It’s been a month since I was sitting in the dining room at Kwantu Game Reserve, to find my Twitter blowing up with the news that I’d won Best Lifestyle Award at the South African Travel Blog Awards 2016!
The inaugural SA Travel Blog Awards were held at the Table Bay Hotel at the V&A Waterfront on the 18th of June, and were aimed at “acknowledging the top Travel and Travel Related Lifestyle Bloggers in South Africa”. The event was sponsored by Sun International and included a morning workshop, a lunch of canapés and a networking cocktail party.
Unfortunately, the awards didn’t release a shortlist before the event so I had no idea my application had even been included. Because of this, I accepted a trip to the Eastern Cape to go see animals instead. (You know I love dem wild animals!)
Before I left, the PR company did ring me to ensure I was attending, but I told them no as I really didn’t think I would win in a million years.
It’s only tonight, while writing this blog post and reading the winners’ list, that I realise I was nominated IN FOUR CATEGORIES!!! I literally did not know this!
As for the prize; it was only while eating a chicken kebab for lunch at Kwantu that I was suddenly taken by surprise at the news that I had won – thank you Twitter!
How Winners Were Chosen
Thank you to the judges who have shown confidence in my work. They include Desireé Haakonsen (Southern Africa Travel Expert for the Edutours Africa and ACTS Africa brands), Natalia Rosa (Travel digital marketer), Deon Kitching (Creator of Mission Vision Tours – South Africa and online travel channel: DiscoverTV SA) and Veli Ngubane (CCO and founding partner of marketing agency AVATAR).
Each of the judges “were tasked to score each blogger according to pre-selected judging criterion. Each blog received a score out of ten for each relevant category. Winners were chosen in 8 categories and each winner walked away with great prizes thanks to the sponsors involved.” – SA Blog Awards.
What It Means to Me
I’m not going to lie. My day was really, REALLY made when I received the tweet about winning Best Lifestyle Blog. The reason is because because I put in A LOT of time, work, effort and money into my blog.
I work full-time and it’s NOT easy to be out the house all day and then come home and work on Boring Cape Town Chick for another 3 – 6 hours daily. It’s a LOT of hard work, much of which is unseen and unknown. So to receive an award just makes me feel like the universe is sending me a sign to say, “You’re ok kid”.
The trouble with awards is that it causes a lot of self-reflection, internally and externally. When I started blogging, I would explore other blogs and wonder how they did certain things, both technically and creatively. I would then teach myself; learning, solving and being creative all in the process. It’s a good thing. Competitor analysis is vital for any brand wanting to do good work.
But, awards also make you a benchmark. It sets a standard and opens up your work (hard and personal work) to be judged by others. It says, “This is the standard we accept this year.” and then everyone gets to compare themselves to you. Awkward.
Congratulations to my Contemporaries!
I recall Gwen Stefani saying something along the lines of, “Awards don’t seem important until you win one”. And I have to agree with this. I was annoyed with myself after entering the awards and I feel it’s more important to focus on my own journey and the work. As Michael Palmer (and words my boss uses often),
“Never compare your inside
with somebody else’s outside.”
So I want to congratulate all the bloggers that were nominated for an award this year. I know how much hard work you put into your sites, well done!
In addition, there are 3 blogs that I would like to give a special mention to. They are:
2 Summers – One of the original ‘South Africa’ bloggers who I read consistently when starting out. I hadn’t seen the new theme until now, looking awesome! Congratulations on your commitment and great blogging work. Hopefully we will meet one day. 🙂
Cape Town My Love – Karissa is such a stunning girl and has consistently blogged for years now. We see each other at events quite often and she deserves all the good vibes she gets. Well done Karissa!
Becoming You – Katherine is just so sweet and it’s lovely to be nominated alongside her considering she is such a well-known and respected blogger. Well done Kath!
I also want to send a shout out to all the really amazing SA travel bloggers out there. Some of them are on a global level and it’s very cool. Check out the Life of Mike and Tails of a Mermaid.
For All the Newbie Bloggers…
I know that there will be a lot of young bloggers out there now exploring my blog (just like I explored other blogs when I started) and analysing everything I do. It does worry me a little bit as competitor analyses are good for any brand wanting to be taken seriously, but blogging is a personal journey. So while it’s good to set goals for yourself, it’s more important to walk your own path. Keep focussed on good work and remember why you do what you do (why you started).
A Few Thank Yous
It would be amiss for me not to thank the following parties for their input to the awards, which includes hosting the awards and the prizes. Thank you to:
- The South African Travel Blog Awards for creating this fun and important platform.
- AVIS – For my lovely prize of a weekend rental. Thank you.
- Sun International – For my awesome power bank, I’ve been using it already.
- Table Bay Hotel – For my cool seal memory stick!
- Labri for the wine pairing for one person in Franschhoek.
- Franschhoek Kitchen voucher for wine tasting & a main for one person.
- Earth Organisation bracelet.
- AND YOU FOR READING MY BLOG!!!
All the funds raised for the Travel Blog Awards go to the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation’s audio-visual youth education program. The awards were able to donate R51 500 to the charity in 2016. Well done!
I’m really looking forward to the Travel Blog Awards 2017 and this time I will attend! I wish everyone best of luck with their blogging for the rest of 2017. And…last but not least,