I started a blog back in 2007. As the years have gathered, I've contributed to it with less and less enthusiasm.
Work got in the way. Twitter got in the way, too. I discovered that Twitter was better than my blog at lots of things: finding good people, having interesting conversations, bringing attention to things I find noteworthy, and promoting my own work. But really what got in the way was me. I never settled on what it was that my blog was supposed to do. This troubled and constrained me.
First it was a budget travel blog. It had a name: Spendthrift Shoestring, which cemented my foolhardy philosophy of spending money I barely had on the most budget-minded travel imaginable. It was a budget travel blog because all my life I’d travelled on a budget. It was what I knew and what I was good at doing. Plus I was finishing up a long stint working at EuroCheapo, where we spent most of our time thinking and writing about ways to travel places cheaply.
But then I discovered other ways to travel, and I liked them. More disposable income opened up horizons that hadn’t previously existed. I liked indulgent lunches that lasted for four hours. I liked learning about food and wine and gradations in business class service. I liked knowing about trends in travel – budget, sure, but also luxury – or at least knowing which trends I liked and which I did not. I came to appreciate truly fine hotels and understand the difference between luxury and excess, between good hotel design and cookie-cutter opulence. In my budget travel blog, such diversions would often be prefaced with an apology.
And then came other types of drift. I wrote about lots of things that didn’t fall under the purview of travel per se. I liked popular culture, and Eurovision, and other forms of pop music. Sometimes I found myself reflecting on how countries and cultures might change over the course of a decade. I reviewed magazines and products and occasionally attacked editorial policies. Because the blog was purportedly about travel, these subjects didn’t seem to fit exactly. More than once I changed my blog’s tagline to compensate. But nothing really held.
Sometimes it’s best to start anew.
What I really needed all along was to write a public notebook, something I could shape without fearing mistakes and contradiction. So here it is. Welcome to my notebook. I’ll be writing about travel. And ideas, cultural objects, and other stuff.