How A Year of Blogging Changed My Life

Here I sit in a coffee shop in downtown Brisbane marveling at the artwork that is my cappuccino. I absolutely love foam artwork, probably because it’s both beautiful and delicious. This is such a perfect moment.

As I survey my surroundings, I start thinking of all the steps I’ve taken to get to this particular place, at this particular moment, in this particular region of the globe. It’s been a long journey and isn’t anywhere near done. But really, how did I get here?

I mentally rewind the moments in my head, backing them up through the preceding months. I watch myself walk backwards on the plane, unpack my suitcase, repack my suitcase, fly backwards in time to the Northwest, skip my way down the steps of Montmartre, slide up the side of a volcano, and perfectly seal all the rejection letters from the psychology graduate programs and place them back in the mailbox. Wait. Play. I watch myself cry and use the envelopes of the letters as tear-catchers. I watch myself log onto WordPress and write my very first blog post. Wait. Pause. Has it really been a year since I began this unconventional journey?

No… couldn’t be.

I immediately log into my account and take to my blog archives to view that fateful first post I wrote last summer. Well I’ll be damned… There it is: the official confirmation.

So now I sit back in my chair deep in thought. Since joining the blogosphere, I’ve traveled to the four corners of the globe, created unbelievable memories and friendships, and realized dreams I never knew I had. And to think this all started as a way to make fun of myself.  Huh.

I mean, I had wanted to blog about my unusual Vegas life, my failures, and the impulsive decision to go to Nicaragua (after all, it was kind of ridiculous). If nothing else, a blog was a great way to record my moment of insanity. Plus my detailed notes would later benefit whatever shrink responsible for my recovery from such a lapse of judgement. With my carefully recorded emotional breakdown and following list of behaviors, he could properly determine how to assimilate me back into society. Of course, that crossed my mind. But I never thought blogging would become my thing.

365 days later, I have thousands of subscribers and readers in 143 different countries. I have been Freshly Pressed twice in three months and featured on hundreds of fellow blogger’s sites. I’ve gone surfing with a legend, cuddled koalas, trained lions, worked on movie sets, and had so many other unbelievable adventures. I’m no longer just a girl looking to process her failed dream. And I can feel a bigger dream forming.

I am forever changed because of a blog. I sit here laughing at the concept.

What started as a joke turned into a lifelong mission. I realized I wasn’t the only one in the world who wanted adventure, who wanted to be a part of something more important than themselves, who was looking for something to inspire them. And suddenly I am connecting with people and ideas that I otherwise never would have.

Each of you has inspired me and motivated me to continue on this absurd journey. I look to your comments, messages, and ‘likes’ for validation particularly during the, “What the hell am I doing with my life?” moments. Most of you are strangers and yet, I feel so close to all of you. And what’s more is that you’ve taken time out of your life to read about my not-so-glamorous journey. It’s one thing to write for yourself. It’s another to want to share those moments with others. But it’s really quite something for strangers to want to share those moments with you.

And what swells my heart more than feeling supported on my journey is learning that I have inspired many of you to pursue your own adventures. For what is life without loving and encouraging others? I hope I can continue to do so (even though the truth is I really have no idea what I’m doing).

Thank you for an amazing first year. Life has never tasted so sweet and I wouldn’t have gotten this far without any of you. This moment is both beautiful and delicious, and I hope to be blessed enough to continue to savor it.

The Year of the Blogger is not over. In fact, I have a feeling this is just the beginning. I mean, I still have a few more countries to visit before I realize what it’s exactly the beginning of, but I hope more than anything you’ll join me.

Okay. Play.

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123 thoughts on “How A Year of Blogging Changed My Life

  1. Hey there!
    I am glad you like one of my posts and I thank you for the same. It was a very long time ago and I am getting back to you now! Apologies. I am kind of going through this weird writer’s block phase! :-p Loads of emotions running in my mind but I am unable to put them on to the paper… It’s rather a chaotic phase.
    But this is to say how overwhelming this post of yours is. I like to read or listen to things that leave me in thoughts…
    Congratulations for all the commendable work so far and good luck ahead.
    Regards
    Sourabha

    • Hi Sourabha!

      No worries about taking your time. I understand how ‘real life’ comes over ‘blog life’. =) And I totally understand the writer’s block. I think we’ve all been there. You’ll push through!

      And thank you so much for your kind words! I hope you will come back and read more. =)

      Lots of love and luck to you!

