am confident to say that people really can affect your life differently.
That said, one blogger has and always been one of my foundations of who I am as a blogger and what I have become now as an online writer.
Alright. Let’s talk about Johanna Marie Frejoles.
It’s All About The Bean
I call her Hanna. She’s the travel blogger behind Bean In Transit, and believe it or not, I was the one who advised her to start building her social media accounts because when the time she started climbing the ladder in her blogging success, she didn’t have a Facebook Page, a Twitter, and an Instagram account.
Ironic to say for a blogger like her, but yes, you’ve heard it right. She didn’t have those until I mediated (because sometimes, I want to meddle with other people’s lives if I know I am right. Just kidding. But seriously.)
However, on her growth as a blogger, and as she celebrated her 9th blogging anniversary this year, I was able to see her level up her game and currently being competitive on her craft. Fast forward to the main discussion of this post, there are a lot of things that I have pondered and learned from her as a content creator, and as a travel blogger.
A Long List of Inspiration
We’ve known each other since 2014 when she started writing and contributing for Cebu Finest. Walking (well, striding) with her to where we are now as bloggers, I have learned many things about molding my craft both through her vagueness of thoughts and clearness of words. I will be sharing with you four (4) memorable things that I consider very significant to this discussion:
You Learn Things The Hard Way… And It’s Okay
At an early adult age of 20, she started living independently and most probably started mending her lifestyle. She started blogging when she was 15 that sparked from a random encounter at school with an English teacher. She did rebrand her online presence, too. From writing under the “Laagan nga Bata” (The Wandering Kid) to changing it to a new name, it may take her quite a while to retain the momentum of her readership. In contrary to that idea, Hanna is currently doing her best to get that back, and what’s best is she’s doing it much better.
I find her writing style very captivating. Her story telling on her travel adventures makes me go hungry for more tales about her and her trip around the country. As I always say, “I am a less-traveled blogger”, I have found and realized that I am making a fool out of myself. I have been traveling to many different places around the country. It just so happened that during those opportunities, social media didn’t exist, if I can say it that way, to the extent of sharing every step of the way of my experiences.
The Bean In Transit stories gave me that awakening. Yes, I have been traveling, however, if more opportunities will knock, I will definitely grab them and relive a memorable repeat of those adventures.
There are lots of things that you need to learn if you want to progress your success in blogging. From what I have learned from Hanna, balancing those things you are passionate about and those you need to perform to sustain gave light to my ambition to become a full-time blogger as well as a brand influencer. This can be challenging at first, but for a long run, one can find how to do things the right way for you, and it is very applicable to me.
Let’s just accept the fact that where we are now, whatever profession it may be or whatever endeavor we need to embrace, we need to learn things the hard way, and it’s okay to be on that stage.
Go Out And Travel
It was with her that I initially planned the Travel Blogging Project last summer in General Santos City. Since traveling with more friends can be fun, we tagged another travel blogger, CJ Estrada, to join the 5-day adventure. (You can watch my daily vlogs on YouTube, here).
Hanna lives by her branding as “The Bean In Transit”. If you are, however, wondering what’s with the name, so here it is: Hanna’s complete name is Johanna Marie Frejoles. Her last name is the Spanish word for “beans” (spelled as frijoles). Since she loves traveling and adventure, the other word “transit” comes in. So, if we sum it up, she’s “the bean that moves”, hence, the “Bean In Transit” was born.
The Bean In Transit way taught me to explore more and go out to travel. Since I am currently saving money, I want to go to an adventure and write about it on this blog. Regardless if it’s going to be a solo trip or with a group of close friends, I want to venture more to discovering places I have never been before. I might not be as good as a story teller as Hanna, but the idea of doing this excites me a lot.
Years ago, I was able to travel to Manila for 3 days, alone. But the trip was for work and I was not able to really experience what needs to be experienced during that time. Now, since I am really very eager to do this, I won’t turn around the bush now. Let’s go travel!
But, Travel Blogging Is Not Always Fancy
She spoke for a blogging convention months back. With her topic on professional travel blogging, she clearly mentioned that travel blogging is not always fancy. Well, every niche is a challenge. But in this case, traveling so to speak is not an easy topic to talk about. It’s fun, but not easy. And it’s definitely not cheap.
Even though you will get sponsored from brands to shoulder your expenses like accommodation and transportation, the intensity of travel blogging, in my opinion, is tremendously tiring. Just imagine re-telling the experience, no matter how fun it is for you as the traveler, to be also fun for your readers.
I always believe that what you have experienced during an adventure might not be as interesting to other people. Let alone, it can be more hurtful if it’s the readers you have who would express dissatisfaction about the story. Yes, we blog for our own pleasure, but blogging without a loyal readership can also waste a lot of your effort and time.
When you blog for travel, you need to get all the angle of the adventure to write a story. Just like what happened with our recent travel to General Santos and South Cotabato, Hanna supposedly wanted to experience the zip line at Lake Sebu. During that time, however, the establishment was declared non-operational due to security and safety measures. The travel itinerary was planned ahead of time. It took us almost 5 months to list down the things to do and the places to go. But once you get there, in person, you wouldn’t make it because you just couldn’t.
Now, the plan is to go back there. But the question is, when? Time is important. And traveling needs money and planning. Frustrated to the previous encounter, but we need to go back to the drawing board and re-calculate expenses and check our schedules because we have work to attend to.
To put light on how challenging travel blogging is, or how time and effort-consuming this endeavor in general, Hanna is always putting a happy face and a loud laugh to them all. As long as you enjoy what you are doing and you are able to deliver and achieve what you want to happen with your work, everything will be fine.
No matter what the cost, as long as you don’t endanger your life, and of others, go travel.
Whether it will rain hard or there are blue skies amongst these travel adventure, just throw a good laugh, a hard one, like there is no one is watching until you cry from laughing at the end. The Bean In Transit made me ponder that travel and writing and being with good friends can be possible and these can bring joy to your life and a breath of fresh air to stressful days.
I am always thankful that I am friends with “The Bean” because she taught me a lot of things in life and in everything related to blogging. Even though it was I who introduced her to strategize her online presence, still, there’s nothing wrong with learning new things from people whom you grow together on a craft you are passionate about.
How High Will You Climb Your Blogging Beanstalk?
As long as you don’t forget to light the candle of your passion, and to always enjoy what you are doing, you can definitely climb higher and farther. But just be cautious with the temptation of being up there and never forget where you came from.
Sharing your joys and sorrows with the family and the friends you trust can be a good support system to anything you want to do. Hanna, in this case, is the springboard of my downs and the twinkle of my ups in life.
ALSO READ: Creative Writing And Blogging: A Conversation With Four-Eyed Laagan
Achieving the things you wanted to reach may take you time, however, when you are almost there, give yourself a tap on the shoulder and be contagious with the happiness you have with other people. That’s the case with my relationship with the Bean In Transit. The stories made me think, made me laugh, and made me realize that no matter what happens, you need to go on and move on with your plans.
Congratulations, Batong, on your 9th Year as a Blogger!
You can check Hanna’s blog at www.beanintransit.com and read her travel stories. She also does video blogging. Subscribe to her YouTube channel.
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