A lot of people ask me how this all got started. So, on the One Year Anniversary of Tiny Traveler, I thought I’d give you a glimpse into the unlikely story of how I launched a travel blog.
If I’m being totally candid here, I originally started Tiny Traveler as a personal therapy project and a place to record the madness of my life. At this time last year, I was balancing being a new mom, trying not to suck at marriage with a baby, attempting (and failing) to fit in with other moms who were slaying Pinterest projects, and all the while making sure I still killed it at my executive level career – no pressure, right?
I felt like there wasn’t a place for me in Momland. To give you an example, most moms I knew drove a minivan, made their own organic baby food, and decorated their homes in the latest Pottery Barn. When I became a mother, I was traveling 50,000 miles a year for my job, I bought a Hummer and ate McDonald’s three times a week. Don’t judge – it was a weird time.
I knew that I needed an outlet and place to call my own – a place where moms could be REAL and admit when things were tough. I dreamt of a community where we could honestly celebrate each other and embrace the truth of parenting. I was fed up with the fake, unattainable, perfect ideals of motherhood, so I decided to dedicate a space to record all of the wild, amazing, hectic and beautiful travels that I was undertaking with Lucian. I desperately needed to be able to look back on that time and remember it for what it REALLY was, not just the filtered and retouched photo version. I wanted to reflect on the times that were so hard that I wasn’t sure I’d make it, and the moments that were so incredible that I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. It all began while I was sitting in an airport, while Lucian crawled around under the seats eating god only knows what off the floor, and I remember specifically saying, “I’m going to write a blog about this.” I was a little overconfident – let me explain.
Tiny Traveler is the epitome of a start-up blog. I built this site from nothing. I had no technical training, no nest egg of development money, I didn’t know a thing about building websites, I had never written more than a few snarky book reports, and I barely interacted on social media when this all began. Sounds like a good start for success, huh? So, once I decided to take on this thing called “blogging”, I did what any normal person would do….I googled it. I started with “How to build a website?”…classic, right? Let the record show that I’m a very unlikely candidate for building a website. I failed more classes in school than I passed and I was a terrible student! I guess you could say that learning didn’t come easy for me and anything involving science or technology was the WORST! No joke- ask my mom.
Despite my disparaging lack of knowledge or resources, I managed to get this blog site up and running with my self-taught, web developer skills, and the guidance of a few amazing friends. Before long, Tiny Travel was a real THING! It was tangible. I could touch it, I could see it, and I could puke out of nervousness. It was about to happen.
On March 20th, 2016, I pushed the site live. I anxiously invited everyone I knew to like my brand new Facebook page, that had one really cool follower….me. I announced to the world that I had secretly been working on the site and was ready to launch. The second I pushed “publish”, my heart fell out my butt. If you want to know what it was like, just strip down to your skivvies, and pour out your failures to your closest friends, along with gaggle of judgemental strangers you’ve never met, yea….it was pretty intense.
As soon as the site went live, I turned into a total basket case. I was psychotically watching my web stats and shouting out-loud every two seconds.
“I got a live one in California!”
”OMG! Two people are looking at my story in Canada!”
”There are 19 people on the site at this exact moment”
My poor husband. I watched the site like a deranged hawk! At dinner time I would take a bite of food, check the analytics, take another bite of food, scream a stat, take another bite of food…nearly choke from multi-tasking and so on.
Over time, the blog started taking off. People started noticing that this blog was a bit….different. It was celebrating FAILS! It was encouraging TRUTH! It was UNITING MOMS! Within the first few months, I developed a small but beloved following of REAL fans! I was ecstatic that I had found people who had similar views to mine, who could laugh along with me during this crazy period of life. The more ridiculous my true-life stories were, the more relatable the blog became. Dozens of posts and videos later, Tiny Traveler has survived its first year of digital life on social media – that works like dog years – one social media year is like forty real years or something like that.
Today, Tiny Traveler has been read by tens of thousands of people a month, from all over the globe. We’ve published viral videos, done some weird Facebook Live feeds from hotel bathrooms, launched a rockin’ Instagram (shameless plug @TinyTravelerBlog….no seriously…go check it out!), and laughed our way through some pretty amazing fails. We’ve expanded from our signature stories to now offer free packing lists, coloring pages for the kids, and even a Tiny Traveler Store powered by Amazon! We’ve even developed valued affiliate partnerships with companies that I never dreamed would notice us! What started as a simple journal of motherhood, has turned into an escape from the pressure to be perfect for moms all over the world. It’s been the real deal, the hard truth, and the comedic relief for readers who believe that we are all perfectly imperfect mothers.
I can’t say that I’ve managed any of this success alone. It’s been said that raising kids “takes a village” and it’s totally true! Without the help of these key players, I would probably be lost in the Bermuda Triangle of Motherhood – or the REAL Bermuda Triangle more likely. Join me in giving these folks a huge digital high-five because none of this would’ve been possible if not for these folks believing in me and supporting the mission to flip the table on unrealistic expectations for moms!
Jordan – You are my solid foundation, my better half, my voice of reason and my biggest fan! Thanks for supporting the vision and dream of Tiny Traveler – even when I forget. I love you more than words!
Lucian – You are my original inspiration for Tiny Traveler. My free-spirited, independent, travel companion. I wouldn’t trade this life with you for anything in the world. I’ll cherish the memories for as long as I live. Love you baby cling.
Misty – None of this would’ve been possible without you! You are the genesis of it all. There is no Tiny Traveler without YOUR big vision and dreams carrying us around the world! Your contagious entrepreneurial spirit stokes my fire! Love you Sista!
Nani Dani – Ahhhhh my glorious nanny and dear cousin-in-law, Dani. Thousands of miles, laughing until it hurts, and sometimes barely surviving. You’re always ready for the next CRAZY plan – or lack of plan. You’ve stuck by side the whole way and I’ll never forget it! Thank you!
Liz – My wise friend. Thank you for helping me all along the way (or more like CARRYING me along the way at times), especially in those early development days. From my annoying questions about tech, to hours of mind banging about the journey ahead, I’m forever grateful.
Krisa – You know my heart and are always there to remind me why I started this whole thing in the beginning. You keep me authentic and true to myself. Thanks for loving on Luc and doing the 2am babysitting shift so the travels can continue. You are the BEST!
Nanny Angie & Nanny Crystal – You two beautiful ladies took a chance on us in the very beginning and traveled alongside us to support Tiny Traveler. You’ve put aside your lives and schedules to be there for Lucian. I appreciate you both so much! Thanks for coming along for the ride!
TINY TRAVELER FANS– Without you, Tiny Traveler would still just be my personal journal and I’d be hopelessly swimming around in my motherhood failure. YOU are my motivation! YOU keep me going when I feel like giving up. Thanks for sharing our content, engaging with our stories and for making Tiny Traveler REAL!
There are so many others who have personally contributed to the success of Tiny Traveler! I wish I could list you all. Know that I feel a great depth of gratitude to everyone who has played a part in our growth and success! THANK YOU!
Live life with adventure –
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