On One Year of Blogging...

Exactly one year ago this week, I finally brought this blog to life. It was an idea I had been toying with for ages. I love taking pictures, so my first thought for this blog was all about photography. I was excited to finally have an outlet where I could display some of my favorite photos. Then, sharing a little bit about the who, what, when, and where of those photos naturally became a part of the process.

 All about the camera! Featuring a weird and (rare!) mirror selfie I took in the very room where I started this blog in Invercargill, New Zealand. Note the old Canon camera that I gladly upgraded from when I could afford it.

All about the camera! Featuring a weird and (rare!) mirror selfie I took in the very room where I started this blog in Invercargill, New Zealand. Note the old Canon camera that I gladly upgraded from when I could afford it.

Blog Evolution

I am not unfamiliar with the world of blogging - despite what the infancy of this particular site might suggest. When I was in middle school (around age 12), I had a livejournal. If you're not familiar, a livejournal was sort of a combination of myspace and blogging. My friends and I used it to host private blogs that we shared only with each other. It was ridiculous and I wish I'd kept it because it was endearingly (I like to think) idiotic. When I wasn't too pre-occupied chatting with friends on AIM, my favorite thing to do online was to post a livejournal where I would a) over-dramatize things that had happened to me or b) to talk about world events that I knew absolutely nothing about. There was that post where I wrote about how a friend and I heard a car backfire as we walked home from the bus and how we thought it was a gunshot so we ran for our lives. (Fascinating, am I right?) And there was that other post which was titled "The Pope Died" and was merely a photo of the pope with the caption "Poor old pope." Cool!! Anyway, like I said, I deleted the heinous account. You don't have to see what I did or thought when I was in middle school. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Quick aside, readers: I'm only 26 but I feel like by mentioning AIM & Livejournal, I seem mega old. My brother is 4 years younger than me and he never did the livejournal or AIM thing at all. By the time he was 13, it was all about reddit and Facebook, two mediums that haven't died off like AIM or Livejournal... Yet. 

Then in 2012, when I was just beginning my last year of university, I joined tumblr (a photo-heavy content sharing site) and "re-blogged" the hell out of every travel-related photo or beautiful foreign landscape that I stumbled upon. See for yourself.

Lastly, though this was my first official travel blog, Emmett and I had "blogged" our travels in China and our European backpacking tour in 2014 in email form. We'd collected a list of friends and family who expressed interest in following along with what we got up to while we were gone. And we did a pretty good job, sending an email recap with photos every other week. The only social media we had was facebook (and we weren't into the idea of spamming everyone's feeds) and we didn't even bring - let alone own - smartphones. Thus: emailing. My first foray into blogging about travelling. We continued the newsletter chain into our travels in Fiji and New Zealand, calling those "Dispatches from the South Pacific" which led to this here blog's name.

 One of the many newsletters we sent out on our Euro trip. It's certainly not the most wonderfully written or beautifully organized content BUT it was ours and it was real.  This one is from exactly three years ago today when we'd wrapped up a quick jaunt into Bosnia & Herzegovina.

One of the many newsletters we sent out on our Euro trip. It's certainly not the most wonderfully written or beautifully organized content BUT it was ours and it was real. 
This one is from exactly three years ago today when we'd wrapped up a quick jaunt into Bosnia & Herzegovina.

The First Few Months

I'd thought about actually starting a blog for a while. I'd considered which sites to use as a blog platform and ultimately decided on Squarespace because I think it has the most options for showcasing photography. I had so many photos just burning a hole in my cloud storage from past travels that I spent the first few months publishing retrospectives on things like my favorite things about Croatia, our short trip through Arctic Norway, and pictures of street food for sale in Guizhou, China. We were doing a work exchange but also going broke, so our New Zealand travels were limited in those first few months.

 The room in Invercargill where all those early posts were published.

The room in Invercargill where all those early posts were published.

Everything Since - AKA The List and Link Section

So, friends! You've made it this far. I will reward all of your reading with a (hopefully) more-digestible LIST.

My Favorite Posts:

Pele Paradise
Travel Is...
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Breaking the Silence

To sum it up: I think I'm most proud of the posts that showcase my interest in creative writing (i.e. Travel is... or Pele Paradise) or really highlight a location in photo essay form (Tongariro Alpine Crossing). Also, Breaking the Silence was my first foray into putting a non-travel opinion piece on this blog and I kinda loved it. It was also received well by some of my readers and friends. I haven't posted anything else like that but that doesn't mean it's not just a matter of time. Cause it is.

The Most Popular Posts:

Beachcombing New Zealand
Beachcombing New Zealand Pt. 2
Breaking the Silence

To sum it up: I get the most "unique visitors" from either google searches about New Zealand's seashells (at least two visitors a day) or from that time I spent an entire 8 hours researching and ranting into a post about the (not my) President of the United States. Apparently some of my Mom's friends really enjoyed that one. Gets me thinking I should try my hand at that sort of thing a bit more...

 Surprisingly people (including myself) actually like it when I get political??? Who knew?

Surprisingly people (including myself) actually like it when I get political??? Who knew?

My Favorite Things I Did This Past Year:

Seeing Yellow-Eyed Penguins in The Catlins
Driving to Milford Sound
Heli-hiking Onto Franz Josef Glacier
Visiting Mount Cook National Park
Watching an Active Volcano Light Up the Night Sky on Tanna Island, Vanuatu

To sum it up: I think being in New Zealand for an entire ten months allowed Emmett and me to really see and do a lot of awesome unique-to-NZ activities. Also, I fell in love with Vanuatu in general but Tanna Island really was the epitome of why it's a great country to visit. I've done a lot of rad stuff here in Australia since we arrived back in mid-July but I haven't gotten a chance to post anything so I reckon that will be on next year's (!) blogiversary post.

Everything Else...
I'm on all sorts of social media now from twitter to trover to instagram to facebook, so you can catch up on my posts or e-stalk me through one of those channels instead of visiting this site directly or subscribing to my newsletter. (Hello newsletter readers! Yes, I am behind...)

 You gotta go to Vanuatu if you ever get the chance...

You gotta go to Vanuatu if you ever get the chance...

The Future

So, what's next for Savvy Dispatches? Well... I'd like to get up to date with all of my back-logged scrapbook-style posts that just recount adventures. Then I can do more of what I really enjoy and want the blog to be about: creative writing, opinion pieces, and (most importantly) travel resources for readers. I'd also like to try my hand at some (more) food blogging and get more involved with my traveler profile series. And, of course, I gotta keep the readers happy and post more about my international beachcombing finds. ;)

Anyway, from one November to the next: that's Savvy Dispatches so far. Thanks for tuning in and I hope you'll stick with me as I grow this blog into something more... whatever that may be.

Lastly, I feel like this is the perfect place to give a huge thank you and shout-out to my number one supporter/fan/editor/travel partner/LOVE, Emmett. Thanks for encouraging me to start this blog when I first voiced the idea a year ago. And thanks for supporting me every step of the way since (not that I'd expect any less from someone as thoughtful as you). You're my number one, through and through. I couldn't do it without you.

 Gettin' goofy at Lake Mckenzie on Fraser Island, QLD, Australia.

Gettin' goofy at Lake Mckenzie on Fraser Island, QLD, Australia.