Blogging is my creative outlet.
I’ve been able to share some of the most fulfilling, challenging, and heartbreaking times of my life over the last four years on this blog. Living abroad, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with Moving Wright Along, although I had every intention to.
To my surprise, there is WiFi in Namibia, although many times it isn’t as speedy or reliable as the connection I am used to and sometimes it takes traveling between 40-70k to find decent internet. Many times this proves to be extremely frustrating, but it doesn’t mean that Moving Wright Along has to take a hiatus.
If you are a Peace Corps volunteer and want to blog through your experience, here are some tips that I hope you can find useful:
I say this after not posting consistenly in about a month. Do as I say, not as I do.
But, whether you post weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly, be consistent. Your time abroad may be the only glimpse family and friends back home have to your new home. They trust your insight, perspective, and voice. My blog is hosted through WordPress which has a scheduling feature which is clutch. I can draft multiple blogs and schedule them to post at a future date (usually at times I know my friends and family are awake back home).
Trust me on this one. I have lost many drafts and have had pretty much any blogging woe you can imagine. Like I said earlier, internet and data services abroad aren’t always as reliable, fast or friendly. I’ve found that drafting offline saves a lot of headache and heartache. I’ve found success in drafting offline using pen & paper, Word, or even notes on my phone. This gives me time to edit my ideas and thoughts prior to sharing with the world. Which leads me to my next tip…
Be Culturally Sensitive
I like to read blogs about other Peace Corps volunteers around the world. But, I find a fair share of blogs that RANT about customs and norms of their host country. I get it! You had a bad day and took it to your blog. Remember, if your friends and family can read your blog from a world away, ANYONE in the world can read your blog. As a Peace Corps volunteer, we encounter challenges within our host country. I, for one, have dealt with many which I choose not to share publicly in a blog, but rather leave as thoughts better suited for my journal.
Your experience abroad is your truth, and no one can take that from you. But, you should avoid painting that as the only truth. Avoid making generalizations and stereotypical comments in your postings. What’s worse than a culturally insensitive PCV? I really don’t know, but it can’t be good. Need ideas on what to write about? Join the Blogging Abroad Challenge.
Switch up your Style
Blogging doesn’t always have to be a long narrative. It can be done using pictures, videos, and even audio. Seeing the sights and hearing the sounds of your host country can be a wonderful addition to your blog. Linking other Peace Corps volunteer blogs is another great way to build cultural understanding as well as accomplishing Goal 3.
Choose a Friendly Host
I’ve been loyal to WordPress since 2009. Back then, I was interning for SportChassis and blogging about over-sized luxury pickup trucks driven by over-sized people such as Shaq and Dennis Rodman. I have dabbled a little bit with Blogger and Tumblr, both are pretty user-friendly especially for those new to blogging.
There are many other hosts to choose from, just do your research. I love WordPress because of my familiarity with the software (although, takes some getting used to), ease in ability to personalize website, low cost for the domain, and popularity, of course.
I hope these tips help and feel free to share!