It's the night of February 28th and the official end of the Slow Travel "February Bloggers." I've actually managed to post every single day of the month (fortunately a short month), and only posted late a handful of times.
I was one of the very first Slow Travel bloggers back in 2004, recruited by Pauline when we went on our long trip. Most people didn't even know what a blog was back then. My "Grand Tour" blog was like a diary, as I posted very detailed journal entries for much of the 14 months. I didn't post many photos at all back then. I didn't know how (!) and was working from internet cafes and over a phone line most of the time, and it was difficult to upload photos.
Then in 2006 I started this "Trails" blog, mainly to blog during our travels. I blogged consistently during our summer trips in 2006 and 2007 (and did post lots of photos), but I decided not to blog last summer. It made the trip more relaxing, but I missed the discipline of periodic blogging and even viewing my experiences from the perspective of what I might write about.
This month is the only time I've ever blogged about my daily life; my other blogging has always been about our travel experiences. Even though I've blogged about our travels, I've always been pretty open about sharing something of myself and our family interactions, but this month was something different. I experimented with several different kinds of topics, so my posts seem kind of all over the place. Sophie's visit at the beginning of the month created a little excitement, including our trip to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry. I shared something of my past, my family, my friends, my work, and my city. I really enjoyed "the letter N," but I didn't do any other lists or quizzes. I didn't post any recipes (which I thought I might do if I ended up with "bloggers block"). I thought about joining in on the photohunts and maybe this is something I'll do later.
Here's what I enjoyed about my February blogging:
- I liked the interaction with the other bloggers very much. I enjoyed reading their blogs, leaving comments, and interacting with them when they commented on my posts. I learned more about some Slow Travel friends and got to know some new people I hadn't known before. It was definitely fun to be part of this February blogging community.
- I enjoyed writing again. I've missed it! I enjoyed coming up with an interesting topic every day and writing about it. I think that writing causes you to think introspectively and keeps your mind agile.
- I think I have a perspective and some interesting experiences to share beyond my travel stories.
- I did like the discipline of blogging every day. And because there was a group of us doing this together, I felt I had some accountability to keep it going.
Here's what was difficult for me:
- This was a stressful month for me and the daily blogging added a bit to the stress. This month I had my regular teaching, a non-credit class one night a week, a houseguest, a dinner party for 12 people, and an overnight trip. I had a lot to do for our summer tours and family trip. I started working on our taxes. Daily blogging definitely added to the load.
- I enjoyed the blogging much more than some other things I should have been doing... like grading those stacks of papers. It gave me another reason not to take the papers out of my case.
- I realized once again that I'm not that good at taking shortcuts. I'm somewhat obsessive. I can write quickly, but I like to edit and look up details. None of my posts were really quick and easy. I don't think I could work in a newsroom on deadline.
- I felt a little guilty about not getting around to everyone's else's blog on a regular basis, especially those people who were good about coming to mine.
- Blogging involved more time working on my computer when I could have been interacting with my husband and daughter. I think I spend too much time on the computer and internet already. (This is why I'm resisting Facebook and Twitter...)
Despite these difficulties, February blogging was a great experience for me. It wouldn't have been near as much fun alone, so thanks to my fellow bloggers and others who have been reading along with us.
I am going to continue regular blogging, though beginning tomorrow, I will no longer be a daily blogger. I admire those who can do it! My plan now is to try to post every weekend (on Friday, Saturday or Sunday) in March and April and occasionally more often if there's something to say. We leave on May 5 for our 2-1/2 months in Europe, and I will blog again while we are traveling. I also want to keep up with the blogs of all these friends I've gotten to know.
Here's to March and springtime!
Before wrapping up tonight, I want to announce a new blog just started by the Slow Travel Tours group. There are nine of us in the group, all Slow Travel members who lead small group tours in Europe that follow the slow travel philosophy. We've been communicating over the last year, sharing ideas and encouragement-- I've described the group as an "informal affiliation." With Pauline's help, we put up a simple webpage that lists all our tours and links to our individual websites. Now we have a blog too. Each week one of us will post to the blog, sharing some aspect of our approach, our trip, or the area where we base our group.
Last weekend's post was our first weekly post, written by me. I gave some background on the Slow Travel Tours group and our approach to travel. Bill Steiner of Adventures in Italy will be posting tomorrow. Charley and I met Bill and his wife Kristi at the Slow Travel Gathering in Savannah last spring and had a long lunch with them in Asheville last week. They are great people who offer unique weeks in Orvieto, Italy.
Check out our Slow Travel Tours blog every weekend-- you'll hear a new voice every week.