I have been blogging in some form or another for nearly eight (!) years. It all started with The Gravy Train, a tongue-in-cheek title I came up with for a blog after the hubby and I moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, shortly after our wedding. We knew that I wouldn’t be able to work due to visa restrictions in place at the time, so I took a planned two-year hiatus from my career to explore living in Southeast Asia. The blog was my way of keeping in touch with friends and family. My time in Malaysia was one of the sweetest times in my life, especially because we started our family (with Ge Ge) there. Today I’m introducing a new blog design and reflecting back on why I love this blog so much.
Why I Blog Reason #1: I LOVE FOOD.
Over the years, I’ve kept up this “hobby” for several reasons. First and foremost, as if it’s not readily apparent, I really, really love to cook. Cooking has always been a big part of how I show my love for my friends and family. I derive great joy from making a big meal and entertaining. I get this from my father, who got it from his mother. I like to think that cooking at home is the way in which I continue to carry on my family’s tradition, of showering the people I care about with my particular kind of love.
Similarly, I love to eat. I think about food when it’s not in front of me, and sometimes I eat really, really fast when I like what I’m eating. Sometimes I eat something that is so delicious I feel like other people need to know about it, so that they, too, can be infected by this exuberance that I feel.
Why I Blog Reason #2: It’s a Challenge
Blogging has presented a world of challenges that have stretched me, both intellectually and creatively. When I first started blogging, I felt like it was an enormous victory just to come up with some half-decent photos to accompany what I wanted to write. Heck, it felt like a huge accomplishment just deciding what to write.
Blogging has pushed me outside of my comfort zone and taught me things I never would have otherwise learned. I’ve taken photography workshops, attended food festivals and even earned a professional certification from culinary school. I was motivated to do all of these things because of my blog, and I’ve grown so much from these experiences.
The blog has also enhanced my professional career. I think it’s made me a better writer and has encouraged me to think more creatively about solutions in my legal career than I would otherwise. I think analytically in a more organized way, too, because the blog has made me think about how I can present information concisely. In the years since, I’ve also tried to refine how to present my thoughts in a cohesive manner (even if sometimes it’s just about wearing stretchy pants).
From a technical standpoint, I’ve had to learn how to take good photos (or at least better ones, considering my early ones were absolutely terrible). I’ve had to figure out how to make and maintain a website. The biggest lesson of all? Leave coding to the pros — see, for example, this website compared to my old one, which I tried (unsuccessfully) to design and maintain on my own for years. Lastly, I’ve also had to learn how to talk to people about food and write about it (especially in recipe form).
Why I Blog Reason #3: It Gives Me Roots
If you haven’t already noticed, the hubby’s career necessitates that we move every few years. Despite outward appearances, I am not a nomad by nature. I spent my entire childhood in South Carolina, and after several stints in my early twenties seeing the world, I fully believed that I would pick a place (most likely Charleston) and settle down. Of course, then life and love happened. I met the hubby, and one of the many reasons I fell in love him is his dedication to and passion for his career. He’s also a brilliant family man who puts our children and me above all else. To me, moving around is a small price to pay in exchange for getting to hang out with my best friend. Actually, most of the time, it’s a very cool benefit. My sister Amy put it most aptly when she told me that I’m “hungry for adventure, but struggle with change.” It’s so true. Through all of our upheavals in our daily life, having a blog makes me feel like something gets to stay the same, no matter where I go.
Why I Blog Reason #4: I’m an Extrovert
People who know me in real life know this already, and maybe you’ve surmised as much: I am an extrovert. I need to interact with people from the minute I wake up until I go to sleep. Sometimes I feel like social media was invented for people like me so that we can stop exhausting the people who live with us. I’m not sure where my marriage would be if I didn’t blog, but I feel fairly certain that the hubby will be the first to tell you that it’s a good thing I have another outlet (other than him) for all of my words.
Why I Blog Reason #5: YOU
Over the years, I’ve heard from readers from all over the world. I’ve talked to fellow food fanatics, people who are moving to Kuala Lumpur, people who are giving birth in a foreign country, people who are looking for guidance in their legal careers, and more. I’ve been able to meet some really interesting people who found their way to me solely through this blog, and I’ve learned so much from them. You all inspire me to keep going.
Conclusion: Should I Blog, Too?
I field questions about blogging pretty frequently. People ask me what type of camera I use (which my friend Tara, my law school roommate and a super-talented photographer, says is only a part of the picture, like telling a chef that their pots cook good food). They’ve asked me how to make a blog, how to keep a blog going, and whether they can make money doing it.
My answer to those questions is this: you’ll only ever know if you try. Give it a shot and more importantly, stick with it. Don’t do it because you think you’ll make money (because believe me, I don’t). Do it because you think you have a new point of view that you’d like to share, and don’t stop just because you think your pictures aren’t pretty enough or that not enough people are following your blog. I’ve found that I’ve gotten the most discouraged about my own blog when I think like that. In fact, I cycle through those thoughts every few months or so. But somehow or another, I’ve always found my way back to blogging. It centers me.
Anyway, so I hope you like my new website. My designer and I tried to blend elements of chinoiserie and watercolor (you can see my Pinterest board that served as inspiration here) with a clean, sophisticated, and most importantly, usable website. I feel like I’ve finally gotten the site I’ve always imagined in my head, and I couldn’t be more pleased.
Thanks for reading and following my adventures over the years. I’m a lucky gal.