I found out that not all travel bloggers are actually happy with what they are doing

“Will you do something for me? Picture your life 30 years from now? What does it look like?”

“There is no easy way. No matter what I do, someone gets hurt.”

“Would you stop thinking what everyone wants? Stop thinking about what I want, what he wants, what your parents want. What do you want? What do you want?”

This dialogue from The Notebook is not just about love and relationships. It’s about living the life you want without seeking approval from other people. I’ve been back home since October 2015 from long years of traveling the world and I tried to weigh the difference between being back here and being out there. What I want right now, at this moment is very surprising because I actually want to stay put and travel more at the same time. They are exactly on the same level.

Still, I will lay down the cards on what I want on a long-term basis: sustainability. I want a huge house with a stunning kitchen, beautiful children that I will home school, being able to grow my own food, and a loving husband who will accept me and support my hopes and dreams. I also want to be able to travel with my future family because this is something I was not able to do with mine.

Upon analysing my thoughts, what I want is affected by huge factors from being home: I see my girlfriends with children (not 1, but more!), one of my friends hit her first million at 30, and my mother. Arrgghhh, my mother is planning to sell the house I grew up in and I don’t have the money to buy it yet. I really really want to keep it.

I want all of this but I also want to travel more. I know you cannot have it all but I recently had deeper connections with a few long-term travelers about how they see things. These people have traveled for over 15 years non-stop and is now either fucked up in the head or living life in a robotic way. They don’t know how to be normal again.

My best friend said if I tried hard on working on the blog, I could be really “famous” by now but who said I want to be famous? After all, the most “famous” travel blogger is not famous anyway. I don’t mean to attack anyone here. I just didn’t get why she said that when she clearly knows that I am updating this blog so that one day, I will be able to tell the story of my life to my children and grandchildren, exactly the same as it happened. However, because of winning a beauty pageant title in 2013 (Miss World), she has this marketing mind that she can’t help but blurt strategies.

At one point, I believed that travel blogging will get me through life but it didn’t last long. This ‘job’ is exhausting so now, I am just doing it as natural as I can. I don’t want to be dependent on my blog. Ever.

I’ve had travel coaching clients who are now a part of the travel blogging league. In our first session, they asked me what should they do to get their blog noticed? I didn’t know how to answer that but I said it anyway, “There are thousands of travel blogs out there. You need to do something that will make you stand out. Different.” Some of them started writing about personal travel experiences but everyone ended up publishing articles that you can easily google: things to do, travel tips, city guides, etc. You know why? Derek of Wandering Earl was right when he said reality does not sell. 85% of readers don’t really care about life. They are more enticed on travel pictures and how many countries a travel blogger has been to. Which lead me to think that I should remove the Where I’ve Been tab on this blog. It just doesn’t make sense to me anymore.

[stextbox id=”info”]Related Post: How to create original content for your blog: good writing practices[/stextbox]

I recently re-connected to these travel coaching clients and asked why they diverted to this kind of blogging. And yes, I was right: they think the selling points of their blogs are writing about destinations. Shraddha of Street Trotter is one brave example of speaking up about overdoing this travel blogging thing. She used to write about destinations, too and I was really happy that one day, she just stood up from being overwhelmed about the boom of the travel blogging industry. It’s not a bad thing. Boom is actually positive. My mother just started her own blog and she is the best writer I know. From her, I learned that you should not make a big deal out of writing — you just do it. She writes so beautifully that you won’t get enough of her posts. I was really upset when she started publishing travel tips when she moved to Jakarta. Everyone just keeps doing it and at the end of the day, nobody’s really happy about the guides they have written. It’s just for… search engine optimisation’s sake. Again, this is not an attack. Every travel blogger is entitled to write whatever they want. Some actually find satisfaction and I have nothing against that.

On the other hand, it’s not just about blogging. It’s about traveling itself. Mike of Bemused Backpacker whom I met in a press trip in Indonesia last year said he experienced travel burn out a lot of times. The idea of not having a home and moving constantly is so tedious it gets so boring. The same goes to travel blogging couple Alesha and Jarryd of Nomadasaurus who were able to find a way to extinguish the burnout. Well done, mates!

Talon of 1dad1kid who is traveling with his son for a long time kept it real about life: “I sometimes want to see MY photos and art work on the wall, with my selection for furnishings, and I want a fully equipped kitchen. And we REALLY miss having pets. We have a couple of house sits coming up that have quite the menagerie, and we’re really looking forward to that. Still, we miss having our own cat and/or dog. One that we aren’t constantly leaving behind and who has been raised with us and feels a stronger connection.Sometimes you just want to know that stain on the couch came from you.”

