Up to this point, I’ve published 34 posts on this blog. This is number 35. I’ve posted enough that taking stock now seems appropriate. Although it’s not a ‘proper milestone’ like 50 or 100, I see it as a good time to reflect on what I’ve written, the progress I’ve made (as much as ‘progress’ is quantifiable), the topics I’ve written about, the number of views and followers, etc.
When I look at the first posts, I see how much my situation has changed from then until now. When I started this blog in September of last year, I was in Madrid, Spain with plans of living there. Ultimately, that didn’t work out for various reasons, and I ended up traveling and going to Barcelona and Valencia. From there I visited Italy and Switzerland. Since mid-December, I’ve been back at home in the US.
I recount this because it does a lot to explain how the direction of the blog has changed. It would be easy for anyone who’s been following along to see this shift. I’m home. Though not impossible, it would be difficult to have a travel blog when I am not personally traveling. Moreover, this was never going to be exclusively a ‘travel blog’. I was always planning to include more of myself and the lessons I’ve learned than would be appropriate for a blog purely about travel. Granted, a lot of those lessons came about during my travels, so there’s inevitably going to be a lot about traveling. However, any mention of traveling was not and will not be purely for its own sake. Rather, talk about travel has the primary goal of sharing who I am, what I’ve learned, and my worldview.
It’s often said that writers should write what they know. This is what I do; I write what’s on my mind during any given week. While traveling, I wrote about traveling. During this season of my life at home, I’ll write about other topics (though I’ll spend some of the time here relating stories about my past travels, such as my ‘Camino Vignettes’). If I travel again in the future, which I may do, this site’s course will again change, reflecting the change in my surroundings. Stay tuned.
In regard to content, I admit that I’ve bucked traditional blogging wisdom, which basically says that a blogger should keep content to a limited focus so as to reach a specific audience. I don’t necessarily do this, and it might contribute to the reason why my current following is so limited (more on that in a bit). I do bounce around in regard to what I put on this blog. Some of it is directly related to travel. Other times, I discuss Christianity and faith. Still other posts are about art and culture. Some combine multiple elements of these.
Perhaps this variance of subjects is foolishness on my part, but I’m okay with this. I can’t just sit down and put out content about just anything while maintaining the quality I expect from myself. In fact, there are multiple times when I sit down to write with a post topic in mind but, upon beginning to write, I don’t feel the passion about that topic I would need to continue writing. When this happens, I do sometimes return to that topic in a later post. Some of them are still rolling around in my head and/or in my ‘Drafts’ folder.
This is not to say that I’m inflexible or unwilling to budge on what I’ll write about. I could write a few hundred words about almost anything. However, in addition to quality, I want to stay true to myself and my vision. I pour myself into anything and everything I publish here. It’s purely and unapologetically me. If this means alienating a potential audience, I accept it. I do believe there’s an audience for this website, even if it’s a small one.
There are a few people, and you know who you are, who regularly read this and support me. Some are people I know personally, and some aren’t. Whichever category my regular readers may fall into, I am so grateful for your support and encouragement.
It did used to bother me a lot that the effort I was putting forth wasn’t getting the views and follows I’d like, as if the blogosphere’s ignoring me was a personal insult. For a while, the Internet’s collective indifference to my writing felt like shouts of ‘You’re not good enough’. Now, honestly, I really don’t care. I just want to produce the best content I can. It isn’t only about numbers for me now, and it never should have been. The only reason I would want a lot of views is because I do feel like I have something to say, which is why I sit down to write at all. Yes, I could do more to promote myself through social media and the like, but I’ve never really been one for self-promotion. I don’t intend to start now. I’ll let my work speak for itself. Tell friends and family and strangers about this blog. Or don’t. Either way, I’ll keep writing.
The direction of this blog has always been dependent on me, and it will continue to be dependent on me. That’s the idea. This site has certainly lived up to the name ‘shelter’. It’s a safe place for me to come and share my thoughts and ideas about x, whatever x may be. Come what may, it will continue to be a shelter for this particular wandering pilgrim to express himself.
A pilgrimage is an intensely personal journey, but it is not one that a pilgrim undertakes alone. I don’t want to ‘talk’ into a vacuum. I want to hear other voices, too. What I’m trying to say is, I want feedback! Have I spoken something to you? Is there something you think I should know? Do you have a question about something I said? Please leave a comment below or contact me at Pilgrim.Brett@gmail.com.
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