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Caffeinated Traveller blog lost and found notice

July 28, 2009

Lost – one perspective, dissatisfied and worn thin

If I had to write a lost and found notice describing my blog’s journey it would start with: Lost – one perspective.

These are the words I would choose not because of a strong desire in achieving financial wealth from my blog, but for a hunger to write a blog that has depth, offers satisfying material to read and share, and gives inspiration.

To say I have been fortunate in being able to travel and blog about my experiences, new cultures and life is an understatement. Fortunate, lucky and privileged. My life abroad has for the most part given me the material needed to develop this blog. Call it stage one. A stage that has shown me how to reach out to faceless people in cyberspace through small travel stories, share in the delights and stories of my fellow readers and pass on ideas and tips to future travellers.  Stage one has also been a journey of exploring my writing, discovering that I enjoy working proses and phrases whereas in the past, writing had always been a chore worse than cleaning windows.

Writing about cafes, tea houses and temples has also been fun in an idealistic way. But the fun has gradually begun to dissipate and restlessness has seeped into my blog’s direction. Fun has changed to dissatisfaction for no reason other than being unable to pinpoint the cause in the change.

A fear of becoming a mainstream travel blog started presenting itself with every post I wrote, every stat I analysed and material I found. Mainstream travel blogs are valuable and every travel blogger holds a creative voice, but I was reluctant to head in that direction. For me travel has always been about finding the hidden voices within the culture I visit, expanding on cultural conversations, even sharing in stories from literature and journals. It has never been about the ten best places to drink on a budget or where the delicious banana pancakes are made.

Four voices – eloquent, passionate, humorous, gentle

Understanding what was lost within my blog didn’t happen overnight. It waited unobtrusively in the corner until I walked into a seminar on Saturday afternoon and listened to four women speak. These women, from different continents, backgrounds and ideals, came together to share in their stories, their blogs and their lives. Recipients of the 2009 BlogHer scholarships and unfortunately labelled as activists, they all chose blogging as their platform for making change. Change in gender roles, indigenous rights, preservation of indigenous arts and cultures, health care reform. Each showing that something I had lost – perspective.

Voice one – Annie Zaidi (India)

Eloquent and articulate, Annie spoke about the archaic laws still practiced in Indian society today and the issues with street sexual harassment.

Blog Mission:  “to use writing to force people to rethink positions or examine established ideas, and to break stereotypes about certain communities or groups based on gender, religion or race. It takes, by and large, a non-judgmental stance on most issues, and it seeks to raise questions as part of a genuine attempt at understanding human society and its structures. This is a crucial aspect of journalism, but an aspect that is increasingly overshadowed by the necessity of creating drama around each piece of news, and the mad scramble for exclusivity and one-upmanship between media organisations.

Voice two – Toyin Ajao-Dawodu (Nigeria)

Passionate, Toyin spoke about the lack of women’s rights and the brutality of the local police.

Blog Mission: “To provoke more thorough examination and investigation of gender and equality issues. She also writes a weekly series highlighting other women around the globe who are committed to helping women.

Voice three – Cristina Quisbert (Bolivia)

Soft spoken and gentle, Cristina spoke about her own indigenous community’s need to conserve its language, heritage and culture.

Blog Mission:  “To strive to show indigenous communities as a source of pride. There are a lot of misconceptions about indigenous people, and Cristina shows a more personal side and uses her own voice to represent other members of indigenous communities in the Bolivian Altiplano. Cristina is a bridge blogger, allowing fellow Bolivians who may not identify themselves as a member of an indigenous community, to interact and learn about indigenous communities in another region of the country. By also writing a blog in English, she is able to reach a much wider audience and show another side of life in El Alto, Bolivia.

Voice four – Pilirani Semu-Banda (Malawi)

Easy going and humorous, Pilirani shared in the problems with basic healthcare.

Blog Mission: “To bring awareness and change to Malawi’s social and economical problems. Some development projects have been kick-started based on stories published on the blog, including the improvement of monitoring programs to get rid of child labour in the tobacco industry and an increase of treatment to women suffering from fistula.

Found – brand new clarity and direction

These four women are living proof that blogging can make that much needed change. Their voices have become strong in their own countries where women and minorities have very little rights. While I stood applauding them, the overwhelming feeling that my blog’s journey was in need of a new map and better directions became clear. Fanatical activist groups and speeches have never interested me due to their hidden agendas, but listening to this small group of women, proved that being staunch and rowdy isn’t necessary in making change: just like you don’t have to tie yourself to trees to curb deforestation.

Planning stage two

It’s almost one year since “Caffeinated Traveller” began (birthday party coming soon) and the metamorphosis ideas have begun. Travel will continue to be a large part of this blog after all travel envelopes an enormous part of peoples lives through literature, music, sports, analogies, news, food and nature.  Even if people seldom travel, they still walk to the corner store from time to time or have read the adventures of Tom Sawyer, Robinson Crusoe, listened to Jules Vern on audio or watched Michael Palin do a “Full Circle”; the list goes on. This blog and its journey shall interweave change with travel, writing, reading, conversing and photography, with slurping on tea and coffee, munching on food, whatever comes up.  This blog is moving from weak in strength to a short shot of strong.

Note: I took the Blog Missions of the four bloggers from BlogHer. The link to Annie Zaidi’s site wasn’t working for some reason when I checked it. I think all her links on google are inactive as I write this but I’ve left it in just in case it becomes uncensored.

Caffeinated Traveller

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6 Comments
  1. July 29, 2009 1:29 am

    very interesting train of thought. A lot of times, i’ve found myself faced with the same qn – not just about my blog, but even about travelling. There is the much needed breaks, and desire to see new things. But i wonder if there will also be a bigger purpose to all this – or will i just tire of it soon enough. Or may be I think its just me – to not let a fun hobby be what it is – just a fun hobby. 🙂

    Its great that you have found a new perspective and direction, though i have enjoyed ur cafe despcriptions and travelogues. Waiting to see ur next posts!!!

  2. July 29, 2009 8:53 pm

    Ms N – Like minds I think, it has something to do with people like us who read and write alot, it gives us more material to think about and ponder over, posing more questions to seek answers to constantly reviewing our goals. I’m pleased you have enjoyed my posts as much as I’ve enjoyed reading your wonderful writing and looking at those beautiful shots you take. Thanks for your insights they are always appreciated.

  3. July 30, 2009 3:27 pm

    Right from the heart, Cate. I love what you do but understand the desire to encompass more of the inner passion. I’m interested to see what you do from here and will remain a faithful reader. I write a lot of other stuff that would never fit on my blog. For now, it’s just good to write it, but I know it will eventually need “air”. I’ll watch and learn!

  4. July 31, 2009 9:40 am

    Thanks Heather, I’ll still retain the travel theme but incorporate more thinking, discussion and ideas plus it will have a strong writers focus (hopefully). Not sure how I will go about doing this, maybe it will just slowly unwind as I go along.
    I know you love writing have you heard of the new She Writes? It is about 4 weeks old and a hub for writers etc heres the address if you want to look into it. I’ve joined and hope to become an active member.
    http://www.shewrites.com/

  5. January 11, 2010 6:14 am

    Your blog is so informative … ..I just bookmarked you….keep up the good work!!!!

    I’m Out! 🙂

  6. March 25, 2010 7:08 am

    A totally agree with you.Remarkable source of knowledge to take vital forces.

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