While my blog doesn’t have an official launch date, I’ve declared its birthday sometime in the first week of July. Like an irresponsible parent, I don’t remember when my creation first came into the world, and I was only marginally interested in those early months. Since the beginning of July was when I started to truly care, that’s the date I’ve stuck with.

And that means that this week, my blog turns 2.

Two years. Two years of traveling and writing. Twenty-four months of getting lost on public transportation and fighting with locals. A hundred and four weeks of eating lots and lots and lots of cakes (assuming I started eating them when I started my blog, which is incorrect). Seven-hundred-thirty days of following my heart, which belongs to this fool:

Fact: seconds after this photo was taken, he attacked my face with his. Look closely, and you can see madness in his eyes.

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And four-hundred-sixty-six posts (Four-hundred-sixty-seven, if you include this one).

When I started this blog, I didn’t really plan on it going anywhere, nor did I anticipate anyone but my husband (and a few of my friends) would read it. I simply wrote it for the same reason that people climb mountains or build buildings: I was unemployed and had nothing better to do (also, I may have been drunk).

But since then – and at the risk of sounding like a sentimental fool – I’ve found this blog has become an incredibly important part of my life. I wanted to do something to commemorate these two years beyond just doing shots of straight frosting. I thought about extrapolating on all the things I’ve learned while traveling, but decided against it. Gary Arndt just recently did a post like that, and mine would pale in comparison because, frankly, I’ve learned far less than he (seriously, I travel the world like I studied calculus. Half asleep, and clueless).

Besides, I was traveling for a solid year before I actually started blogging (yes, it’s true. I roamed around foreign cities, shopped, ate cake, and didn’t even write about it. It is as close to being royalty that I will ever be).

So instead, I’d like to tell you about the life lessons I’ve learned from blogging. Because sitting down every morning and churning out a post has taught me a thing or two – not just about travel and cakes, but also about shopping. I mean myself. YES. It’s taught me about myself.

  1. A really shitty experience will make a great story. I’m not one to let anything roll of my shoulders (vendetta is an Italian word, after all). But being able to write about negative experiences helps give me a new perspective on them – and gives them purpose. Yes, I still get angry. But at the back of my head is a weird, perverse rallying cry. “TELL THE INTERNET!” it screams. And I always listen.
    - 

    This was taken immediately after Rand and I had all of our luggage stolen in San Francisco many years ago. At the time, it sucked. Now? Great story.

    -

  2. Don’t be afraid to be ugly. There are times when a story or a photo will not paint me in the best light. But I post them anyway, because vanity and truth are not friends, and great humor can be found when you forsake the former in favor of the latter.
    -  

    HAWT.

    -

  3. Don’t be afraid to be beautiful, either. Everyone gets tired of snark. EVERYONE. And when writers are cranky or contrarian simply for the sake of being so, it’s a detriment to their work. Sometimes, we see things that are touching and emotionally-resonant and, well, beautiful. It doesn’t happen all the time, and if you’re simply looking for Dick Moves, you’ll miss it.
    -  

    Life is occasionally grand. There's nothing more to it.

    -

  4. Be thankful for the haters. Remember the Oscar Wilde quote: Only the mediocre are popular. The second you write something thought-provoking or interesting, someone will get upset, and occasionally, they’ll let you know. It is not a pleasant experience. It knocks you off your guard, it makes you question what you believe, and if it happens often enough, it will make you very quick with a comeback. Those are all good things.
    - 

    You know who else has haters? The PRESIDENT. Also, Tina Fey.

    -

  5. Whether in a foreign city or on a tangent, getting lost isn’t as bad as it seems. Finding your way back usually requires only cab fare or the delete button, and you might find that the story that emerges is worth all the twists and turns.
    - 

    We did not know the way. So we followed someone who also, apparently, did not know the way. It was a good night.

    -

  6. The backspace button is your friend. There are times when I’ve spent several long days trying to work a gem of a phrase or paragraph into a post without success. And I’ve thought, “Well I can’t simply delete it, because it’s just too brilliant.” So I’ll cut and paste it into a new doc, only to find it in six months, declare it stupid, and delete it. Which is what I should have done in the first place.
    - 

    Just toss it.

