Looking Back: Five Years of LandLopers


Every blogger writes these anniversary posts, so who am I to buck the trend? This week marks the 5-Year Anniversary of my web site, a fact that surprises me in every way. I’m still not exactly sure what made me do it when, over a long weekend, I sat at the kitchen table and somehow gathered up enough technical abilities to launch a travel blog. A few months earlier I didn’t even really understand what a travel blog was, much less have any idea how to start one. What I did know was that I was stuck in every sense of the word and I needed a lifeline, much more desperately than I realized at the time.

I usually tell people that I started the site for a couple of reasons, to help friends and other professionals like me travel better and have more fun in the process. I had also recently visited the Galapagos, which was truly a life-changing trip. Although I traveled often for both work and pleasure, that trip more than any other in a long time reminded me just how much I love to learn and explore the world around me. Those reasons are both true and perfectly valid. Looking back though I think there’s more, something far deeper and personal.

I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy in any way with any aspect of my life for a whole bunch of reasons. I was also spiraling out of control, a fact I can only see now in retrospect. My brain, sensing an impending self-destruction, reached out and demanded I set up a lifeline, something to tether me firmly to the planet and which would go on to act as the mechanism for dramatically improving my life. Perhaps too metaphysical a way to describe a travel blog, but it’s true. The site started slowly, as they all do, but I quickly found joy again. Not only did I love the writing, something I’ve always enjoyed, but I much more enjoyed the interactions. People not related to me were reading my site and talking to me about my travels! It was exciting, fresh and new but even then I had no idea what would come of it.

It grew and progressed at a fast pace until the moment came, nearly three years ago, when my old 9-5 job and I left each other, neither one looking back. Forced to choose – mainstream or not – I opted for the not and began the search on how to make this strange new industry my job, my new career. While certainly not easy at first I made it work somehow, sometimes I think out of sheer force of will more than anything else and naturally owing to a lot of hard work and luck.

Let me pause a moment to say that this post isn’t meant to be an “I’M SO AMAZING” kind of post, contrary to the first few paragraphs. No, instead I wanted to share the backstory for those who might not know it and to show, I suppose, just how accidentally and naturally this whole thing evolved to the point where I am now celebrating a five-year anniversary.

The site has evolved and changed over time as I myself have evolved and changed over time. From helping people with frugal tips, to being a blog of experiences and luxury travel it’s a mirror reflection of how my life has changed as well, and that’s a very good thing. Many people, especially other bloggers, tend to forget exactly what a good travel blog should be. It should not be a random assortment of facts and figures, rehashed Wikipedia trivia or a humorless city guide. Blogs are personal, very personal, and are meant to reflect the author. We gravitate to certain ones over others not because of their restaurant recommendations, but for the people and the voices behind those words. We can relate to, identify with the writers and realize just how alike we are. We have a similar outlook on the world and I trust that person to suggest interesting things to see and do. That’s a good blog, a gracious and not gratuitous mix of the personal and the useful, comingled in an amalgam of entertaining anecdotes and inspiration.

Once again, I fear I’m using language a bit too over the top to describe a blog, but I think it’s accurate. While to many the site may look like just a bunch of pretty pictures, interesting stories and useful (I hope) tips, it’s much more than that to me. It is who I am. Onto its pages I have shared and will continue to share some intensely personal details of my life and have used those words to help myself through some pretty dark and bleak episodes in my own life. It has been my counselor, my friend and ultimately my savior. Through it I have redefined my life and my place in it and as a result, I have never in all of my short 39 years been happier than I am today.

So thank you one and all for stopping by, looking, reading and commenting. For encouraging and offering a virtual shoulder on which to cry. You’ve helped me more than I can ever hope to repay and for that I am eternally grateful.

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

12 thoughts on “Looking Back: Five Years of LandLopers”

  1. Another example of how hard work pays off! This is more or less my personal project: to share my stories in a blog and help people. Thanks for sharing and happy anniversary!

  2. Happy 5th year of Blogging Anniversary Matt! Thanks for sharing your personal journey with us. You have kept your blog to a professional standard while keeping it personal and still ‘you’ . May you have many many more blogging anniversaries to come!

  3. Congrats on five years of blogging! I first came across your blog when I was doing research for my trip to South Africa and immediately knew your blog was one I would keep coming back to, for all of the reasons you listed above. As someone who recently decided to bite the bullet and start my own “passion project,” it’s great to see how this site has helped you in ways you didn’t anticipate. Congrats, again, and happy anniversary!

  4. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

    Congrats a reaching the 5 year milestone! I think your comments about being both professional and having a voice readers can relate to is spot on. Thanks for the inspiration and congrats!

  5. Congratulations Matt, quite an achievement. Keep up the good work! Well with your love for travel no doubt it will work out just fine. I am curious though where you got the name for your website. “Landlopers” is a Dutch word to me, so I’d really love to know your story behind it.

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