As a writer and travel blogger my focus has been to bring you info that you can use. Most of us want a quick bottom line – what can I gather from reading this post that will help me in my journey? – not the blow-by-blow of someone else’s experience. Maybe others enjoy hearing “After checking into our hotel we took a 2 hour nap, then poured some wine and turned on the news. We couldn’t decide where to have dinner so we ordered room service…” but snore, snore is my reaction. I have actually read travel blog posts just like that.
How can I help others? has always been my question. Not so much “Here is my life, what do you think of my life?” I had to look around on the internet to find where that came from (the movie “Beaches”): ‘Enough about me, let’s talk about you. What do you think of me?’
Inform, inspire, interact. (Thank you Darren Rowse, Problogger.com.)
Yes, we bloggers are also encouraged to offer a slice of our life and who we are. Our readers want to know that we’re real, we screw up. I trip and fall holding my precious Nikon and somehow am flat on my stomach but holding the camera aloft, unscathed. We fall off ladders into prickly bougainvillea and our favorite swear word pops out loudly as our quiet church-going neighbors walk by. Gizmo poops in the house after having been out back for hours. Illy the squirrel prefers to pee on Robert and not me. Puppet the ever-barking rescue Chihuahua wakes the neighbors at 6 a.m. on weekends. Worrying about my three beloved, quirky and amazing kids keeps me awake at night. Robert doesn’t see his daughter enough as she is a long drive away and busy with her law career. We’d rather drink wine and eat pizza than whip up healthy smoothies or work out.
Driving to off-the-radar Florida towns – so we can tell you where to go – we occasionally flip off errant drivers. We over- or under-dress for restaurants, and always forget our toothbrushes. Sometimes when I tell hotel or restaurant owners about my blog they look at me either like I’m crazy or they could give a whit. Having “Bars” as our middle name is probably a turn-off for some.
Are you snoring yet?
Today I’m not going to tell you the latest gem we’ve discovered so that you can work it into your travel calendar. Today I’m stepping past most of the rules of the travel blogger’s guidebook and am zoning in on Darren’s third item above: Interact.
We’re taking a break from social media – the Big Interact. Facebook is fun, to see what other people are doing or complaining about, Twitter mystifies me (it’s like everyone is talking at once), I have a mild addiction to Pinterest, but most of our fans and followers are on Instagram. There are so many charming, kind, supportive people on Instagram. We’ve loved bantering with them and have been inspired by their talent and humor. We are grateful that we haven’t been the target of hate or malevolence as so many “celebrities” are. And yes, that word is in quotes because we are hardly that. But we were growing our following organically – not buying followers or likes – enjoying the process and proud of the progress. Out of over 3,000 followers we’ve met so many cool people, and only one sociopath! We call that fortunate.
So today I’m just here to tell you we are still here. We are going strong and having fun. Like you, and everyone, we’ve been through some really tough stuff: cancer, suicides of friends, losses of the brightest sunshiney family members, one of our children had threats from a sex offender (we hope you haven’t been through THAT) (or any of it). But we are still here, moving forward, laughing, tripping, traveling, writing. Without social media, writing the blog may feel, at first, a little like making a speech to an empty room. We hope you’ll continue to visit us here even without the reminders on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We’re still here to inform and inspire, and to tell the truth? I predict not having to write “Click our link!” is going to feel pretty good.
And some random ‘us’ photos just because:
This photo and the first are by Jennifer Shaver Photography
Outside the stunningly beautiful Red Fish Grill in the Matheson Hammock Park, near Coral Gables, with the Miami skyline in the background. Read more about this tropical haven, here.
The outdoor shower enclosure we made from ‘old’ boat wood, read how we made that happen, here.
Illy is lucky enough to live at the beach! Click to read more about The Squirrel Who Lives in Our Beach House