    -

  7. Know who you are. I’m not a budget travel blogger. I’m not a great photographer. I’ve never backpacked across anywhere. These are things other people can write about far better than I. So I decided to cover what I know and love: getting hopelessly lost, visiting Maritime Museums, snacking, and thinking about John Stamos. These are things I can write about with an alarming amount of expertise, and my blog is better for it.
    - 

    Popcorn. I'm also good at popcorn.

    -

  8. It’s okay to be imperfect. You may misspell something. You may mistakenly describe New York as the largest city in North America (what? I suck at facts). You may arrive at your destination and find it’s closed, or that you don’t have a reservation, or that your ticket was for the day before. Embrace it. Write about it. Know that your flaws and foibles make you human and sympathetic, and that much more entertaining.
    - 

    There's beauty in our imperfections. I promise.

    -

  9. You aren’t alone. I used to think the world was a huge, cold, unfriendly place. But the more I saw of it, the more I realized how untrue that was. How a few familiar faces could make London feel warm and inviting. How a day spent with family can make a town you barely know feel like home. And how a few clever comments on your blog from people you’ve never met can make you feel, in the solitude of your hotel room, like you are in very, very good company.
    -
     

    Who can feel alone when strangers creep into their photos?

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  10. You need approximately one person to believe in you. That’s it. One sparkly-eyed fan who commented on your blog when no one else did.
    -  

    And pretty soon you'll find it's contagious.

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So Happy Birthday, you imperfect, misspelled, often snarky, and occasionally beautiful blog. You’ve made me realize that being a cynical romantic with a debilitating sweet-tooth and no sense of direction isn’t the crime I once thought it was.

Now who’s up for frosting shots? -

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Comments (56)

  1. 1

    “10″ lists of almost anything get a bad rap, but I love this. I also love seeing and hearing how writers are evolving because if you’re not evolving, then you’re doing something wrong. I think the two points of not being afraid to be both beautiful and ugly are two things a lot of people seem to be a bit more insecure about and don’t embrace, but should. Well said.

  2. 2
    Becca says:

    Sarah Palin also has haters. So does Michelle Bachmann. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. As a conservative, I just needed to point that out. Also, I don’t really care for Palin and don’t know much about Bachmann.)

    I really love this post. It’s nice to get tips from such a successful blogger. I found you about 6 months ago, read one post and was instantly hooked. You are always interesting, funny and offer wonderful insight. So I basically love you.

    • 2.1
      Everywhereist says:

      Becca – I was actually contemplating posting a photo of myself dressed as Sarah Palin. :) Thank you for visiting – I’m so glad you like the site. I sincerely hope we can be friends, despite our different viewpoints. We may have found the key to bipartisanship yet! Hee.

      • 2.1.1
        Becca says:

        I have quite a few blog friends that have completely opposite political views from me, and we can have civil discussions all the time. I don’t know why the government finds it so dang difficult.

  3. 3
    Jackie says:

    I’ll certainly have one of those frosting shots! Happy Birthdy, by the way, I just found you.

  4. 4
    Courtney says:

    Frosting shots? If you’re referring to actual frosting in a shot glass, then ME! If I don’t get the euphemism… ignore me. :) But that sounds about as good as the huckleberry vodka and lemonade I drank last weekend. mmmm….

    Happy 2nd birthday, blog!

    • 4.1
      Everywhereist says:

      It’s not a euphemism. It’s a shot-glass-sized portion of frosting. You got it absolutely right.

  5. 5
    Verena says:

    Happy birthday everywhereist.com or as we say in German “Alles Gute zum Geburtstag”!!!!

    I wanna say thank you – for your blog on its birthday, because as corny as it sounds I was glad to find it when I needed it most – when I needed to find out that there are A) people as nuts as I am myself (in a very good way of course, as would there be another one), B) I am not the only one who has bad orientation (and for god’s sake – i studied that – I am serious – I am an Urban Planner – I should UNDERSTAND cities – total fail!!!!) and C) I got to learn laughing again, when life treated me really bad and i learnt through you that there are actually good people and great love out there!

    So a toast (up with your cupcakes in the air) – to the everywhereist.com and Geraldine – may there be many many more postings and cupcakes and dick moves and fun and laugh :)))
    Thank you and happy birthday!

