Posts Tagged With: blogging

The Inspiration of Stats

mapI remember way back in June of 2012, before our roadschooling adventure had even begun, I posted about stats, and how darned exciting they were. And they are! It still gives me a thrill to write for an actual audience of actual people, especially when they come from so many different places. As a kid, I used to cut maps out of National Geographic magazines and stick them in a scrapbook, just because I liked them, so when I see that WordPress map with the countries of my “visitors” coloured in – well, you can imagine my excitement. And even though I only posted four times in 2014, I received my “Blog Report” on Dec. 31 informing me that in the past year I had 2900 visitors from 78 different countries. From four posts! I need to get back at it – imagine what would happen if I blogged once a week, or even once a month. Actually, that seems like a reasonable goal – once a month. Starting tomorrow. Promise.

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Missing

missing-youI feel a sense of missing, and I’m not sure if I am missing the travel, or the “roadschooling”, or the blogging…

I think it’s a case of all-of-the-above, actually.

We have been having a few “this time last year” conversations at home lately, so that brings about many reminiscences, and it’s interesting how each person’s perception of the memory differs from the others’, or how romanticized some memories have become already…

One year ago today, we were in Sauto. I wonder what we were doing? Darragh would have been playing with the dogs, no doubt, and we would probably be heading out for a hike somewhere in the afternoon, perhaps visiting our favourite mountain river if it was a sunny day, enjoying the deep jangling sound of the cow bells as the kids try to cross jumping from stone to stone. Or perhaps Dev was “challenging” us with a more strenuous afternoon at Carancas Gorge! Maybe we stopped at Casino or Super U on the way home to pick up some pasta, or even visited our favourite bakery in Font Romeu for a box of special surprises – tarte citron, pain chocolat…mmmm. Sounds so idyllic! And it was. Except for when it wasn’t.

And then there’s the “roadschooling” – frustrating at times, and quite stressful. Wondering if we were doing enough, and if the girls would be able to manage well back in the classroom.

Of course, now I see it in that idealized way we often see things when enough time has passed to erase the anxiety. Going back to Sauto, we would have eaten our supper and our tasty bakery treats, and then settled in for a couple of chapters of Danny Champion of the World – all five of us reading and talking together, worrying together about Danny and his Dad – would they get caught or not, wondering what was really the best way to catch a pheasant. What could be a better, more authentic way to teach and learn?

Funny, isn’t it, what the passage of time does? Back in the throes of our daily life, trying to finish the house, get everyone to their dance classes, band practices, and swim meets, going to work…it all seems so hectic. We never seem to have time, and then when we indulge in a little flashback to last year, it feels like we had so much of it then. And we did. But I do remember spending much of it doing, doing, doing, or if not, planning the next thing. I also remember feeling guilty for sitting doing nothing (on the rare occasions that actually happened). I remember thinking we really needed to cram every possible experience in to every available moment.

I don’t think we value “doing nothing” enough. As a society, even. Now I sometimes wish I had spent more of last year doing just that. Because how often do you get that opportunity!?  I wonder what it would have been like to just pick a place and stay put for a few months. Live life quietly together.

Nah, we would probably have been bored!

So, back to the missing…and the blogging. I miss that, too. And I know I said I would go back and write about the places I didn’t the first time around. But that doesn’t seem to be happening. It’s not immediate enough. That’s the thing about blogging, I guess. It’s now. Present. It never felt the same going back to blog something we did a few weeks ago, so to go back to a year ago or even several months seems artificial. Unless…

Unless then becomes now somehow. Like Sauto did this week as we spent time re-reading Darragh’s memoir. Or when we got all our unused postcards out over the weekend to find something for a collage someone was making for school, or when Mairi wrote about the Lake District a couple of weeks ago because Nana is going there at the end of the month, and she was reminded how much she loved it. There are so many of these opportunities – I just need to pay more attention to them!

So, I can blog.

Roadschooling Claytons is not over.

