Notes from Home: On Blogging, Fate & Taking Risks

Posted by on Dec 12, 2016 in Notes from Home | No Comments

 

magic-8-ball

One of my childhood favorites, Mattel’s Magic 8 Ball.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

~Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

It was an idea that had been simmering for a long time.

I thought about it while brushing my teeth and walking the dog and tying my shoes. Like a whisper in the wind, it would sit on my shoulder and spin around my mind. I imagined stories I would write, pictures I would take, how I wanted it to look. I came up with a name that I loved. For months, I never told anyone about this grand idea that had been occupying so much of my time.

I played a game with myself. That one we play when we want something to work out and at the same time are afraid of what will happen if it actually does…so we leave it up to Fate. If the domain name I wanted were available, then I would start the blog. If not, then it probably wasn’t such a great idea after all.

I nervously typed “themodernpostcard.com” into a domain site search and pressed Enter. Available! No getting off the hook this time. If I were about to make a deal with Fate, then I had better keep my end of the bargain.

I told my family what I wanted to do, and they were wonderfully supportive, as the people who love us always are. But it was a lecture by a favorite author that really helped crystalize my idea. In one of those serendipitous moments that you understand only after it has happened, I had gotten tickets to hear Elizabeth Gilbert speak about her latest book, Big Magic, at the University of San Diego. The timing of her message was eerily perfect:

“If you say yes to an idea, now it’s showtime. Now your job becomes both simple and difficult. You have officially entered into a contract with inspiration, and you must try to see it through, all the way to its impossible-to-predict outcome.”

I went to work learning everything I could about publishing a blog. I made a list of topics I wanted to write about and kept a notebook on my bedside table to capture those fleeting thoughts that seem to appear just as I’m falling asleep or waking up. I ordered business cards, which seemed like an impossibly optimistic thing to do, but I wanted to do things “right” or not at all.

themodernpostcard-com

“How can you write a travel blog if you’re not traveling all the time?” a friend had asked me before I published my first piece. I didn’t have an answer, except that I somehow knew that I could.

My family rallied in a remarkable way. My daughter became my tech support, helping me navigate the brave new waters I was about to enter. My son and husband served as editors, reading drafts of what would be my first posts. And my son-in-law designed my postmark logo, turning my germ of an idea into a beautiful reality.

As I began working on initial blog posts, I realized that what was propelling me forward into the future was actually something from my past. In a strange way, I have been “blogging” my entire life, keeping journals, taking pictures, archiving my travels and experiences in albums of photos and pasted-in mementos. My albums quickly took on a new role as a reference library, a fact checker for my memories.

old-faithful-geyser-1959

My five-year-old self with my first camera, a Kodak Brownie. Old Faithful Geyser, 1959.

kolo-photo-album

Pages from one of my Kolo photo album/journals. Rome. 2012.

I decided to launch the blog in January. New year. New beginnings. My only goal was to see it through for twelve months. I figured I owed Fate at least that much. The joy of publishing my posts was immediate, but there was something far deeper in this world of blogging that I hadn’t come close to anticipating. Connecting. Suddenly, I was corresponding with people all over the world who shared my love of travel. Fellow travelers I’d never met wrote comments, shared stories and sometimes even took a chance with a place I recommended.

I was overwhelmed and energized and incredibly grateful. It boggled my mind to know that a wisp of an idea that wasn’t even real a few months earlier had taken on such importance in my life. In my first post and on the blog’s “About” page, I had renewed a promise to myself to “drink in every drop,” honoring the best travel advice – and life advice – I have ever received.

So as they say in the Urban Dictionary, it’s my blogiversary. Happy First Year, The Modern Postcard! And a heartfelt thank you to all of you who have traveled along so far. Here’s to the next year of adventure!

the-creative-adult

Spotted outside The Drawing Room, Cos Cob, Connecticut. 2012.