  6. 6
    Amber says:

    Loved reading this, especially #5. That one is definitely my favorite. Getting lost is where all the fun is and where there is the most to be learned. Happy Birthday!

  7. 7
    Philip says:

    I don’t even go to my own blog every day. But yours? I never miss it. (Maybe sometimes I have to go back and catch up, but still…)

    Happy blogiversary. You write good.

  8. 8
    Stasia W says:

    I found your blog just in time! Congrats on two years. I’m at one month and learning so much, especially about myself. Long live snarkyness.

  9. 9
    Nancy Bestor says:

    John Stamos? Really?

  10. 10
    Max says:

    Iam ! I am!

    Happy Birthday, Everywhereist.com! =D

  11. 11

    Happy Blog Birthday!

    These types of day important.

    I know where you’re coming from. I also am not sure of the moment of creation for Anglotopia so I just had to pick something and stick with it.

    Keep up being a pile of awesome. The blogosphere needs your snark!

  12. 12
    Lindsay says:

    Love the blog! Don’t ever stop writing it! Happy Birthday Everywhereist.com!

  13. 13
    lulu says:

    All the things you wrote on the list, are the exact things that make your blog so perfect! you keep it real all the time, and it is great to have a break and just find out that there are people who like myself, have no shame in admmiting their flaws! FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS, greetings from mexico

  14. 14
    Dan says:

    The Everywhereist brings me daily amusement, daily inspiration, and daily travel-envy. Congrats on two years of fabulousness!

  15. 15
    lisa says:

    I try so hard not to be jealous when I read your stuff, and mostly I’m succeeding. I covet your cupcakes.

    Happy Birthday to the blog and thank *you* for taking the time and sharing your adventures.

  16. 16
    Samantha says:

    I think this calls for cupcakes!!! Hurrah! Congrats Everywhereist!

  17. 17
    Kenneth says:

    Happy Birthday, Everywhereist!
    You have more than one believer now.
    I for one believe it is awesome.
    Haters are always gonna hate, unfortunately.

    Not really related, but my favorite note written on a birthday card is this:
    “Happy Birthday! Congratulations on being one more year closer to death.”

    I have nice friends. :D

  18. 18
    Jen says:

    Happy Birthday everywhereist.com!

    I have found thee a present….

    http://www.signals.com/signals/Item_Cupcake-Hat_HL5234_ps_srm.html

    And as Owl would say, Many happy returns!

  19. 19
    Gordon says:

    Happy Birthday!! I TOTALLY love your blog. And I love reading about you and your husband. At the risk of sounding schmaltzy, you two make me believe true love is possible.

  20. 20
    Heather says:

    I can’t remember how I found you but I’m so glad I did. Happy 2nd birthday from NYC.

  21. 21
    Sally says:

    This was great. I especially love #1. There are so many times something horrible happens and I think, “This sucks. But it’s going to make for an AWESOME blog post.” Even worse is when I do something I know is going to suck or that I’ll hate just because I think it will make for some good blog. It’s possible I’m a little bit sick in the head. But, whatever, cake saves all!

    • 21.1
      Everywhereist says:

      I do the exact same thing: when things turn really badly, I think, “Well, it will make a great story, at least.”

  22. 22
    Just says:

    “To be popular one must be a mediocrity.”
    — Oscar Wilde

    Sorry, but I had to. I deleted it once and was drawn back.

    I love your blog and read it daily. Thanks for writing.

  23. 23
    Abby says:

    Happy Birthday,

    I only just signed up to your blog and I already love it! You make some great comments about what you have learnt so thank you for sharing.

    Im about to start up my own travel blog so your advise has been great.

    All the best and I look forward to learning more from you.

  24. 24
    Bhavya says:

    Happy Birthday!

    This blog doesn’t get old. Like, not at all. Please continue with the awesomeness.

  25. 25

    This was an awesome post: Everything in it rang true. Do you know, I just heard from one of my expat friends today about how she was held on a hijacked bus until 2 in the morning. And my first emotion (after finding out no one was hurt) was that of envy because she now has a great story to tell. I guess that’s my nod to #1. And one of the things I like the most about blog writing are #2 and #3 on your list — the ability to go from beautiful to snarky to bitter and back again. The world has a little of everything. Pretending that either everything’s wonderful or everything’s horrible is just willfully shutting out a part of life.

