At one point in my life, approximately six years ago, I had the grand idea to start a travel blog. I'll be able to keep everyone updated on Egypt! I thought, as I excitedly designed headers and social icons and background images to beautify my little website. I distinctly remember posting my blog on Facebook after weeks of tedious tweaks and modifications to my site. One of the first comments I got from a holdover acquaintance from high school was "Wow, how original... you leave the country once and decide to write a travel blog." I was so embarrassed. Is that what everyone thinks of this idea? That I'm an uninformed cliche? I briefly considered sidelining the whole idea of a blog (I clearly take others' opinions personally) but after my close friends and family reiterated that they did indeed want to read about my travels while I was away, I decided to stick with it.
Due East was a beautiful project while I lived away. I cherished being able to share my experiences with everyone home. It was simple and pure and I loved not only telling everyone back home of my adventures, but also of the simple act of writing and photographing my experiences. It became a journal for me.
But, as with all things, that changed. To my surprise, I quickly amassed a following of strangers. Fellow travelers, blog-readers, and young women who for some reason or another enjoyed reading of my experiences. By the time I had around 100 followers who regularly read my blog, and whom I had never met other than via the comments they left on my posts, I felt the urge to change. Surely these people don't care about the classes I taught last week or my weekend spent at the market. I decided I needed to grow my content in proportion with my followers.
As with many of these endeavors, it went out of my hands. I tried to become too many things for too many people. I felt obligated to start writing travel how-to's, travel hacks, lifestyle posts, food photography! Those things weren't why I started my blog. More talented writers with larger followings were doing a better job than I writing about those things. I lost my voice and became homogeneous. My posts were boring. I was uninspired. Instead of eagerly sitting down at my laptop to pour out my heart onto the page, I was forcing myself to put something out, to please my followers.
My blog became indistinguishable from the hundreds of other travel blogs written by young, female travelers out to conquer the world. And the reason? Because I wanted so badly to please those bloggers, and their followers, and my followers, and every person with any interest in anything travel-related who stumbled upon my humble abode. I stopped writing about what I liked and started writing about what they liked.
And then I burnt out. Life got busy, and my enthusiasm was gone. I wrote an unintentional final post and disappeared for nearly two years.
But I miss writing. I miss the excitement I got from pouring out my adventures on paper, not as a humble-brag or a travel hack expose, but simply from the sheer joy of reliving the moment and sharing it with those who couldn't be there to experience it with me.
So. Two years later and I'm back. My life has changed drastically in that time; I got married, earned my MSc in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology, moved to Washington DC, started my own photography business, bought a house with my loving husband, got an incredible job, and am back in a place where I'm away from home and want to inform my family and friends about all the things I'm doing and the places I'm going.
So if you're here to read about what website to book your next flight on or the best time of year to visit Peru, you might be disappointed. But if you're here to read the potentially bad writing about the experiences of someone living and traveling away from home, you'll be getting exactly that.
My current goals for Due Course (did you notice the slight name change? That's another blog post altogether) are: writing about my travel experiences, sharing my photography (visit my photography website!) and keeping my friends and family up to date with my ever-changing life. Am I a cliche again? Almost certainly. But this time around I am writing my blog for me, not in an attempt to meet the needs of an evolving blogging market and instagram feed.
I'm excited about this and I hope you are too.