Someone might have wondered the bit of silence on the blog. It has been longer between posts than I would like, but as you probably know this isn’t the norm and I plan on continuing posting about once a week or every few days.
The reason I have been quieter is simple: I wasn’t satisfied with what my blog was. I was mostly happy with the content I was creating, even if I am still adjusting my style a little bit to find my thing. Niche, as I think they call it in the business – something, that separates you from everyone else in the field; something, that makes you and your writing special.
Ever since I renewed my blog’s looks and got an own domain name at the beginning of the year, I have been thinking a lot about what I would like my blog to be like. I am happy to be writing to the few people that read my blog (hi mum), but my ambition doesn’t stop there. My wish is to engage a bigger audience and create a community around the blog that can use my articles when they’re planning a trip somewhere. I want to get to know new people through interaction in the comments section and I want to create a humble network where people could come search for help for their travel problems. And life problems, too, why the heck not. Tell me all about your pet turtle.
I guess I want to feel useful.
And I have been thinking of ways to attract new readers. I looked at my blog and I realised that even when I am happy with the content, I am not completely satisfied with the way it is presented. As much as I love Blogger as a hosting platform and how easy it is to use and customize, I feel like the themes it offers are just a little bit crude. As I’m striving for a different look, I’ve moved my blog to WordPress.com.
What does this mean for you, my lovely readers?
Not much, really. The content that I create will not change. The looks of the blog will be a little bit different and hopefully better. There might occassionally be ads that WordPress implements to keep the service free, so please note that I don’t have anything to do with those ads. In fact, I am a little bit uncomfortable with having them there since I want to keep my blog ad-free, but to do that I would have to upgrade to a paid plan and as I’m only at the beginning of this blogging journey, I don’t feel the need to upgrade. At least not quite yet. There will still be no sponsored content.
If you’re having difficulties moving from Blogger to WordPress with the blog, let me know and we’ll see what we can do. I hope you’ll follow me onto this new platform and help me start to create that interaction between readers that I hope to achieve. I’m still honing some stuff (like the whole welcome thing on the front page) but hopefully I an set them straight soon enough.
Blah. I feel like I’ve been writing like a CEO for the whole post. I’ll blame that on a translation I’m in the middle of at the moment – I might have got bad influence from its language.
That’s all for now for changes in the blog. Let me know how you like it!
Then onto the travel news that I promised.
It’s not travel per se, to be honest. I talked about my this year’s plans in a post just before New Years and I mentioned I would be applying to go on exchange through my university. I had my heart set on Valparaiso, Chile already a year ago and I had spent ages browsing the particular university’s web page. Because I’m dumb, though, I forgot that at my university there are two separate application processes for different countries in the autumn and in the spring, and as I started to look into how I could apply to go to Chile, I realised to my horror that the application to Chile was in the autumn term and I had missed it.
Do your homework, children.
Of course I started looking for options immediately. Slovenia? They had a spot for a translation student, and spending a few months surrounded by mountains sounded good. Spain? Love the food, love the sun, know the language. Hong Kong? I don’t really want to learn Chinese but at least Hong Kong is far enough.
I wondered and pondered and went to all the infos, and I wrote my application and sent it a week before the deadline. Earlier this week the results came in. I was so excited all day that I could barely function.
I am going to be spending the spring semester of 2017 in Novo Hamburgo, Brazil.
Do I know anything about Brazil? No.
Do I know Portuguese? No… not yet.
I am nervous and excited, and scared and happy and all the different things at the same time. I will spend eight months in Southern America, which is only one month shy from the time I spent in Australia. I’m not nervous to be far from home, but I acknowledge I am in a very different position now compared to where I was before my Australia trip.
When I left for Australia, I knew my English was close to fluent so I never had to worry about not coping in a foreign environment. After a few months of almost only speaking English, I felt more at home in English than I did in Finnish. This time I will be in a Portuguese-speaking country, and even when I know my knowledge of Spanish will help me learn and understand Portuguese, I still feel legless even in Spanish. I’m not great at speaking it, and thinking about coping in a language that I will have such a limited knowledge makes me really, really nervous.
In addition, when I travelled in Australia I was fresh out of upper secondary school. I was 18 and naive – it was that age when you think you know everything because you still haven’t realised how much there is to know. Now, four years later, I have more travel and life experience, and I know that I know nothing. I guess I have become a little bit more cynical and less spontaneous. I am a responsible adult in terms of planning ahead and thinking through all the possible scenarios from lost baggage to kidnapped by monkey mafia. I worry too much, and I worry that worrying will affect my travel experience.
Travelling to Brazil will also mark a point in my life which is the last pit stop before graduation. Next autumn I will most likely complete all the courses that are required for my Master’s Degree, and when I come back I’m only left with the actual Master’s seminar and thesis, after which I am officially an adult out of school. And as well as I’m doing adulting for side income, it is still a little bit of a scary idea.
But I am looking forward to it so much. I have wanted to visit South America since I first heard about the Inca civilisation in the primary school. It seems like an adventure. And of course I get to tell people that I lived in a hamburger for several months. Ha-ha.
It’s still a long time away, so right now I’m focusing on my future travels. Greece is coming up in just a few weeks, and since Ben and I were planning for a hiking-focused holiday, you can expect a lot of mountain landscape pictures. I’m planning a short trip to St.Petersburg, Russia in May, and a hiking trip with my best friend. And of course there’s the two-month trip to look forward to in the summer – and by the way, I have bought my flights to go to Myanmar…
How do you like the changes in the blog?