What I learned on a blogging retreat to Krakow

  My blogging setup at a cafe in Krakow.

My blogging setup at a cafe in Krakow.

I wrote a post at the end of last year with well-wishes for the Christmas period. But I was also offering some thoughts on my outlook, the future and how I feel about my own life in general.

One of the things I mentioned in the blog was how I wanted to make a real go of Travelling Tom, and how I wanted to take it to the next level and make it a fully-fledged part of my career. To do that, I knew I needed to properly strategise and put myself in a position to succeed. That is why I decided to go on a blogging retreat.

What’s a blogging retreat?

  Columbus Coffee was a good, cheap base for my blogging.

Columbus Coffee was a good, cheap base for my blogging.

Basically, it is a term I made up and not one I’d heard of before. In my mind, a blogging retreat is where you go away and focus on your blogging. Whether that’s learning a new skill, planning things out, coming up with ideas or a combination of several things, the main idea is to concentrate on blogging.

That’s what I aimed to do. If I wanted to become a serious blogger I needed to take a time out, have a real sit down and decide how I was going to get from here to successfully achieving my goals. That’s why I booked the blogging retreat.

Why Krakow?

  A colourful street in Krakow.

A colourful street in Krakow.

If I was going to get some proper work done, I needed to get away from the distractions of home. Away from my job, away from my girlfriend, away from my friends, my family and my dog – it was always going to be a trip abroad.

But, proximity aside, there were other criteria that had to be filled. Most importantly, I wanted to go somewhere I’d both been before and really enjoyed, so that I wouldn’t feel under pressure to be a tourist. I didn’t want to spend my time taking in sights I’d never seen before, and if I was in a new city that distraction would be too much. It was also important that I picked a place that I was fond of so that I could just revel in being there.

Throw in a price factor and flight availability, and that’s how I came to a decision on making Krakow my destination. I love the city, it was the host of one of my favourite trips, and it had enough coffee shops, cafés and co-working spaces to make sure I had somewhere to knuckle down and get to blogging.

What I got up to

  Inside one of my working locations at Bonjour Cava on Józefa Piłsudskiego.

Inside one of my working locations at Bonjour Cava on Józefa Piłsudskiego.

Before I left I made a page’s worth of bullet point notes about the things I needed to work on whilst I was in Poland. I had quite a lot to be doing, but I figured that since the retreat was going to last five days I would get through it all with some hard work and endeavour.

Somewhat ironically, I now have more to do than before I left. But that’s not a bad thing, because I did so much researching and thinking in Krakow that I discovered so much more that I needed to do to make my blog better, more exciting, more engaging and more profitable.

But I did lay the foundations. I decided on my brand colours, I created a content schedule, I organised all of my travel photos and videos and I found some new direction. I made a huge list of all the things I need to do and came up with some exciting ideas that I am hoping will come off.

It also taught me that Travelling Tom will never be a finished product. I can complete my tasks for a week and hit some goals, but there will always be a new technology or technique to use, and the internet will evolve in ways I’ll forever have to keep up with. But I like the thought of that because I keeps me on my toes and continuously gives me something to work towards.

I still want to live in a foreign city

  It seems mundane, but I'd love to walk these streets every day.

It seems mundane, but I'd love to walk these streets every day.

Okay, so I was still staying in a hotel and I was only there for a brief amount of time, but “working” away reaffirmed my longing for living and working abroad. I would love to call a foreign city home, really getting under the skin of a new place, meeting new people and making new friends.

When I do eventually get that move, it will probably be under a different set of circumstances, but I know that getting up in a morning and just walking the streets of somewhere like Krakow would be an absolute pleasure.

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