      • Sweeeeeeeeeeet! 🙂 I have read some of your posts over and over again. 🙂 Life’s beautiful… and it’s about making others realize the same. 🙂 I am glad you are pretty good at it! 🙂 Keep going, proud of you. 🙂 And of course, I will always follow your writing. 🙂
        Love
        Sourabha

  2. Hi,

    First, thanks for liking one of my posts.
    Secondly, you’ve got a great blog and lifestyle. I made the mistake of doing the career thing but I’m slowly recovering:-) Life is definitely not a rehearsal!

    Wishing you all the best of luck and great adventures

    • Hey there!

      You’re very welcome! Always happy to support fellow writers. =)

      And thank you so much for your kind comment! Career recovery can be a pain, but I know you can do it! 😉 Let me know if you ever need a cheerleader!

      Happy adventuring! Please stay in touch!

  3. Hilary, I just stumbled upon your blog–congrats on the one-year journey! Sounds like it’s been amazing. My travel blog just hit the three-year mark this month, and I’ve started getting majorly burned out, so it’s inspiring for me to see someone with so much enthusiasm for it. I know I need to get over it and keep going. Glad I found you, and I look forward to following your adventures!

    • Hi Emily!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I greatly appreciate it!

      WOW, three years! That IS a long time! I can certainly understand your burn-out. That’s a long haul of a commitment!

      Looking forward to sharing my adventures with you and reading about yours!

      Happy Adventuring!

  4. My “book blog” started out as a year-long project, but then when last New Year rolled around, I couldn’t bring myself to give it up. It’s become a part of me and a part of my life and I couldn’t bring myself to stop doing it neither. Keep it up, friend. Keep up the journey.
    xx Bex

    If you’re interested:
    http://bexesyearofbooks.tumblr.com/

    • Hi Bex!

      It sounds like blogging became such a great outlet for you! I can’t wait to check it out!

      Thanks for your support in my journey. I can’t wait to read about yours!

      All the best!

  5. Hi! I have to say, you are inspiring and your adventures, and your courage, make me feel a little less crazy to want to do it myself.

    Congratulations on your one year anniversary!

    • Hey there!

      Wow, thank you so much for such a kind comment! I certainly feel crazy, but I’m also much happier than I used to be. I absolutely encourage you to follow your desires and explore!

      Let me know if I can help you in any way. And thanks again!

  6. Hello Hilary! What a lovely post. You are a great writer. My, my, a year of blogging and all the adventures you have had. I love how you admit you have no idea what you are doing. LOL! I feel the same and have many “What the hell am I doing” moments. I absolutely adore that last picture. Awe!

    • Hey there!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I was so uplifted by your words. I greatly appreciate your support and kindness! I hope for more, “What the…” moments in the future! Life seems much more enjoyable with them. =)

      Do you have a favorite, “What the hell am I doing?” moment?

      Happy adventuring!

      • Hey Hilary!
        You’re welcome! Awe, you found my words uplifting… 🙂 Reading that made me surprised and happy.

        I don’t think I have any interesting favourite “What the hell am I doing moments”? The only times I feel that way is probably when I come across someone who is completely in love with what they do and because I haven’t found my special thing yet, I am completely envious.

        • Don’t be envious!

          I think what we love to do changes. I don’t even know what ‘my thing’ is yet either. And I think that always having that ‘want’ keeps you striving to explore and grow yourself.

          I used to be jealous of those who I thought had it all worked out. Turns out that those people were just as confused and lost as I was! Sometimes you don’t really know until you ask =).

          Wishing you all the best in your journey to finding your passion!

  7. I came across your blog quite recently when you were been freshly pressed but I have been through almost all of your posts. Reading your posts take my eternity on a peaceful stroll. What a precious collection of treasures you have collected for yourself. You will have the most blissful memories to look back and tranquil yourself. YOU ROCK BIG TIME!!!!. Good Luck.

    • Hi Jiwan!

      First of all, thank you so much for such a sweet comment! I am so grateful and impressed that you took the time to read through all of my posts (I also cringed a little bit… most of those first few were awful!) But I appreciate you taking the time to share my adventures with me and hope you’ll stick around!

      What kinds of adventures do you like to have?

      Thanks again, so much for your support! Happy adventuring!

  8. You never know what will change you! Congratulations on the year anniversary. I have no idea how you treat blogger-awarder awards, but, well, I have received one and it requires me to speed up a chain reaction. I really like your writing, so I recommended you and if you feel like putting in on your blog – great, it’s actually fun even with a slightly skeptical approach. “Instructions” to be found in my latest post. If not, just know that I enjoy your blog a lot!

  9. You know it never ceases to amaze who you can come across on twitter! I share your sentiments with your blog, as I started my own blog/lifestyle/brand/movement more than a year ago.

    Much like yourself I could have never imagined the overwhelming joy I would experience from starting something as simple as a blog.

