Exploring the Blogosphere

I’m not sure how awards work. I never wanted our blog to be sucked into the game of numbers. I’ve tried hard not to be a part of it and sometimes, succumbed to it. That said, I’ve never been good with numbers, anyway. So, I’m not going to make this post about awards, rules, or chain posts. Let’s make this post about people. People who may not be like us and yet, through their life stories and thoughts — inspire us. It’s also our way of showing, how much it means, for us, to be noticed and appreciated by our fellow bloggers.

kids-at-grace-daycare

Image Source: The Real Uganda

I started following Leslie (The Real Uganda) last year. We have never visited any country in the African continent and I’m hoping we can change that in the near future. I had only heard about Uganda in the news. And, I must confess, I didn’t (still don’t) really know much about this fascinating country. And that’s why I admire Leslie’s blog. In addition, to the amazing humanitarian work her organization is responsible for, she doesn’t limit her posts to her work. Developing countries often find themselves trapped in a deep trench of stereotype. Something, I’m only very well aware of. Leslie’s posts offer us a slice of everyday life in Uganda, countless photos of smiling children (gives me hope), and an opportunity to wipe out our pre-conceived notions and discover true stories in the real world.

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Image Source: Maltese Steps

Maria (Maltese Steps) started following us roughly a month back. She’s all set for a new life in Malta and most of her posts highlight local life, people, and the challenges they face. I appreciate Maria’s honesty. When asked about what she’d like to see in the blogging community, she replies, “More posts about real people, people that isn’t as perfect as the social media shows, people who also fail and take the wrong way sometimes.” And that makes so much sense to me. Real people stumble and fail. Maria’s challenge is to improve her English. Reading her posts and point of view; I’d say, language is only a way of communicating. It’s the thought that counts. Maria, you never fail on that account.

I’ve bunched Leslie (L) and (M) Maria‘s questions, for us, together. Chosen the questions that I might not have covered in my earlier posts.  I’ll try to make this short.

(M) What is your blog for you?

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Our blog started as a travelogue of our travel experiences in India and across the world. We wanted it to be a mix of a virtual album and also a site to help anyone who wanted to explore the world. We’ve completed two years — this February. As our blog shaped up and I started interacting with other bloggers; I didn’t limit my posts to travel. Our blog is now my daily writing prompt and helps me stay focused  — when I lose focus of what’s around me.

(L) Books or movies?

Array of Graphic Books - Comics Cafe

Array of Graphic Books – Brussels Comics Cafe

This is a tough question. I’m definitely a book person and so is Basil. Basil is drawn towards science fiction, aliens, the end of our planet, and action; while I like books grounded in real world topics such as culture, race, and old school story telling. We both share a love for comics or graphic books, with Japanese Manga comics and Tintin among our firm favourites. Sadly, we don’t read as much as we should. Movies have taken over our love for books. Most lazy weekends are spent in suburban theatres.

(L) How many times have you changed career since starting to work?

I think Basil and I are very similar when it comes to career choices. We’ve always, strangely, complemented each other. Monotony gets to us pretty soon. We met in college and initially thought of pursuing a career in research. That said, Basil started as a scientific editor and jumped onto management and eventually, business development; something he’s currently pursuing. I started with online advertising, dabbled with events, switched to freelance web content writing, and travel blogging. Perhaps, not the best CV for HR managers.

(L) How do you choose new bloggers to follow?

An Arctic Tern gets ready for flight - kirkjubæjarklaustur

An Arctic Tern gets ready for flight – Kirkjubæjarklaustur

I generally follow bloggers who are fascinated (without being excessively obsessed or exaggerative) by real travel, culture, or photography. That said, I have also found some fantastic blogs on writing (fiction & poetry), cooking, expat life, and even mums who share their challenges of everyday life with us. If something or someone interests me; I will follow. Life is not just about travel.

(L) What are the main factors that guide you in deciding where to holiday or travel?

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Silence – Dalhousie

We crave isolation and seclusion. Being introverts (socially awkward at times) and coming from a country of a billion people; you’d understand why. We’ve always lived in a chaotic city by the sea. So, we prefer mountains and quaint villages to bustling cities or beach getaways. We avoid gimmicks and tourist traps — if we can. And love talking to locals, sampling food, and going for long walks.

(M) Have you ever had a long conversation with a stranger? Tell about it!

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We’ve had many such conversations. And I love talking to people who don’t sell tourism. The longest conversation stretched for two days. Our driver, a young man in his twenties, navigated us over four mountain passes ranging from 3000 m to 5000 m, gave us the right pep talk when we were sick with the changing altitude, and narrated stories of his life. We’ve never met him again. I doubt we ever will. But, he’s someone we will surely find hard to forget.

(M) What would be your ideal adventurer moment (can be unreal!)?

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I think Basil would love to get lost in space. Or navigate a spaceship to explore distant planets, make contact with other forms of life, and discover new galaxies. As you must have guessed, he is a big ‘Star Trek‘ fan. And since, we don’t have that kind of money to enroll for the space mission; I think I would like to hike a mountain in the Himalayas. That might seem achievable for many; I’m not so sure whether I would be able to keep my fear of heights in check or build my fitness to that degree. Fortunately, we can dream, can’t we?

(L) Have you ever been to East Africa? If not, what’s stopping you?

We have never been to Africa! And, I really don’t know why? One of the reasons could be that we figured we would require more days or weeks to explore any country in this continent. There’s such a wealth of wildlife, culture, and people. We have friends in Kenya who have shown us what we’re missing. I’m hoping we could change this. I know I want to.

(M)How can you contribute to make the world a better place?

