As I sit here staring at the blaring screen of my laptop, I realize that—for the first time—I am confronting the truth that has been hovering over me the past few months: I’ve outgrown my blog. It’s a scary realization when I think of the years, money and effort I’ve poured into this tiny corner of the internet I can call my own.
Then again, I can’t say I’m entirely surprised. I have see this happen to other bloggers I admire, who have painstakingly cultivated an online persona around being nomadic, single or a solo traveler only to have no idea how to reconcile their blog with their new lives once they inevitably marry, settle down or have children.
The telltale signs are aways the same when a travel blogger has outgrown their blog: the once travel-focused content starts to make subtle shifts towards lifestyle topics. Instagram feeds that once shared daily snapshots of new trips become less frequent, sharing past memories instead; meanwhile photos and captions give a nod to a loved one, a baby or a new business back home. In short, their life is going wonderfully, but they don’t know how to share that with an audience that has been cultivated to love a certain version of themselves.
For me, the outgrowing of my blog has been less subtle. Rather, I’ve just stopped updating my blog altogether, which (it must be said) is hardly the way to go about this. In one of those teachable ‘do as I say, not as I do’ moments, if you’re outgrowing your blog, don’t simply throw in the towel on your hard work. The truth is that my blog just doesn’t reflect the person I am anymore. Somewhere along the line, the dial of my life turned ever so slightly, creating ripples on the surface of my world until everything changed.
Back when I started this blog, it was to escape my life. I was unhappy in my marriage, unhappy at my work, unhappy in the predictable carousel ride of adulthood. My entire existence felt grey until I pressed publish on The Pin the Map Project and let my mind wander to the furthest corners of the world.
Truth be told, my blog never did take off the way the way I had hoped it would, which is to say it never became profitable enough to allow me to live off of it. For years, I pushed this blog uphill, determined to craft a life where I could write for myself, travel the world and afford NYC rent prices. This did not happen.
Last summer, the cold realization that my blog would never be profitable enough crumbled my resolve to keep it up. I went back to work, refusing to relegate myself to the grey cubicles of advertising agencies, and instead landing a job as Travel Editor of Culture Trip. My new job, by all accounts, seemed perfect. I have a full time position, a regular paycheck and a job role that basically is a glorified version of what I had been doing for my own blog. I drifted away from my blog—too exhausted after nine hour days spent travel writing to give the pages of this site anything new.
I never intended to quit blogging though. It is because of this crackpot idea of a travel blog that I managed to ride camels in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, that I walked alongside orangutans in Borneo, that I found myself learning about shamans in Mexico, that I did many of the incredible things I’ve done. It’s because of this blog that I came home to my writing, that I realized I wanted to be more than a blogger, that I called off my wedding, quit my job, moved out, found the love of my life and had the courage to start again.
Since my early twenties, my life has quite literally unfolded on the pages of this website. I have fought like hell for this blog, have cried for its failures, have felt at times as though this blog were my only damn friend. I will never stop keeping this blog alive, but like any relationship, it is time The Pin the Map Project grow with me.
So, here it is then: I do still travel, although not on a monthly basis as I once managed to do. I do still enjoy travel writing, although I’m more and more less inclined to write about travel tips and personal memoirs, focusing instead on global issues that matter to me. I do still solo travel, although much less frequently as I prefer to travel with my better half. I no longer care to lament the trappings of adult life because (spoiler alert) I’m now 29 years old and in the throes of the very adult things I once used to run from.
Yes, I have a home that I enjoy decorating. I have a pet cat whom I have gone full blown cat lady for. I have a loving boyfriend whom I live with and am keen to marry. I have a full time job that I actually enjoy. This is who I am now. I don’t dream about backpacking throughout Asia for six months anymore; instead, I dream of getting married, of growing my journalism career, of traveling abroad in search of powerful stories I can write. At 29, I am more concerned with creativity and being a good writer, than snagging free press trips.
How The Pin the Map Project will evolve remains to be seen. I am hardly one to attempt to be Julia Childs in the kitchen and share recipes on my blog. I am not one to compose sonnets to apartment decorating and I doubt I’ll whip out some undiscovered DIY talents and start crafting rocking chairs out of pipe cleaners. Whatever this blog will or will not be, it will be a reflection of me now. A little bit of travel, a little bit of journalism and a lot of life musings mixed in. I hope you’ll stick around, dear reader and grow with me.