From Schinveld and Kikase-cho to Dime Box: travel blogging now and next year

It’s not even (Julian calendar) New Year’s yet and I’m doing that “think and reflect” thing.

Thanks to Australian blogger Darren Rowse and another of his Problogger Group Writing Projects, I get to broadcast my thoughts to a wider-than-usual audience. Here’s my list of travel, blogging and general freelance writing ruminations as I look back on 2006, my first year blogging, and ahead to 2007.

Here’s what I learned at the revolution:

** I’ve made blogging friends all over the world but I’ve never actually met them. Liz Strauss in Chicago, TechZ in Bahrain, Pam in Seattle and Austria; they all give new and very positive meaning to “I met them on the Internet.”

** Blogging, if it’s done well, is harder than it looks and takes a lot of time.

** A good writer can write about almost anything, with a lot of research, creativity and willingness to admit what you don’t know. That’s how I fell into becoming one of the bloggers writing about NHRA drag racing on Fast Machines. I even figured out how to write racing posts that tied back into the travel with kids topic.

Holiday at the Alamo, courtesy of the San Antonio CVB

** Travel and discovery is great for educating your kids.

** Travel and discovery will spoil your kids for more of the same. Yes, they sometimes do get a little jaded and think that just because they’ve been to New York/Paris/Tokyo that everyone has gone or ought to go.

It’s a maturity thing for well-traveled children to recognize that not everyone thinks travel is all that important, nor can some others afford it or even want to budget for it. Military assignments got us overseas and all over the US, so we were fortunate to be able to do a lot on not that much cash. Just keep working to ensure that your kids appreciate it.

** Local travel holds all sorts of treasures and is easier on the budget. We just finished a nice day trip down to San Antonio to see the holiday-lighted Riverwalk and the Alamo.

As for looking ahead to 2007, I’m excited to continue developing my freelance writing business.

Never a patient person, I have to wait until March for my latest articles to be published in National Geographic Traveler, Transitions Abroad and CHOW (a food magazine; my first foodie work.) That’s why blogging is so much fun for me — no one edits my stuff and the reward of publication is immediate.

I also expect to do more drag racing work and continue my initial foray into NASCAR coverage, to use the other side of my brain.

One of my dearest friends gave me a lovely Waterman pen early in 2006 to help kick-start my writing career, and I used it this month to write holiday card notes to some of my editors. I reflected on how nice it is to even have editors to mail cards to, so with just that datapoint I’m calling it a pretty doggone successful year.

Finally, about the title: Schinveld, the Netherlands and Kikase-cho in Sasebo, Japan are two of the places that I’ve lived overseas, courtesy of the US Navy. Now I find myself in Central Texas, researching travel articles in places like the tiny town of Dime Box, Texas. How the world turns….