It’s kind of hard to believe I’ve been hacking away at these keys for almost three years now! When I starting blogging I had very few expectations of where my blog would end up or what it would mean to me. All I knew is that I had some stories to share and I needed a place to do that.
So…why am I still rambling on via my laptop? Here are a few of my reasons:
I’ve made friends
Back in France I got a message from an American girl who married a French guy and moved to the south of France. Several emails later we discovered she actually lived in the same town as me, and two days later we were sipping Champagne together at my favourite wine bar. The rest is history. These days she and her Frenchman can be found riding camels in Abu Dbahi and I now have one more globe-trotting friend.
And like this:
August 2016 I was coming out of an elevator in Charles de Gualle airport in Paris and a woman stopped me and said, “Hey, I read your blog!” I couldn’t believe it. What was more crazy was that was a few hours later she was sitting behind me on the plane, also moving to Congo. In Norway, her previous expat country, someone told her she should read my blog because I was living in Indonesia and would, like her, be moving to Congo. She turned out to be a lovely friend here in Pointe-Noire and bless her for making me feel like a celebrity in Paris.
And finally, like this:
I arrived in Congo nearly two years ago and I won’t forget the feeling of walking into a room of expat women from various countries, who all greeted me warmly with a smile, followed by, “I read your blog” or “I loved Once Upon an Expat”. These women were my people. They were on the receiving end of my words before I even knew them, and they’re now the women I call my friends here in West-Africa. Their warm welcome made for an incredibly soft landing in a country that could have been anything but.
It’s a creative outlet
When there are big changes in my life, which there often have been in the past eight years, I need to process my thoughts. Writing on my blog is cheaper, and more convenient than therapy. It’s my way of getting my emotions out and feeling as much at peace with change and stressful situations as I can be. You may have noticed over the years that I tend to faithfully write blog posts before a big move, upon arrival in a new country, or while packing to leave a country. It’s not a coincidence. Writing is therapeutic for me.
It keeps me in touch with(most) friends
I have a friend who somehow manages to rarely go online. She’s never been on Facebook or any other social media. Her only online footprint is the Hotmail account she started in 1996. My blog is not immune to her anti-internet ways, and I’m not offended. That’s just her style. Last summer she was telling me about how she was at a wedding and sat at a table with an old friend of mine from high school. She told him what a coincidence it was that he knew me, and how her and I were really good friends, I was even a bridesmaid in her wedding.
“Crazy that she’s moving to Africa, eh?” he said to her, having read my most recent blog most at the time.
“She’s moving where?!?”
“Who’s better friends with her now?” he joked.
Onus was on me there for being crappy at staying in touch outside social media, but I do love that, generally speaking, I can use my blog to keep family, friends, and acquaintances up to speed on what’s going on abroad, where we’ve been travelling, and which country we’ll call home next.
It’s a way to share my stories
When I first started blogging we were living in France and I had to navigate my way through motherhood for the first time while also being a foreigner for the first time. The learning curve was steep at times, but I kept my sense of humour in check, and I HAD to document some of these experiences I was having. It was too entertaining not to.
It’s a journal
My memory isn’t the best. If nothing else, one day I will look back on some of these stories and be in awe of where we’ve been and what we’ve done. I already catch myself looking at my Facebook memories that pop up and thinking I can’t believe the kids were so little when we moved to (insert country here).
It’s become my job
My blogging hobby has gradually evolved into freelance writing, editing and even indie publishing. I am now officially an author. My blog, and the little social media following it has built up over the years, is the main platform that I use to share news about my books to wonderful people like you who continue to support me on this journey. And for that, I thank you.
It helps other expats
I often get emails and social media messages from people who are thinking of moving internationally, in the midst of relocation, or wondering about travelling with kids, etc. I’m happy to share what I know about moving around the world with my kids, because whether via email or in real life, helping others land softly is the expat way!
There are perks
Lifestyle blogging and social media promotion are soaring. You may notice on Instastories and/or YouTube that social media influencers always seem to be receiving free products in return for a shout out to the company. Bad news for me is that I haven’t lived somewhere with a dependable postal system for three years. No mail for me, let alone free stuff magically appearing at my doorstep.
What I do benefit from though, is travel writing. I’d be lying if I said my writing hadn’t landed us some amazing travel perks over the years because let’s be honest; staying in a luxury suite at The Ritz in London, and having dinner with my kids at the same place the Queen celebrated her 80th birthday, is just *slightly* outside our budget. What I miss in the way of mail deliveries, I’ve made up for in being a guest at some ultra-luxurious hotels and spas; so I can’t complain.
There you have it. Part 2 of my reflecting-on-my-blog ramble. Those are the reasons that I keep tapping away at my keyboard. And for those of you who have noticed that my post have been fewer and farther in between, it’s not because I have less to say, it’s more because I spent last year finally finishing my book. 78,000 words later and my time living in France has been documented into a witty memoir that hopefully, will eventually make its way into your hands.
The whole, ‘getting it into your hands’ thing may take longer than it actually did to write it though. I finished the first draft last spring and haven’t opened it since. My new goal is to simply pick it up again and give it a re-read/edit before this spring.
So yes, I’ll keep blogging and now you know why.
If I don’t say it enough, thanks for reading, sharing and supporting my writing along the way. Watch this space for more book news(another ‘Kids Who Travel the World’ is on its way soon-ish).
….And if you happen to know a publisher itching to work with a humorous and well versed author such as myself, my inbox is always open!