Many blogs across the internet will sell you the dream of sitting in your flip-flops, cocktail in hand, blogging on a beach. The stock photography leads you to believe you could be sat without a care in the world, tapping away on your laptop as the surf rolls in. Sand between your toes, sunglasses on and a gentle, warm breeze in your hair.
The practicalities of blogging on a beach are not what you might expect.
Earlier this year, I took a short break which put me on a small island surrounded by beautiful beaches. Before traveling, I fully intended to live the dream of blogging on a beach. The practical considerations of blogging on a beach, however, had other ideas.
Pack your bags
The first consideration of blogging on a beach is actually getting to a beach with the means to blog. Okay, you might be able to get away with blogging on your smartphone. With a reasonable screen size, typing an off-the-cuff short post is feasible. It isn’t ideal though.
The ideal is to at least have a lightweight laptop that has a decent size keyboard.
My little blogging excursion meant getting to an island with the equipment I needed. The access to the island, by air, was not with your average airline. The luggage was exclusively carry-on and extremely limited at that. Everything I needed had to come in at 6kg or less.
I chose to take a small netbook weighing in at 1.5kg (with the power adapter). This shaved my carry-on luggage mass down to 4.5kg. That meant pretty frugal clothes packing by my standards. I managed to get it all stuffed into a small backpack.
Bringing your blog to the beach
This is where it begins to fall apart. If your intention is simply to go to a beach and blog then you may make it. However, if your prime intention is relaxation and maybe blogging on a beach, things quickly unravel.
You’re ready to leave your hotel for the beach. Flip-flops, sun-lotion and sunglasses at the ready.
Now you need to pack your laptop up in a bag and carry it with you. If you’re walking to the beach, it seems like so much dead-weight you’ve got to carry. Trying to tap-out a post on a smartphone screen already sounds appealing.
What do you mean you forgot to charge the laptop? You’re not going to find a power socket on the beach you know!
You could just leave that laptop on the hotel room bed and go and *enjoy* that beach.
…and that’s exactly what happened to me. With the best of intentions at the beginning, the laptop stayed in the hotel room. There was no way I was going to waste the opportunity for some relaxation.
Blogging on a beach
Having failed to actually get my laptop onto the beach, the rest here is mainly speculation.
Let’s say you’ve actually made it down to the beach, complete with your laptop, ready to start blogging.
Even though I’m a bit of an advocate of standing up to blog, I have to concede that on a beach, you’re going to need to use your laptop sitting (or perhaps lying) down.
If you can’t get a deckchair down to the beach, a beach towel would probably be a minimum. If you need to set your laptop down, you don’t want to put it directly on the sand. The second you set it down, any one of a number of orifices is going to ingest some sand.
You want that laptop to stay working don’t you?
Your picture-perfect day of blogging on a beach is going to involve sunshine right? You’ve seen all the marketing. Sun out, white sands, surf rolling in and laptop in hand.
The practicality? Direct sunlight, glare from sand and reflected sparkle from the surf. It’s a beautiful picture but your laptop screen is now a black rectangle. Even the best displays on the market are struggling at the limits of readability in these conditions. Matte screens are slightly better than glassy-reflective types that will just show your reflected face or the sky behind you.
Okay, perhaps you could find some shade. Unless the beach provides parasols, that’s another thing you’ll be carrying down to the beach with you. I’ve yet to find a way to get a virtual assistant to physically carry my stuff 😉
I don’t have the power
You could work around the problem by using pen and paper, then typing up in your hotel room but it’s fairly inescapable that blogging needs power. When you carry your laptop down to the beach, you can only work on your blog for as long as your laptop battery can last. If it runs flat, there is usually nowhere nearby you can hook up and recharge.
The wise-guys at the back are now muttering how you could use a solar charger. That’s more stuff you’ve got to carry down to the beach with you. A solar charge which can give a meaningful charge to a laptop isn’t going to be the smallest.
Very long cable
Here’s the real-kicker. Unless you’re able to exclusively work on your blog post offline, you’re at the mercy of internet connectivity.
To put it bluntly, beaches can be rubbish places for getting on the net.
The beach I was on was both beautiful and pretty isolated. Local laws meant to protect the character of the beach left the nearest cell tower some miles back inland. You could just about get a signal standing on the higher dunes further back from the beach.
Down on the beach itself, no calls, no data, no WiFi.
Could blogging on a beach ever be realistic?
I think if you actually live near enough to a beach it could be done. If you can walk from your home to the beach in a few minutes then the practicalities are worth overcoming.
The main practical issue is logistics and power. If you can easily walk back home when your battery goes flat, it’s not going to stop you working reasonably efficiently.
If you reason for being on a beach is primarily relaxation then do just that. Leave the blog behind and get some R&R.
Your blogging will probably be that much better when you go back to it.