You will grow is my one good reason to write a blog (or just write). It’s not always easy and the self you grow may look entirely different to the one you imagined, but deep down I think you’ll find familiarity, you’ll find yourself.
Let me share with you a little of my personal blogging story. I started writing a book a few months ago and here is an excerpt from page one:
‘On that morning in Sydney [September, 2014] inspired by Janice Macleod’s memoir, Paris Letters in my first published blog post I would write about how I was feeling:
‘Something needs to change. I’m not living. I’m not enjoying life the way I should be. I’m not enjoying my kids the way I should be. I often feel overwhelmed as equally as I feel sad. Moving has never landed me in this position. I love moving. I know this is my life, I pushed for us to move here, I chose this path. I feel alone and I’m unsure of where I fit in. I can’t find my way in this city, this life is not me. We’re working really hard and there’s no time to breathe. I think one of my kids is anxious. I have no daydreams and it’s so loud here…maybe if we could take that sabbatical in France we’d always dreamed of? It seems so beyond our reach, we hardly even have the time to talk, let alone plan and finance such big adventure. Maybe this heartache is here for me to build a better version of myself. In her memoir Paris letters, Janice Macleod through simplifying her life did just that and along the way she found freedom’
I start to dream. I open a door to change and I start moving forward.‘
3 years later
On this particular morning [August, 2017] in The Netherlands, after 5 months of campervanning in Europe and inspired by Julia Immonen’s memoir, Row For Freedom in an email to One Girl Charity, I would write:
‘As you may recall we took off travelling at the end of last year following Zoë’s One Girl fundraiser. It has been an incredible year and now that we are stationary the first thing that seems important to both of us is ‘what can we do that matters? We live lightly, it gives us the freedom to explore life. It was this freedom that enabled me to stand behind Zoë and organise her fundraiser. It actually gave me a lot of confidence in my transferrable skills (I had forgotten I had them) and I felt empowered to ask for help because I believed in the cause. Changing girls lives matters, it’s bigger than feeling shy and I can’t do apathy (not anymore). I’m adventurer and I want to hike the Camino. I could use my privilege and change my job title to ‘shit giver’ because you see I really do give a shit. A whole lot of shits actually. I know your applications for ambassadors closed while we were travelling, I wasn’t sure how to help then. I am now. I wonder if you would consider Zoë and I applying late if they haven’t all been filled? I won’t shy away from creating something so I can promise you this: A commitment with BIG love.’
I continue to dream. I knocked on a door and I start moving forward.’
When I wrote that first blog post I never imagined we would actually take that sabbatical. I never imagined I’d be creating a website and writing story based around an 800km trek for charity. If you had told me that I would have written the first 12,000 words of a *book I would have thought you were CRAAAY-ZEEE, absolutely out of your mind fecking CRAZY ‘I’m not a writer’ I’d have whispered nervously and genuinely embarrassed.
Yet, not only did we campervan our way around Europe, we lived in Ireland for three months and now we’re planted in The Netherlands. I learnt to grow food along the bloggy way, hiked more, made jam, made all sorts of stuff and reconnected with my farming ancestry and love of the outdoors. I started taking photos and writing words that connected me with a tribe of inspiring people from all walks of life. People I never knew I needed.
I would have been ok too though if we hadn’t been able to travel because I’d found myself again. I found a way to live that was aligned with what mattered to me.
I found my way home. Home to me – the woman who will always choose to see life each day as an adventure, the outdoor mum, the wife with the big dreams, the hiker, the minimalist, the storyteller, the dot joiner, the curious wanderer, the traveler, the follower of kindness, the confidently shy introvert and I also come home to my soul – I’d again feel like the creative, contented, optimistic daydreamer that I am.
Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist (one of the first blogs I devoured) wrote a post containing the 15 reasons why he thinks you should blog. I’ve referred to this post from time to time when I’ve had ‘the blogger doubts’ – it’s a thing. You can read it here. Following are Joshua’s 15 reasons with my own thoughts on what blogging did for me:
- You’ll become a better writer:
I absolutely cringe when I read the first posts I published! Oh my gosh the spelling and the grammer (still my weak spot but I care less about perfection more about practicing). They were wordy, raw and ALL over the place. I’m still wordy, but without a doubt I’m a better writer, more succinct.
2. You’ll become a better thinker:
I tend to follow my heart and my feelings (I think my gut’s strong). Writing about myself and my life has forced me to question ‘why’ I do things. The reflection has helped me clarify my actions and thoughts as well encouraging me to read other people’s ideas and philosophies. I’ve questioned my opinions, developed new ones and most significantly I’ve become confident in my own opinions and differences.
3. You’ll live a more intentional life:
I remember reading once that if you want to blog well you need to be out there living. Truth. My personal blogging story has been a journey of hand making my life. I started by embracing the principles of minimalism and slow living followed by creativity and adventure. If you’re out there journeying in your life, questioning your beliefs, where they came from, the things that are important to you, living in each day, noticing that each day is an adventure you can’t help but become more intentional.
4. You’ll develop and eye for more meaningful things:
When you start noticing you start seeing and feeling more. The word abundance is one of my favourites. For me blogging was a journey of knowing I have ‘enough’ and every day I question enough. Not only with ‘possessions’ but where my thoughts go and who I’m giving my time and myself to. When we start to see life for everything that is meaningful, contentment generally follows (even on the tough days).
