That’s how long it’s been since my last post.
Can’t say this long silence hasn’t bothered me. It’s been like an itch in a place I can’t scratch. I also can’t say I haven’t considered throwing in the towel for good and letting my little opus slide silently into the blog boneyard.
The long break isn’t because I haven’t been traveling or that don’t have anything to say. I have been and do.
Five years ago, I began this blog with lots of energy and good intentions. As I traveled I would try to be a good observer and reporter on the cultural scene and the natural world. I would try not to let my inbred timidity stop me from poking about in nooks and crannies. I would pay attention to what I was learning and try to communicate that as well. And I would, by God, post twice a week.
The blog went live in October 2010, shortly after I left my house and sold my worldly goods to travel.
All the blogger pundits advise a newbie to post regularly and often so as to build a large and loyal following. I figured I had a chance to become one of those blogging success stories or at least to make a little gas money. After all, I’d already been writing professionally for 30 years.
So, ever the slave to a deadline, I posted twice a week for months. But when you are moving constantly and living in a trailer, this is not as painless as it sounds. Usually, the hurdle was technology—I had to get to a place with solid wifi in order to format and upload the next post. And THAT was a hurdle indeed.
Sometimes when I camped in out-of-the way places, like Slab City, I had to drive long distances to public libraries and coffeehouses that may or may not be accommodating. (In the case of Slab City, the library let me log into their free wifi but not to plug my famished computer into its outlet—for “safety reasons.” Whaaaa??!!) In some cases, my tanklike and finicky computer turned its nose up at the signal and refused to let me on. I learned not to order the latte until I had determined the mood of my computer that day.
But I posted steadily, twice a week, for months. I didn’t miss a deadline until, once, I was far out in the desert, and I simply couldn’t bring myself to begin the time-consuming and often futile hunt for wifi. So I stayed put and didn’t post.
I waited for lightening to strike. I waited for the goblins of missed deadlines to bite my shins.
At that point, I began to realize that, not only would I not be one of those uber-successful bloggers, but also that no one was really paying attention to my posting schedule, anyway.
Anonymity is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I could stop the ridiculous gymnastics to post according to my self-imposed schedule. But as the years have marched on I’ve really had to take myself in hand to post at all. Once you miss a deadline, and another, the door to sloth cracks open ever so slightly.
I will say that every time, every time, I was tempted to throw in the towel completely, I’d get a sweet email from a reader saying how much he or she enjoyed my blog. And I’d be motivated anew.
I know how it feels to be a regular reader of a blog. You sorta wait for the next post and feel kinda disgruntled when, week after week, you get nothing. Eventually you grudgingly move on and forget about the darned thing. Then, out of the blue, a new post pops into your inbox. I don’t know about you, but I feel a little miffed, like, Well. NOW you turn up all bright and shiny and expect me to jump right back on your bandwagon. Not so fast, Jack. (Or Jill, as the case may be.)
So here I am again. Tail between legs. Hope haltingly rekindled, but now accompanied by uneasiness because I know a lot more viscerally what it takes to maintain a not-so-uber blog. I have some cool stuff to share from my four-month trip this winter through Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. I’ll be traveling to Israel for a couple weeks soon. And I’m really excited to begin planning a journey along the Camino de Santiago, the traditional pilgrim route, next year. My plan is to do the longer, less-traveled Via de la Plata route through the center of Spain.
But, more on that later. I think I left us somewhere in the middle of Mexico. Next stop: the city of Oaxaca.