It’s good not to feel alone in this battle. It’s good to have people who are honestly showing two sides of travel blogging and long-term travel. Nothing comes easy. Nothing is indefinite. One thing’s for sure though: we travel differently and we always have our own story to tell.

If you are to start a blog, make sure you have the heart for it. It’s the key. Passion will take you a long way. The first question to answer when putting up a blog: “what makes me different from the rest of the pack?” I hope you’ll find your way into being a travel blogger. Inspire, keep it real and may your writing end up really really beautiful. The force is always with you! 🙂


Are you a travel blogger? What are the ups and downs of your travel blogging career? Would love to hear your thoughts! 

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

Comments

  • March 30, 2016

    Thank you so much for sharing. This article is perfect and I often think of the points raised in it. I’ve been blogging for only 6 months but have realised if I was to take the blog too seriously e.g. how many views I have, how many followers etc I would be extremely stressed and unhappy. I started the blog as a way to share my story and the story of others but also found myself, at times, falling into the 5 things to do here, 5 best this and that, and I knew deep down that those types of articles weren’t the reason why I started writing, but unfortunately they were the things that people prefer to read.

    I have no intentions for my blog to sustain me forever (mostly because I can’t just keep writing 5 things to do in x city), but I do have intentions to keep writing and keep travelling for a long time. The best thing that has come from blogging is the connections I have made with people, and those connections have put me on the path that I want to be on. It’s a tough world out there for bloggers sometimes and I take my hat off to those who have made it but I certainly agree with you, you MUST be passionate about it because that’s what will get you through.

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  • March 30, 2016

    I completely agree! I’ve realized that my personal talent lies in stories and experiences, not in destination guides. I find them boring and my lack of passion is probably apparent. While I do want to be known as the “China girl”, I don’t think my China destination guides are the best. I’d much rather write about the intricacies of the culture and what it’s like to actually live here. I’ve actually gravitated more towards “travel and expat lifestyle” blogs and “travel and digital nomad lifestyle” blogs because I don’t enjoy reading glamorized travel itineraries. Sure I’ll use “top 10” articles for trip planning, but I’m not going to become a loyal follower that way.

    I also get somewhat annoyed with country counting too. So many people write about countries and places they’ve barely explored. How does two days in a city make you an expert? I’ve been in China for 3 years! I’d much rather take my time in a place and really explore, rather than ticking sights off a bucket list, and I usually look for the same traits in travel bloggers I read too.

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  • March 30, 2016

    I have the belief that everyone is responsible for their own happiness. It’s also important to understand that our jobs are a life choice and that many people from impoverish backgrounds don’t have the same opportunities that we do when it comes to traveling full time and making a sustainable income from our passion.

    If a Travel Blogger isn’t happy with his/her job, then it’s his/her own responsibility to make a change about it 😉

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  • March 30, 2016

    Travel blogging should be inspiring but most of popping “travel bloggers” now a days simply want to show off that they’d been here and there. We travel with different goals. Some do this because it is their bread and butter… some simply wish to explore and fill their minds with experiences. In my case I want to discover things first hand. It’s up to my readers how they will perceive the way I share my thoughts through my blog. It’s not a big deal actually. For me, it’s just a platform for me to express my thoughts and going places is not a race. If we are on the same side then it’s a good thing, but if we have opposing thoughts, i still consider it a positive one.

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  • March 30, 2016

    Hey Trisha! 🙂
    I loved reading your post! This is so true!
    I’m going to try to be more personal in my posts. 🙂
    All the best!
    Ása

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  • March 30, 2016

    Very well written Trisha

    There are so many blogs out there and everyone is trying to stand out. That alone is exhausting, let alone the traveling itself. I think that when you start a blog, just write for people like yourself. Surely, there are like-minded people like yourself out there who would enjoy the same things you do. If you try to be someone else, you might get more traffic, but the greater chance is that you’ll have a lot less fun. Write out of passion, travel out of passion and just be yourself (it’s more than OK to pause and settle down).

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  • March 30, 2016

    I was blogging for the past 8 years and a few months ago, decided to buy my own domain and concentrate on writing about what interests me the most: travel and personal finance.

    Yes we write about top things to do on our blog too, but that was mostly for our wedding guests who may have read our blog.

