Hello everyone! It’s been a long, long time since I last published a blog post.
Well, there were a number of sponsored posts published here and there on a few interesting destinations, but I haven’t written a personal travel post since April 2019!
A Break from Blogging
Just to share a little bit of background as to why I took break from blogging.
I took a break from blogging because I wanted to focus on my work, that is, to build a corporate writing business and other ventures.
I quit my job in mid-2017 to pursue self-employment. As soon as I left the corporate world, I travelled to Nepal, Central Vietnam, Portugal, Ireland and India. In between those periods of travelling, I worked on a few freelance projects in Kuala Lumpur (KL is my home base), but things only began to get serious by mid-2018.
I continued with the last of media trips to Northern Thailand and Laos in May & June 2018, but post that, I decided to knuckle down at home to get my business going, thus forgoing travels for periods of time. Because of the conscious decision to pursue self-employment which meant fluctuations in income for, at least, a few years before situations stabilise in terms of clients, contracts and projects, it was a personal and huge sacrifice on my part to curtail travel. It wasn’t easy to stop travelling for a while especially for a person like me who was frequently jet-setting every two to three months!
The other reason why I took a break from blogging was because I was getting tired of the travel blogging industry. While I enjoyed travelling, writing and the benefits of receiving income (a wee bit of income) from affiliate marketing, I was fatigued from the other things that came along with blogging especially professional travel blogging (well, I was aiming for that goal initially).
There were many things that one had to do – keeping up with social media numbers, blog traffic, marketing affiliates; frequent analyzing of Google Analytics (GA) and social media statistics; editing videos (and the need for videos to reduce website bounce rates and the fact that everyone is doing videos now!); the endless promoting on social media to be visible to all and sundry; continuous proving blog value and worth to tourism boards and sponsors (as they invariably focus on social media numbers, but not content), and so on and on.
For the benefit of my non-travel bloggers readers, I can provide a non-exhaustive list of things that professional travel bloggers have to do behind-the-scenes, just so to give you an idea how unglamorous the travel blogging world is. In fact, I wrote a few paragraphs about it, but deleted them as I don’t want to gripe and sound ungrateful for those experiences. Additionally, I’m aware of other professional travel bloggers who are doing very well, and I acknowledge their hard work which has helped them to be where they are today.
However, what I wanted to share is – in my opinion – the rat race and fierce competition in travel blogging had prevented me from enjoying the craft in the real sense. Throughout the two-year process of trying to be a professional travel blogger, I had forgotten the real joys of blogging, that is, to blog about one’s travels because of the genuine interest and passion to share one’s travel experiences with others. I had forgotten about that enthusiasm which I remembered having during my early blogging days from 2013. Instead, I emerged from that process uninspired and fatigued.
Rather than deleting my blog and throwing it all away, I told myself to step away and to return when I’m ready. There were moments in 2019 when I wanted to continue blogging on destinations from 2017 and 2018 which I haven’t shared yet, but somehow the posts were left unfinished. It was a combination of not feeling motivated enough to finish them and getting sidetracked with other priorities. Indeed, I had other priorities in the past 18 months – building my network of clients and projects for freelance corporate writing in KL, and setting up a trip planning service.
Trip Planning Service
For those of you who have been following me all these years, you would have known that I love travelling to India. I’ve been travelling to India regularly since 2010 and made eleven visits to date, and I will be making my twelfth visit in Feb 2020. Along with previous experiences in other countries in the South Asia region and the familiarity that I have with the region over the years, I decided to set up a trip planning service for travels to India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. The name of my trip planning service is called Crimson Asia.
This idea of a trip planning service to India was not entirely new. I had worked on this back in 2013/2014 with a friend, but there were so many things that we didn’t know about the industry. I was very new to blogging while my friend hardly travelled much at that time. So, we ditched the idea – it never kicked off. But after having the opportunities to meet travel agents and tour operators at travel fairs in Kathmandu in Nepal and Madhya Pradesh in India (I was invited as media for those events), the experience revived this dormant idea of a trip planning service.
One might argue that nobody needs travel agents/tour operators anymore, but those events made me realized that many people still need assistance with travel bookings and planning especially when they are unfamiliar with a particular area or region. And I remembered many comments and questions that people had shared with me over the years about travelling in India or in that region – they have the interests but do not know how to go about doing it. They are fearful of what they had read in the media or overwhelmed by the sheer planning of it all. Hence, I’d thought, this is where my expertise comes in. After all, I’m familiar with the culture and customs, and I have the experience travelling in that region.
Crimson Asia was officially launched in September 2018, and it has been growing organically with clients travelling to places such as Allahabad (the Kumbh Mela Festival), Varanasi, the Golden Triangle area and Ladakh in India; Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara in Nepal; and Bhutan. My service offers bespoke travel programs for people travelling to the South Asia region, and their programs are customised as per their interests and preferences. I work very closely with my travel associates based in Delhi (they are responsible for coverage throughout India), Kathmandu and Colombo.
While I’ve certainly stopped travelling to new destinations around the world, I’m currently doing a “targeted approach”, specifically for the purpose of growing Crimson Asia. I go on recce trips about twice a year – to places in my targeted destinations that I didn’t get a chance to explore in previous years or to get reacquainted with those places again. For instance, the first time I went to Rajasthan was in 2003 with my mom, but I went back again in Feb 2019 to recce old and new places as it had been 16 years since the first trip. I did the same thing for Sri Lanka in July 2019.
What’s in store for 2020?
I’m a tad late in writing my New Year posts, but suddenly, I had a rush of inspiration and motivation to write this post today, so yeah, this is me, reviving the blog!
Firstly, I won’t be publishing posts on a weekly basis like in previous times, and secondly, I won’t be doing that “blog chase” anymore. I’ve stopped checking my GA and social media stats for a year now. In fact, I “Marie Kondo-ed” my social media numbers!
Moving forward, I just want to keep things simple. I will blog whenever I feel like it – no pressure. And I would like to renew my enthusiasm and genuine interest in sharing my travel experiences and all, on this blog, Heck, there was a moment when I actually considered to change the name of my blog to something “more English and Western” for the rest of the world to pronounce and remember it properly. But after much thought, I changed my mind – just didn’t want to go through the technical hassle, at least for now.
There will be upcoming posts on my 2017 and 2018 travels to Kanchipuram and Pondicherry in South India, and Kanchanaburi in Thailand, and 2019 trips to Rajasthan in North India and the south-west coast of Sri Lanka. So, do look out for them!
As for actual travels in 2020, I’ll be accompanying a group trip to Nepal in Feb, followed by a personal recce trip to Tamil Nadu in South India. If you’re following me on Twitter and Instagram, check out for posts on those trips (I’ll be closing my Facebook Page, unfortunately. Just trying to keep things simple 😊)
For those who wish to know more about Crimson Asia, you may check out the website and follow us on Facebook and/or Instagram (we’re more active on FB). And if you have enquiries about bespoke travel programs to India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, email us at email@example.com
What about travels to other destinations?
A friend recently asked me if I have plans to travel to other destinations around the world i.e. personal trips. My answer is, No – not for the next one to two years, as I would like to focus on my business ventures. When things are stable and business can run on its own, I will resume those personal trips 😊
Here’s wishing you all, a HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020! May the New Year and New Decade bring you more travels and wonderful experiences.