Bloggers Who Glamorize Their Lifestyle

Bloggers Who Glamorize Their Lifestyle post image

I got an email from freelance writer and editor Elisa Doucette (sweet name!) this morning about a writing project she is working on. One question got me thinking:

Do you feel like aspects of the lifestyle are glamorized?

I feel like it’s the opposite. I mean… people come back from trips abroad and write posts like, “it’s not all it’s cracked up to be… I had a hard time finding internet!”

It reminds me of that Louis CK bit “everything is amazing and nobody is happy.” Like: yeah traveling the world, working from anywhere, and not having a job was glamorized by bloggers because you had a hard time finding internet?

My background is from small business America. Before that, I had a gig at a fortune 500 company. My first hand experience is that most Americans work their asses off (God bless them!).

I spent 50 hours a week at my desk. I primarily interacted with people who felt compelled to push around spreadsheets to pay mortgages.

Call it noble if you want– it’s not my bag.

I spent 2 hours a day in my car. I struggled to pay for all my bills. I felt guilty as hell when I took a week off. I never got to leave my country.

Contrast that with the lifestyle of the location independent freelancer or entrepreneur.

Just being able to see another country for more than 2 weeks is something so amazing to me that I’m not sure I have the writing chops to properly glamorize it.

How can you glamorize deciding your own future? Traveling anywhere you want? Waking up without an alarm clock?

I couldn’t be more thankful I’ve had the good fortune to enjoy this type of living.

So I'm staring at this map all morning like a dummy...

I’m spending the morning staring at this map. I need to go somewhere for a visa run. I still haven’t decided.

I used to dream that this kind of thing was possible.

I wish I could send a note to my 22 year old self. It would start “don’t worry….”

I’m going to go book a flight… any ideas?! :)

PS, If you liked this article and want to hear directly from me, put your email address in to the form below.

Published on 09.06.11
  • Come visit Maine! I’ll cook you lobster. It is ALMOST as tropical as Southeast Asia. Except it totally isn’t.  ;)

    Thanks for the shout – though you took all the good stuff for this post. What am I supposed to write in the Forbes article now?!  In the past what I have found most frustrating with lifestyle bloggers “being douchey” is when they make blanket statements like “Your life sucks because you have chosen XYZ and mine is SO MUCH BETTER because I am awesome. Now bow down and kiss my toe ring.”

    Ok, so I’ve never seen a blogger ask anyone to kiss their toe ring (though I’m sure it has happened somewhere) but sometimes the sentiment came across very similar. I knew it was that they were so belligerently happy with their lives (or trying to convince themselves that they were while simultaneously wanting to throw their laptop out a window as Firefox continued timing out webpages on a 1.0 mbps internet speed!) that they wanted to tell the whole world about it.

    But, it sometimes comes out like a condescending asshat.

    I’m sure I’ve been a condescending asshat on my own site. I know I have been, as people have called me on it.

    And really, no one strives to be a condescending asshat. At least I don’t think they do. Maybe there are a few people out there.

    Often I feel bad for being a condescending asshat. Rarely do I feel sorry for feeling the way I do though. The same way everyone wants to be entitled to their opinion, I deserve to be entitled to mine.

    But telling people they suck and should go stand by a dumpster to think about what they just did might not be the best way to relay that.

  • For me this post is a reminder to stop and smell the roses.  We should be more appreciative of our everyday lives.  When something doesn’t go as planned we should try thinking about the situation from a different perspective.

  • Hey Dan. When I was a kid we went to the Sundarbans (Bay of Bengal)

    I’d do that and India again in a heartbeat. Since I lived in Dhaka in the 90s I haven’t been back. 

    Also consider Darjeeling. That place was really weird, even for a well-travelled kid like myself. And of course the deserts in India are rad. Rajasthan is interesting as fuck.

    Ever been to India or Bangladesh?

  • Cody McKibben

    Dude, Dan, I’m serious, come crash with us in Krabi. 3 story pad good wifi, quiet, peaceful. We’ll crack out some work and then go for beers.

    Otherwise, see you at the end of November! :)

  • Thank You so much (heavy sigh) i get so sick of people saying but why would you want to go to that country? Its so dangerous. Theres no good shopping there. (the latest one I got) etc… and yet they’ve never been out of the state. For years i told my self if you can figure out a way to make $500 US a month you can live on the beach with out all the daily bore of work and running around like a chicken with your head cut off (to graphic?) Thanks again

  • Dan

    Word. D

  • Dan

    Have not! People been putting it on my radar a lot lately. Checking out your link…. can’t do it for this trip because I need some more time for sure… 

  • Dan

    Not this time!!! See you in November :)

  • Dan

    ha :D

    agreed sir! 

  • Dan

    Agreed. I often think about your “belligerently happy” point. I’m keenly aware that these kinds of posts can come off as straight douche. The problem is, for the small percentage of people who have opt-ed in, it’s like therapy to hear from others who feel as passionately as they do– especially when everyone around them thinks they are crazy. I know it was important for me to read over-the-top passionate bloggers when I quit my job– nobody thought what I was doing was a good idea. Boo hoo!

    I’m curious though– you willing to name names? Who are the people telling folks to stand by dumpsters?

