100 posts

Filed under: Italy — Russell @ 2:30 am  

According to WordPress, this is the 100th post for this blog.  This seems like a good time to take stock.  It has been over 7 months since I quit my job and 4 months since we handed over the keys to our house to the new owners.  On August 26th we left Canada with a one way ticket to Paris, via Iceland.  Right now we are renting an apartment in Rome for two weeks.  After that, we have no plans although as it gets colder, North Africa is looking more appealing, as is Thailand.  Even if the cold doesn’t get drive us out we need to either make a commitment to stay in Europe or leave before Carol’s visa expires.

I’m surprised that I’ve kept up with the blogging so consistently.  Previous attempts to keep a blog have followed the typical pattern:

April 2007 - Hey!  I have a blog!  Stay tuned!
Nov 2008 - Really should update this sometime.

Of course if I had blogged about my daily life it wouldn’t have been very compelling.

Feb 15 - Flew to Ottawa for two days of meetings.
Feb 16 - Too tired to go to gym as planned.  Steak dinner instead.
Feb 17 - Huge snowstorm, stranded in Ottawa
Feb 18 - No new snow today.  Hope I get home.
Feb 20 - Crisis in Ottawa.  Perhaps I'll drive.
Feb 22 - Stranded in Belleville.  On the plus side, Starbucks has WiFi!

That probably wouldn’t be as interesting as our trip around the world.

Originally, I had intended this blog to be for friends and family only.  I’m savvy enough to realize that once you put something on the Internet, everyone can read it.  As I’m finding out, just because they can read it doesn’t mean they will.  Early on, I signed up for Google Analytics and I’ve been watching the readership numbers.  There seems to be a small core of regular readers which is gratifying.  Thanks for the encouragement.

At first, I didn’t allow comments from people who I didn’t know personally but this seemed unfriendly.  Recently, I opened up comments to anyone without requiring registration.  So far, most of the commenters are either spammers selling insurance or SEO companies trying to increase links to their customers’ sites.  I have had a few friends comment, which I really appreciate.

The other interesting aspect of Google is watching the countries of the readers.  There seems to be a lot of Australians reading this blog.  I’m not sure who you are but welcome!

I’ve also started reading other travel blogs.  The 800 pound gorilla of travel blogging is Gary Arndt at Everthing-Everywhere.com.  He’s being going for three years and has visited over 70 countries.  Many of the travel bloggers are turning their hobby into a business.  This is typically done by adding advertisements to the blog.  Once you decide to go down this road, you are no longer writing to friends and family.  Looking at the small number of regular readers my competitive nature does kick in.  I’d love to see the numbers climb but it requires drumming up more readership.  In order to do this I have to pick a strategy.  A common approach is to make the blog a useful resource for other travellers.  This involves lots of reviews of hotels, restaurants and travel gear which also is more likely to generate sponsorship/advertising.  But that’s way too much work.

Another way to drive traffic is to write a more personal blog with lots of drama and a touch of personal danger.  We aren’t really a high drama couple.  Most of the tension these days comes in trying to pick the next destination.  It’s not exactly the stuff of reality TV.  We try to avoid personal danger plus Carol’s parents read this blog and we don’t want to worry them.  Carol’s fine by the way, not even a cold.

So it seems I’ll just keep following my original plan which is to make friends working at office jobs jealous and perhaps inspire some travel in your life.  What do you think?  Are you enjoying your daily life?  Want to meet on the road somewhere?

Comments, as always, are welcome.