    My journey has connected me with people that let me know I am not alone in my thinking. The type of people that go out into the world, and want to be a part of it. You are just another connection that reaffirms that sentiment.

    Congrats on a year well spent, may your adventure keep bringing you enjoyment, and allowing you to live life to the fullest!

    Travel On!!!

    • Thank you so much, Jeremy! It IS amazing who you can find through the blogosphere and twitter. I’m so thrilled to hear that it has helped you in many of the same ways.

      Wishing you all the best! Happy adventuring!

  10. As always, I love the way you describe traveling and your journey from “What do I do NOW?!” to “Wow, there’s a whole ‘nother world out here!”

    Very inspiring! Keep it up!!

  11. another awesome post! It’s always comforting to know that there are other women out there exploring the world on their own 🙂 Just back from Belgrade which I TOTALLY recommend, by the way.

    • Thanks so much, lovey! And yes, it IS comforting to know that there are other wonderful and inspiring woman out there. Seriously, we need to meet up one day.

      How long were you in Belgrade? Sounds enticing! I’m so in awe of you and so thankful that you’re one of my readers. Thanks so much for continuing to share and support!

      • just three days. A friend of mine is a professional cupcake baker there and I needed to get out of the German rain for a bit! They have a travelling outdoor cinema and most of their cafes and bars are on boats on the Danube. Today I’m off for Split, Croatia for a few days, which is a total dream of mine. Wish me luck and YES we totally have to meet up! If you’re ever in Germany or we’re travelling in the same area at the same time, give me a yell!

  12. “And what swells my heart more than feeling supported on my journey is learning that I have inspired many of you to pursue your own adventures.” Yep. Thanks for that. Hugs!

      • I’m a fan, Hilary! I sincerely hope we can meet some day and share more face to face adventures!
        Meanwhile, I, too, celebrate 1 year of blogging today, a much smaller impact than your blog, but I’m finding my way… Dove the last 2 days in Cozumel; thought about your own adventure on the GBR 😉
        On my way to another adventure in Chiapas! Will tell you all when I get back!
        Cheers to some happy trails!

        • Wow, how coincidental is that?

          I sincerely hope I get to meet you at some point, as well! I always need more inspiring and motivated women in my life!

          And I am so glad that you are enjoying yourself (and so flattered you thought of me)! Keep living the dream and looking forward to talking with you when you return.

          Happy adventuring, love!

  13. Seems to me Karma had her eye on you…and with something a lot more interesting than Psychology grad school in mind. Congratulations on a life well-lived and sharing the gore and glory with the world.

    • =) I feel like I owe a lot to karma and fate, that’s for sure. Sometimes I sit and think about how I’d feel working in a lab back East, and I send out a mental thank you to the universe for screwing up that plan. =)

      Much more gore and glory to come, I think. Thanks so much for being open to sharing it with me!

  14. Looks like we’ve been blogging for almost the same amount of time. Next month will be my one-year anniversary since starting my own WordPress adventure…

    I can’t help but feel that my blog was more intentional, since I knew that without some artifact of my life in Grad School that I could claim ownership of (like a blog), I wouldn’t have anything to keep me motivated to keep me trudging through the down times that occur along the road to a Ph.D.

    Congratulations on your big milestone! 😀

    • Whoohoo blogging anniversaries! How does it feel to be a year in (to the blog and the program)?

      It definitely sounds like your blog was more intentional, but I think that makes it all the more powerful, yeah? Thanks for being willing to share on my adventures with me. I look forward to sharing many more and following yours!

  15. Oh my god! PLEASE say that’s not really you with the kangaroo and you are just sneaking in that little rare pic to extra impress ur readers!!!! My, barrier-reef-romance girl, you are a real handful, aren’t you! Wish I could meet you! 😀

    • Haha, actually that is a real kangaroo. We had a little chat about how to properly sit like a marsupial. I think he was less than impressed with my impersonation, but it was still a pretty magical moment. Post on that to come.

      Where in the world are you, my dear? Maybe we can meet up somewhere! I LOVE to meet my readers!

      All the best to you!

      • I’m in India. And it’s going to be very long before I can travel so any plans for you to come over? Yeah, we’re just next door! India always is. Until then, Hilary, I’m going to read all your blog posts and try not to be very very jealous. 😀

      • I’m in India. And it’s going to be very long before I can travel so any plans for you to come over? Yeah, we’re just next door! India always is. Until then, Hilary, I’m going to read all your blog posts and try not to be very very jealous. 😀

        • Wow! India sounds SO exotic! And yes, I would LOVE to come over! Haha, you make it sound like I’m going down the street for a sleepover, but I truly hope I get the chance. I would love to meet you some day (hopefully soon!)

