Accolades / Mexico / Travel

Ding, Ding, Ding … Discovered!

“What’s up with that dinging?”

It was Monday morning coffee time and the iPad’s annoying chime was disturbing the quiet before the storm. We’d spent the weekend ripping up old carpet, and our floor guy, Sean, had just arrived to install our new bamboo floor.

The incessant dinging was the WordPress App working overtime to let us know that one of our posts was getting beaucoup views, likes, and comments from all over the globe – literally.

We were truly mystified by the spike, but we finally figured out that the editors at WordPress had selected our post, Uxmal: A Window Into the Maya, as an Editors’ Pick on Discover.

For those who may not know, WordPress Discover replaced Freshly Pressed and it recognizes “The best content on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.”

It took a few minutes to sink in, but suddenly it was Yippee!, Woohoo!, and Allllriight! We’d hit the blogging lotto and were chuffed.

We spend a lot of time and energy on our blog, and over the past seven years it’s become a big part of our life. So, needless to say, when we realized that our post had been selected we were excited, delighted, and incredibly thankful for the recognition.

A huge thanks goes out to WordPress Editor Krista Stevens, who made us an Editors’ Pick on Discover. In addition, she also included our blog in her popular how-to article called “Five Ways to Build Your Audience,” and we were grateful to be featured as an example of how to turn comments into a community.

Of course, we know that content on the internet without an audience is just … blah, blah, blah. Readers are what make a blog, and without all our loyal followers Gallivance would have died a digital death years ago. So thanks guys for keeping us inspired with your support, entertained with your comments, and motivated to blog on.

Happy Trails and Thanks,
James & Terri

78 thoughts on “Ding, Ding, Ding … Discovered!

    • Hi Lucida … and welcome. I love the tag line on your blog – “Great adventures are born from small steps …” You are SO right! 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing our good news. Do you have your next trip planned? ~Terri

      • Hi Terri and thank you, you are very kind! I’m new here (a new adventure!)
        Yes, in august I’ve in plan a trip to the island of Grado, then Ravenna and the Republic of San Marino for sure. Hope I’ll see something else too.
        By the way I’m really happy for your reply and I love your blog! 🙂

      • Your banner photo of the car is fabulous! Is that a fiat? Your upcoming trips sound like fun. I was in San Marino years ago so I look forward to your post. And I don’t know a thing about Grado. We’re in the process of planning a trip to Romania. Should be fun. ~T

      • Yes, it’a Fiat 500 I saw in Gubbio last year, I’ve always loved that car.
        I know that Romania has the most beautiful roads for road trips in Europe, can’t wait to see your adventures!

  1. Good job, guys! I’m a big believer in building my community through comments also, but to date the out-of-proportion number of comments I get hasn’t led to much more discovery or followers. I must have to work other angles, too, and I just can’t muster the energy! You have clearly done lots of things right (including the most important – good content), so congrats!

    • Thanks very much Lexie. You got the right answer in one word – content. That’s the keystone for successful blogs, no matter the topic. Comments are helpful for building a following, but if the blog isn’t interesting and well done, it’s probably going to languish. And you’re right that comments are time consuming. Luckily, there are two of us to share the load, which makes all the difference. Also, thanks for continuing to follow along. You’re one of those loyal folks we talk about who always have something interesting to say. ~James

  2. 🙂 I certainly learned something new; I did not know that ‘WordPress Discover’ was a replacement for ‘Freshly Pressed’.

    And, congratulations for being chosen to be on ‘WordPress Discover’.

    By the way, did Automattic tell you that your post was going to be featured on ‘WordPress Discover’?

    • Thanks for the comment Renard and for dropping by the blog. Being featured on Discover was a delightful surprise to us, and no we weren’t notified in advance. We’ve been Freshly Pressed twice, and both times, the WordPress editors let us know in advance. I’m not sure why they changed the policy, but it certainly caught us off guard this time. Anyway, no complaints though. We’re happy as clams to be featured on Discover, and we’ll take it anyway we can get it. 🙂 ~James

    • Thanks Laura. You’ve been there from the very beginning and we really appreciate it. Luckily, most of our commenters have something interesting to say, and that makes it worth the efffort. ~James

  3. Congratulations on this kuddo! You are very deserving and the time, patience, information and love that you express from your travels allows us all to escape with you.

    • Sue, one of the reasons that we’ve felt comfortable traveling all these years is knowing that we have a loving, supportive family at home. And I can’t tell you how good it feels to have come full circle and be back where we belong. Love, J & T

    • Thanks Joyce. The recognition from WordPress was a total surprise, and it’s heartening to see our hard work appreciated. It was great to talk to you and to know that things are going well. Love to you and Dascal. ~JH

  4. Good stuff! 🙂 🙂 I’ve not been as constant as I might over the years but it’s not easy to keep up with everyone. Put in a word for me- I’m still waiting to be ‘discovered’. 🙂 I’ll pop over and read the post soon.

