5 years, 413 posts, 3,33,785 words…

5th birthday
Click on the picture for the source

… later, it is time for that annual blog anniversary post. The fifth to be precise, and about a blogging year that has been quite different from the previous years.

If the first year of blogging was an exciting time of finding my feet in the blogging world, then the second year was a heady and wonderful year of peer recognition. The third year of blogging was the year of reality check in the form of severe writer’s block and coming face to face with negativity and bullying in the blogging world. Year four was all about facing extreme blogging fatigue, wondering what to do, and slowly reclaiming the pleasure of blogging.

As for the fifth year of blogging, it has probably been the most relaxed year of blogging ever — barring a couple of mini rants here and there. I blogged when I wanted to, what I wanted to, how I wanted to, and even where I wanted to. Basically, I did what I wanted to. Blog-wise, that is. 🙂

But before I go into a little bit of details of that, I must share with you an incident that turned out to be the highlight of Year 5 of blogging. It’s not about the blog directly and yet it is. It  happened on the morning of 19th October 2014.

It was a Sunday and I was woken up by the doorbell at around 7.30 am. Though I like to sleep in a little on Sundays, that rarely happens. Our housing society’s garbage collector, Suraj, has a rather perverse streak — on weekdays he collects the garbage around 9.30 am; on weekends he’s there before 8.00 am.

I stumbled out of bed, grumbling under my breath, picked up the garbage bag and opened the door to hand it to Suraj. But it wasn’t Suraj who was standing on the other side of the door. It was someone else. Continue reading “5 years, 413 posts, 3,33,785 words…”

Travel, travellers and travel blogging… Some thoughts

We live in a super-specialised world and the world of travel and travellers is no different. It’s not enough to just say that “I like to travel” or that “I am a traveller”. One has to qualify what kind of travel you like or what kind of traveller you are. You’d be considered boring otherwise !

Don’t believe me? Well then, just see some of the words I picked up from the Twitter and Facebook bios of travel bloggers on my TL, which describes the kind of travel they do or the type of travellers they are.

Solo. Couple. Family. LGBT. Gay. Luxury. Heritage. Road. Backpacker (you can add variations in spelling here like backpakker, bacpacker, bakpakker). Nomadic. Wandering. Itinerant. International. Different. Newly wed (I kid you not!). Budget. Flashback. Mountain. Himalayan. Beach. Food. Frugal. Happy-Go-Lucky. Culture. Nature. Environmental. Rural. Eco. Weekend. Slow. Lazy. Grumpy. Happy. Lost. Spiritual. Religious. Ethical. Independent (really wonder what this means). Immersive. Adventure. Long-term…

One would think that the “variety” in travel / travellers would have automatically translated into variety in travel writing or blogging as well. Surprisingly, I have found that this is not the case. Sure, a lot of destinations get written about, but they are usually in the form of listicles, guides, travel tips, sponsored articles or articles espousing the cause of a particular type of travel (read the above para for examples). First-person accounts of travel experiences — which in my opinion is what any travel writing/blogging should be about — are comparatively few.

And therein lies my problem with travel blogging. As someone who blogs about travel (among other things), I know how important it is to read well in order to write well. The operative word here is ‘to read well’. Unfortunately, more often that not, whenever I read a travel blog post, I’m left with a feeling of “this is not about travel / this is not what I want to read in a post on travel”.

Let me elaborate with some examples the reason I’m peeved with the state of travel writing / blogging today.

Continue reading “Travel, travellers and travel blogging… Some thoughts”

4 years, 346 posts, 2,65,417 words…

…later, a milestone has been crossed. Yes4th Blogversary, dear reader, the blog celebrates its 4th anniversary today. 🙂

Its time to write that anniversary post, which will be a reflection of the journey undertaken so far and hopes and plans for the future. But first, let me share with you some of the highlights of my 4th year of blogging.

  • It was a year of travel — Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Aurangabad. While I have finished writing about my visits to the first two states, I still have to write about the latter two.
  • This was also the year of exploring my city, Mumbai, and writing about it as well. Its art scene, its neighbourhoods, its rich and varied heritage, its public transport, its forts… all found their way into the blog. I think my blog url of “thatandthisinmumbai” has finally lived up to its name. 😀
  • I started getting invites for blogger events. The first was a FAM trip to Suryagarh, near Jaisalmer; the second to a Google+ event to celebrate World Photography Day; and the third (and most special one) was an invitation to be part of an art trail in Mumbai.
  • Two new series were introduced on the blog — Photostory and “Neighbourhoods of Mumbai” — and I’m really excited about them. Right now there aren’t many posts in the series yet, but by next year (fingers crossed!) there will be.
  • One of my earliest posts, Meenakshi’s Lamp, got featured (with slight modifications), in The Deccan Chronicle and The Key Bunch. Similarly, part of my post on Pallankuzhi, a traditional board game, was included in the DKS Learning Centre’s blog.
  • I finally started a Facebook Page for the blog. If you haven’t ‘liked’ me yet on FB, this is where I humbly fold my hands and request you to do so. I promise I will never spam your TL with inane or too many posts. 🙂

After reading the above highlights, would you believe that I began my 4th year seriously contemplating whether I should continue with or stop blogging altogether. :-/

Continue reading “4 years, 346 posts, 2,65,417 words…”

3 years, 283 posts, 2,07,006 words…

3rdBirthday… later, its blogversary time. Yes, My Favourite Things turned 3 years old today and I feel a mix of pride, surprise, relief and so many other emotions right now.

You see, writing is not instinctive for me like music and art are. For me, writing is a laborious process and I have spent almost my entire lifetime avoiding writing beyond the essentials — homework, school essays, reports, letters, dissertations, etc. have been sincerely done. But that’s about it. I’ve never maintained a diary, even an appointment diary !

I must confess here that I’m quite envious of people who declare that they always knew they wanted to write, and also those bloggers who declare that it took them “just half-an-hour” to write a blog post.

So why did I start blogging? Mainly because I wanted to prove a point to myself by doing something out of my comfort zone, but also because I was bored. So Year 1 of blogging was all about getting comfortable with writing, exploring and experimenting with topics and writing styles, etc. Though writing still did not come easily to me, I had fun conceptualising and then writing post after post. It was hugely satisfying to see my thoughts take shape in the words I wrote.

Continue reading “3 years, 283 posts, 2,07,006 words…”