  • Hi Elisa,

    I’ve had the same kind of experience as I approached the lifestyle business world and I have mixed feelings about the current state of things.

    On one side I want to echo Dan’s comment (hey Dan .o/), it’s like therapy to see so many motivated and happy people and I personally know a few folks that have greatly benefited from jumping ship and wouldn’t have done so if it wasn’t for such amazing community.

    On the other hand the “belligerently happy” phenomenon exists and is off-putting. This lifestyle, like any other, has its problems, but in some respects I think it’s actually psychologically more difficult than others. Therefore I wouldn’t be surprised if, as you suggested, some people were trying to convince themselves about their own happiness. And I’d say this is not particularly unusual, the corporate manager making big bucks at the expenses of time with his/her family is gonna buy a luxury car with the very same intent. In both cases we’re just trying to prove ourselves and others that we made the right choice by our world’s standards.
    But if happiness matters most, we all have to pay bills too and the large majority of the lifestyle business folks seem to make money from e-books and  courses, which need to be sold. Certainly content is king and I believe folks in this community are moved by the energy they got from going through that change themselves and the desire to share it. But the fact remains that you’re still selling something and I suspect you’re not gonna get customers if the projected image of the result is one of unhappiness and difficulties.

    It would be great to get to a point where there’s more pragmatism about the issues of living differently and I think we’re getting there. The more people join the movement the more voices will emerge and so will honest stories of tough times.



  • That’s always the rub with life – you can’t please everyone all the time.  :)  As I said, I’ve most always regretted making someone feel bad because of how I said something, but rarely felt bad about believing what I believe. Shockingly opinions change as is ALMOST like we are growing evolving creatures. Almost 

    And I’m sure you will not be surprised at all to know that the “stand by a dumpster” phrase is one of *my* favorites. I heard it somewhere once and have adopted it into my vocabulary ever since.

  • I think you should go somewhere completely different to the IN, VN, KH places, go to Bangladesh, India or Sri Lanka.

  • There are people who complain that the lifestyle design bloggers write too much about how great their life is and how bad the corporate life is. But lets be honest. Why are those people ready lifestyle design blogs? If you love your corporate 9 to 5 job, then why would you read those blogs?
    If you hate cats, you wouldn’t sign up for a cats newsletter, right?

    As long lifestyle bloggers don’t tell others that their way of life is the only way to live the right way, then I think everything is fine.

    So many of my friends told me how much they hate their corporate jobs and how they would also love to travel more and not be dependent on other jobs. But as soon as I start to talk about how they could do that, if they want, they stop listening because it apparently doesn’t work. 

  • Dan

    haha great point Raffael. I suspect– as it seems you do as well– that there is something deeper going on there. 

    They aren’t really made at the lifestyle design bloggers…. but that’s a blog post I’m not gonna write… :)

    Your last sentence… that’s the difference between people who make it and people who stew away without making changes. 

    So it goes..

    Thanks for stopping by.

  • “The problem is, for the small percentage of people who have opt-ed in,
    it’s like therapy to hear from others who feel as passionately as they
    do– especially when everyone around them thinks they are crazy. I know
    it was important for me to read over-the-top passionate bloggers when I
    quit my job– nobody thought what I was doing was a good idea.”

    Amen. We need you. Well, I do, anyway. I thought I wanted to live location independently when I graduated college but back then I didn’t know how. I was working in theatre and thought that was the ticket. And then I got mad at theatre (working 12-16 hours days in dark places, even if they’re next to a beach, just isn’t my idea of a life) and I confused that with being unhappy with the nomadic lifestyle. Now I’ve been 9-5 for 2 years and I’m bored out of my mind. Finding this community is absolutely the light I have been looking for. Keep being happy.  Be honest, of course, but please share the happiness. It will resonate with the right people. We don’t think it’s douchey.

  • Dan

    Cheers Sarah, appreciate the shout! :D 

    I’ll on my happy horse today! Got a bunch new stuff going on, hopin’ to get back to bloggin’ here today. 

  • Up

    This is hilarious. The Blog is called “Tropical MBA” though it has nothing to do with an MBA and the writers certainly do not have MBAs. The Tropical part is all about “glamor”. The actual business model of all of these supposed entrepreneurs is hidden for fear of actual competition. The only thing they have is hype for the “lifestyle”.

  • Dan

    I have an ecommerce biz that generated 6 figures last month and will clear 1M this year. I have 10 employees. I’m open about a variety of our revenue sources on our podcast, and occasionally on this blog if you dig deep. Am I scared of competition? Fuck yeah. 

    Go read Tech Crunch smartie. 

  • You can’t go wrong hopping a quick flight to Nam for a visa run.  A weekend in Saigon will absolutely blow your mind (if it hasn’t already)!

  • Dan

    True story. I lived in Binh Thanh for 8 months or so, loved it and still miss the food…

  • Down

    More hype, this time hyping the fear. Wow, how educational. Even more is the idea that Tech Crunch is where to go to read about entrepreneurship. That’s just more hype BS.

  • Dan

    That was a joke. If you have the time, and since a lot of entrepreneurs read this blog, I’d love it if you would list off 4-5 business blogs worth reading. I’ll read them.

  • I’ll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the advice!

  • you got it

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