Happy Birthday, Everywhereist.com

Posted on
Jul 6, 2011

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.

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.


  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?

  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.

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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