Blog Hop! Behind the Scenes at Compass & Camera
It’s a Blog Hop! I’ve been nominated to answer four questions about my blog — a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into writing and creating it.
I’m so honored to take part in the Blog Hop at the invitation of fellow travel blogger Bama, writer of What an Amazing World! Bama approaches travel with the heart and eyes of a true explorer. He ventures to remote locations few of us have heard of (Menjangan, Kelimutu, Lanyu, to name a few) and returns with comprehensive knowledge about history, geography, architecture and everyday life in these locations. He shares what he learns through insightful writing imbued with his perspective on the world, leaving all of us more educated and even slightly envious of his ability to scratch so deep beneath the surface of the places he goes.
Thanks, Bama! It means the world to me to be nominated by you.
Before I begin my Blog Hop… THANK YOU to everyone who has read and supported my blog over the past three+ years. As any blogger will tell you, it’s not an easy road and it’s not a fast journey. It starts slowly and builds over time and is, by nature, a very long-term project. But the results I’ve experienced are so rewarding – a growing portfolio of writing, a storybook of my life and, most importantly, a community of wonderful, diverse writers and readers I learn from every day – most of whom I’ve never met face-to-face yet who continually share their support and enthusiasm through our miraculous connections in cyberspace.
And now, here’s what’s happening behind-the-scenes at Compass & Camera.
What am I working on/writing?
I’m currently working on the remaining posts about my trip to Oman – a few nights of camping, some deep sand and geology, a really nice hotel and an old village in the hills. I’m also looking forward to writing about skiing in Japan next month, not only because the powder in Myoko is really deep but also because it’ll be the 40th country I’ve traveled to (counting Scotland, yo). This is a huge milestone for me, but still a small percentage of the whole world. Regardless, traveling to and writing about a new country is always very exciting.
I’m also pondering a larger, self-imposed (inflicted?) writing assignment related to living in Singapore. I’ve lived here for three years and it’s fascinating, every day.
How does my blog differ from others of its genre?
I like to venture off the beaten path so I often write about places or events that people haven’t heard much about. Thaipusam is a favorite – a fantastic Hindu festival that unfortunately I’ll miss this year because I’m traveling. Another example would be my recent road trip around Oman. Flying to the Middle East and driving around in a four-wheel-drive doesn’t top the list of ideal vacations for most people, yet everyone has been excited to hear about my experience. I love writing about locations and cultures of intrigue.
Also, when traveling, my husband and I like to exist at the far ends of the spectrum of accommodations and avoid the mediocre in the middle. We’re kind of like luxury low-budget travelers, which might even be a new category. We like to camp and rough it for a few days and then splurge on a superstar hotel for a couple nights. We did this in Yosemite when we got married 13 years ago (Curry Village followed by the Ahwahnee Lodge), and as recently as Oman last month (wild camping followed by the Alila Jabal Akhdar). The best part is always pulling up to the valet in our hiking gear with our car packed full of dusty camping equipment, and then getting out and handing them our backpacks. We usually get a good laugh. I think this juxtaposition of travel styles makes for eclectic content that’s not typically offered by one source.
Why do I write what I do?
Amidst all the chaos and darkness, the world is full of beauty and good people. This is always my focus. There’s no sense in writing about the negative. That can be found anywhere.
I love travel, I love change and I feel most alive when I’m out in the world experiencing something foreign. I can only do this because I have a passport that grants me access to every country, and I have the ability to get there through a combination of my time, money and health. I do not take this for granted. It’s an extraordinary opportunity so I make time to see the world, and then return to my blog to share it with everyone else – especially people who, for whatever reason, cannot do the same. It’s just unfathomable to me that a passport or a visa can stand in the way of a person’s desire to see the world, or even visit their family in another country. This world belongs to every one of us, and we should all be free to explore it.
How does my writing process work?
I don’t usually write while I’m traveling because for me writing takes silence, concentration and good coffee, and not all of these things are readily available when I’m away from home. However, I constantly evaluate where I am and what I’m doing and whether or not it’s worth writing about.
The most essential part of my writing process is my camera. It’s my visual diary of everything that happens on a trip. When I start writing a post I begin by selecting the images I want to feature. This gives me a visual road map. Then I add words and tell the story. If I find it difficult to write about something, I take that as a sign that either there’s not enough material to make a good post or it’s not a post that fits within the context of my blog. Sometimes knowing when to not write about something is harder than writing about something.
Also, I’ve never entirely embraced social media but I do love Instagram. It’s the only social media app I have on my phone. I’ve found that it’s a fantastic way to share glimpses of travel and daily moments that aren’t worthy of a full blog post. An Instagram picture is worth a thousand words… that I don’t have to write. ♥
My Blog Hop Nominations
I’m nominating the following three travel bloggers who are on unique journeys in the world. I look forward to hearing their thoughts about writing, if they choose to participate. No pressure!
Gallivance :: Terri and James were high school sweethearts, and now 30+ years and countless countries later they’re still traveling the world and taking us along with them. I love their collective sense of humor, ability to find beauty everywhere, and down-to-earth stories from around the world.
The Wandering Nomads :: Shirine and Kevin are cycling around the world. They just arrived in Patagonia (by plane), after a long cycle through Nepal, Georgia and Turkey. There’s more to their story, and a backlog of amazing posts to catch up on if you’re not already following them. A truly inspiring couple who are seeing the world from the seats of their bicycles and the power of their legs.
My Super Space :: Every now and then we find a blogger whose voice is eloquent, thoughtful and needs to be heard. For me, this person is Shaikha at My Super Space. It’s her time to shine in the light. Shaikha writes about and photographs her life in Abu Dhabi and her travels around the world. She’s earning her master’s degree in tourism and cultural communication (read: Withstanding the Test of Change), so her Super Space is Super Busy these days, but I would Super Love to hear more from her and I hope you do, too.
Happy reading, writing and following each other around the world.