    • Jo, we appreciate any contact from our long-term audience, and we certainly understand the time demands on an active person such as you – what with all the walking and blogging. ~James

    • Thanks Darlene. Hearing from a professional that our posts are well thought out and interesting is music to our blogging ears. Thanks for continuing to follow along and best of luck with Amanda and her travels. ~James

    • Hi and thanks a lot Mirapic. I love that your motto is “We keep it simple. As Leonardo da Vinci said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” We believe that, too! 🙂 All the best, Terri

    • Thanks Pam. It’s been an exciting couple of days, and you’re right about the amount of work and how nice it is to be appreciated. Also, it’s readers like you who continue to follow along that help make the blog what it is. Thanks so much. ~James

      • I’ve been wondering how you’ve been. Isn’t it great? Our best day for hits was when Bing featured a sea otter and our picture was one of the first ones that popped up if you clicked on it. Woohoo!

      • Pam, it’s interesting that sometimes we understand our spikes in traffic, and sometimes, they are a total mystery. Our most popular post by far is about marshal law in Poland and a sculpture to commemorate its end. This post gets 10-20 views every single day without stop – no comments mind you – just view after view. It’s just one of those mysteries of the blogosphere. ~James

      • That’s great! My perennial favorite daily is a gopher tortoise burrow sign. My guess is that school children look at it. 🙂

    • Hello, It’s always a joy to meet a fellow Southerner … and a gardener, too! Thanks so much for your very kind words.

      So I have a gardening question for you: Remember Japanese Beetles from your days down south? Do you also have those in Washington? Any great remedies?

      We’re so glad that you stopped by. Y’all come back! 🙂 ~Terri

  5. By the way, I’m still learning the business of blogging. What I haven’t yet figured out is how to post my profile picture in the photo square instead of that anonymous symbol, charming though it is. Can you help me with that?

    • Goodmorning! What a beautiful blog you have. I’m a gardener, too, and drool over your gorgeous photos. Like you I was raised on Southern Gardening, then transplanted (many, many times) to create a garden anew. I truly appreciate the challenges you’ve been tackling.

      Now, let me see if I can help with your profile picture. When you’re signed in to your blog you should see “My Site” in the upper left corner. When you click on that, a menu appears on the left side of your blog. Scroll down to “Settings” and click on that. That opens a page with your Site Title, Site Tagline, and Site Icon. The Site Icon creates your “Gravatar” – a little profile picture that will follow you everywhere. You just drag the photo you want into the box, hit Save, and it should work. Here’s the WordPress support page that may explain it better.

      https://en.support.wordpress.com/gravatars/

      Good luck. I look forward to seeing your profile picture soon.

      All the Best, Terri

      P.S. If you’re comfortable, I’m hoping that you’ll share your name with us.

    • Thanks so much Amy. It’s people like you, who continue to follow along and comment that help make our blog what it is. We work hard to make our posts interesting and it’s heartening when it’s appreciated. Thanks again. ~James

  6. Congratulations you two! I can imagine how great it feels. I actually already knew as I follow Discover and have been meaning to comment on your Uxmal post.
    Keep up the great work.
    Alison

    • Thanks so much Alison. I don’t know what it was like around your house when you were featured on Discover, but we were very happy campers around ours. BTW, were you notified in advance? Both times we were Freshly Pressed, WordPress let us know in advance, but this time, they didn’t. The spike confused the hell out of us, and it took a little research to figure out what was going on. Anyway, no complaints though. We’ll take it any way we can get it 🙂 . ~James

  7. Congratulations! When I read your post on Uxmal, my desire to visit Mexico got even higher. Then your other posts on the country’s ancient sites further pushed Mexico up on my wish list. So this acknowledgement from WordPress team is a proof that there are so many people who were inspired and fascinated by your adventure to this part of the world.

    • Thanks Bama. Many North Americans see Mexico for its east and west coast beaches and that’s all they see. I’m sure you could name many places in SE Asia that are in the same boat. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that if the beach is what you want. But hopefully, this series of posts will let visitors see that, if they want a break from the normal beach scene, there are other options relatively close by. ~James

    • Thanks Juliann. This was a total suprise for us, and as I said, we were delighted. Given the number of bloggers and blog posts on WordPress it must be a tough job for editors, and we certainly appreciate being selected. It was a day of the end-zone-dance at Gallivance. 🙂 ~James

    • Gerri, thanks for your comment and for dropping by the blog. As a blogger, you know how much energy is involved in writing a blog, and I’m sure that you can also understand how this sort of news can recharge the old bloggin’ batteries. ~James

  8. Congratulations on a well-deserved recognition and award! Your posts are always interesting and lively, but you are being commended also for being responsive. Don’t we all love comments? And you give as much as you get. Congrats. And please, keep on blogging!

