This post marks a milestone in the life of this blog. It is the 365th post in the blog, which means I have reached that milestone number for a Project 365. You might have heard of people working on such project — typically on photos, blogs, or both. It means posting one entry per day for the whole year (365 days — thus the name). It is quite a challenge that requires commitment, discipline, and perseverance to complete because, well, typically your daily life catches up on you and in many cases people would have to give up this project for other priorities that are more important in life.
In the case of this blog, I started it on a whim in mid October 2011, and after posting on daily basis for few days I decided to embark on the Project 365 challenge. I was able to keep up with it for around eight months, and then life caught up with me with a very hectic season at work. I gradually fell further behind but decided to catch up little by little during the weekends, and today I finally reached that 365 mark. It is almost two months behind schedule (entry is dated October 13, 2012 to keep the daily tracking of the project, but it was actually written on December 8, 2012), but the important point is that I did make it to item number 365.
So now that I reach that milestone, what is next? Well, before continuing forward, I thought it would be good to take a moment to reflect through the experience and jot down my thoughts about it:
- Sense of accomplishment: I have friends who had spent months to train for a race, a mountain climbing expedition, or working on a personal project that takes long time and commitment to complete. But prior to this experience, I had never done anything like that myself. Now I know what it feels like to be at a point where you finally reach a goal that you set long before. There is a sense of satisfaction that you have accomplished something for yourself, even if it may not mean much to others.
- Evolution of objectives: Sometimes when you are going through a long project, your objectives evolve along the way, and by the end, it becomes something different or perhaps more refined than what you initially started with. In my case, it started with simply wanting to select a photo per day from my travel photo archives and writing something around that photo for the post. Along the way it evolved into series of posts on a particular place or experience and then into a post-trip travel journal. Sometime during the middle of the year I realized that some people in my life that I would love to share the experience with the most are not necessarily readers of online articles, so I decided to spin off a side project to take the online blog posts and create a book compilation that can possibly be printed or consumed offline. Now the objective of the blog is to be an online record of my travel experience that I can share with others, not just a collection of random entries or thoughts.
- Change in daily routine: Whenever you take something recurring and add that to your daily schedule, it is guaranteed to have impact on your daily routine, at least it makes you conscious that now you have another task to complete during your day. During the first few months, I found myself thinking about doing my daily post with midnight Eastern time as my daily deadline. Since the task itself was fun, it did not bother me much, until came time when things got really busy at work and by the time I got home I was already spent mentally and did not have any energy do anything else. Then you have decision to make, what is most important, and what to do with things that are deprioritized. For many people, this means the end of this experience. For me, I had to think about what was more important to me: meeting my deadlines, or coming up with posts that are thought through and I would like to keep permanently as a record of my experience. As such, I decided to keep continuing the writing, but it became only when I had time blocks to do so after everything else that was going on.
- Community support/encouragement: There is something unique to note with the experience of blogging within an online community like WordPress. As you post your entry for the day, with the use of tags you can get your post exposed out to other bloggers or readers who are likeminded and have similar interests to yours. It is encouraging when someone ‘like’ my post, made comments on the page, or decided to follow your blog; that gave the feeling that there is someone out there who also appreciated what you had to say. In some cases, I found that some of these readers had their own blog that was equally interesting to me, and that created a mutual following situation and occasional encouragement or appreciation to what others had done, and I got to learn from and be inspired by others’ experience.
So what is next? Few days ago, I watched a TED conference presentation by Louie Schwartzberg called ‘Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.’
It is a wonderful presentation that talks about being grateful for the gift of life and the ability to experience things that often times we take for granted. It is an encouragement to treasure the gift and share the blessings with others. In a way, that is what makes writing posts in this blog worthwhile; to pass on the blessings to others. So the blog will continue with other travel experience, but I still need to figure out if I want to keep the daily target as in project 365 or do less frequent posts. But regardless my photography and travel will continue as long as I am able, so the materials for content have not been exhausted yet. It is only a question of time.
The posts from the first year of this blog have been compiled into book format using Blurb. If you are interested, you can get either the printed version, or the free ebook version for iPad that can be downloaded from Blurb. Simply click on the cover images below to get to the Blurb bookstore to find the books.