Last week marked the fifth anniversary of my blog, and over the years this blog has evolved in many ways, most notably its visual appearance and writing style. Many of you, dear readers, have been very kind in leaving comments, thoughts, even emails allowing me to know what you think and feel of certain posts, photos, and some of you even shared your personal experience of the very places I went.
It’s been a while since the idea of writing a post about how this blog is written first popped up in my mind. So when Madhu from The Urge to Wander, one of my all-time favorite travel bloggers, nominates me to take part in the ‘Behind the Scenes’ Blog Hop, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Many thanks to Madhu for that!
What am I working on/writing?
You may have noticed that last year I didn’t travel as often as I did in 2013. However I still have more than a dozen posts to write from my previous trips to Hong Kong, Singapore and Bali. Why does it take so long to publish those posts? You might ask. More on that on the following sections on this post.
Meanwhile, apart from writing regularly for the blog (I try to publish between 3 – 5 posts every month), I recently resuscitated my Instagram account (h_bama) which had laid dormant for months. As of now I still can’t tell how consistent I will be posting photos on Instagram, but the blog will remain my first priority.
How does my writing differ from others of its genre?
Travel blogging itself is already a niche in the blogosphere. Nevertheless, citing an online source on travel writing, it can be classified into four categories: descriptive, evocative, narrative, and instructive.
In this blog’s early years the posts were written in so many different styles, from listicle as you can read in my post on Vienna to exhaustively descriptive post as my first post on Kuala Lumpur shows you. However as time goes by and more blogs and travel articles inspire me along the way, I find a bigger interest and enjoyment in writing my posts in narrative style, because not only does it allow me to write with more depth, but also it conveys better perspectives on the places I go, the people I meet, and the food I try.
Had I traveled to the island of Flores five years ago I would have had written about my experiences from the island in one extremely long post. But I believe each place has its own story, secrets, and charms, hence its own dedicated post. One of the pieces I enjoyed writing the most with this kind of spirit is the post on Manggarai.
Why do I write what I do?
After my first trip abroad to Europe in 2007 I wrote about the highlights of that trip with a word processor and added a few thumbnails, so I would never forget about that amazing one-month trip down to the details. Then a friend saw it and asked “why don’t you write an online journal?”
Stepping into the sixth year of blogging at WordPress I learn that this blog today has grown into something more than merely a ‘memory bank’ as my perennial travel buddy, James, put it. It is now also a means to share travel inspiration with each other, which in turns reminds us all that we live in one amazing world, regardless the bad news we are constantly bombarded by the media.
How does my writing process work?
It is a very long process, to be honest, thanks to my proclivity to become obsessive-compulsive when it comes to blogging; very much different from how I live my life, some friends said.
It all starts with the trip itself, obviously, with some note-taking and lots of picture-taking along the way. As soon as I return home I make a list of posts I want to write out of the trip, which post comes first, and the overall chronology of the series of posts for the upcoming weeks and months.
From there goes the writing process; usually begins with drafting and fact-checking, then first editing a few weeks later, and second/final editing on the day I publish the post. Sometimes I can write a post even before embarking on the plane back home, like I did for the post on Rinjani for it was such an arduous, physically-exhausting, mentally-depleting, but truly one of the most unforgettable trips I have ever made by far. But some posts took months even more than a year to materialize. Writer’s block is the one to blame, as writers say. Parallel with the writing process is the photo selection, which is both time-consuming and fun. As a visual person it’s one of the steps I enjoy the most in preparing a post.
The lengthy process explains why I never post while traveling, although I need to find a way to sort that out should I travel for an extended period of time one day.
I sincerely thank you all for your encouragement, kind words, moral support, and most importantly, for reading and following my journey for five years. Now allow me to nominate two bloggers to participate in the ‘Behind the Scene’ Blog Hop:
Kelly from Compass & Camera
Indah from Indahs: Travel Story & Photography
Kelly was born in Montana and raised in Colorado, but calls Lake Tahoe, California her home. While Indah left her native Indonesia for Rotterdam to live with her better half and a Black Labrador. Both of them share many things in common: they are avid travelers, talented photographers, and they always find their ways to keep coming back to Southeast Asia.
Kelly’s journeys have taken her to places like Bhutan, Peru, Morocco, Indonesia and the Maldives. On the other hand Indah has been gallivanting around the globe and visited Mexico, Cuba, Turkey and India to name some. She is also a seasoned scuba diver who has dived in some of the world’s most incredible diving sites.
Kelly and Indah, there is no obligation to take part. I have enjoyed your stories and photos, and I wish others enjoy your blogs as much as I do. To all of you, dear readers, thank you for reading!