          And don’t be jealous; you’re in India making your own amazing memories! Plus, when I meet you you’ll already have heard all of my stories so it will just be me listening with rapture to yours. =)

    • Thank you so much! I love having you follow me! Really, I feel so blessed to have such cool readers (could a girl get any luckier?)

      Here’s to the future! Hopefully with many more posts and amazing adventures!

    • WOW! How excited are you? What part of Australia are you moving to? What brings you here? I am so thrilled for you and can’t wait to follow your journey. Let me know when you get the blog up.

      Lots of love to you! Thanks so much for supporting my journey!

      • I’m very excited ! I’m a bit nervous about the trip because it is soooo long 😦
        I have friends there and i didnt get into the program i wanted at uni and felt like i needed a break from school anyways so i figured why not ? So im going to sydney and look for a job 🙂
        I’ll let you know for sure when the blog is up
        take care

  16. First off, I love that cappucino! Second, I stumbled across your blog and I am hooked. I am leaving in a month to begin my own travelling like you did a year ago. Not too sure what exactly is going to come of it all but I do know I am up for the challenge, excited for the changes and nervous for solo travel. Keep blogging & travelling, I love reading it! If you decide to travel around Southeast Asia, especially Thailand, I will be living and travelling there for about a year!
    -a fellow Psychology grad, travel addict 🙂

    • Hey you!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write me such a sweet and meaningful comment! I am so excited for you to begin this next chapter of your life. Are you going there for work or just to visit? Do you know how long you plan to be gone? Just trust that you will be safe and have some amazing experiences (even when they suck). Solo travel can be scary, but just play it smart and safe. You’re super intelligent and brave. You will make it through and come out with so much more to offer the world than you already do! And know that I’m in your corner if you’re ever in need. =)

      Looking forward to sharing more adventures and stories with you and hearing about yours. And I will be sure to let you know when I make it to that part of the world!

    • Haha, is it? I’ve actually been sitting here wondering how I could be more efficient on my travels and adventures in the upcoming year. Always reaching just a little bit higher… Thank you for supporting me throughout this first year. I can’t wait to share the next with you as well!

  17. Well done! Congrats on one year. Love your zany posts and awesome pictures! You’ll have to share a best of year 1 post! I only found your blog half way through – love it!

    • Thank you so much, Anita! You are so sweet. My life sure is zany, but I kind of like it that way. =) I’ve been thinking of a ‘best of’ post… hopefully it will come shortly! Thanks so much for taking the time to share and go on adventures with me. I also love reading about yours! All the best!

  18. Hilary, you’re my hero and I want to be just like you!! Of course I want to create my own unique adventures but you’ve convinced me to go after my dreams. Like you, my academic aspirations haven’t gone according to plan, but you know what? Who cares? I now have the time to explore different job options and travel. If I had gotten into Medical School, it would have just been school and then work, a totally planned out cookie-cutter life. I now realize that this would not have worked for me at all because there are so many amazing things to see and discover in this world and I want to see and feel them all! My “failures” have gifted me with a window of possibility to make these things a reality and I’m so happy for it. I just have to make the effort to make them happen. And you’re doing it, so why can’t I? I just want you to know that I think you’re amazing and I am one of those people who you inspired.

    • Hey girly,

      First of all, thank you thank you thank you for such a moving comment. My heart is singing as I read your words. Inspiring, motivating, and supporting others to have their own unique adventures is my main drive to keep doing this and I’m so happy to hear I’m able to achieve that.

      I absolutely believe you have it in you to do some amazing things. I’m learning to define success by embracing the failures. Character isn’t built by having everything handed to you. If you want something, you’re going to have to reach for it. And I’m here to support you every step of the way.

      Lots of love to you! Stay inspired. Stay beautiful. And keep searching!

    • =) Thank you so much, Steven! You are so sweet. I will keep following the dream and I hope you will keep finding new ways to find everyday adventure!

      Thank you for your support on this venture. Can’t wait for year two!

    • Hi there! I am very excited about year two, thanks! And I hope you will continue join me. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to reminisce with me. Thanks for your support and love! I send it right back to you.

  19. Inspiring as usual, Hilary. I think you’re just a bit further along the road of life than me, but I am finding more and more that these unplanned paths are really much better than whatever I was envisioning at the time.

    It’s funny you posted this because as I approach the end of my first internship in Paris, I have been seriously reconsidering where I have been going this whole time (from the start of college to now). Knowing that I’ll be returning to Texas is only slightly reassuring because it’s home, but I really have no idea what I’ll do after December, so now, I am starting the process of coalescing a plan.

