ciento volando

travel, stories, and other flights of fancy

What merits a post?


Some Sunday arvo navel gazing and a bit of a bitch.

When I first joined facebook years ago, I noticed a change in my thought processes, and sometimes even behaviour. I used to be quite a shy creature (believe it or not), and to begin with, being suddenly propelled into such a voyeuristic and public sphere was more than a little nerve wracking. Of course I could have resisted (I tried to) and just not have signed up, but the lure of social invitations, photos, clubs, competitions, gimmicks, games, and importantly, the sheer convenience and ease of communication, overcame my initial reluctance. You know how it is. And predictably, like many first time users, I was instantly hooked. Particularly with the status updates. It was so much fun, making wacky little sentences (several times a day) and proudly posting them for all to see. Anything from venting frustration at tram drivers, celebrating culinary successes, or making snide remarks about bosses, lecturers or politicians… I just had to publicise my opinion. I thought I was so witty, so bold. Really I was just using my status as a means to express what I would never have had the guts to say out loud in the real world. Or comment on things that had happened to me, but that no one was around to see, and that weren’t exactly dinner party conversation material…such as burning my tongue on hot chocolate, missing a train, or completing a Sudoku… One time I even posted ‘I change my status more often than my underwear’. Sad. But no matter, it was fun.

And still is, I might add.

What I’m getting to is that not long after joining facebook, I literally began to think in terms of status updates. Which often lead to thinking of myself in the third person, ie Tuesday morning status: “Jean is…thinking aloud, about herself in the third person…this is a bit of a worry”. I’m not sure if I was slipping into some kind of narcissistic madness, or it was just normal behaviour for someone of my generation. I couldn’t brush my teeth without wondering if I could somehow sensationalise the experience into a snappy one-liner, which would hopefully have all my friends choking on their breakfast cereal with laughter. Fortunately, over time, the novelty wore off and I stopped thinking in statuses. The here and now of the real world eventually regained priority and perspective.

However, since starting this blog, I’ve noticed the same, slightly obsessive thought process creeping back. For everything I do or see, one of the first things that comes to my head is ‘Can I blog about this?’. I know (well I hope) it’s great writing experience; not just the actual writing up of events after they’ve happened, but the way I’m learning to look and think about things while they are occurring, observing and remembering details. But it’s also a bit stifling. Where do I draw the line? What about my personal life? Should I name names? And do I need to be doing more interesting stuff, just so I can blog about it? (Or less? in case I don’t have time to blog about it?) If I’m serious about documenting my experiences, should I be reviewing every single holiday, day trip, exhibition, and social event that I go to?

If so, I’m falling way behind.

Last weekend I went to La Granja. It’s a mini Versailles, just outside of Segovia. In my opinion it’s more beautiful than the original, and as a little known destination for non-Spanish tourists, it would have been ideal to review in this blog. Off the back of my Autumn post, it’d be perfect to show some photos of royal palace gardens in all their Autumn splendour. But I didn’t take any photos, I didn’t feel like writing, and now, the moment has passed.

Some days I have the opposite problem, and want to write about the most random or everyday things. Not long ago I posted a salad recipe…kinda pushing the boundaries of the alleged ‘travel’ theme of this blog. Nor would it have been any use to my friends at home, who usually just want an honest answer to the question ‘How are you?’. Well I’m fine thanks, and eating a lot of beetroot.

So what does merit a post? Managing to peg out my washing without dropping anything on the ground? Finding a new and worthy tapas bar? Returning my library books on time?

Judging by the blogosphere, anything goes, just get it out there! But by my own criteria for this blog… well it appears I don’t have any. Ideally I’d be writing regularly about weekend escapades all over Europe. But the reality is that life at the moment isn’t much of an adventure. In fact it couldn’t be more routine or less romantic. Mondays to Thursdays are full up with school, private students and Spanish classes. I then spend all day Friday, and much of the weekend, preparing lessons and doing my homework. Like a good girl. Then perhaps I’ll go out, or perhaps I’ll just do some housework  and make a soup. Often the highlight of my day is something like not being rained on, or having dinner ready before 10pm, or finding Viña Albali on special at Mercadona. Hardly what I had in mind when I used to daydream about my amazing European adventure*, all that time ago in Melbourne. I suppose I should have guessed that it wouldn’t all be flamenco and sunbathing, that the bit about the work contract actually meant work. Though it didn’t necessarily mean that we’d be getting paid on time…

So unfortunately, until the departamento misterioso de educación figures out when, how, and if they’re going to give us our dues, life is going to be very mundane and sans adventure for the next long while.

The upside of this rather mediocre existence is that  it’s actually quite comfortable. No adventures equals no trials or tribulations, no map reading disasters, no lugging heavy backpacks, no wild nights out, no hangovers. And on weekends I have more time to relax, read, explore my immediate surroundings, navel gaze… and write awkward posts on nothing in particular…like this one.


*Although next Tuesday will be pretty exciting – I’ll have enough stamps on my coffee card to get a freebee**. This may well be the highpoint of the week!

**That means coffee and a biscuit and a tapa (which we get to choose). Oh I take back all my frustrations about Spain! Just pay me in tortilla and manchego cheese!

3 thoughts on “What merits a post?

  1. Pingback: a walk in the park (with vomiting frogs) | ciento volando

  2. thanks Bronwyn! I agree, it’s hard not to be overly self critical…if you’re publishing your thoughts for all to see, they’d better damn well be readable! But I don’t think you need to worry about your blog, most of what you write about has such a unique perspective and knowledge base, that even if you did just ‘brain dump’, we’d still be impressed!

  3. Oh my goodness, it’s like you are inside my head Jean. This is EXACTLY how I started acting shortly after joining Facebook as well, and gradually the thinking of myself in the third person subsided once the novelty wore off (and once most people stopped doing it after Facebook made your post appear under your name instead of next to it). I think I just liked the creative challenge of making the mundane interesting, and crafting a perfect witty gem of a status update for the validation of receiving ‘likes’ from random people I don’t see very often. It’s a hard habit to break once you start, too. And likewise with the blogging, once I became aware of having an audience, it’s really difficult to just write what’s in my head without self-censoring, or wondering whether people really want to read such and such. Hence why I’m a bit behind on blogging now too, because the challenge of “crafting a post” seems like it requires more energy and time than I have, whereas if I just sat down and brain dumped, chance are most of it would be readable anyway; I’m just making way too big a deal out of it now, considering my small readership!

    For what it’s worth, I think that the routine things about travel and living overseas can be just as interesting as the special and noteworthy activities. When I was in Ireland, I know I had lots of days that blurred into each other with work and housemates and walking home from the shops while juggling both groceries and an umbrella, but it was all part of the one experience of living and working abroad, and just as valid to write about. Plus, there’s a lot to be said for navel gazing – that’s how we process everything else that happens to us. Enjoy it. And you know we’ll like reading what you have to say regardless.

    Just my two cents’ worth. :-)

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