    I am not really excited about full time long term travel, but having a home (which we bought last year), having a pet, and traveling for short bursts at a time is what interests me. If I’m tired from traveling to a destination, I’ll always have a place to call home. A place to decorate with souvenirs and photos from destinations I went, a place to raise future children and the dog, of course. Pretty much a sanctuary.

    To each their own… One does not have to fit in a mold to become a travel blogger, you just do what your heart tells you

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  • March 30, 2016

    Loved this and completely relate. I miss when I was an expat and just wrote about life even though I got a lot more hate mail. It’s gotten to the point where blogging has started feeling soulless and I haven’t done it as much.

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  • March 30, 2016

    Great article! We are finding out that blogging is a whole different world than we imagined. Your post is a breath of fresh air to read. My husband and I are sort of on the opposite side of most travel bloggers. We did the “typical” life first: graduated college, got corporate jobs, saved money, and bought a place. We traveled during all of that and are now looking for the adventure of long-term travel in our late-thirties so we saved money to be able to afford not to lean on our blog for financial support which gives us more freedom that some. BUT we still find ourselves struggling with what works for SEO and will trend versus just plain ol’ writing. We will be taking a 3 month road trip this summer to 11 national parks and I’ve already made it a goal not to worry about conforming posts, but to just write from the heart about our trip and adventure. Can’t wait. Anyway, really enjoyed your thoughts!

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  • March 31, 2016

    What a great, well balanced article.
    I am with you here – torn between wanting it all. I LOVE the nomadic life and I have few possessions but I would love to lie in my own courtyard in my own hammock for a while.
    My readers tell me that they like to follow my travel experiences and live the places that I visit through my writing, but I always get much more engagement when I write a vry personal article from the heart.

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  • March 31, 2016

    Hey Trisha, brilliant post. I just started my travel blog but I’m prepared for the potential burnout with constant travel.

    I still feel like I’d want to experience it for myself – we’re all different at the end of the day – but I totally get your point. Having a place called home to run back to is a nice feeling.

    As bloggers I agree that we need to try differentiate somehow. My angle is that I’m a travel lover (as we all are), Foodie and geek – I try to blend in technology as much as I can because that’s *me*.

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  • March 31, 2016

    Love this post, it’s so real and true!

    Lennae xxx
    http://www.lennaesworld.com

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  • March 31, 2016

    I am not really a travel blogger, but rather help other people to see the most beautiful places on earth, and thereby help to protect them. See how: http://www.nationalparks-worldwide.info. Having been to 80+ countries, and also having a family, I share a few words of almost 7 decades of life experience. Of course, you can’t have it all, as only few people in the world have that. But you can have a lot, just as long as you remember, you can’t have it all at once. As you concluded yourself, your blog won’t provide you with anything more than a really great record of all your wonderful experiences. But if you want a big house and a great family with whom you can travel, you need a college degree in a trade that has a market. English Literature, sociology, political sciences, don’t sell. Technical (like engeneering etc.) will get you the better jobs through which you can effort the lifestyle that you long for. Having traveled so much, you will be able to travel economically, like I did with my family, thereby being able to travel far more on a budget that others blast away on 2 weeks on the beach. But still, you need money, and for that you need a good education, because very few make it by just starting a business. It is very unlikely you get very far in the travel industry, unless you succeed in starting your own business, but with so much choice around, it is very unlikely you succeed, and then you will be behind a computer full time to give others what you really want to do yourself. So, my deal little traveling girl, digest all the great travels you have enjoyed, go to college/university, learn a trade with a good future, while making it your business to actually enjoy learning. Still keep exploring the world between semesters, fall in love with a great guy who shares your passion for travel, ahhh and then the tough part, find a well paying job that you actually like, which gives you both satisfaction and enough money as well as free time to continue exploring this beautiful place we call EARTH! Oh well, never follow advice of an oldtimer. They are soooo boring! 🙂

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  • March 31, 2016

    A really interesting post about a side of travel blogging that not a lot of people talk about. Thanks for sharing!

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  • April 1, 2016

    I remember my first few posts in my blog. It was all about life, about things that I learned from travel and just like life as a whole. I remember I wanted to inspire people, to live a full and purposeful life.

