How & Why we turned our Personal Travel blog to a Community Travel Website

By Kach Umandap - Howe October 13th, 2015 Posted in Inspiration and Love Stories, Travel Blog 5 Comments

It all started late one night, “I can’t do this anymore!” after blogging for 20 hours a day for a week to build Two Monkeys Travel. I’m not a writer, and I’ve never dreamt of being one but I always have lots of different ideas that I want to do – I’m a planner. Jonathan loves his privacy and isn’t into posting about himself online, but he compromised a lot when I persuaded him to start the blog and help me with my grammar. Related Article: Career or Travel, why not both?

Kach and Jonathan

“This blog is ruining us, it’s either we do something to change it or just shut it down” – This is what Jonathan told me after I had an anxiety attack reading comments and messages from “haters.” Our life would be quieter, and we had other means to support ourselves, but I still didn’t want to shut it down. We had invested money, done a lot of work and had a lot of readers messaging us daily thanking us for helping them. We had also been able to travel a lot more, thanks for the blog. Related Article: How to Start a Travel Blog and Earn Money in 6 Months

Two Monkeys Travel - Key West - Florida Keys - Romantic Activities 2

When we first started on Blogger about a year and a half ago, my only goal was to get discounts in hotels while we were traveling in India, but with such a shallow motivations we soon abandoned it. To help us with our long term travel lifestyle, we had different sources of income – we had invested in our massage business, and certification and Jonathan were paid good money teaching English. However, when we started learning that blogging could help you earn money, we got curious. We studied on how to start a travel blog for a month, we designed a business plan, and we invested money in it.

Our Nullarbor Roadtrip Itinerary: Best Way to See South and West Australia

It was ok, my marketing and networking background helped us to reach an audience and get articles published in other websites and magazines while Jonathan started to write more articles for the blog. The blog grew from nothing to 150K page views per month, and I started receiving a lot of questions. Some questions I couldn’t even answer because I had never been to those places, though I’ve traveled to more than 35 countries and been living abroad for six years now. However, I promised myself that all questions would be answered. Aside from the increase in inquiries, we had many more opportunities to travel, including some places we couldn’t even go because we had already planned our travel itinerary. I also started receiving messages from fellow bloggers asking me to feature them on our blog, for interviews and guest posts. I rarely say no, because I will never forget that time when a fellow blogger refused to accept my guest post when we were just starting out.

Kach and Jon
Holi Festival, India

This was when we started to think that the only way to maintain this website would be by working with a team. I started hiring people in February to April, invested some money on help, and there were a few bloggers who interned on our blog, but it’s hard to get someone else’s help if they have hidden agenda. So I cut everyone and started a new group with the ethos that all of the people who want to work with us would benefit and most of all, they would truly enjoy it. We have a writer who went on an all-expenses paid, luxury trip to Budapest and Iceland, another had an all-expenses paid press trip in Indonesia, and much more including staycation in hotels, tours, travel gear and products to review, all in exchange for writing articles about doing what they love – traveling

Awesome things to do in Iceland

Well, I think it’s all doing pretty well now, we have an amazing group of writers, all enjoying travel perks for doing something they love, we still have the blog that we built from scratch and we have more inspiring content to share with our readers that we hope will help them with their life and travel plans. It’s a win-win!  I know there are people who have ghost writers to write for them, but Jonathan and I want people to get the credit they deserve for the work they do, thus now all of our writers have their own Author’s bio on Two Monkeys Travel Group website.

What’s next?

Kach and Jon

Now, I do not have anxiety attacks from being stressed out maintaining a blog, the real hard work is behind us, and we can enjoy the fruits of our labor. We’re working normal hours now, instead of 16 hours per day. We have a team of amazing people who love what they’re doing and are growing with us. Jonathan and I will continue to work on the site, but also go back to our real passion – our old travel style – Yoga and Meditation every day and Ayurveda! And oh, we’re starting to plan our WEDDING next year! Busy busy!

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5 thoughts on “How & Why we turned our Personal Travel blog to a Community Travel Website

  1. Hi,

    I just accidentally read one of your blogs and by opening different pages from your site, I got interested to follow your blog. I am not a traveler, however, your articles will help me in another way. I would love to work with you someday but for now, I want to follow and read more of your articles.

    By the way, my current work is a Virtual Assistant which my task at this moment (I wrote this letter) is to look for guest blogging sites relevant to online studies and this is how I bumped to your site. Though your site isn’t relevant to the task, I still kept on scanning and turning pages because I got interested in the information.

    For now, I just leave a comment for me to go ahead of my task, lol. I will get back again soon during my free time.

    Keep it up! I Love it!

    Hearty

  2. I love this! just starting out at wayfaringsarah.com so I fully understand what you mean about the workload! I’m inspired to continue now 😀

  3. Gotta love the haters! Congrats on successfully moving your blog in a new direction and cheers to more work life balance!

  4. Thanks alot for this inspiring story.
    Please advise me more on how to profit from a blog.
    And congs about your wedding bells

  5. Hey Kach,
    Thanks for this post. I’m always lurking on the blog but never really commenting. We’ve loved you since before we met you (sounds like a Savage Garden song) but it was truly a blessing to meet you in Costa Rica randomly. We’ll never forget a lot of what we talked about and have been nothing but fortunate and thankful for all your help.

    We always tell people about your hustle and I think people still can’t understand how you became “an overnight” success. We know what you’re doing and have done!

    You’ve always committed yourself (sometimes too much) with helping other. Glad to see you coming back to focusing on you two, especially since your getting married. GAME CHANGER haha.

    Camille and I can’t wait to continue following your personal journey and can’t begin to imagine what will come in the future. We wish you all the best!

    Thank you thank you thank you.

    Love from Manila,
    Mark and Camille

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Written by Kach Umandap - Howe

Co-Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 136 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she got married then a year later bought a sailboat and went on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean for 2 years. She now lives in Herceg Novi, Montenegro. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.

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