Oh, hi! 👋 It’s me, Kristin, gingerly tiptoeing back into this space where I used to write sometimes. Long-time followers: please forgive the unannounced and prolonged break from blogging. 🙇 Newer followers: you saw nothing! 😉
I haven’t felt like writing for a long time. Blogging burnout is a real thing, and in my case, has been quite difficult to bounce back from.
As I write this, in August 2020, the COVID-19 global pandemic has also uprooted nearly every aspect of most of our lives and led to immeasurable pain and loss around the world. Anything I attempt to write feels insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and like I’m just trying to escape from reality for a little while. Then again, maybe we all need that during this trying time?
I hope y’all are staying as healthy and happy out there as you can, all things considered. ♥
My blog’s purpose isn’t for me to get into my political or other deeply-held beliefs, so the ongoing world crises have made it a struggle to know when it’s appropriate to write again and what to say. So much of what I planned to write seems insensitive or out of touch in the shadow of what’s going on in the world. But at the same time, reflecting back on happier times and talking about how there will be more to come – just maybe not quite as soon as we’d like – feels important, maybe more than ever.
Myself and my loved ones have luckily been mostly doing okay so far, but grieving so many aspects of life as we used to know it. Thanks to those of you who had checked in before all this happened, too. Despite – and probably thanks to – the many changes and struggles that happened over the past couple years, I’m stronger and happier than ever.
I’ve used the non-travel time lately to re-examine my priorities, as I think many of us have. I realized I miss connecting with others through my blog far more than I enjoy spending my time scrolling or posting on the battleground that social media has become. I’d rather invest my energy into this platform. I find it’s a more peaceful and centered place for my thoughts, and one that has far better organization and longevity for my content. It’s always felt like a safer space for recording my memories – even if no one else reads it – and that’s enough for me.
My long hiatus from blogging started out unintentional, then over time became the best thing I could have accidentally done for myself.
Initially, there was a necessary break for healing from a painful divorce and establishing my new life. Then I had to learn to love again – first myself, and when I was ready, a new partner.
I somehow met an almost unbelievably kind, funny, brilliant, generous, empathic, patient, marvelous human being. I found a more blissful partnership than I could have ever imagined – both at home and on the road – with my beloved Katy (she/they). Katy took to van life like a pro and adores wandering together.
I suppose this is my official “coming out” post then, too! 🌈 I’ve always been attracted to all genders of people, but had been in long-term relationships with mostly cisgender men just by chance and circumstance. I wasn’t looking for new love yet when it found me, but I’m so thankful for it!
Joyful selfie smiles captured on some of my many adventures with Katy, the most ideal partner I could ask for in love and life ♥
A blogging break also afforded me the time for rediscovering the many dreams I’d lost sight of over the years – most so gradually I didn’t even realize it. I worked on personal projects I’d put off for far too long, went on solo and accompanied travels, and committed to lots of new self-care practices. I’ve been renting an adorable little cottage in Knoxville, Tennessee with Katy, and it’s our oasis when we’re not traveling.
I also focused on strengthening connections with friends and family. Having learned some valuable lessons on love and loss, I prioritized those who value my emotional investment in their lives. Intentionally or not, I drifted away from or cut ties with others who fell short in that area, only reached out when they needed something, or disrespected my boundaries.
I’m now unquestionably the most myself I’ve ever been. I’ve been pursuing travel and other passions with gusto, and am eager to get back to blogging regularly from this far more healthy place. It was hard work, but I rebuilt my life into one filled with love, intention, mindfulness, peace, self-respect, and authenticity.
Part of my blog’s revival will be an increase in public vulnerability (thank you for all your life-changing wisdom, Brené Brown!) My online persona has historically left out the deeper bits of day-to-day life, portraying only the highlight reel that I thought others would be most receptive to. I’m learning that if I’m going to put myself out there online, it should at least be the whole story! Any filters in the past came more from a place of people-pleasing than any attempts to show off or make myself look better. I’m far more comfortable with confessing than impressing.
During my blogging break, I realized that I greatly miss the early days of my blog. Back then, I just wrote stuff and hit Publish without any particular audience in mind. If something ended up being beneficial or entertaining to someone else, yay! If not, this space was really meant for me anyway, to get ideas out of my head and record my travel memories. Not everyone will relate to what I write, nor do I need them to.
The original intent was to let my thoughts and experiences flow freely here, as a journal of my experiences, without any expectation of people actually finding it. But somewhere along the way, my focus started to creep toward creating interesting content for others instead of whatever I felt like posting.
I suppose I didn’t want to let my loyal followers down. It felt like a risk to stray from the formula that had attracted them, so I subconsciously ditched the free-form origins of my writing in favor of creating more of the content that proved popular and shareable. Enter: self-doubt, over-thinking, over-writing, and blogger burnout.
I also gave up Facebook and Twitter for the most part (which has been much better for my mental health, as an empathic person – I absorb far too much stress on those sites). I did manage to continue to update my Instagram somewhat regularly, however, and you can always follow me @thesnowmads for more frequent updates. I tend to enjoy seeing visual updates on peoples’ lives more than reading written ones when I’m already feeling overwhelmed by information on the day-to-day.
As it turns out, every blog post doesn’t need to be profound, well-researched, long-form prose filled with advice to help others. My blog is for my memories, and as a creative outlet. It became apparent I need to take a “zero forks given” (to borrow a joke from The Good Place) attitude and post anything that strikes my fancy – especially if I’m going to be happy doing this long-term.
My new approach after all this introspection time is that there are no rules for blogging. It’s my blog! I — and my writing — will always be enough.
And lastly (thanks for sticking with me if you’re still reading) I know I need to find a way for blogging to feel fun again, instead of like a chore I’m slogging through each time I sit down to write. I must be passionate about it.
The answer for me seems to be finding a balance between researched, helpful content and good ol’ free-form thought-vomit. 😁
I’m of the belief – especially after studying and practicing mindfulness meditation the past couple years – that only once you’ve fully explored your inner self does sharing and exploring outwardly (whether by way of travel, relationships, or other experiences) reveal its true value. So I’ll be posting some adventures from previous years here too, now that I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on what they really meant to me.
I realized during my healing process that I couldn’t properly appreciate any new travel until I had put in the hard work of gaining additional perspective on why I wanted to do it. I needed to ensure I was running toward and not away from life.
This book in particular helped me to develop greater mindfulness in my day-to-day life, if anyone’s curious about how to get started or enhance theirs:
Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World
So how does one begin blogging again after a long break?
To start, I know I must be the person online that I am in real life. I can’t put only my best self online. It’s important to me that I’m transparent. I’m a lot less adventurous and energetic than many other travel bloggers, but I’m unashamed of living a life that’s part reflective, homebody introvert and part serendipitous adventurer.
So here’s to no more thinking that I’m not a “good enough blogger” if I straight-up share anything I feel like here. My goal is to post more often: probably fewer words at a time, sometimes only images, but I won’t beat myself up over it.
Change is uncomfortable, but it is transformational. Thanks for sharing this journey with me. ♥