In the summer of 2009, I received a stipend to take road trips and blog about the experience. I took full advantage, visiting several national parks with my dad and husband, giving this travel blog its humble roots.
At the end of that summer, I attended Burning Man. It’s hard for me to believe that I’m writing this blog post exactly five years after attending that wildly crazy and incredibly creative festival in the Nevada desert in 2009. It was, by far, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but also one of the most important things as well. I made the trip to Black Rock City completely on my own. I didn’t know who I would meet, what I would do and (perhaps most importantly to my husband) what I would eat for a week. I battled dust storms, hot sun and my predominantly introverted personality and came out a much stronger person.
Shortly after arriving home, I quit my job in Corporate America, and the rest, as they say, is history.
My dear blog, Kaleidoscopic Wandering, has been by my side that whole time. For a few years, I loved this blog, and I was given incredible opportunities to go places and do things beyond my wildest dreams because of it. But then it became a chore. I attended travel blogging conferences where I was told what and how to write. “Choose a niche,” I was told. “Write evergreen copy. No one wants to read a diary about your day-to-day life. They want tips, information, advice.”
And so, as Kaleidoscopic Wandering turned into every other travel blog out there, I began to like it less and less. I resented that it took up time. I disliked the community I was being forced to befriend. I hated writing for search engines and creating editorial calendars. Writing blog posts became work, and on several occasions I seriously thought about dumping this whole travel blog into the trash.
Despite the fact this is blog post #575 on this site, you may have noticed that, over the last several months, posts on Kaleidoscopic Wandering were published infrequently, and I rarely shared much of any consequence. The fact is, I’m not traveling much as a personal choice, and when I do travel, I want to enjoy it instead of thinking about how to spin the experience for search engines. My family is incredibly important to me, and I’d rather attend a high school cross country meet than visit India on a tourism board’s dollar. I’ve grown sick and tired of writing crap I don’t care about, so I basically stopped publishing any meaningful new content.
Many people have said to me that they want to follow my travel blog so they can see where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to. Well, that’s what I’ve decided to do with this trusty ol’ blog of mine. Forget evergreen content and SEO. I don’t care about search engines or sponsorships. I disagree that no one wants to read a diary about my day-to-day life. My family wants to read it, and my friends do too, and they’re the people I actually care about. In trying to write for everyone else, I’ve turned off the people with whom I most want to share my experiences and stories.
With that in mind, I’m breathing a new life back into Kaleidoscopic Wandering. It’s going to take some time to get this blog to its new place, and I’m working out some kinks around the site, but, for the most part, I’m cleaning out advertising links and getting rid of the cookie cutter blah. I’ll likely ditch the Facebook community I built around it, and I already threw the editorial calendar away. I am not going to remove old posts, and I may keep Google AdSense around for awhile to bring in some cash to spend on fun experiences. This blog is now about me and my family. Some things will be travel-related, but most will just be about us and our day-to-day lives.
For those people who have followed Kaleidoscopic Wandering for its travel news, advice and tips, you might as well remove this blog from your reader now, because you’re going to see far more selfies and inside jokes than advice on jet lag and packing tips. Please, feel free to move on if this bores you; this blog just isn’t for you anymore.
For those of you I know and love, those people I care about and want to reconnect with: I’m back, and I’m excited to finally have a place to share goofy photos and updates from our home.
When I went to Burning Man five years ago, I learned not to let others define me, but that’s exactly what ended up happening with this space. So I’ll say it now: Kaleidoscopic Wandering is no longer a travel blog. It’s my blog, 100% undefined by choice.