  26. 26
    Michelle says:

    Happy blog-versery/birthday! =) I totally agree with all points, esp #5. Every trip I have the best memories of are ones where at some point I got lost.

  27. 27
    Petra says:

    Auguroni x il compleanno del tuo blog!!!! Il tuo modo di scrivere e di esprimere i tuoi pensieri e sentimenti è solo fantastico!!! Grazie
    Un abbraccio dall’ Italia

  28. 28

    And STILL one of my all-time favourite writers! I <3 you, G.

  29. 29
    Jasmine says:

    Brilliant, happy birthday! x

  30. 30
    Deanna says:

    Huppy birfday, Eeyore! (Except you’re cuter than Eeyore.)

  31. 31

    Happy Blog Birthday :) Totally agree about No.1: After I got mugged in Peru, the first thing I thought off (after “F*k, I need to run away to safety!”) was “I should blog about this!”

  32. 32
    Katja says:

    Auguri from Italy to wonderful everywhereist. Good to hear somebody made it through the first two years – and in such an inspiring, witty and smooth way! I’m right on the other end, desperately suffering through the Italian heat wave and my first two months of blogging. Or should I make that my last two months of blogging?

    I’ll try to resist, so have a look out for http://www.mapitout-tuscany.com should you ever want to get lost in my part of the world. And bring your not god-like but lovely husband along. He’d make a good pair with my never-endingly supportive Tuscan native.

  33. 33
    Monica says:

    Gah! I just found your site via @legalnomads and I’ve decided we MUST be friends- yes? Phew. I’ll be back for more reading! My fiance and I are packing up to take a three-month trip this winter and I’m hoping we just keep going… Thanks for your awesomeness!

  34. 34
    Caitie says:

    You are delightful and adorable! Just discovered your blog from TIME’s list (congrats!) – you COMPLETELY deserve it!

    Love your style, your stories and your humor! I am a communications specialist for a website based in Canada all about volunteering. Sounds like you are usual pretty overwhelmed and busy, but if you ever have a couple minutes, we’d love it if you could put together a piece for our news section about any sort of volunteering experience you might have had! Or for that matter, if you have any advice to the thousands of Canadians who go abroad to volunteer!

    Love everything about this blog. Feel free to shoot me an email if this is something you might be interested in: caitied@getinvolved.ca. Cheers! http://www.getinvolved.ca/

  35. 35
    Amber says:

    I just found your blog after the Times article and I love it so much! You are so adorable and I am glad that there is someone out there that loves cake as much as I do! Happy blog birthday and thank you so much for the amazing posts.

  36. 36
    Kelsey says:

    I love this post! It’s all so true, and knowing these things are part of what makes your blog the great one that it is! Happy blog birthday!

  37. 37
    Mikeachim says:

    You so very totally haz awesum. And I find your blog kinda dreamy.

    *toys with….where hair used to be*

    Your list, also, it rocketh / doth rock (whichever is gramatically correct in my native tongue, I’m not sure). Number 1 has become the defining mantra of my travel writing – I attract misadventure and laughableness, and I’ve come to realise that’s rather bankable. And I agree with all the other points too, but I won’t comment on each one because it’s your blog’s birthday and there’s nothing worse at a birthday party than someone who won’t shut the hell up.

    So yeah, congrats and so on, yadda yadda, but look, I heard a rumour there was cake? Point me at the cake.

  38. 38
    Susan says:

    Happy birthday! This is my first time commenting but I’ve been a huge (silent) fan for awhile now :) Your blog and humorous writing style is amazing and your posts are often the highlight of my day. Just don’t tell the boss ;-)

  39. 39
    Cecil says:

    I am not really a fan of blogs but when I read yours, baam! I loved it! I dont have the “perquisite” of traveling but because of your posts, it feels like I have gone to the places you visited. I have a sweet tooth too!! love your post on cupcakes.keep up the good work.=)

  40. 40
    Joy says:

    Thank goodness! Someone else who has John Stamos on their laminated list! I’m often chastised for laminated selection. But really, who can resist Uncle Jesse?!?!

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