“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow”. – Helen Keller
When I started my blog on a whim back in January 2011, I honestly had no idea what on earth I was doing. As a stay-at-home mom of two young children, I was desperately looking for a little piece of me. An outlet. A voice. A way of doing something different than changing diapers and playing with legos and dolls. I had done a lot of traveling and had kept my stories in a series of hard-covered journals stuffed in a dusty box in the back of the closet.
Yet a life-changing trip to Nepal in November 2010 was the defining moment that pushed me into action and prompted me to put away my pen and paper and do something more daring. To share my stories online for anyone to read. I typed up my first series of posts (which looking back now admittedly are not very good but I can’t delete them for nostalgic reasons) and have never stopped writing since.
Fast forward six years and my blog has become an enormous part of my life. I have shared over 1,200 stories and thousands of pictures documenting the highs and lows, adventures and misadventures of my life. I have made amazing connections with new friends from all over the world, and have experienced new opportunities that never would have come my way without my blog. It has opened doors and also has opened my own mind and heart to some of the injustices in the world.
My blog has literally changed my life in so many profound ways, and in an essence my blog has become a shadow of me.
“When walking through a valley of shadows, remember that shadows are cast by a light.” – H.K Barclay
Traveling to India in the spring of 2013 as part of Mom Bloggers for Social Good where I visited slums and saw light, darkness, pain and hope. Seeing hope and light within the dark shadows changed my life. I continued to explore this avenue of social good and advocacy work by visiting Haiti, Ethiopia, Nicaragua and Tanzania. And I hope to do more!
“Much of life becomes background, but it is the province of art to throw buckets of light into the shadows and make life new again.” – Diane Ackerman
Blogging has pushed me to explore and try a lot of things I probably never would have without it. I have become an advocate meeting with my representatives on Capital Hill. I went to an all women’s learn to surf camp in Nicaragua overcoming my fears of tackling the waves. I climbed Kilimanjaro with an all women’s team to raise awareness for solar electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa. I’ve attended the Social Good Summit for five years in a row in NYC, reconnecting with my blogging friends from around the country. I have interviewed tons of fascinating people ranging from National Geographic Photographers to social entrepreneurs and every day people who have done amazing, inspiring things for good. None of this would have been possible without starting my blog.
“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us”.- Samuel Smiles
Blogging has also taught me to be more positive and search for hope in difficult situations. Some of the stories I’ve covered have been difficult but have also brought so much hope. I think often of the people I’ve met during my travels and of the stories I’ve told. I hope that raising awareness of their plight has made a difference. On a personal level, my blog has helped me sort through difficult times in my life where I have been able to use my words and photography to bring me calm and peace. I am forever grateful.
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves”.- Buddha
My blog has also forced me to reflect more deeply than ever before. To think back to the moments and feel gratitude. There is something therapeutic in retelling stories of my travels. The memories flood back in and suddenly I’m there again reliving a magical moment in time. Right now, I’m slowly recounting my recent trip to Costa Rica and if I close my eyes, I can be right there watching that sunrise again over the Osa Peninsula.
“Above the cloud with its shadow is the star with its light. Above all things reverence thyself.” – Pythagoras
Best of all, my blog is a testament of me. A shadow of my life that will be etched here as long as I keep it online. There is no greater gift than having an eternal voice. A voice that I can look back upon and read someday with my grandchildren.
“Pleasure is a shadow, wealth is vanity, and power a pageant; but knowledge is ecstatic in enjoyment, perennial in frame, unlimited in space and indefinite in duration”. – DeWitt Clinton
In celebration of my six years of blogging, I want to leave you with a few of my most beloved posts. The ones I feel speak from the heart and are a shadow of me. Hope you enjoy! Thanks so much for all who have followed me along for the journey. It has been so amazing and I sincerely appreciate your support and comments!