before I get to the meat of things here, I want to say thank you to everyone who sent well wishes for my birthday. I had a fantastic weekend celebrating - my 10k race went great and there was much wine and laughter with friends that evening.
I also should mention that today is the 4th anniversary of my first post on Ink and Adventure. not everyone has been reading since then [before we even moved to Taiwan] but I appreciate all of you who have been along on this journey. that news may make what follows seem odd. but if you've noticed a certain lack of activity and enthusiasm [and instagram posts] on my part lately - it won't be much of a surprise.
for about six months, maybe more, I've been debating with myself over what to do with this blog. to shift the content away from so much travel, or to change the way I write about traveling. to write less often, or not at all. to chug along with the formula that works to produce pageviews, or to write solely for myself.
I've come to what feels like both a shocking and inevitable conclusion:
I need to press pause on this blog.
I've revised this post over and over, with excuses and melodramatic statements. but the simple truth is that I need to focus my energy elsewhere right now. on writing my book, on living a healthy life with running and yoga, on preparing for this summer's travels, on managing my food allergies, and on growing as a person. I know that this blog has and will continue to help me develop as a writer, but at this point the future of how exactly is unclear.
maybe this is the birthday gift I give to myself: a release from the self-constructed obligations I've been holding myself to. from having to post at certain times or with enough frequency, from writing on particular topics and keeping up with the blogging world around me. once upon a time, and even on this blog, I simply wrote what felt right. I think that's what I'd like to get back to.
the truth is I never intended to be a travel blogger. my life lends itself to the niche, and once I found my way there it was a safe and wonderful place to belong. I don't regret that move or the friends and opportunities I found because of it. I'm proud of the content I've produced - the stories and the photos I've created. this blog has been a way to document our travels, share our struggles and joys, help and connect with others around the world.
but the label of travel blogger has protected me from having to say "I'm a writer." and I hate to admit, from the embarrassment of having to explain that I am an unpublished writer. with an unfinished manuscript and three other half-begun projects. these past four years when people have asked me the question I dread the most - so what do you do? - and this blog has been something I could point to as a concrete and tangible answer.
it's a scary thought to peel away that layer of self-definition and find what's underneath. but it's time for me to see what kind of person I can be without that label to hide behind. it's time for me to see what kind of writer I can be without those constrictions. and I'm hoping with time and a little perspective I will return here and find what feels right for me.
until then - be well, keep wandering, keep wondering. this might seem a bit like a goodbye but it isn't. in fact, I have a feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful new journey.
we are always more afraid than we wish to be, but we can always be braver than we expect.
- Robert Jordan