The Importance of Finding Your Travel Niche

Finding Your Travel Niche
18 January 2010 Post Author:
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I write about “all things India”.

I write about India in newspaper and magazine articles, on Facebook and Twitter, in emails and essays and, of course, especially on my travel blog, Breathedreamgo.com.
 
Every one who knows me is well-acquainted with my obsession, er passion, for India. But now and again someone asks me, “why India?” Like all good stories, there’s a short version and a long version. I’ll try to hit the middle ground.
 
I always wanted to be a writer, and even obtained a B.A. in Journalism when I was in my mid-20s. But I worked in corporate communications for a long time before pursuing a writing career. In retrospect, I didn’t feel I had the skills, confidence or subject matter to be a “real” writer. So, I wrote websites, newsletters, ad, brochures and feature articles for a wide variety of companies and organizations over many years.
 
In the meantime, a series of personal losses sent me into a lengthy depression. In my early 40s, I found myself unhappy and unsatisfied. I felt it was time to do something to change my life. I decided to pursue a dream: to become a yoga teacher. (I had already been practicing yoga for more than 10 years). And during yoga teacher training, I decided I had to go to India. I actually felt compelled … but that’s a really long story …
 
So, in 2005, at the age of 45, I put everything I owned in storage and jumped off the proverbial cliff. I went to India for six months. Suffice to say, I had an amazing time. India revived me in every way, and I fell in love with the country, the culture and the people. In fact, I felt a very deep affinity with India from the very beginning of my trip. I found what I call my “soul culture.”
 

The interactivity of blogging

While planning my big trip, I decided as an afterthought to write a travel blog. I created an account on Travelblog.org before leaving, in the fall of 2005, and contributed religiously to it during the entire six-month trip. (You can still see it at http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/lemonindi/ ).
 
I loved blogging, especially because I loved receiving comments. I didn’t anticipate the interactivity of blogging, and how rewarding it is. The travel blog became a central theme and focus of my trip. I received so much positive feedback about my writing skills that I began to gather the courage and confidence to start writing about things I wanted to write about.
 
That was about four years ago. Since then, I have been back to India twice and have begun to seriously pursue a career as a magazine feature writer, travel writer and travel blogger. Last summer, in August 2009, I launched my own travel blog, BreatheDreamGo.com. (You can read about the name on my blog at http://breathedreamgo.com/travel/what-it-means-to-breathe-dream-go/ ). This winter, I will be back in India, but this time blogging on my own travel blog site. A big step forward.
 

My life is my niche

On the Internet, I am BreatheDreamGo and I write about India. I love having this focus. It makes social media much simpler and more effective. People know who I am and what I am all about. They send me links – which sometimes prove to be very useful and / or helpful – and even writing assignments.
 
At this moment, I am in preparation for my next lengthy trip to India. Sending a link to my travel blog when I make requests is opening many doors. It gives me credibility and proves that my interest and expertise is genuine. Because I still feel so excited about India, I can’t actually think of a disadvantage to having it as my niche. If my passion flags, I may move on; but in the meantime, I am very happily pursuing all of my dreams.
 
I finally have the skills, confidence and subject matter to be the writer I always wanted to be. India gave me my subject matter; India is my muse. I will be forever grateful to India for bringing me back to life, and for giving me perspective, courage, inspiration and focus.
 
India found me. All I did was jump, even though I was afraid, and surrender to the experience.
 
~Mariellen

How did you find your travel niche? Share your experience!

8 Responses to “The Importance of Finding Your Travel Niche”

  1. Loved your post! It’s why I specialize in China, especially Beijing. There is just something that fascinates me about this country. And my husband. He didn’t want to go to China the first time I wanted to go after we were married. I threatened to go by myself — he said I wasn’t capable. Ha! Like I’d spent the last 30 years traveling around the world without him, and had already made 10 trips to China, including living in Beijing for two years, when we married. He fought the trip all the way, but two hours after we got there, he was already making plans for our next trip. Now he wants to go live there for a year. Go figure!

    • Hi Cheryl,

      You’re lucky your husband also became so enamoured of your “soul culture.” Now you can enjoy it together.

      I didn’t have that worry: my partner is Indian, from Delhi! He gives me so much insight into the authentic culture, and our relationship is my greatest bond with India.

      My problem is, he is enamoured with western culture! I want to go to yoga ashrams in India and he wants to go to the mall in Toronto. We have a very funny east-meets-west mash-up. Makes life interesting, that’s for sure.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Mariellen
      .-= Mariellen Ward´s last blog post: Travel tips from Incredible India Tourism =-.

  2. Interesting. I think having a niche is really important as readers can build on the topic knowledge each time they visit you. I really enjoy wine touring and I love the personal stories of winery owners, which is why I started my wine column http://www.examiner.com/x-30550-Halifax-Wine-Examiner
    Hope the next trip to India is as fulfilling as the last.

  3. Rebecca
    Twitter:
    says:

    I love the UK and consider that one my niches. I’m also passionate about social and eco travel. I believe that travelers could be “goodwill ambassadors” when they travel to foreign lands. Perhaps we wouldn’t have all these issues in the world if people would stop and think for a moment that their country is not the only in the world :)

  4. Hi Mariellen,

    You are lucky to have such a defined niche – it makes it very easy for the consumer to keep your website top-of-mind.

    I adore India, so am heading off to read your blog now!
    .-= Jennifer @ Approach Guides´s last blog post: Beijing: Stepping Back in Time =-.

  5. Thank you for sharing about yourself. I was touched by your journey and where it has taken you. You risked and followed your passion. You are an inspiration.

  6. Piolo, I agree, I think I am very lucky — but I feel that India chose me. I don’t think you can simply decide your passion or niche. I think it has to come from within you. It has to be in your response to a place or life situation or culture; it has to be genuine.
    .-= Mariellen Ward´s last blog post: October is UNICEF month =-.

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