Sitting behind a computer kinda changed me. Far from retreating into myself and the unique loneliness that a big city like London can bring, blogging became the last piece to complete my expat puzzle. It took a long time to come about, but it turned me from the quiet mouse who admired outgoing characters into a ballsy adventurer who discovers intriguing things to do that keeps us fascinated with our home city, and discovered a new side to New Zealand.
So, when Dell contacted me to share the passion that I have for blogging and what makes it unique and special as a creative medium, I jumped at the chance. The below is pure Emma prose - and inspiration for the next time blog-guilt strikes and I begin to wonder why I chose such a full-on, indulgent hobby.
Adventures of a London Kiwi has become a gathering place for all of my favourite hobbies (reading, exploring, brunching, taking pretty pictures of flowers, history…) I can't draw, I can't paint, I can't play an instrument in front of an audience and I can't put together an outfit to save my life. I have however discovered a love of photography, I can usually sufficiently express myself through writing and can hack blogger widgets like a pro. I've also discovered a joy in food flavours that turned my plain-jane kitchen spice shelf into a wander through exotic climes I never knew existed. Sure, some of those containers are half-used and wait dustily for another day of glory but hey, I've used them at least once to tart up a boring meal.
1. ¦ Journalling
I always get asked what I’ve been doing lately, and often draw a blank. Somehow I’ve spent all those hours during the week out and about, but as soon as we’ve left the threshold my mind tends to flit onto other things. Not only does it become a reference-able diary (and recipe book) but it also helps you really delve into the history of a place and appreciate deeper nuance. Use it for you and you only – sure, you could write a personal journal but
a) Having a public forum keeps you accountable and not lapsing into old behaviours of couch potatoeing (potatoing? potatoism? Chip-itis?)
b) Printing photos on a massive scale is bad for the environment
c) How often do journals actually get pulled from under coffee tables
d) Friends get sick of bragging facebook albums full of sunsets & wine glasses, cute local cats & magnolia blooms.
Right, soapbox moment over.
2. ¦ Coffee + Cake
Cake becomes a legitimate breakfast choice (bressert anyone?) especially when you’re away from home and the lure of a European café in the sunshine, complete with fresh strong coffee and a beautiful waiter is too irresistable to reisist. I mean for instagram. #anyexcuse
3. ¦ Inspiration
It will open doors – forget the commercial tidbits that occasionally pop up – but you may just find yourself herding sheep across London Bridge, sipping tea in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, meeting strangers in New York City for lunch and gazing out over the sun rising over Dubai desert sands. I have.
Where does this particular corner of blogging begin or end? I guess it's an inherent part of every aspect of this addiction that makes me smile from ear to ear (we are not a cult, I swear.) You find yourself with a finger on the pulse of social media, the first to know about quirky events, friends begin to suggest crazy things to do and every blog you read will give you honest wanderlust.
4. ¦ Community
Yes, it’s totally clichéd, but aside from the occasional cliques that form, the travel community is such a welcoming and supportive collection of passionate writers and photographers who embrace everyone who strikes up a conversation. One of the freelance travel writers for big name broadsheet posed the idea that blogging is a small bubble community of highly interactive bloggers who learn off each other, feed off each other, interact with each other and have an incredibly niche platform to share with the world. I'm actually perfectly ok with that (though as a sidenote they didn't account for the other 99% of readers who don't feel the need to leave comments and aren't bloggers).
Why shouldn't there be a hugely supportive community of creative addicts who have an outlet above and beyond their boring day to day duties? (nb. I repeat, we're totally not a cult even taking into account our scone addictions, weird amusement about ridiculous hashtags and slightly crazy squeals of excitement when meeting each other by accident in person).
5. ¦ Creativity
You begin writing in a very self-aware manner, agonising over each word and although that may never really change, you learn to accept that it's a part of the process and a proof of passion. In the process, I’ve ended up unintentionally developing 3 writing styles; “Waaaaaaaah this thing I did was amazing”, “third person lyrical” and “hippy-style inspiration” (see current post for example). Sure, my blog is full of OTT enthusiasm, but that's just me. Heart on my unfashionable sleeve.
6. ¦ Buzzwords
You’ll become so down with the kids. You’ll snapchat, invent hashtags, send Kim K gifs via DM,
and then get told that YOLO is so last year that you shouldn’t really be flinging it about with abandon…
7. ¦ Confidence
Ever found yourself feeling nervous at walking into a room full of strangers? Book yourself in for a blogging conference/meetup/day trip/coffee and you’ll find a group of people just as nervous as you are, with common interests and a Twitter addiction as bad as your own. (I’d always recommend wearing a statement accessory as an ice-breaker.) There are days that I still hesitate to step over thresholds thinking that I’m not good enough. Then I re-settle my scarf, flick my hair in a manner worthy of shampoo ads and walk in like I own the place. It works an absolute treat - fake it 'til you make it.
8. ¦ Skillz
There are so many offshoot skills that come with a blogging addiction. Want to learn CSS & html? Want to hack widgets? Learn to edit photos? Want to see the world in a completely different ways? Want to have an incredible array of real travel tips and suggestions?
9. ¦ Envy
Listed as one of the seven sins, as Kelly Clarkson sings “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Living with envy is hard to crack, but it also makes you strive a little harder, pushes the comfortable envelope and opens your eyes to the opportunities that the world can offer.
One of the hardest things to overcome is becoming hung up on numbers; it will always seem like someone else is doing better than you. I just began by assuming that my Dad (and husband when nagged) would be the only person to read my corner of t’internet and anyone else was a bonus.
10. ¦ Enjoyment
There is something incredibly freeing about finding your voice, learning to shape your opinions and the highly addictive game of researching. You learn to tell a story, appreciate the good along with the bad, make some lovely friends who share your hobbies, are able to make recommendations and have a crash course in grammar that'll improve every single thing you do. Walking into a room of blogging strangers is wonderful as they literally have a plethora weird addictions usually very similar to your own, so why be nervous?
I've also learned how to admit mistakes, apologise, be gracious, that envy is stupid, you need to make luck, to have patience, dedication is important and that wise men learn from being a fool (which is in no way dig at anyone but my very foolish younger self). I've also learnt that you are your very own worst enemy. Be brave. Be strong. Have fun. The haters will only be chewing their own liver as they watch you enjoy life.
Oh, yeah, and blogging gives you something to do & read on those commutes. It is a creative gift that keeps on giving...
So, what about you. What makes blogging such a joy to your life?
This is a collaboration with Dell to celebrate the launch of their XPS 13 Laptop, but all thoughts and wandering sentences are very much my own.