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Blogger’s Block

I have not been blogging on a regular basis. In fact, I’m having to make myself blog, which is highly unusual. So, I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong with me. I don’t have much in the way of theories, but I’m hoping something will come to me as I pen this post. Not really penning, am I? Never mind. If I just keep randomly writing, perhaps my Blogger’s Block will just sort itself out as part of the process. That is my hope.
So, let’s explore the possible causes of this affliction. Is it because I have had nothing to discuss? Doubtful. I generally have far too much to say about everything, so surely that cannot be it.
Is it because we haven’t been anywhere? Well, we have only been in England since before Christmas really, so we haven’t been “roadschooling” exactly. But when you think about it, we are not at home (which means we could consider ourselves on the road), and we are still teaching the kids on a daily basis. So, why am I not writing about our experiences? We have been to The Lake District twice since Christmas, and we are, at this very moment, in Scotland. Which definitely qualifies as on the road. So, what’s the hold-up?
I have noticed in the past that I tend to blog when an experience or place really moves me in some way, when my emotions are heightened. Often, the emotion which precedes the blogging seems to be frustration. But sometimes it’s not. It has been wonder. Excitement. Anger. Fear. But if I look at the Tag Cloud on the front page of my blog, the word challenges leaps out at me as one of the biggest.
Perhaps there haven’t been any challenges lately? Ummm…nope, that’s not it. We have recently had to abandon the Central American part of our adventure due to lack of funds, so that has certainly been challenging. That could be it – we’ve both been struggling with this decision quite a lot. It’s weird, but it almost feels like we’re selling out somehow. Like we are not fulfilling our potential or something. We have both had feelings of regret, I think. And for me, part of my discomfort about the decision is that in many ways, I feel relieved. Relieved that I don’t have to plan another, even more intense, journey to an unknown place. Relieved that I don’t have to convince the kids that this is a good idea. Relieved that I don’t have to put myself through the worry and stress of…well, of many things, actually. And I don’t want to feel this way. But sometimes I do. Because it is exhausting. Mentally. Emotionally. And even physically at times.
On the other hand, I feel like what if we haven’t done enough? Have we really made the most of our year off? Because obviously this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Will we regret not sucking up the extra debt and just going for it? Shouldn’t we be on safari in Africa? Snorkeling a barrier reef in Belize? Touring the tombs in Egypt? After all, when will we ever have the chance again? It is a dilemma.
So, why have I not been blogging about this one? Maybe because it has been a little too raw. Too close to my heart. Maybe I don’t want to feel like a failure when all these people keep saying how brave we are. And while we are on the topic of bravery, that one has made me feel a bit uncomfortable too, I must admit. Because I spend quite a bit of my time not feeling very brave at all. In fact, a whole lot of this year has made me feel frightened. More so than I would ever want to admit. So, am I brave? Some days I think not at all. And other days, I think, hold the phone – we did sell our house, take our kids out of school, and leave our home for ten months. We are going back to build a house while living who-knows-where. This is brave, right? Right. So, even if I feel scared, I’m still doing stuff. Perhaps that does qualify as brave.
I still can’t help thinking I will wake up one morning in a year’s time and think, “Why did we not do that thing we wanted to do?’. And I don’t want the answer to be that I was too afraid to make it happen.
My friend and guru Kim has a theory about my happy little life on my idyllic little Island with my idyllic country house. And my idyllic little daughters. Hmm. And my idyllic husband. Hmmmmm.
Anyway, her theory is that it made me “go to sleep”. And I can see that she’s right in so many ways. I’m not as fierce as I once was. Or as fearless. Or as adventurous. And perhaps I was never any of those things by some people’s standards, but I have certainly been less so over the past number of years. So, have I done enough to “wake up”? I guess that’s the big question.

What the hell is this blog post supposed to be about, again?!?
Oh, yes, Blogger’s Block. I think we can probably all agree that it doesn’t seem to be a problem any more. It seems like perhaps the opposite is occurring. Random Ramblings might be a better title for this post.