    But it turned out nobody’s reading it. LOL! I don’t know it was a painful realization for me that readers, most of them want guides tips and all. Until I began to see myself posting about “destinations”

    I usually tell my stories and then below each post there is a short guide or type on how to get there and all. I was in a way successful in getting readers and followers. I mean I am not famous and I will never think of myself that I am, but at least now I felt that someone is reading. hehe

    I still write about inspirations and all but the title and keywords are based on the “destination”. I intended to make my blog a little bit of a mixture of life stories and travel destinations. But after months of blogging, I realized that I wanted to write more about life now. Not for my readers but for me. I just love your post Trisha. Hope to meet you someday in person and I can take a photo with you. Your writing truly resonates with me, with all your readers.

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  • April 2, 2016

    Yes, this definitely hits home for me. However, I am still looking for the place on the planet that feels like home, and I have to say, I despair I will ever find it. I am on a one-year working visa in Germany at the moment, and it’s completely different from what I have been doing these past two years. Most of the time I feel awesome and so thankful for what I have been able to create for myself, but there are times where I feel a bit miserable for having to eat like a college student to be able to afford my dreams and wish I had different ambitions so that I could treat myself to a nice fluffy white bed and some fancy organic food. I think it’s normal. I’m not yet a the point where I am fully jaded by what I do, but it’s hard sometimes, especially when the ends don’t meet most months.

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  • April 2, 2016

    I think it’s important for each of us to go through the process of thinking about our lives and what we really want. I do the same quite often, especially now that I’m 30 and at somewhat of a crossroads in regards to travel and family.

    In regards to the style of travel blogging, most of my articles are made up of lists with tips in them. I really enjoy this type of article, because I think I can bring some valuable information to my readers. I’m actually not a big fan of writing about my own personal adventures. I find it boring, although I know a lot of people like it. So, I think that travel bloggers styles can vary quite a bit. It’s just important to stick to your style and in general, doing what you are passionated about, whether that is travel blogging or writing for your future grandchildren.

    I wish you the best of luck 🙂

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  • Carol Colborn
    April 2, 2016

    I just experienced a burnout and have reduced my posts to two a month from one a week. I still love to travel but not as often or as driven as I used to be. I wish to step back and mull over life’s travel lessons. Coming from a 67-year old, that may be a bit useful!

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  • April 2, 2016

    Very interesting perspective! I agree that being a travel blogger is not for everyone! I am a very new blogger, I am currently working as a business consultant and traveling when I am able to take leave. I realised that when you love something you would make it happened no matter what it takes. There were days where I would stay up till 4am just to get my website SEO searchable and the following day my first meeting starts at 9am. The passion is the driver of my website. And there was a period of time, I was stressed up with what to write, and my friend simply sat me down and said, you should write your blog and drive it with passion.

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  • April 2, 2016

    I’m a travel blogger yet I don’t travel full time. I prefer having a base from where I can travel easily. This happens to be London. The truth is that holding a full-time job (I’m a Software Engineer) and running a blog is exhausting. It’s really difficult to manage the “2 lives” I have but at the same time, I really love travelling and enjoy sharing what I learn from it and the places I visit.

    If I didn’t, I would be doing something else!

    Cheers!

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  • April 3, 2016

    I can definitely see how it can get tedious and just kind of lonely. I’m not constantly moving but I certainly miss home and just being with family. After reading this, I wonder if I could leave my dog for a very long period of time to travel. Definitely got me thinking ?

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  • April 3, 2016

    As a part time traveler I get the best of both worlds. I have my home, job, pets and family on one hand and make an effort to travel and explore as much as I can on the other.

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  • April 3, 2016

    So much feels in this one. When I went solo backpacking in SEA, I realized that the long term traveling lifestyle ain’t for me. But I was very glad I tried, because now I know. I would like to spend more time on each place rather than hopping from one place to the next. And when I started my blog, I never really aimed to be famous. I just wanted to write (well, almost like anybody else lol) since a lot of my friends have made me their travel guide and pushed me to write guides for them. But I learned along the way that writing these travel guides, does get readers but I wasn’t fully happy after writing it. So I made myself a compromise. And I’m still experimenting until now. Passion is really the key. Thanks for inspiring, Trisha! May the force be always with you too. 😉

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  • April 3, 2016

    I guess permanent travel – being a perpetual global traveler – isn’t for anyone. There are definitely strong points, but there are also down sides. But I’d say that’s valid for any job or choice of living. I am a travel blogger, but I don’t travel on a perpetual basis. I love to have a home, to buy souvenirs from my travels and bring them home and so on and so forth.

