18 Sep 2018

Confession: I love blogs

In the winter of 2016, I was having a real millennial crisis. The summer before, I had graduated from university and was charmed enough to find a job working for a pretty interesting company with pretty cool coworkers. For the first few months, I was excited to be finding my place in this strange new “real world”. But as fall turned into winter, I started to get anxious about how stuck I was in Boston, my new home city.

Summer St. bridge over the canal in Boston
My view walking from the T to work every day in Boston. Although it didn’t look like this when it was raining or snowing...

I started dreaming about being able to go on a big adventure, to work and also be able to explore somewhere new for more than a week or two. I was reading a friend’s travel blog at the time: she, after working for a year, had taken 6 months to travel through Central and South America, and was keeping a blog about it for friends and family at home. Inspired, I looked for more blogs I could live vicariously through, and discovered a world of travel blogging bigger than I could have imagined.

I actually don’t remember the chain of links that brought me to my couple of favorite blogs, which deserve a spotlight of their own at some point in the future. But I read back through years and years of posts from at least three bloggers, enjoying hearing their story unfold in reverse-chronological-order. Stuck as I felt in one place, it was quietly exhilarating to hear about the changes their lives went through, the places they’d been, and the ways that they broke out of their own routines.

Since then, I’ve actually been privileged to travel a lot. So much, in fact, that it’s kind of embarrassing to write about feeling stuck back then. (But probably that feeling, and all the blog-reading, was part of the reason I did up and leave to travel myself…)

About a year after my initial crisis, I moved to Australia on a work and holiday visa with my partner. I got to spend most of 2017 there, which still surprises me a bit! I came back to my home on the east coast of the US back in January of 2018, but I’ve still been lucky enough to spend a few months in Europe this past summer with aforementioned partner, who lives in Slovenia.

I might make a round-up post of where in the world I’ve been for the last few years, since I think everyone except for my immediate family is kind of confused about it. And actually, they might be a little confused too.

Mhaladie on the Uluru base walk
Less than a year ago, I was doing the base walk around Uluru?!

Through all my own life changes, I’ve kept reading my favorite travel blogs. It’s not so much for fantasy anymore, since I think I’m ready to chill out and travel a little smaller for a while. I haven’t lived on the same continent for much more than a year for the past three years, and I’ve learned I might not be cut out for that kind of life… But I never get tired of hearing about places all over the world in their endless variations. And it’s just as interesting to hear about how varied different people’s relationships to the same place can be.

If you give me a blog that’s personal and honest, one that talks about the realities of life and travelling, anxieties and silly-excitements all together… that kind of travel blog might just be my favorite thing to read.

And actually, it’s not just travel blogs. I’m always looking for new photography blogs, art blogs… anything where I can get a sense of someone’s personal journey. I love getting a glimpse into the meaningful segments of someone’s life, getting to know parts of their story in bits and pieces. It feels personable and cozy, whether you’re reading a journal of an epic months-long backpacking trip, hearing someone’s feelings about moving back to the place they grew up, or even listening to them write about the way blogging itself has impacted their life.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to call this a confession. What’s wrong with liking blogs?? I think maybe I still have a little of that internalized misogyny that tells me I should be embarrassed about enjoying things that are “self-centered” or “oversharing”. Especially if I’m planning on writing those kinds of things, too. I mean, how braggy and annoying is it to think about writing a post detailing all the fun travelling I’ve gotten to do in the last couple years? Who would want to read that?? (I mean… me. My favorite bloggers’ round up posts, this one, for example, are some of my favorite things they write.)

I think I also might be a little embarrassed that I’ve tried to start a blog twice in the past (on wordpress.com and on tumblr, for posterity), and have petered out very quickly both times. Should I really be so arrogant to think this time will be any different?

The clear, blue-green Tolminka
I’m not very good at sharing my photos. It’s been over a year since I took this picture of the gorgeous Tolminka in Slovenia, and I don’t think it’s online anywhere...

Who knows! All I can say is that I want to share the many, many pictures I’ve taken from different places, and maybe just give a little back to anyone like me who spends hours googling for reviews of instant cameras and lists of places to go in the Black Forest. (Is that just me? It can’t just be me.)

Another difference this time is that I’ve given myself the license to build myself a fancy site and learn to use Jekyll (which I am reliably informed is a Real Web Framework) to do it (I can write about that later, if anyone cares). I’m not sure why I never let myself do this in the past, thinking I needed to prove to myself that I would actually keep up with posting before I invested effort into building a pretty website. Well, guess what… I actually like coding, and even having the bare bones of a nice website has made me WAY more excited about blogging than I ever have been in the past. Kind of a self-own from past me.

Anyway. Fingers crossed for this time. I can’t wait to share the places I’ve been and the photos I’ve taken with you!