Lets be a little frank here – some days I’m pretty sure that I appear to be a disgustingly enthusiastic puppy. I don’t exhibit the infamous British reserve but tend to gush with delight at something I enjoy with the excitement of a Labrador with a bucket full of tennis balls. And y’know, I’m ok with that. I’ve always been an ‘all or nothing’ kind of person, and always wanted to write the kind of blog that I loved reading; a quirky, passionate diary of adventures both large and small.
But when setting up my little corner of the internet I didn’t realise quite the affect that having a blog addiction would have on my life. Living in New Zealand I always felt a little stifled. Nothing nasty, just that there was something big and crazy in the world waiting for me to discover. Cue arriving in London, beginning to explore this wonderful city, getting boring and taking it for granted before realising that I was the thing that was wrong all along. I didn’t appreciate my home or take advantage of any opportunities I had. Blogging was a self-propelled kick-up-the-pants.
I blummin’ love the blogging community. We’re very lucky here that the London blogging/expat community is pretty actively sociable. From enormous luxurious afternoon teas to emotional coffee drinking blates, the blogging community by and large are lovely, supportive, chatty, friendly and only too happy to share great things they’ve found with each other and the world (and you know who you are). I’ve been lucky enough to make a plethora of crazy mates through blogging – exactly what the Dr ordered for an expat – how can that not be awesome?
Funnily enough at a dinner the other night a few of us were chatting about blogging and it’s controversial place in the big bad community of journalism. One of the freelance travel writers for big name broadsheets 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. 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).
I’m a totally different person compared to the mouse who walked in my wide shoes 3 years ago. 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.
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, that 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.
Inspiration (oh goodness how I wish I could have found an alliterative companion to my earlier list entries – there’s another reason I love blogging – learning lightening quick searching skills on search engines and the thesaurus that’s a constantly resourced companion).
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 (again, I repeat, we are not a cult.) I like to set myself writing challenges that would make my cheese-loving high school English teacher’s heart implode. I do sometimes wonder if the way I have to have some kind of goal/challenge/object/place to excitedly share is some form of attention-seeking addiction problem – but it’s a pretty healthy version of attempting to overachieve, right?
I could go on (and often do, one of the joys of being a blog CEO) – I’ve discovered that karma really is a wonderful b*tch, blogging can literally take you on a journey of discovery, enough is as good as a feast, nothing you ever do will be perfect and Twitter is an amazing black hole for time. Oh, did I mention the travel tips? Name me a country or a city and if I can’t point you to a blog that shares insider tips, one of my lovely friends will definitely be able to. We’ve discovered so many beautiful cities both in the UK and abroad as a direct result of reading blogs, that it isn’t funny.
In short, blogging is as a demanding mistress as you want her to be, but incredibly lovely, worth every minute. So, how about you? Have there been unexpected benefits of blogging to your life?