Category Archives: blogging

Happy New Year!

Here’s wishing you all a 2013 full of adventure, good health and good times.

travelola.org will be starting the year with a couple of final posts from my time in French Polynesia before embarking on the next stage of this adventure, a more settled period back in Australia (but still far from family and friends in the UK).

Some planned posts include:

  1. How to get settled after a long time on the road
  2. Splendour in the Festival Mud (it’s not just Glastonbury that does dirty)
  3. Road tripping Australia: NSW up to Far North Queensland
  4. Artwork, dancing and a whole lot of doof at Eclipse 2012
  5. Total Solar Eclipse 2012

And! I’ve been putting together an ebook containing all travelola postings since July 2011. As I’ve been reading back over this journey,  I’m reminded of some amazing moments that I’ve been lucky enough to experience, and I’d love to share them with you. Now I just need to get my head down and focus on the finish.

I’m really looking forward to meeting more great people, having lots of active fun and learning more about the world in 2013. I hope you’ll join me on my adventures.

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Filed under activity & sport, blogging, random, solo travel

Freshly Pressed: who cares?

I do. I definitely do. And it’s not just me that cares, it seems. Many a blogger who has been fortunate enough to be Freshly Pressed echoes this sentiment.

Because being Freshly Pressed is like getting an almighty slap on the back, the sort that tells you you’re doing something okay in life (or in the blogging world, in this case).

A few days back I checked my emails and in amongst a load of rubbish I spotted ‘Congrats, you’ve been Freshly Pressed’. Really? Yes. A personally addressed email.

Turns out the girl done good.

www.travelola.org

A sweet moment

Out of 1,191,930 new posts, mine was one of ten selected by the WordPress editors to feature on the front page for that day. How the hell they found my lil’ ol’ blog, who knows?!

I read back over the post and checked that there weren’t any glaring problems. It made me giggle: here was a post that was far from my favourite in terms of creativity and flow. It didn’t even contain any of my own pictures, goddammit!

But apparently it was good enough for them and I wasn’t about to complain, oh no.

I anticipated the flurry of visitors and prepared myself mentally for any harsh criticism. Whilst the high increase in traffic and blog followers was welcome, the very real potential to be publically slated remained at the the back of my mind. But of course any nastiness didn’t come. Why should it? Feedback and banter and warmth shone through instead.

So thanks for sticking by me, previous followers and bloggers extraordinaire, and a warm welcome to all those new to my site. I’m glad you’re joining me on my travels! And thanks also to WordPress for connecting us.

After a year of blogging every couple of days, being Freshly Pressed has given me a little boost, a skip in my travel writing step, if you like. It’s a bit of recognition, something that we all crave (and I’m not kidding myself here, I got lucky).

But being selected has also planted a seed. I’ve found myself pondering on how to get Freshly Pressed again. And again. Without understanding the logic of how I was selected in the first place, this is another unhealthy focus that I think I’ll have to quit. Now.

Back to what I was doing before, then.

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Sign up now: quest for blog success

Personalizando WordPress 1.5

No, it’s not me. I haven’t changed so much on my travels. It’s not even my photo. (www.flickr.com)

How do you measure a blog’s success? By the hits? The comments? The headlines? By the quality of prose? Or something else?

Visitors to your site give you instant statistics to work with and platforms such as WordPress easily allow you to track your visitor count. It’s quite addictive trying to beat your previous day’s figures and I love the new addition of being able to see where in the world your visitors are signing in from.

But I see blogs with high hits where the quality of language is poor. How do they do it? And I’ve read posts that are elegant, succinct and proofread but only draw in a niche audience. This game is far too confusing and unfair for me!

Whilst I’m not very marketing savvy, I find it interesting how a headline can really affect statistics. Bring in numbers or sex or sensationalism and it’s a relative hit.

Topping my hit list is Why won’t you give me a Maori moko? I don’t know who’s reading it. A fair few people are clearly interested in Maori art. I hope I haven’t pissed anyone off here. Following on is 9 Reasons why solo travel is great. Clearly this either resonates with people or draws on their curiosity. Next up is Just how sexy is Ipanema Beach? It’s not a favourite post of mine at all. I wasn’t happy with it. But it has sex in the title, and sex sells. The next two posts contain numbers again: 10 things I loved and hated about New Zealand, and 21 things travelling has taught me.

But what about my personal preferences? I do like the 9 Reasons why solo travel is great and 21 things travelling has taught me posts, but I also enjoyed the creative process of My, oh my Manly! and The Bicycle Thieves of Byron and even Crashing a white water date, but what do I know? They didn’t score highly at all.

For me, a successful post is based on quality, integrity and consideration. And a sprinkle of humour where appropriate. I’m writing about other people and places from a subjective viewpoint and I don’t want to screw over those people and places for my own gain. It’s not my game.

Sure, like all writers, I’ll cherry pick what points I choose to include and omit, but not in a way that distorts the truth of my personal experience. I partially base success on how I feel once I’ve pushed the publish button.

With the statistics stuff, I don’t really know what I’m doing. I try to understand it but the truth is I’m far more interested in writing and being creative.

So that’s what I’ll keep doing and if I manage to raise a smile or make you think or plant a seed of wanderlust in your mind, that’s success for me.

But of course I’d love you to sign up. Do it now. Why not?!

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Filed under blogging, random

World Nomad’s Travel Writing Scholarship 2012

To link in with the previous post on travelling by bus from Brazil to Bolivia through Paraguay, here is a short piece that I submitted to the World Nomad’s Travel Writing Scholarship 2012 competition:

On buses and food, and food on buses

It’s not my finest moment but it’s done now. Submitted. End of.

The biggest challenge was keeping it within the 2,000 character limit (and that included spaces) whilst still capturing enough detail.

I don’t know if it makes any difference how many people read and comment on the piece or not… some competitions seem to work like that… but of course, as ever, I’d love feedback from you (and if it’s really bad or super constructive, maybe do it on here instead!).

Not to self: never do things in a hurry.

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Filed under blogging, culture, food & drink, random, travel, writing