In December my blog celebrated it’s first birthday, and with the new year just around the corner, it seems the right time to reflect on my last year of blogging.
I was inspired to start my blog after a fantastic journey with two girlfirends for three weeks through Ecuador, in which I left the family behind and had a girl’s own adventure. While I was there, I used Flickr and e-mail as a way to keep in touch with family and friends and involve them in the journey. However, when I returned, I realised that a blog might be a better way to document future trips, and on the recommendation of one of my techie friends, I tentatively started with Blogger. It was all pretty user friendly, and so I started regularly writing about the places I was visiting, and in between about interesting things in and around my home town of Bristol.
One by-product of the blogging has been the development of my photography to illustrate the blog. I love images and colour and so photos are an important part of the travel tales I present. Where I used to take photos only of the family, I now take loads of photos of scenery, of myself in different places, of the local people and anything I find interesting or will help to tell the story. The ones you see on the blog or on my flickr site are only the pick of the bunch. I’m especially choosy about the ones of myself I show you, although I haven’t yet resorted to photographic trickery to make myself look more gorgeous (just a hairbrush and lipstick).
Another aspect I’ve enjoyed is sharing the experience of travelling and blogging with people all around the world. I’ve got to know a new community of blogging friends, whose blogs I read and comment on and they do the same on mine. A blog is a reflection of your personality, and so it’s also been interesting to meet some of the bloggers in person – sometimes they’re not exactly as you expect. Our blogs are a polished version of ourselves we like to present to the world.
For most of last year I’ve been working in the world of Project Management and IT, so the blog has been a great creative outlet for me, and also made me realise I’d like to get back into a more creative working environment long term (I used to work in fashion). Most of my work colleagues and even my Bristol friends don’t have any idea or particular interest in my blog. It’s like a secret life I lead on the internet, though I won’t be baring my inner soul, like some bloggers do.
At it’s best, the blog has been expression of the travel experiences that inspired me, but other times it can seem like a hungry monster waiting to be fed. Sometimes I ask myself whether I blog about travel or whether I’m manufacturing travel experiences in order to have something to blog about. When travelling with family, my children can get really irritated if I spend too long taking photos, or drag them off to places so I can write about them. Sometimes the balance tipped over from pleasure into work.
That was why, towards the end of this year I started to consider where my blog was going. I was at a cross-roads which I think many bloggers experience once they get hooked. Should I blog purely for fun, as and when I was in the mood? Or should I try and develop the blog into a more commercial enterprise which would make a bit of money to subsidise my travel hobby? The entrepreneur in me won and so I’ve decided to take the latter course, hoping that over the next few years financial reward and exciting opportunities may lead from the effort I put in to the blog.
That’s why I decided to recently move my blog from Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress platform which will support a more professional approach for my blog. That in itself has been a big workload as well as a steep learning curve in setting up the new format. As I don’t want my hard won experience go to waste, I’ve been documenting some of the learning on a new blog page called My blogging journey.
So now I approach my second year of blogging with a firm foundation to go forward. I plan to build up my readership, learn lots of new things to enhance the blog and have a year filled with wonderful travel experiences that I can share with you. Here’s to a fantastic, well-travelled year ahead.
My blogging journey