Why (and how) I started blogging

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Why (and how) I started blogging

Two years ago I embarked on two different journeys that would take me to strange corners of the Earth, and my mind. One started with a backpack and a one-way ticket to Spain, but you’ve heard plenty about that. The other journey started with me opening my laptop one day in Portugal. Both were equally terrifying. Both have drastically changed my life.
I started this “blogging thing” with little to no idea of what I was doing…or what can of worms I was opening for myself. I just knew that people kept asking me to somehow document the adventure I’d just embarked on- it was just me and Big Red (my backpack), sans my steady corporate salary and business attire I’d been associated with. I had gone out into the Great Unknown and people wanted to know what the grass looked like on the other side. “Won’t you start a blog so we can follow your travels? Please! We will be worried about you!” 
I always loved writing…privately. Back in school I’d won awards from English teachers and been asked to read my essays but would come up with excuses why I couldn’t. “My throat is really sore. I can’t read today. Please don’t make me.” Sharing wasn’t about caring. In my mind, it was invitation to be berated and judged by my peers. So I never shared and I kept everything hidden in private notes and journals. Writing was MY thing, no one else’s, and I thought that I liked it that way.
Until now, of course.
Two years ago, I opened my MacBook while sitting on the floor of my dorm room in Lisbon, typed in the word “blog” into my search engine and jumped down the rabbit hole. I googled to no end “How to start a blog” and “Why anyone ever starts a blog,” and “Is blogging even a real f**king ‘thing’ anymore?” I knew nothing.
Online I found ample information and tools that I quickly put to use. I joined Facebook groups and other networking communities online that catered to people just like me. “A place for the blogging community to come together.” Here I came across tons of other people with questions just like mine and missing answers. The old adage of “the blind leading the blind” was all too relevant here, so I got frustrated before I even began. I proceeded to do my research (instead of writing) and my questions were amassing by the minute.
HOW, someone please tell me, do people begin a blog about their life when they’re no where near the end or the beginning? How do I become one of those people when I’m in the middle of a crisis here? My mother used to say you should never “air your dirty laundry.” And is my life even that interesting? Isn’t this whole thing a bit narcissistic? And how on Earth does one simply open themselves up to the World Wide Web of strangers waiting to judge and twist their truths? Will anyone actually read this thing? Wait…but why? Whywhywhywhy. And again…HOW?!
Doubt, shame and regret are funny entities that tend to flock together. And here I was filling up on all three before I even tried to do the thing. I hadn’t written, or shared, a word yet. Horrible how we sell ourselves short before selling ourselves at all, isn’t it? I forced myself to SSW. Sit down, shut up and write.
Turns out this “Corporate Barbie turned Globetrotting Backpacker Babe” had plenty to say and a lot of good writing material from recent events. Nothing like a “quarter life crisis,” a heartbreak and a one-way ticket to kick things off. I wrote and I wrote. A lot was going on. I transferred paragraphs from my journal to the screen. There. That felt good. I thought to myself how my words make so much more sense when I’m writing them, versus when I’m speaking. Then I wondered why I bother talking at all, without writing it out first.

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” -Ernest Hemingway

It took me a couple weeks to find the lady balls to hit “publish” on my first blog post. I thought, “Don’t worry, no one will read this anyway and if they do, you can jut delete it.”
But then people did read it, and not just people that knew me. Strangers from all walks of life around the world were reading “this thing.” I counted the countries viewing my site in the first month. Fifty countries. Fifty freaking countries?!? Who are these people and why are they reading this nonsense? Surely they landed on my page by mistake. Doubt poked her bitchy head out and I sat and listened with Shame. I shut my computer, tucked it away and didn’t open it again for days. I was in Lisbon, Portugal then so I refocused on my present setting and carried on exploring.
A few days later I opened my emails and sifted through them. Junk, junk….wait, what’s this? An email from a girl I’d forgotten about. A girl that went to the same school as me growing up. A girl with roots just like mine and clearly a very different life. “Hello” was in the subject line and I reluctantly opened the email. What could this be? Maybe it’s one of those “I’ve been hacked” emails and I must delete it sight unseen…
Turns out this girl came across my blog, found it “incredibly inspiring” and “brave.” She’d been dreaming of doing the same thing I just did and it helped her to know someone “like us” was doing this. I inspired someone from a few words?  My jaw dropped halfway to the floor and I felt a new sense of warm confidence inside. This is why, Heather. This is HOW and this is WHY. Sharing your journey around the world with people back home, and all over, will connect you with others. Soul to souls, fear to fears and vulnerability to vulnerabilities.  
That first reader email will forever be kept in my “happy folder” and returned to often, along with all the others. Hearing from women around the world telling me that I’ve somehow touched their lives in a positive way is enough to keep me going on this blogging thing for a long time- maybe forever. In a world that’s connecting less and less face to face, it’s critically important to have a circle in which you can be real, honest and vulnerable. I’m so lucky to have found mine here.

Have you joined the SHE GOES GLOBAL Facebook group yet?

Initially I went through countless names for this site and community until I landed on “She Goes Global.” It came to me one day as I explained my reasons for starting my two journeys to a new Australian friend I met at the youth hostel (thanks Hannah!).  She asked me why I decided to leave such a great job and seemingly full life behind to travel. “I was on the verge of burnout, and a breakdown.  It felt like my life was hitting a giant rock wall and I couldn’t find the energy to climb it.  I was living for everyone else and I felt empty inside.  I was on the verge of going postal…I decided to go global instead.”  
Oh my God…that’s it!
“She goes postal GLOBAL.”
And global I went, with many stories to share.


Thank you for coming along with me.
Next stop on the She Goes Global train? South America!
✈️ Onward.
-HMD

By |2017-08-22T16:39:50+00:00August 22nd, 2017|Dear Diary, Digital Nomad Life, Solo Female Travel|2 Comments

About the Author:

On August 14th, 2015 I left my life in the United States behind with the intention to never look back. I had the "American Dream" and I woke up from it, to create a new reality for myself. I sought out beauty in a world that was increasingly dark for me at the time and ended up finding more than I bargained for. With only a backpack, I traveled across Europe, South East Asia and then on to Africa. With over 30 countries stamped in my passport, I've become an entirely new version of myself with a broader perspective on what it means to be a woman in today's world. My hope is that by sharing my stories and featuring women like me from around the world, we can inspire others to break down their own internal barriers and go cross a few international borders while they're at it. I truly believe travel can be healing to a troubled soul, empowering to the lost and rejuvenating for the exhausted. Perspective is everything, and I believe in the power of "going global," what about you? SheGoesGlobal.net is a site that started out with my stories and grew into a platform for women all around the world to tell their travel tales of trials and triumph. We all believe that the more you see of the world, the better you can be as a person who inhabits it. Women encouraging other women to grow, travel, evolve- that's what SGG is all about. ---> Read my very first blog post (see "Archives" for August 2015) to learn how this all began.

2 Comments

  1. tanyatravels August 27, 2017 at 12:14 am - Reply

    You do have a natural talent for this. I like your writing style and they way you reveal things about yourself that lets people relate. I can relate!

  2. Christine Hixenbaugh August 27, 2017 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    Your writing is so touching. Every once in awhile I get upset and wonder why I bend over backwards for life.. You mentioned your purpose as connecting with others, “Soul to souls, fear to fears and vulnerability to vulnerabilities.”
    I’m licking droplets of tears. I wish more people remembered the importance of creating meaningful and real relationships. Thanks for giving me the motivation to keep on keepin’ on! MUAH! xoxoxoxo

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