So here we are as another year flies by, officially becoming the past. Earlier today there was a fill in the blank question floating around Facebook. You might have seen it too. It was “2014 was the year of _______?” I honestly didn’t have to think about it too much before I came up with the word transition. The main reason there has been transition is that my son, who has been my travel buddy for the last seven years has grown older. The days of excitement to hit the road, answer a park ranger’s question or play in an interactive exhibit with Mom are long gone, lost in the teenage years. Not lost is the love of travel and the love of writing for both my son and myself. The difference is that we are doing it on our own instead of together. 2014 will always be the year I gave my son wings and surprisingly the year that he discovered that he enjoys writing as well. It will also be the year that I embraced solo travel and connected with old friends. Finally, for the few times that my son and I did venture out together, it will be the year that I paused at the moment and cherished our time together.
This year encompassed many first for my son. It was the first time he traveled without me. We didn’t start small; we went big. He went to the South Pacific for three weeks with People to People Student Ambassador Program. After boarding eight different flights and spending a week in three different countries (Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia) he returned with new friends, new knowledge, cultural awareness, independence, confidence, and maturity. When my son signed up for the trip, I never thought that he would blog about his travels as I have done for the last couple of years, but he did on his blog, TMAY’s Journey through the South Pacific and he also made a video. Now, my fifteen years old says that he wants to travel the world and he intends to be a script writer. Realistically, I know that he most probably is going to change his mind and might not become a writer, but I feel pretty confident that traveling through his childhood and studying abroad will make him a lifelong traveler.
Three weeks without my son around actually forced me to embrace being alone and test the waters before he goes to college. I used the time to travel on my own to the Berkshires and to chip away at my NYC Bucket-list. Also, I headed to Charleston, South Carolina to explore my dream city with one of my childhood friends. I enjoyed grown up travel again and doing things like a Pub Crawl. I also liked doing things at my leisure and activities that my son would deem “too girlie.”
Although I didn’t travel as much in 2014 as years past, I am grateful that my son was able to enjoy what most people would consider a trip of a lifetime. I am also happy that he joined me in a few fun tours like the NYC Pizza Tour, the United Nations Tour and the Cold Spring Laboratory Tour, even if I had to refer to them as “Forced Family Fun” days.
This year has taught me that it is okay to finish chapters in life and move on to the next. As much as I loved the grade school years with my son, I know both of us are going to be okay moving forward, and I have travel to thank for that peace of mind.
It is no surprise that since my traveling slowed down in 2014, so has my blog. I have a list of places to still write about, but I found that the act of travel motivates me to hit my computer keyboard. This post will only be my 12th post of the year, a far cry from my original goal of one a week. The good news is that I still have many places to write about even with my traveling slowing down. Just this week, I wrote two posts about our California trip in 2013. It was fun to reminisce.
Another realization is that I struggle with all that goes along with blogging. Professionally, I am in sales, so you would think the self-branding and marketing that goes along with blogging would be second nature. I am finding it exhausting to promote myself so readers will flock to my blog. I have decided that I am okay with writing about my passion for travel without promotion. The fact of the matter is, most of my post are read by others that googled a particular topic that is in my archive, so they are genuinely interested and seeking what I wrote, which was my primary goal when I started this blog. That makes me happy and is a transition in thinking from last year at this time when in my head, I felt like I had to compete with other travel bloggers and was finding myself haunted by statistics. I want my writing to stand on its own for content and not for the number of followers on Facebook and Twitter. I know I am accomplishing this because the readers that visit my blog, stay and read more than one post and the comments I receive (that are not spam) usually include the word thanks.
This transition year has bridged yesteryear with the future. I know that the places and things that my family of two have done in the past have prepared my son and me for future travels near or far. This year has also given me a new perspective and acceptance. As I close the door on 2014, I look forward to 2015 with a few trips planned with family and friends and continuing to write good content on my blog. If you find yourself reading this post, I hope you will return in the new year to discover new travel ideas from our trips and tips for your journeys.