    But I’d also add that, in the end, what matters is to do what you do with pleasure – whether it is to be a travel blogger or doing something else in life. And from there on, just do it 🙂

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  • April 3, 2016

    I started my travel blog because I have been traveling for 8 years and am in love with the world. I love the different cultures, the experiences, the different, and wanted to inspire someone, anyone, to get out there for themselves. But one of the first posts I wrote was why I stopped traveling. I wanted to share that after living out of a suitcase for years, what I actually wanted was a house. And a dog. And a job that paid me enough to travel in a level of comfort I could never afford as a full-time traveler. I now have my house, and my dog (he is the cutest thing in the world!) and I typically travel on average 4-6 weeks year and am just about to embark on a 3 month adventure around Africa. You don’t have to travel full time to be a traveler! Keep chasing your dreams Tricia – you CAN have it all!!

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  • April 3, 2016

    I love how honest you are in this post! It’s true that many people want to achieve so-called ‘fame’ in the travel blogging world, which seems hilarious to me. You’re right – the most famous travel blogger is NOT famous.. not even close… and if they’re too wrapped up in trying to make their blog successful, then they aren’t happy either. I think it’s important to do what makes you happy, and measure your success based on just that. I see traveling and blogging as an escape from the real world, and I’d never want to ruin my ‘happy place’ by taking it too seriously 😉

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  • April 3, 2016

    Excellent breakdown of the challenges of blogging life. We haven’t been doing it long, but the realities of the challenges have certainly made themselves apparent. These challenges are made even more obvious with us balancing full-time jobs and the lives of our two children.

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  • April 3, 2016

    I find your article very fresh and interesting. Yet I feel that people can do both. You can attract people to your blog through search engines AND write meaningful content. Not in every post or on every topic, but it is possible, especially as more and more emphasis of Search Engines goes toward Social Sharing, which in turn is promoted by real readers who want to share stories, rather than hard & dry facts.

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  • April 3, 2016

    This post obviously has resonated with a lot of people. I think we can all relate to that feeling of burnout, even if you’re doing something you love and that “grass is greener” feeling. People with big houses and sparkling kitchens and several children often feel tied down and jealous of the people who get to see and experience the world, and those nomads that look so glamorous on blogs often get lonely, tired, and emotionally drained and just want to have a place where they can make a mess and watch Netflix all day in their underwear. The key is finding the right balance for you.

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  • April 3, 2016

    I agree with so much of this. I try to balance my posts with tips/guides and personal updates, though when I look at my traffic I noticed that I have very few return visitors, meaning people come to read a specific post about a specific destination and then they leave. Nobody every sticks around. I suspect my only return visitors are my family! And I don’t think I could ever do the long-term travel. If anything we would become expats and live in one country long-term but I wouldn’t want to hop from town to town every few weeks.

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  • April 4, 2016

    I not surprised that your moms writing is beautiful as that explains why your writing is so beautiful.
    This is a deep post.
    For awhile I always felt jealous of those that can pay for there traveling through there blog. But after reading this post I don’t feel so bad anymore.
    I realize that when I travel, I’m taking a break from a career that I love to do something else that I love. I think too much of anything is not good. In order to spend all your days travelling you need to work harder on you blog to make money to survive. So in essence what should be a passion becomes a chore. Once it’s a chore then it’s no longer fun which might explain the burn out. I think part time travel blogger is a better option. Work full time travel part time. If your able to make extra money from you blog great, but don’t depend on the blog for money. That will prevent burn out….I think

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  • April 4, 2016

    This post hits quite a nerve on me, heh, so I can totally relate. At this very moment, I’m contemplating whether to keep on travelling / not working full time basis or to accept an offer to work a full time job in a new and different continent to me. Sounds like an easy decision to make but I have this worry about jumping back and adapting into a full time office job after 5 years of hiatus, and in a different world at that.

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  • April 4, 2016

    I hear about some bloggers feeling burnt out because what started as a hobby became a full time job that required for them to be dishonest, or to write for others over writing for themselves. Its great that you have found a good balance, and still enjoy it!

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  • April 4, 2016

    I think burnout can happen regardless of what you’re doing. I know many people that were burnt out of their 9-5 job. I was one of those. while there are times I miss having four walls, a full kitchen, or not sharing a room, I remember the alternative. While I don’t think I will be a full time traveler permanently, I do think its a change of pace. I think that’s the key to stay fresh and not burning out on something. Travelling with a partner always helps, whether its breaking up the monotony, or just having someone to share the experiences with. Hope you get to buy the house you grew up in!

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  • October 14, 2018

    Yes, I agree. It just becomes exhausting sometimes.

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