I have been an active member for TripAdvisor since 2012. Through this amazing platform, I took my first step, crawling like a baby then walk like an adult, in becoming a good observant towards the quality of products and services offered by various establishment that I visited or frequented. 4 years later, in 2016, I am still with TripAdvisor and submit my reviews whenever possible.
What is TripAdvisor for me?
TripAdvisor is a platform where travelers give their advice on certain places of interest, hotels, restaurants/cafes, things to do in locations all around the world and reviews plus opinions towards the performance of establishments. Travelers to certain places who need some advice will read the reviews and make the final decision either to visit or not to visit. At times, owner of hotels/cafes/organizations etc do read the reviews and give their feedback. It will be either an acknowledgement towards the effort by the reviewers or telling the reviewers that certain steps will be taken to improve weaknesses found by reviewers.
For the past 3 years or so, @curiostraveller and @joehairie traveled to some interesting places around the world and I submitted some reviews to TripAdvisor, based on our experiences. Was I paid for doing the reviews? No. Not a cent. I did it from my heart, sincerely in order to help others to make a decision whether to visit certain places/hotels/cafes. Have any of my reviews been rejected? Yes. Perhaps the content was not strong enough but that happened in my first year with TripAdvisor. I later learnt how to be more precise and objective in writing reviews. All my reviews have been accepted ever since.
How TripAdvisor made me a better person?
This is interesting. It was in 2014 that someone, a member of TripAdvisor as well, emailed me and told me “hey dude’ why don’t you just start writing or something?” I was actually afraid to immediately jump to another ‘big vessel’ and sail to ‘unknown places’. Why on earth must I trouble myself writing in lengthy, naratively or whatever whereas at that time, I was working full-time and running a small food outlet in Kota Kinabalu. I don’t have time for writing. I kept doing my job and at times send my reviews to TripAdvisor.
The destiny changed. I was hired as a Chef in a restaurant in Kota Kinabalu but basically the job description was to do round check of the Kitchen staffs and stuff and ensured all the cooking done appropriately. I had to relay this and that and write some reports and attend cooking courses, sponsored by the employer. I later teach all the junior chefs how to cook this and that. I became ‘tired’ of that working environment. That was the moment when I remembered the email and I decided that I must start writing to some organizations, as a freelance writer.
I quit my job and spent most of the time traveling here and there with @joehairie and we had some amazing experiences gained from the travel. I kept sending articles and at times rejected. The best thing however when I received the first pay from writing. I am so used to being rejected all the time to a point I didn’t really care if my work and effort keep being rejected. I kept trying.
I was paid handsomely for writing articles and I use nickname in my writings, keeping myself as a low profile writer. I do get 4 figures each month from writing. That certainly helped me in funding my travel or so and of course making ends meet. Towards the end of 2015, I decided to set up a blog under blogspot.com and I wrote things randomly, anything about myself, my work or travel experiences. I keep writing articles, editing other people articles, doing freelance project and even teach some kids how to dance!! (For a school project).
@joehairie introduced me to Instagram in the early 2016 and I became an addict in posting pictures and so on. At that time, I still contribute my reviews to TripAdvisor. @joehairie then told me that it’s time to become a professional blogger and I planned to start that in February 2016. I decided that my blog is to portray the ‘Story Of Sabah’, anything about Food, Culture and Places of Interest. It was the same month that @kulafoods Australia found me in Instagram. That was the beginning of a new me, the curiostraveller. The blog had one big project : The Traditional Food in Sabah.
I later invited @joehairie as my blog partner and he is now the official photographer, content advisor and in charge of maintaining good relationship with our contacts beyond Sabah. Now, we both working officially in a blog! Awesome! I must also admit that both of us are Mystery Shoppers for many organizations from around the world and we do some ‘quiet’ visit to certain brands and outlets. That part-time job strengthen our knowledge and abilities in being an objective reviewer and writer. I can’t tell you the name of the Organizations, we are both under the oath of secrecy.
However, all of these came from something. Something that strenghten our interest in traveling and reviewing. What is that something? Definitely TripAdvisor. It all started from TripAdvisor. It changed my life completely. It teached me how to become a better person, motivated me to start writing and then starting a blog and write things about my beloved state, Sabah. Will I keep posting my reviews in TripAdvisor? Definitely, yes. I do consider that platform as my root, the place where I was born as a writer.
My Achievements in TripAdvisor
I thank you TripAdvisor for changing me to be a better person. Thank you as well to my best mate @joehairie for being there when needed most as well as @kulafoods from Australia for opening my eyes to see the world in a much better way. There are some negative feedbacks about TripAdvisor. Some people claimed that TripAdvisor paid people to submit fake reviews and rank certain reviews on top of certain pages. I don’t buy that story.
My 2 cents is, those irresponsible people are the person who are not satisfied about how people/travelers reviewed their property. I think TripAdvisor is the best platform where you can get good and bad reviews about certain place and that will help you to decide whether to visit that place or not. It is simple as that. It helped me and @joehairie a lot in deciding many many things all this while. It helped us in making decisions before and during traveling.
@curiostraveller is proud to be an active member for TripAdvisor!!
Lan Ining a.k.a curiostraveller