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.

DSC_5070 copy
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!

 

Posted by

Hi, I'm Madhu. Wanderer. Travel blogger. Story teller. Bitten late and hard by the travel bug, I am on a mission to make up for lost time.

148 thoughts on “Behind The Scenes: Three Years Of Blogging

    1. Must be the Brit legacy, like it is here in India. We would have had riots over the choice of language for our number plates if we didn’t have English as a via media!! 😉

  1. good question (for EVERY blogger):
    HOW DOES MY WRITING DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?
    – nice that we are not sentenced by our governments to a penalty of 1,000 caning like recently the blogger in Saudi Arabia

  2. I’m a bigger sucker for articles about writing process. Most of the time I’m very gratified to hear that there are the bits that come easy and the bits (lots of bits) that take time. Actually, let’s upgrade that to all the time – I don’t think I’ve read anyone say differently yet!

    1. Don’t be. We have waited a long time and worked hard towards it. You will get there too eventually if you want it badly enough 🙂

  3. I’m a firm believe in things happening for a reason – so many thanks to that very short-sighted editor. I wonder what he would think if he could see the following you have built as a result of your passion and the unique viewpoint you bring to your amazing travel blog, Madhu! Congratulations on three years, and thank you for sharing your stories and your photographs!!

  4. I finally stopped to read this one, Madhu! It gave me good chills and a funny ache, too, a kind of longing, I think—maybe something about how challenging it is to be a writer, or the part about the local editor’s creepy behavior or wanting to find people who will listen. I think I must have always assumed you’d been doing this forever, and I am heartened to hear the blogging is still pretty new, and that I must have “discovered” you and begun the pleasure of knowing you in this fashion relatively early on in your blog. Thanks for all of this. 🙂

Leave a Reply to JPei Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.