5. It’ll lead to healthier life habits:
Once I started blogging and questioning myself I found myself doing less of the things that bored and overwhelmed me and more of the things that fulfilled me. I hike more, eat more real food, shop more consciously, I’m often on the couch with with a kid close by (rather than attending to lists or even writing them in the first place), I spend more time reading, singing aloud to music and pondering – my daydreams are ALIVE. Now I am in the midst of writing a new story, one that connects all the dots that this bogging journey has taken me on. I am the same me, just a better version – I rebuilt myself. There’s still stuff I want to be better at but I’m a work in process, one big change at a time.
6. You’ll meet new people:
This has been the most wonderful part of discovering the blogging world and stepping publicly into the world. I like to think I’ve taken my time, found my own style and kept it at my own pace and this in turn has led me to the most incredible tribe of people. Each and every one of them has arrived when I needed them to, bringing their own unique something special to my life. It’s a way to build the community you need.
7. You’ll make some money:
This is true for some. I have chosen not to look for opportunities to make money. I am driven by the journey. I think when we start blogging with honestly and good intention the money will come (if that’s your purpose). I’m fortunate that my husband has an income that we can live on and I don’t take that for granted. We live lightly (without a car), we rarely shop for things other than food, only stuff that relates to our priorities (namely adventure and travel), we try to waste less, keep our day to day costs down (turning off lights, realistic kids activities etc.) and we travel cheaply. This makes living on a single income easier for us.
8. You’ll inspire others:
I am inspired daily by others and I have been on the receiving end of some beautiful messages from people who have been inspired by my journey. Last January when we were collecting rubbish I received so many photos from other mums with their kids taking their three for the sea. Just yesterday I received a message from a hiker across the globe who said that finding my words made her feel less lonely, that maybe there were others who were questioning the world’s preoccupation with more stuff, more noise and more stress.
9. You’ll become more rounded in your mindset:
Sometimes I’ve been on a wrong path and when blogging hasn’t feel good or it’s been overwhelming I’ve seen it as a sign to back up, reflect and adjust. I’m sure most bloggers (or users of social media) can relate to that. That has related to my life too. I have developed a better ability to back up and then I often take a huge leap forward after.
10. It’s free:
Yes it is! All it takes is some time to write. Writing is also free. If sharing online is too much, writing a journal can be just as valuable. Writing, especially ‘stream of consciousness’ writing is so powerful. It helps to uncover what you feel and think. Once you write it, you’ve verbalised it to yourself…then it enters your daily life – it can be pondered and dealt with (slowly and naturally).
11. You’ll become more comfortable being known:
This was hard for me. I am shy and an introvert. Yet, I feel compelled to start having a voice. Three blogs later and I feel that I have found a voice that suits my need to talk but not too loudly as well as enabling my desire to keep my life relatively quiet. I can’t ignore the things I am passionate about and I want to share the stories and people who do good and those who have impacted my life. I’ll never write a super blog or have a large social media presence (one ap. is enough for me) and that’s ok. I don’t want that. I can’t chase, it’s enough for me to connect along the way with people who want to hear my voice. Slow and steady, genuine and organic is the best fit for me.
12. It’ll serve as a personal journey:
Here I am about to trek the Camino Frances in 2018, all 769kms of it. Not only am I doing it for me but I’m doing it for a truckload of people and causes that matter to me. The girls that One Girl supports, the farmers in Tasmania who farm the Merino sheep whose wool I’ll be wearing on the trek and also for those who harbour the desire to adventure. People and causes have always been important to me but my blogging journey has connected me to a way that I can stand up for them. ‘Adventure for Change’ is what Amy & Kez at Travel Play Live call it.
13. You’ll become more confident:
I’ve learnt that often I’m wrong (there’s so much I don’t know), sometimes I’m scared (mostly of judgement and putting myself out there) and there is always a different way to approach something (different choices). That translates into me being about to change, learn form others, step into discomfort and to be creative – basically a more confident version of me. It’s been a journey of mistakes and practice. I have a sturdy nature but I’ve needed to learn to develop the confidence and right path for me to stand up in a bigger world.
14. You’ll find a platform to recommend:
Blogging for me has always been about discovering, sharing, creating and connecting. It started as a The Simplicity Journey, then Gentle Intention and now Slower Family Travels. I like to think my platform is simply to share what works in my life and to encourage a connection to ourselves, people, the environment and the choices we make. And to always to move forward (whilst recognising but not holding to tightly to our past, where we’ve come from and we’ve been).
15. It’s quite a rush with every positive comment:
Sure, of course having readers is the ultimate and when you start that’s the focus…but slowly for me it has become more about the story and the writing. Creating a life, questioning that life and documenting is ‘why’ I write. Readers and comments are amazing don’t get me wrong and when your writing starts to engage genuine readers who connect with your story it’s an incredibly warm buzz, but, the journey blogging (writing) takes you on – that’s the real magic ✨.
* My book is kind of on hold. I’m taking my time. I still have some living to do. I want to live this Camino story out first. In the meantime I’m documenting and practicing here and on IG.
If you find yourself out on the trail, no matter for how long or how far and want to share, please tag it #hikeforonegirl so I can find it. Singing birds are well worth the effort.
Check in for my diary updates – Camino 2018 One Girl Project.
I’ve added a thank you page for the champions of this story here.
Support crews are everything. A few more opportunities for corporate sponsorship.
If you want to be part of the change. You can donate here if you’re inclined.
Camino Frances 2018 (769km) – Trek for One Girl Sponsors:>