Anyway, I will attempt to re-commit to the blog. Now that I have shared my innermost secrets, perhaps I will feel more free to share the less complicated goings-on of the Roadschooling Claytons. Like our visit to Edinburgh Castle today. And the over-priced coffee we bought at The Elephant House so our kids could join the graffiti-loving Dumbldore’s Army in the very cafe where JK Rowling wrote parts of the second and third Harry Potter books. And the haggis we tried in Auld Jock’s Pie Shop. And so many more little tales and tidbits I’ve been keeping all to myself lately.

Yes, there really is lots to talk about. And I’m way behind!

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag

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2012 in Review

This is the review sent to me by the WordPress Monkeys apparently. I don’t know who they are, but I picture a Santa’s Workshop type situation, but with monkeys instead of elves.
Anyway, it was kind of fun to look at (for me), given that I felt I thrived on “comments” and “likes”. Turns out, I didn’t get many of those, but I loved blogging all the same! And I was surprised at how many posts I had actually published in 2012! I have been super lazy with my writing lately, but I will resolve to begin again with the dilemmas and adventures of 2013. We are currently on dilemmas actually, as we try to negotiate travel arrangements for the next four months. I feel kind of like we’re starting all over again, and it’s taking up a lot of time and energy. That, combined with trying to cram math into the kids while cramming chocolate into my mouth hasn’t left me with a lot of blogging time. The Christmas chocolate is almost all gone, though, so I’m thinking my general productivity should increase as the pile of chocolate decreases. That’s the hope, anyway.
Happy New Year, Everyone, and thanks for reading! Here’s to a 2013 full of exciting educational adventures! (And hopefully a beach or two – they can totally be educational.)

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Blog Stats.

You know what’s really exciting to me? My blog stats.

I don’t know if every blogger is like this or if it’s just me, but when I see that little bar graph on the top of my page, click on it,  and there’s the map of the world coloured in wherever anyone has checked out the blog, it gives me quite a little thrill! The other day, for example, there were six little flags on my stats page, and six countries coloured in, and because two of them were the US and Canada, it looked like almost half the world was reading the blog! Woo Hoo! The other countries that appeared were Indonesia, Malaysia, Belgium, France, UK, and Ireland. This, I think, is very cool.

I love maps, and I can’t wait to track our travels on one (still looking for a good online tracker if anyone can recommend one). I used to cut maps out of National Geographic magazine when I was a kid, and paste them into a scrapbook. Just random maps. Because they look good – exciting and exotic. I also once learned the capital city of every country in Europe just for fun. Of course, now there are countries in Europe that I’ve never heard of, and several of the capitals have probably changed as well, but there you go – a new challenge. I think at least one of our girls will take up that challenge as we travel. Follow in their mother’s map-geek footsteps.

Anyway, back to the stats…I spend a few minutes, each time I see one of these little flags appear, wondering who it is who might be reading this blog, what their life is like, how they happened to come across the blog, and whether it is at all interesting to people who may not know us….I don’t get that kind of information from my blog stats. Well, I shouldn’t say that. Sometimes I can see that facebook referred someone to the blog, but otherwise, how did Joe from Idaho come across it? It’s a mystery. And I love it. It adds a whole new twist to the adventures of our impending travel.

You know what else I love? Comments. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, very few readers actually comment. There are a couple, but for the most part, I can check the stats, fifty people may have visited the blog on a given day, and not a single one has commented. Or even clicked “like”. Does that mean they don’t like? Or that they don’t know how to comment? Or that they can’t be bothered commenting? What? What does it mean?

I feel like I’m in junior high school. Do you think he likes me? Is she mad at me? Are you not speaking to me? It’s a little bit pathetic, really. But there it is. The culture of blogging. I’m sure if I search, there are plenty of sociological articles already written, but since I’m new to blogging, I have not yet come across them. Perhaps when I do, they will explain this blogging-neediness in a more scientific way, one that makes it seem slightly less pathetic.

In the meantime, I will continue to get my thrills from the appearance of the little flags, and the mystery of  who it actually is out there in Malaysia who is reading the blog…

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