If you’d asked us 10 years ago, as we embarked on another round-the world trip, if we’d be here today, it’s likely we would have said, Nah! At that point in our lives, other than being together, we hadn’t done ANYTHING consistently for 10 years. We’d moved from place to place, country to country, never hanging our proverbial hats in any one location for too long. And that was the beauty and appeal of blogging – it wasn’t “location dependent.” We were free to write and connect with the world from anywhere we chose. Finally!
Although we came to blogging with over 30 years of travel experience – having regaled our families and friends with stories of coups and camels – we knew nothing about creating or running a blog. Total newbies. Sink or swim. Now, a decade later, we’ve gained some perspective into that momentous choice we made 10 years ago. On this anniversary, we remind ourselves of these 10 insights we’ve gained:
1. People always come first.
Whether it’s the folks we meet on the road, the readers who keep us motivated, or fellow bloggers with whom we commiserate, you are the vital spark of our blog and our raison d’être.
2. Let our passions show.
We’ve learned to trust our instincts and write about our passions. So we focus on subjects that fascinate us, do our research, and hopefully write it well – and thank goodness, many of you have followed along.
3. Follow our own style.
It took years of trial and error for us to truly come into our own. We had to decide what tone and look was right for us. We knew that we didn’t want ads, and esthetics mattered to us. Our style has evolved to feature short, engaging articles in a format that focuses on simplicity and depth of content.
4. Find our Peeps.
Although we’ve only been blogging for a decade, we embraced our nomadic ways over 30 years ago. And finding like-minded friends was a challenge. Blogging has opened up the world, connecting us with kindred spirits, both old and new, across the globe.
5. Tell stories. Share the ups and downs of travel … and life.
For thousands of years humans have enjoyed telling and listening to stories. And believe it or not, it’s the same if you’re sitting around a virtual campfire in the blogosphere. For a bit of variety, we mix up the types of blog posts we publish, but over and over we find that our most popular posts, and the ones that get the most attention involve a personal story.
6. Be authentic. Be honest.
As travelers, we know that if you look hard enough, every place has a unique and interesting story. We encourage you to travel and hope you have a positive experience, but the reality is that every destination isn’t sweetness and light. Some places are tough to visit. So we try to be honest without being negative and judgmental.
7. Cherish comments, they’re the lifeblood of our blog.
Early on, when comments on our posts were rare, we cherished each one. They made us realize that blogging wasn’t just about publishing content. Today, comments are one of the biggest rewards of our blog. We answer every one, whether from one of our regular blogging buddies or a new visitor. When someone takes the time to make a meaningful comment we always respond. We love our community of new friends and do everything we can to acknowledge and encourage you.
8. Celebrate and collaborate with other bloggers.
No blog exists in a vacuum, and we’ve been inspired by countless other talented writers, linking often to their posts to celebrate their craft. We also collaborate with other bloggers to generate ideas to help our readers. Our most successful collaboration produced 51 Thoughts to Simplify Your Life, one of our all-time favorite posts.
9. Remember that our blog is our legacy.
Since nothing ever truly goes away on the internet – the good, the bad, and the ugly – our blog will forever be part of our legacy. So we’d better make it count. We ask ourselves, Does it pass the smell test? Will we still be proud of it in 3, 7, 10, 15 years?
10. There’s no place like home.
And by “Home” we mean Gallivance – our “digital homestead.” Although social media offers opportunities to promote our brand, we prefer to let our blog do the talking. It’s the one place where we totally control the content – unlike social media that can change on a whim, advertise embarrassing products, or promote people we don’t support. Over the years we’ve been on just about every social media platform out there, but we’ve decided There’s No Place Like Home.
After 10 years, Gallivance has given us more pleasure than we ever dreamed. It’s a creative outlet that’s heightened our awareness as travelers, inspired us to dig deeper into fascinating topics, honed our skills as writers, and made us part of a global community of caring souls. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your friendship, support, and humor this past decade.
But we can’t leave before we share with you the most important, pivotal question we ask ourselves at the end of each year when it’s time to hit the “renew” button:
“Are we still having fun?”
And if the answer is still a resounding YES, then we’ll see you next year!
Wishing you all the very best,
Terri & James