a little blogging heart

this is a blog named ink and adventure.

sometimes I forget what I intended [subconsciously or not] to be at the heart of this blog. over time, I've come to realize that most readers here aren't interested in my nail polish obsession. they don't come here for the random art projects, and certainly not for the gluten free pizza. not that people out there don't like those things... I mean, I like them. and this blog is MY blog and I should feel free to write about whatever I please. but sharing these random things doesn't necessarily mean I'm sharing me - just my interests.

this week in the blog class I've been teaching, we talked about defining your blog's niche. picking one main, overarching topic, and coming up with related subtopics that will help you support your theme.

and I hate to admit that I don't always follow this formula.

once upon a time, I had a personal blog [one of many, actually] where I used to just sit and write about whatever. I would pour my heart out and just let the words flow in their own direction. it was cathartic. and no one really read it.

in 2010 [which seems eons ago in internet years] I started a baking blog. I love cooking, and I love food photography, and it just seemed like a natural step. I had no idea how to promote myself or build a community, but I churned out 2 years worth of solid work and gained a respectable following. had I known then what I know now about blogging, I probably could have been internet famous. or so I'd like to think.

on my food blog, I was always careful to avoid getting too personal. I think that actually was a major thing in holding me back. so when I began this blog in 2012 before moving to Taiwan, I decided that I wouldn't hold back any aspect of my life. I wanted my blog to be ALL of me, a true representation of the wild and varied interests that compose my personality.

but I've realized maybe that's a bit to much. I can put myself into my posts without writing about topics all over the map. being gluten-free and loving nail polish and struggling to run and everything else that is a part of my life doesn't have to be here in order for ME to be here.

I'm not writing this post to apologize, because if you were bothered by what I've written you wouldn't still be here reading. I'm not writing this post to promise I won't ever post another recipe or craft project. I'm writing it to tell you [and myself] that I want to re-dedicate this blog to what it was always intended to be.

blogs, like people, grow and evolve over time. if you've been around for a while [or since the beginning] you'll know that it's true of both myself and of my blog. and I've been heading in this direction ever since I started. even before I started. when I came up with the name for this blog - riding back to Princeton from Boston after the insane experience of the job fair that determined we would move to Taiwan - I had no idea what an insight into myself it truly was.

ink and adventure.

my brain somehow dug deep into my heart and found the words to express desires I had buried so far I didn't even know they existed. I could barely even admit to myself what this meant: I wanted to be a writer. and I wanted to travel, to experience the world, and to live something beyond the ordinary.

here I am now, doing those things. I am a travel blog. and an expat blog. even an expat lifestyle blog, I suppose. in theory I could post nothing but travel photos and that would keep me properly niched. but I'm also a writer. and these spill-my-guts-out posts are just as crucial to my blog as the pretty pictures of mountains and dragons.

I think there's a balance between being personal and vulnerable, informative and entertaining. some days I'm right on the money and some days I'm in left field. that's just being human. it might be a struggle but I'll keep trying. I want to share my adventures with you, and I want to also share myself with you.

because I think the best blogs are the ones with a little bit of heart.

linking up with Nicole for TYSThursday


Taroko Gorge // Baiyang Waterfall trail

Taroko Gorge is easily one of my favorite places in Taiwan. a huge marble gorge, carved into the mountains, full of hiking trails and hidden temples... what's not to love? last spring when my friend Kelsey was visiting, we went down and stayed in the gorge for a few days to explore.

the Baiyang Waterfall trail was one of my favorite hikes. it's farther back in the gorge, so many of the tour buses don't get that far. we went in the morning and the crowds were minimal. add to that some amazing scenery, a waterfall, and a mysterious "water curtain" tunnel... and you've got a great hike.

the weather was not fantastic, but we still managed. it was misty and rained off and on the whole hike. we couldn't see the tops of most of the mountains... but the scenery at the bottom of the gorge was enough for me. the first time I visited Taroko was after a large typhoon. the rivers were flooded and muddy from all the rain and landslides. but this time? beautiful blue waters.

at the end of the trail, past the waterfall, you can continue on along what they intended to be a road. the workers started carving/blasting a tunnel through one of the mountains and discovered a water source. the water kept flowing and they had to chose a different route for the road, but you can hike through the tunnel to where they stopped. it's dark and filled with water, and thankfully past visitors have left some rain ponchos you can borrow.

PS: I swear, I tried to cut back on the number of photos in this post. I just can't help it. everything about this hike was so breathtakingly gorgeous it almost seemed unreal. even these pictures can't show you the magnitude of this place... I was shooting with a 22mm lens and still had trouble fitting it all into my frame. oh well, I still have about a dozen posts worth of photos from Taroko to share.

the cup of coffee that fueled the writing of today’s post was sponsored by Jenn. she drinks her coffee with Truvia + almond milk and blogs about lifestyle + home improvement over at Near and Far Montana.

linking up with Bonnie, Camila, Jessi, and Amy for Travel Tuesday.


october goals

this whole Hong Kong/visa business really derailed my goals for last month. but for me, one of the lessons of goal-setting is not just to get things done, but to be more forgiving to myself when I don't.

I couldn't have anticipated having to go to Hong Kong. and it's not the first time I have underestimated the amount of time it takes to accomplish something in regards to my book manuscript. so... live and learn. this month we will have friends/family visiting for 2 weeks, so I'm going to be hesitant to overreach with my goals again.

goal updates:

update my manuscript with the edits I made this summer only 1/3 complete.
new goal: complete this by Christmas
do pushups every day that didn't happen.
new goal: workout [run, hike, or lift] 3 times per week
get back on the envelope budget  aside from the expenses from my HK trip, we managed this.
transfer music + photos to my new laptop partially. I think I have all the photos I want.
new goal: complete music transfer so I have tunes to write to
blog at least 3 times per week this one I managed to do! I'm hoping to get a little ahead and schedule some posts for while our visitors are here.
new goal: keep up the 3 posts per week routine.

what are your goals for this month?
linking up with Melyssa for weekly wishes.
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