    • Thanks so much Rusha. When we said that our readers and loyal followers make our blog what it is, you are most definitely on that list. Our blog started as a creative outlet, but over the years, the community of blogging friends that we’ve developed is what motivates us to keep our blog going. We always enjoy hearing from you and appreciate your continuing to follow along. Thanks. ~James

  9. Well done, James and Terri – as other commenters have mentioned, your blog really deserves it! Uxmal has been on my radar for some time now (as a far less touristy/crowded alternative to Chichen Itza) and I can’t wait to get to Mexico. Unfortunately I’ve been much more of a lurker these days and haven’t put in enough time and effort to comment on many of my favorite blogs (including yours). Thank you for taking us along on all these eye-opening adventures around the world!

    • James, it’s a joy to hear from you. Thanks so much for your kind words. As for Mexico, I know that you would love it – any direction you headed. Starting with the wonderful people, Mexico delights in every way. Rich in culture and tradition, it’s much like Indonesia in its flamboyance and celebration of life. The good news is that it’s also a very affordable destination, encouraging travelers to wander longer. I hope you get to visit soon. All the best, Terri

    • Thanks Marilyn. One of the things we enjoy about our blogging community is the huge variety of lifestyles our readers have and getting the benefit of all those different perspectives. You fall into that unique lifestyle category, and we always look forward to hearing your views. Thanks so much for continuing to follow along. ~James

  10. I am smiling ear to ear! Congratulations you two. As you well know I am a very long time admirer and have attempted to model that idea of building community through comments from you. Wonderful to see you recognised again by WordPress. Bravo I say!

    • Thanks so much Sue. As you can imagine, we were totally surprised by this award. It was also pretty funny that we weren’t notified and when the spike hit, we had no clue what was going on. You’ve been a loyal reader and commenter from the beginning and a big part of the community that Krista Stevens talked about. We know that we can always count on you for thoughtful, funny and entertaining comments. Also, I’ve personally enjoyed all our conversations about the details and mechanics of running a blog. We always look forward to hearing from you and appreciate your continuing to follow along. ~James

    • Thanks so much Anita. One of the great things about getting this award is having the opportunity to thank all our blogging buddies who’ve hung in there with us year after year. We always look forward to your comments, and also reading your wonderful blog posts. We were expats a few years ourselves (I guess that makes us X-expats.) and it’s always fun to read your great advice articles as well as your tales and expat experiences. We appreciate your support and thanks for continuing to follow along. ~James

  11. I’ve never hit that kind of jackpot yet, even after 6 gruelling years and more than 7000 beautiful pictures published – nearly all in ‘full screen’ and all from Norway.
    And when the mountain didn’t come to Noah, I suppose Noah had to go to the mountain?
    For a start I thought I’d try to use the newly discovered tool: ‘Invite’ and find out if that would possibly make a difference?
    You’re into travelling, right? And digital travel is the cheapest there is! But it will bridge any distance in a matter of seconds!
    So I’ll be trrying to send you an invitation of sorts, and if it works – perhaps I’ll be sending some more invitations round about . . . 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. After almost 7 years of blogging, we still can’t claim to understand the process of how WordPress editors pick recipients for recognition. We’re as mystified as you are. I just checked out your photos and they’re excellent. Your blog seems to have all the elements for success. We wish you all the best. ~James & Terri

    • Thanks for your kind words Liesbet. It’s a good problem to have, but we’re still trying to answer all the comments and acknowledge the new folks who dropped by to say congrats. And events like this are always of good opportunity to reflect. You’re one of the loyal followers were value, and we always enjoy hearing from you. Thanks for continuing to follow along. ~James

    • Thanks for the comment Lydia and for dropping by the blog. As you an imagine, we’re incredibly happy to have been recognized, and are happy that it enables us to meet new bloggers like you. All the best. ~James

    • Thanks LuAnn. It was pretty funny at our house the day it happened. I don’t know what happened when you were featured on Discover, but we weren’t notified in advance (and in fact, still haven’t been officially notified), but all we noticed was a unexpected spike in views, visits and comments. It took us a couple of hours to figure out what was going on. Anyway, no complaints here. We’ll take it any way we can get it. 😉 ~James

      • I believe I was notified when featured on Discover, which totally blew me away on my little old blog. Yours was certainly a well-deserved award.

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