Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You. ― Dr. Seuss
Unlike many travellers of this era, we travelled before the age of the internet. Yes, we wrote travel journals with a pen and paper. We remember posting post cards and international phone cards. We remember feeling fortunate to hear news from home every couple of weeks or straining to hear a familiar voice over a crackly phone line. The beeps before your public phone credit cut out. We wrote letters and posted them snail mail. We even used Post Restrante, including on this trip – it still works. When we first travelled with access to internet cafes we used to send more regular group emails. These worked well but some readers were more interested than others – understandably.
The main advantage being we could stay in touch with family and friends, whilst they could dip into our adventure when they wanted, with as much or as little detail as they desired. It seemed a win-win for all. Little did we know that it would be a steep learning curve and it would bring us, our loved ones, new friends and complete strangers, more than we had all hoped for.
So we googled around and chose what we felt would be an easy free blog for the beginner but with enough features to interest us as we grew in our blogging knowledge. WordPress has been a good choice on reflection. We acknowledge that we have not tried other platforms. I am still trying out new aspects of it and it seems flexible and customisable enough to satisfy our small needs.
Writing this our first blog has brought us more enjoyment, more inspiration, more insight than we would have anticipated. It has been a really great experience in itself and enriched our travel experiences. It has forced us to review and reflect not only on what we have seen, tasted, felt, heard and smelt but to contemplate these experiences in regard to our life as individuals and as a family.
So perhaps a little naively; we chose a name, started up a travel blog, settled on the origin theme. We set up a blog specific free email account via gmail. We made some basic decisions to not place clear face images of our children’s faces or our personal details on the blog for security reasons. We decided to include only our own photos and our own written content. We decided not to include a lot of detail that would date such as prices, name dropping, web links or reviews as we felt this may get in the way of our story. We were careful to protect the identity of others we met, especially volunteers and our hosts. We tried to keep things genuine, simple and authentic. Only you can judge if we have succeeded.
Below we examine our top reasons to write a personal blog. Maybe it will inspire you to write one too. We hope so.
1. An Opportunity to Express Yourself.
In this materialistic, commercial world; individual opinions and thoughts are often diminished or drowned out. It is true that the internet is full of different viewpoints – that is what makes it wonderful. So writing a blog is a chance to make your views known primarily for your own self-development. You have a chance to promote your point of view. This is not to say that it is correct or enlightened but recognition of your story or opinions is the first step towards knowing yourself and implementing change.
2. A Chance to Tell Your Story.
I was once listening to a local artist addressing a school assembly. She said that although people may be considered better than you at this and that, the one thing that no-one can be better at… is being you. That no-one knows you, what you are or what you imagine or how you express yourself better than you. So when we tell our own story we tell it right, simply because it is ours to tell.
(Of course that does not mean other people will understand or agree with it…).
3. To Build Personal Relationships.
We are social creatures. Not only can we share our news with friends and family but we can meet new, possibly like-minded, people via a blog. We can connect with people we meet on the road. These connections can inspire us, teach us something new or maybe change our minds. We may even be lucky enough to help someone or inspire them to try something new. This leads to making new friends, in person, beyond the virtual world.
4. Make a Difference.
How does the old saying go.. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. By putting yourself out there via a blog maybe you can make a difference to yourself, those close to you or a complete stranger? Maybe you can plant a seed that will one day bear fruit. Who knows?? We hope by promoting travelling with a family, it may cause someone to set off on their own family adventure. We hope by espousing the virtues of volunteer work whilst travelling it may encourage others to volunteer. We hope others will prioritise their family above financial gain and realise that time with each other is what is priceless.
5. Become More Knowledgable.
Blogging can teach you things. It can help you examine and research history, a place, an event, a fact, an idea. This can teach you more about your place in the world and the world itself. Maybe it will take you on a new tangent or help you to explore a new idea. It could be something simple. Such as, maybe you saw a type of vegetable you couldn’t identify. You looked it up on the internet, learnt its local name and then found some at the market to try. It could be something bigger and more life changing. Such as maybe you stumbled upon a volunteer organisation and got involved. Maybe you helped someone in the process and learnt something about yourself too.
6. Become a Better Writer.
Practice makes perfect and a travel blog helps you to write regularly. You find yourself wanting to produce a better post and learning new ways to present your ideas. You may research and learn from others in order to improve your composition.
7. Creativity and Enjoyment
Writing especially for your own pleasure should be fun. It can give you a chance to use your brain in different ways and foster your imagination.
8. Prove to yourself you have something interesting to say.
When we first wrote this blog, we didn’t know who would read it, besides us. We hoped some of our close family would enjoy it. We have been thrilled that so many people across the world have read our posts and enjoyed them. We have reached more people than we ever would have imagined. This gives us the belief that some people want to read what we have to say. That makes us feel confident, boosts our self-esteem and motivates us to write more.
9. Positive Feedback.
We all need an ego boost sometimes. When people follow our blog, we feel honoured. It makes us feel we are writing for them. It is lovely to receive positive and constructive comments too. Thanks.
10. Engage Your Readers.
A good post engages your readers. A good blogger tries to do just that. They try to get to know their readers and engage them on common ground. A blog gives you a chance to involve your readers in your story and write some posts which they may enjoy.
A blog allows you to do this without revealing too much of your personal life. If you choose you can share only those aspects of your life you want to share with a degree of ambiguity.
11. Confer with Other Bloggers.
Once you are blogging you want to read blogs. You read the blogs of people you meet, people who read your blog and those who write about your life passions. This leads to improved blogging and personal growth. We love to read the blogs of other travellers and share in their adventures!
12. Deeper Thinking and Positive Action
When you reflect, gain knowledge and expand your social circle via blogging; you naturally think deeper about your life. This can lead you to act on these thoughts and develop healthier habits. Writing regular posts, examining what you eat, contemplating poverty… This may lead to being more disciplined, eating healthier, volunteering….
You may see another’s point of view or help someone else to see yours?
13. Your Hobby.
It can also be a cool hobby for kids. There are no age limits.
A blog can be as simple or as complex as you desire.
14. A Potential to Make Money.
Personally we did not start this blog with the intention to make money from it, but many do. It may never be a fortune but blogging does present opportunities.
15. Feel Comfortable Sharing and Being Known.
It’s not easy to share your story with others. It’s often hard to be in the limelight, especially if you feel judged. Blogging helps you realise that your viewpoint is valid and has worth. It helps you to feel better about who you are and sharing yourself with the world.
16. A Personal Journal.
A blog serves as a personal journal. You can look back on your story and re-live your adventures. It’s a long term record you can access and share from anywhere in the world.
17. It’s Free and Flexible.
18. A Platform to Recommend.
Often a blog is used to share with others what you have enjoyed yourself. You can review places you have been and products you have tried, so that others can enjoy the good and avoid the bad.
You can show someone how to create something or a new skill or a new way to look at things.
19. Motivate you Towards a Goal
Often people write blogs to document their journey towards a goal. When we were writing this blog it was satisfying to see the weeks get closer to our goal of a year away. Looking back on what we had done also motivated us to keep going. This can be true for a trip, improving your cooking, renovating your house, de-cluttering, etc…
You’ve heard the song “Can’t get no satisfaction…” Well, we believe blogging can give you some?