Monday, May 14, 2012

Existential Blogger

I sat down to write my next blogpost and it looked like the handbrakes were on or something. I wasn’t making any progress. I couldn’t make any progress. No thoughts. Then, came the question, not for the first time: Why do I blog? It’s an existential question, which I never try to answer. If Douglas Adams’ supercomputer Deep Thought had taken seven million years to think about the question ‘what is the meaning of life’ only to come up with the answer ‘Forty-two’, what was I, a mere earthling going to find here? Nothing. So, while I wait for my world of blogging to find its own meaning, I thought I’d write about some of the people I’ve met on this galactic experience in the blogosphere.

There’s been fellow bloggers who’ve been extremely supportive with their comments and suggestions. Amongst these have been Radha Vijay who writes at Musings of a Night Owl, Meena Venkataraman who writes at Travel Tazzels and Anjali who writes at Annaparabrahma. I have often read and re-read posts at Windy Skies learning something new each time.

Two years ago, on a suggestion from a friend, I wrote a mail to Lonely Planet asking to be a part of their Blogsherpa program. I started to contribute as a ‘Lonely Planet Blogger’. This also meant being part of an e-group of Travel writers and Travel Bloggers who posted regularly on Lonelyplanet.com. There was a lot to learn from the questions and answers that went back and forth in this forum. There were places that I’d never heard of before that a fellow blogger would write about and it would make me curious. Met some really nice people there.

The friend who had suggested writing to Lonely Planet had been travelling in India for three months and we had first met in Bombay. Laura Mannering had quit her job as a Features Editor in the UK to give herself some time to see the world and to meet new people. Laura got back to London after an entire year of travelling and started a travel blog: World out there. It had fascinated me when I had first met Laura that one could travel on and on for a whole year. And now, months later, I was reading her detailed accounts of the places she had been to, the stories I had missed, the places that had happened in the months after the time in India.

In the early months of being part of the Blogsherpa program at Lonely Planet, there were exchanges with bloggers, through the Blog carnival series that was started and through writing guest posts. At this time, I came across ‘A Traveler’s Library’ – a blog that reviewed books and films that inspired travel. That was for me such an interesting way to think and discuss travel. Vera Marie wrote about places she’d been to and books she’d read and you felt as if you were sitting across the table listening to her, forgetting that all of this was only coming to you from a computer screen.

Then, I came across Wandering Educators - a global community of educators who share their travel experiences and dialogue about education and travel. They write about Artisans, Intercultural Education, Performing arts and many, many other interesting stories about travel. Also, there was Pocket Cultures – a group blog that makes connections between people from different cultures. Some of their collaborative posts have been really interesting such as this one: School days around the world where contributors from around the world talk of a typical school day in their country.

A few months ago, I learnt about 10 year itch, travel consultants who offer custom designed trips to India such as the Ladakh Gompa circuit, MP Unplugged, Temples & Tigers, the Kochi loop and many more innovative itineraries . And, more recently, I discovered the creative team at Spark the magazine – an online literary magazine that explores the world through writing, photography and art. They have some really interesting stories, for example, in Feb 2012, Spark interviewed the co-founder of Grassroutes – a fellowship program that encourages travel through rural India and working with changemakers.

I think I will stop now. If the next blogosphere underpass construction project suddenly demolishes Indian Bazaars (Douglas Adams talks of the intergalactic highway, in Bangalore we have the road dug up anywhere and everywhere to build an underpass, so it's the first on my recall...), at least the draft acknowledgement piece of this 'Saga that was going nowhere' would have been written!

8 comments:

Divenita said...

Hi!

I have been following your blog :).
I is beautiful I must admit.

Here's something that might interest you: http://nivuuuuu.blogspot.com/2012/05/traveloguescall-for-submission-for.html

Indian Bazaars said...

hi Divenita, thanks for your comment. I'd love to participate. Some time ago, the Lonely Planet Bloggers came out with quite an interesting e-book. In case you haven't seen it yet, you can download it here:
http://alpaca-suitcase.blogspot.in/2011/05/lonely-planets-blogsherpa-program.html

Anjali said...

Hi Kiran! Thanks for the mention. Remembering how we met first as friends of friends and then got to know we both write a blog. Your blog is classy that much I can say about the content. At age 42yrs Deep thought's answer 42 really sound relevant isn't it? :P This post is the essence of this existential blogger I know, one who creates her own values, one who must not conform. I love your blog and especially this post with all those bookmarks, such an eclectic reading they will make for me. Keep blogging!

Sangi said...

So this is why you blog - to educate me on these other blogs! Love your blog and come back here to re-read, refer and actually go to those markets! Blog on!

radha said...

Thanks for the nice words. I love the way you write and that is reason enough why you should continue to blog!

Nisha said...

Such a lovely list. Let me tell you, I read half of these blogs. :) Windy skies, Wandering educators, Traveler's Library, pocket cultures to name a few. And of course yours! :-)

Yes, I can not comment on every blog every time they publish but that doesn't stop me from reading them! :-)

Anil P said...

Thanks for remembering.

I'd imagine the posts we write, the lot of us, are in essence relieving (as also reliving) memories, while creating space for more.

In its telling, memories live longer. And this platform is merely a medium to enable that process.

Indian Bazaars said...

Anjali: Thanks for saying all those nice things!

Sangita: I still need to know the many markets in Bangalore. Hoping we'll do some together.

Radha: Thanks.

Nisha: It's nice we have blogs we like in common.

Anil P: I'd never thought of this as "relieving" the memory, but I guess it is that too. And yet, there is the need to write everything down right after the experience, as if it will flow away if you didn't, even if you didn't want it to.