It’s been a few months in the making but – finally – here is my new banner and blog layout! What do you guys think? I’d love to say it was all down to my amazing (cough) computer skills, but it’s all down to some very creative people I know who came up with some great ideas in order to make The Cosy Traveller into a more comprehensive blog. So have a look round and let me know what you think!

In other news, on the 5th March I celebrated my 22nd birthday! I feel this card I received from my boyfriend (left) sums up my love for tea, cake and prettiness pretty well. You will also be pleased to hear that I celebrated with many Yorkshire cups of tea – much better than a bottle of champagne!

As well as some awesome cards (most with a ginger cat theme…) I also received some pretty epic travel gifts! My dad gave me some money towards a Travel Writing course in London, and Ian bought me a subscription to one of my favourite magazines, Lonely Planet Traveller – maybe the former will lead into a potential career with the latter?!
In addition to this, I received some amazing travel books and journals to stoke the fire of my wanderlust:
I have a slight obsession with travel books, so have been eagerly reading them from cover to cover in the last few days. Whilst they’ve all got me thinking about future travel plans, one book in particular got me thinking about the here and now. The Lonely Planet ‘Travel Writing’ book has some great tips for those wanting to get into the biz – and some interviews with industry professionals about what they look for in potential writers to commission.
From reading these interviews, a common theme seems to be that ‘bad’ travel writing constitutes writing too much about yourself and not about the destination:

“The writer is there to guide, inform and entertain the reader, not to be the equivalent of a pub bore.”

I often worry about this with writing my blog: how much should I include about myself and how much do people even care?! Obviously, if you’re writing for a newspaper, the tone is going to be very different from writing a blog but it got me thinking. Is there a ‘wrong’ way to approach writing for your blog? 
I guess it comes down to personal preference. While I do use blogs for inspiration for future destinations, if I want to read about the best places to visit in [insert random country here] I’ll often go to a guidebook. In essence, I use travel blogs as a way of feeling part of someone’s journey. I enjoy hearing about the little things that made people smile whilst travelling – I even ‘enjoy’ reading about their homesickness! In some way, this makes travel seem a lot more tangible and attainable. 
At the risk of sounding like a bit of a stalker, I also love reading about bloggers: where they’re from, where they have worked, what they’ve studied. It makes me feel like RTW travel is attainable for little ol’ me finishing a History degree in thousands of pounds of debt! One of the blogs that I feel really encompasses what I love about travel is Never-Ending Footsteps. Lauren’s journey hasn’t been void of bumps (take a look at her ‘The Incidents’ section for her unfortunate travel tales!) yet she injects so much of her personality into her posts that I instantly want to read more. It’s a great balance between travel tips and a personal memoir.
Another theme that cropped up in my book that is important with travel writing is producing an article that will mean something to others. In other words, not just writing a ‘We did this, we did that’ account of your trip, but introducing something different that will interest the reader. I found this invaluable, mainly because I often find myself tempted to write a long blog or article on everything I’ve ever done in one place – but then why would that interest anyone else? I’ve got to strike a balance between writing this blog for myself and (hopefully!) imparting some tips to fellow travellers.
In five years time, I would love to be writing content for a travel website, but I have some work to do! For now, however, I hope to use The Cosy Traveller as a way to learn – a way to learn both how to write better and to travel better. 
What do you look for in blogs?