6 Great Reasons to Blog your Vacation #amwriting

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Me blogging at the Cheryl Strayed retreat in March.

Me blogging at the Cheryl Strayed retreat in March.

Having a little time to myself today to reflect, I considered why I’m blogging in some more depth and thought I’d share 6 great reasons I thought of to blog your vacation, and why I’m doing that with ours.

Yes, it’s extra work. It can be challenging to find internet. There’s definitely discipline involved, and it means you’re somewhat public in whatever you’re doing. But here are some great reasons why I’m blogging our trip.

 

  1. I like to bring readers along for the ride. I enjoy sharing life and adventures with my readers and they seem to enjoy it too.
  2. By writing about things, I relive them in a deeper way. I “process” them, from a neurobiology perspective. By thinking about my experiences and describing them, I store them more deeply in my own memory.
  3. Photography helps me remember things easier. In a way, I don’t focus as deeply on something I’m seeing when I am taking a photo, because the photo is a way of “tabbing” a memory. It saves my brain work to retrieve that memory later. I can look at a photo I took and go, “Aha!” and be right back in that moment, versus a more laborious concentrating that is usual to retrieve a long term memory. As I age, blogging and photography are my own way of capturing highlights for a personal “scrapbook.”
  4. Blogging keeps my writing skills up. Traveling is pretty distracting for being able to do immersive fiction writing, I find. I’m too excited by my new surroundings to settle into my novel writing, but blogging is a way of exercising my writing muscle so when I go back to my fiction, I’m not rusty.
  5. Blogging makes me more alert. I’m always looking for that interesting moment, the funny micro-story, the character that deserves description and the words to nail something to the page. For instance, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Canadians we’ve met and how to describe them as a group, in a few broad brushstrokes. I do not have a lot of stereotypes or experiences to cloud my thinking on this, it’s based on the people I’ve met so far, but there’s definitely been a consistency among them. So here’s a stab at what I’ve experienced: “A British Columbia man is often white and middle class. He’s bluff, hearty and outgoing, with a whiskbroom of mustache, thick-fingered capable hands, and often wears a plaid shirt. A BC woman often has a hairstyle from somewhere in the mid-nineteen nineties when curling irons and highlights were a thing, favors seasonal-themed sweaters with leggings, and necklaces with dangling birthstone charms that represent her children’s birthdays. Many like to read, love dogs, and are very proud of Canada but also love Hawaii. All have a liberal use of “eh?” and broaden and flatten certain words: “about” sounds like “a boot” for instance. I find myself adopting the accent so easily, and as you can tell from my posts so far, I love the country and the people. So real and unpretentious. Mike and I fit right in. If I lived here, I’d add seasonal sweaters to my leggings and one of those birthstone necklaces to my jewelry–in fact I think I already have one.
  6. Blogging is a writing sample for possible new readers. Yesterday on our journey of that day, Mike and I were discussing how we’re both similar and different to other people roughly in our age bracket traveling this route.“So many others have done this. We’re just a couple of middle-aged empty nesters doing the tourist thing,” Mike said as we walked through a deep forest beside a stream, holding hands.“We’re not just tourists, taking things in. We’re working artists,” I said. “We’re making art out of our journey.” That crystallization of our purpose, of our roles, has infused both of us with an excitement and sense of purpose in what we are doing and why.

We’re working artists, making art out of our pictures and stories. It’s how we make a living and more deeply experience our lives.

Would you blog your journeys? Why or why not?

11 Responses to “6 Great Reasons to Blog your Vacation #amwriting”

  1. Shalora

    I managed to keep a fairly extensive diary when I got to go on a Caribbean cruise, in large part because I knew I would forget so many details as time passed. This was quite some time ago, when blogging wasn’t as much of a ‘thing’ as it is now. 😉 I don’t have the gift for words that you have, or even that I once did, and I certainly don’t have anyone who would be interested in reading about my travels (if I could even afford to have any), but I do love the idea of keeping a record of them. Memories are fickle and unreliable things, and some moments are so precious that they deserve a more accurate record.

    Myself, I am very glad that you do blog your travels. I can’t afford to travel, and likely won’t be able to for years to come, and it’s so nice to be able to live vicariously through you. You have such a gift for noticing and recording the small things, things I would likely miss if I were there myself, and it brings such richness to my everyday life. <3

  2. Fran

    I am glad you’re taking me on the journey with you.

    I’ve tried blogging and there are two impediments to my success. First, I just don’t have the discipline to make myself blog regularly. This probably stems from the second reason. Second, I am a highly skilled technical writer, so while my training materials have helped our company be very successful, I am crap at descriptive writing. I’m boring myself just reading this response! You have a wonderful ability to tell stories that pull readers into your world, and that’s why you’re a great author and blogger.

  3. Kelly Byrne

    This is a timely post for me, Toby, because we recently returned from an incredible vacation and I’m in the middle of figuring out which pieces to blog about. I wasn’t able to do it while we were on vacation, for two reasons. 1) I just didn’t have the energy (so much sight seeing and busy non-stop) and 2) we were on a cruise ship so we didn’t have any internet.

    I’m hoping all the photos I took will, as you say, bring me back to that moment so I can relive it on paper (or screen).

    I love the idea of ‘making art out of our journey.’ Thanks for putting it so eloquently. Continue to have an amazing trip! 🙂

  4. Kayla Dawn Thomas

    Blogging your vacation is a great idea! You have me sold with your reasons why, and I’m going to give it a try this summer. I often feel in a rut on my blog, and I like the idea of flexing some new creative muscles. Love your line about being working artists. I don’t think artists ever truly take a day off. Something is always happening that has our brains working on how to make it into something amazing.

  5. Janet Withers

    I am happy to be on this adventure with you. Blog on. Enjoy the journey. 🙂

  6. Janet

    Love your reasons and love most of all that you are doing it! My first trip to Alaska, 13 years ago. I kept a little diary. Blogging wasn’t a thing then and if it was, not on my radar screen! I love reading back over the diary, it helps me remember things I forgot! Your blog is even more inclusive and will be wonderful to read back over in years to come.

    • Toby

      I know, I’ve reread the posts from our first National Parks trip and they are just as fresh and exciting!

    • Toby

      Knowing that people read makes it worthwhile and more incentive, for sure. THanks for following along.

  7. Ihilani

    I’ve LOVED following along on your journey so far! It inspires me to write more. I’ve been such an inconsistent blogger over the last few months I can’t say with any certainty that I’d blog my vacation, but I’d like to think I would. Maybe not every day, but every 2 or 3 days. I also haven’t gone anywhere lately that I haven’t been before. Perhaps I’d be more inspired to write in a brand new place.