Lac Work

Lac Work

This one’s a toughie. Growing up, especially when I was in my teens, I wanted to change the world (especially, the one around me). I’ve grown increasingly disillusioned with time. I find lofty ideals being floated around in charity space and beneath the surface, only hollow words. That said, I hope, through our travel experiences, and by keeping an open mind (one of the most difficult things in this world), we can change skewed perceptions — even if they happen to be our own.

(M) Describe your philosophy of life in one sentence.

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I’ve contemplated and ruminated about life for many years. Didn’t get much out of those internal debates. I’ve learned that Basil has a more pragmatic mantra: Live each day as it comes.

30 responses to “Exploring the Blogosphere

  1. Loved reading this one. Quite some insight into your mind and blog!
    I also thought of posting in responses to everyday inspiration but finding time is bit difficult. It becomes challenging to write and post all the stories sitting in your mind.time!!! 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Arv! 🙂 I’m wondering if I’m divulging way too much. Have always been a private person, unlike Basil. I agree, it’s not easy to write these posts. I’ve been sitting on this one for a week. Have a good week ahead! Must add, you show a very different side to Jaipur. Truly enjoy reading your side of the story.

      • I guess I too have similar issues. Blogging has certainly brought down these barriers, but it can’t change you altogether. we always have these insecurities. 🙂
        I’m happy that you like these posts. I enjoy your posts too. Just to share with you, I prefer not to follow ‘Commercial ‘Bloggers cause they have nothing to offer. They are digital marketers in reality. only a true traveler has interesting stuff to offer. Thanks for sharing your perspective. 🙂

      • I understand what you mean. I think there is a line between being excessive and real. I used to be skeptical about blogging and resisted for a long time. When I did start blogging (this blog is my third attempt), I wanted it to be a front for letting me do what I really wanted to do in life – write ( ironically, it’s not about travel :)). I’m truly overwhelmed by the support and appreciation we receive. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Makes my effort worth it!

      • I have similar story to share. I registered and signed up a blog in 2007-08 but never wrote. Same problem, insecurity! But finally I overcame that in 2015. Yes it’s been a great experience. For me it’s not much about writing rather it’s about photography and to highlight less explored places. I’m happy that we are sharing this conversation. 🙂

  2. An excellent post in allowing your readers to get to know you on a more personalised level. Such a joy to read. You and Basil are such level-headed and open-minded people, unafraid to explore new worlds and different cultures. May you never change your zest for life and love of humanity.

    • Thank you, Helen! How have you been? It’s been a while since I read a post on your blog. Truly appreciate your comment. I know there’s so much more that we can change about ourselves. And it’s not easy. Sometimes, our blog may make us look like exceptional people. We’re very ordinary people, I think. 🙂

  3. I really enjoyed reading this. You have a wonderful perspective on travel and life in general. It’s no wonder I love your blog so much.

    • I’m definitely very inspired by Leslie and Maria. And I wanted to share their story with other bloggers. Basil and I are a regular, probably average, couple. On the days we travel – we feel exceptional. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by, Lisa.

  4. Thanks for mentioning the two blogs. I’m presently writing a book set in Uganda (as I spent five years in East Africa) plus have visited Malta several times when my daughter spent five years there. Always love to read other people’s perspectives on places I’ve been and places I still hope to go.

    • We haven’t been to Uganda or Malta. It’s one of the reasons why I love to read their blogs. You say it well, “Always love to read other people’s perspectives on places I’ve been and places I still hope to go.”
      And I can’t wait to read your book! Happy writing! 🙂

  5. I guess meeting and trying to understand the people of the places I visit is my main goal in travel. That is why I’m a bit obsessed with languages and spending time in language schools is often on my agenda. Presently I’m working on 7 languages and try to spend time with at least 4 of these every day. Two language schools are on the agenda for the coming year. As I travel alone most of the time, I almost always have long conversations with strangers during my travels and some become my friends. The majority of my friends are people I have met while traveling. Therefore I spend a lot of time on Skype, from my home in Canada or during my travels. Sometimes my friends visit me here or I visit them in their homes or we meet in another country or town. I am attracted to people and bloggers with a positive outlook on life and who see life as too short for all that is out there to explore and learn about. I follow you because you look below the surface when you travel and Basil takes wonderful pictures. I blog as a personal journal of my travels that might also help people see some beautiful or interesting places to explore. I also love taking pictures although I’m no professional.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, Debbie. So many points you have touched upon are relevant for a traveller. And that’s why I love your blog and follow you. 7 languages? Fantastic! I’m drowning under the weight of 6 and might need to learn my seventh soon. Basil takes a strong liking for photography. He’s never been formally trained. I’m so happy for him and that his work gets so much positive feedback. Your photographs of your hikes are beautiful. Canada is such a beautiful country and it’s on our list! So is Argentina. Looking at your posts I know I want to actively start hiking. 🙂

  6. Nice one Cheryl, love your responses to the questions, thought-provoking. I like the one on long conversations with a stranger – I remember having a long conversation with a guy named Alok from Mumbai on the train from Sawai Madopur to Delhi – strange thing was we never exchanged contacts like email or FB after saying goodbye to each other upon arrival in Delhi. We happily wished each other good luck and waved goodbye 🙂

  7. Thank you very very much twobronfeet!!! 😄 thanks to anser the questions, thanks to talk about my blog and the Leslie one (perfect suggestion to follow!) in these beautiful words, but thank you the most for giving this original twist to the post, putting the human side.

    • Glad you liked it, Maria! I truly enjoyed reading your recent posts, esp the one on the world movie festival. Thanks for sharing the synopsis. I’ve got many more to add to my list! Take care. Have a good week! 🙂

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