    Hopefully, if it doesn’t pan out, another unexpected path will open up for me like yours did. What do you expect is in store for you in the coming year? In any case, I really hope that you keep blogging, even if you have to put travelling on hold temporarily.

    I’m so glad that I found your blog and “met” you; it has been a true joy sharing the experience of travelling with you.

    Bons voyages!

    • Hey Ed,

      Thanks (as always) for your inspirational and moving comment! I am so thrilled to have a fellow adventurer sharing in my stories and ridiculous lifestyle.

      Don’t worry so much about the future. It will all pan out, and if it doesn’t start going in a direction you appreciate, you can always turn and go another. I think if nothing else, your internship and experience in Paris will allow you to recognize more easily than others who haven’t had such an unfamiliar experience that you can say, “No” and make a change whenever you feel like it. I know you will know whether or not you’re heading the right way, so I’m really not worried about you. You’re a lot stronger than you realize. =)

      Take care, and please let me know how things pan out when you make it back to Texas! Enjoy Paris while you can. Enjoy a Lauduree macaron and Angelina hot chocolate for me. I miss the delicacies of that city immensely.

      Happy adventuring!

    • Oh my gosh! How amazing was that?! Did you love it? I’m thrilled to hear I could encourage you to try something new. Keep doing it. There is so much life to be had out there.

      Lots of love to you! Let me know if I can help you in any way! Keep seeking! And thank you for continuing to support me on my venture. =)

      • I was initially worried about being a solo female traveler but I just decided to just GO for it and I have absolutely no regrets. I met so many awesome people, made memories that are truly my own, learned a lot of history and got to see a new culture. I’m gonna write a post right now about it actually, so feel free to check my blog in an hour or so hehe.

        I also realized how little time I take to enjoy the important things, mostly because I’m in my PhD program bubble.. When I get back in school this fall, I’m gonna take time for myself and my family/friends, and just to enjoy this wonderful thing we call LIFE. 🙂

        • YES! It sounds like the trip was exactly what you needed!

          I’m so happy to hear that you did this. And I’m even more happy to hear it provided you a chance to grow and learn and experience some self-love.

          Keep me updated! Lots of love!

  20. Though I did “ooooooo” and “ahhhhh” and “awwwww” at appropriate times while reading this post, I just couldn’t get it out of my head that I was dying of jealously that you’re in Brisbane with that awesome cappuccino. 😉

    On a more serious note, I definitely have little flashbacks of those moments when life veered away from what it was supposed to be. I was supposed to be just graduating from dental school and starting to look for a nice little house in Seattle. I’m now an address-less nomad, with the next 3 months barely planned out. I’ve come to learn, however, that when life throws you off that planned track, it will always disappoint someone, but don’t let that someone be you.

    • Erica,

      Reading through the comments I saw this and think it’s one of the most beautiful ways to allow the unexpected. We all get taken off the tracks we thought we were “supposed” to be on but you’re 100% right – when Life decides to take a turn we should embrace that as an opportunity for adventure not as a disappointment. Thank you for sharing your perspective!

    • Awwww, you are so sweet! And yes, it was a pretty amazing cappuccino. =)

      How cool is it that your life is so unpredictable and open? (Or maybe I’m just bias because my next three months are barely planned out as well?) Lots of love to you, my soul sister!

  21. If I’m not mistaken, today is my birthday too. I was asked recently by my dad to considering shutting it down because my expression of my life through words on my blog have unsettled some…like you, the relationships you never intended to make and the friendships you never imagined possible are the reasons I politely declined.

    Happy Blogirthday, Hilary! To many, many more!!

    • Oh wow! How cool is that?

      I’m sorry that some find your blog unsettling. But it’s important to remember why you’ve started your blog and why you want to continue it. I’m glad you’re keeping it. =)

      Lots of love to you!

  22. What a wonderful post! It’s amazing what the simplest things can do for you. Love the picture of us girlies with the Opera House in the background 🙂 Must catch up soon, I want to hear all about Fiji! x

    • Thank you so much, miss Zoe! I have so many wonderful photos of us from that day (and I STILL need to write about it– how behind am I?) Catching up soon would be lovely! Do you have Skype or something? Let me know. I can’t wait to fill you in and hear all about your Sydney adventures! Lots of love to you and the girls.

  23. You have been SUCH an inspiration to me, to see the adventure in every day! I am so very happy for you and looking forward to reading more blog posts about all of your adventures!

    • Thank you for such a sweet comment! I am so happy to hear I have been able to inspire you and I look forward to hearing more about your everyday adventures. Life is a beautiful thing. Lots of love to you!

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