Behind The Scenes: Three Years Of Blogging

I had given scant thought to the hows and whys of blogging in the three years since I started The Urge To Wander. 

A nomination by the lovely Kathryn, of Travel With Kat, for a ‘Blog Hop’ that requires me to do just that, seemed like the perfect subject for an anniversary post. Thank you Kathryn!

And here goes:

WHAT AM I WORKING ON/WRITING?

Lots actually, even if my recent absence indicates otherwise! I have a few more stories from Tanzania to complete…..particularly on Zanzibar. Pages dedicated to tips and guides are in the pipeline on the specific request of readers and friends. That is taking up more time than I envisaged.

I am hoping to get my social media activity – sporadic so far – up to speed. I have also been giving serious thought to self hosting, but haven’t quite made up my mind yet.

Add research for forthcoming travel and the effort of updating my new Viber Public Chats to the basket, and it all adds up to extra long hours. I am looking forward to our first break of the year with close friends at the end of the month at Nagarhole (again!). Fingers and toes crossed for that tiger sighting.

Cape Buffalo in Ngorongoro, Tanzania

Cape Buffalo in Ngorongoro, Tanzania

HOW DOES MY WRITING DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?

Most travel bloggers, other than those that purely depend on generic ‘top ten’ lists, have their own distinct voices that depict their individual travel styles.

Mine, I think, is the historical/cultural (and older?) perspective that I bring to each article. Despite my architectural background, my posts tend to dwell on local culture and folklore, with a focus, more often than not, on people (currently wildlife!). I do love nature and stunning landscapes, but this is what truly fascinates me and I think it comes through..

Being a non-stereotypical, urban educated, multilingual Asian, bred on stories from Shakespeare, the bible and the Ramayan, has to have some advantages (even if visa officers think otherwise!).

Also, the fact that I consciously go beyond standard itineraries whenever possible, does reflect in my writing. The Han Yangling museum in Xian for example, the Wat Loha Prasat in Bangkok, the beautiful ancient village of Laitan, the Solar Barge museum in Giza, or the Abydos and Dendera temples near Luxor and their attendant myths are a few examples of sights that don’t always make it to the regular travel circuit.

Shop front in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Shop front in Zanzibar, Tanzania

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

Because I am overly effusive about all that I am passionate about, and I couldn’t find enough people willing to listen without tuning out. Really.

A travel editor at our local newspaper who ruthlessly edited my article to make space for his own piece, was the catalyst that set me on the blogging path. And I was astonished and gratified to find a receptive virtual audience.

I never set out to be a writer. Nor a photographer. While I like to think there has been some improvement on both counts in these three years, I am still primarily a chronicler of our travels.

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A tourist whispers her wishes into the ear of Shiva’s Nandi (bull) in Mylapore Temple in Chennai, India

HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?

For an obsessive compulsive (borderline, let me remind you.) person who cannot survive without meticulous lists, my writing process is most impulsive. I rarely stick to a chronological order, or chronicle travels in sequence. And I procrastinate. A lot.

I spend considerable time on deciding how I want to portray a place or monument, and I try hard to limit each post to under 750 words. Sometimes a post will draft itself even before I have returned from an inspiring destination. Other times it takes several hours of staring blankly at the screen for something concrete to materialise. Both involve loads of editing and fact checking, and I am never quite satisfied even after I click ‘Publish’. As with all travel bloggers, sorting, processing and selecting images constitutes another large and time consuming part of the process.

I do not generally post when I am traveling, although I religiously lug my laptop along. That is something I plan to work on this year. As on the elusive balance that keeps a regular posting schedule just short of feeling like a chore.

 

Bridge of Sighs, Venice

Ponte dei Sospiri – Venice, Italy

Thank you all for accompanying me on my journey. And for your engagement and encouragement along the way.

I now invite two of my favourite travel bloggers to the Behind The Scenes Blog Hop:

 Bama of What an amazing World

James of Plus Ultra

This young duo have been traveling together for the past two years and are veritable walking guidebooks on Indonesia. A country that fascinates me no end, and has steadily moved up my list with each of their insightful posts. I am so looking forward to trading stories with them in person when they come to Chennai later this year.

Happy travels……..no matter where life takes you!