Howdy folks, it’s been a while since I wrote a reflective piece, so I thought I’d actually reflect a little on the process of travel blogging and my experiences over the years with it. The experience has certainly changed a lot.
For those who don’t know my history, I began travel blogging back in 2006 when I went to West Africa. In previous trips I’d done group emails I think, although to be honest my memory is a little hazy on that. I should ask those I might have sent emails too and see if there are any from my earlier trips because that would be something really interesting to read again, not to mention provide an insight into trips I no longer hold diaries for.
Sorry. A little inner reflection there!
I wasn’t that aware of what blogs were all about back in 2006, to me they were a new concept and to others I was telling about (my father mainly) a source of mystification. I was told that maybe it’s not such a great idea because people might stalk me and find out where I’m going and you know, commit some sort of crime on my person. At least I think this was his issue.
As it turned out that blog at that time was lucky to get two readers in a day. I fell sick with malaria and didn’t update the thing. One of the three readers I had thought I must have died! I had to find the rare internet café and then try to blog on what was, even for 1999 standard in 2006, a hell of a slow internet in West Africa. I remember the tiny café in Accra (Ghana), and the one in Bobo-Diolosso (Burkina Faso) and otherwise I’m not sure where I found internet. But I did. The Accra one was particularly memorable because it was so hot and humid, small, cramped and full of cigarette smoke. Some memories stay with you forever!
I don’t think I posted photos, I don’t think the connections could handle it, or if I did it would have been one photo in a post. When I did get some serious time in an internet café with passable speeds, I would do a post with just photos where the previous posts had missed out. But my first days of travel blogging were a good start, with no intention of the blog to ever be more than something for friends and family to stay in touch with me for. Little did I dream that there’d be a whole connected society for those who travel blog! For those interested, I might regurgitate some of those first blogs together in a sort of remembrance of the early days of my travel blogging, because they’d be pretty interesting I think. I hope! And they never really had much of an audience.
When I returned home after malaria in West Africa, I posted a tale in five parts of how the experience in Africa had ended. Then I was lucky to post once a month until my next jaunt in late 2007. Taking in Mali, Russia, the Baltics and London, I started to blog a bit better, with a little more conviction but still not using a lot of photos. The speeds I had access to were much better than my previous trip, except in Mali which is no surprise, (seriously, even in 2011 in Cameroon things timed out left right and centre!) and I guess I started to enjoy the process of travel blogging a bit.
These days, I think my best posts are not on the road but actually at home where I can sit and plan and think about things, not to mention resize a bunch of photos to help illustrate my stories. Even today when travelling I don’t write copious amounts on the road, much as I’d like to. The time isn’t there and neither is my laptop. More on that later on in this story.
The blog, on blogger dot com, or if you prefer blogspot, sat there gathering dust for quite some little while. If you’re interested to look at it, it goes from 2005 (just the one post) through to early 2014 when I made the full transition to Word Press. It used to be called ‘The Greater World’. Here it is.
Thus endeth part one. More coming in the next installment!
May the Journey Never End!