Zanzibar sunset. Photo by Helen It has been exactly 56 days since I last posted on this blog. 56 days! The longest I have ever gone without posting on This Battered Suitcase.…
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Just a couple of days ago, I turned 33. Technically, I turned 33 while flying over the Atlantic Ocean, flying from the gorgeous Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, something that I had…
I flew back to Canada from London one summer, just after my thirty-first birthday. I was feeling a little bit low; I had recently been dumped by somebody I cared about, and…
I have recently written a few posts about blogging, which is weird, because I never wanted to be that blogger who just talks about blogging all the time. The fact is, however, that my entire life is dedicated to blogging, either on This Battered Suitcase or for my work. Whether I’m working on my own blog, collaborating with tourism boards, running a major travel brand’s blog, consulting travel PRs on who to hire for their campaigns, or giving presentations on working with bloggers and influencers (I still can’t say that word without cringing, anyone else?), I am talking about or working with blogs seven days a week. My recent post, When Did Travel Blogging Get So Boring? really hit a nerve, and many people came forward to say that they felt the same way.
Because seriously? If I hear one more person say, “It’s just about posting good content and using the right hashtags,” when giving advice about Instagram, I’m going to… sit behind my laptop and quietly seethe. NO. IT’S NOT JUST THAT. THERE IS SO MUCH MORE. It’s complicated sometimes, it’s frustrating sometimes, and, most of all, it takes a lot of work.
So I decided to write this post: every single thing I know about Instagram. And yes, this is all going to be my subjective advice, my personal opinions, and so on. But what I can tell you is this: a lot of what happens on Instagram is some straight up bullshit, and trust me, you’re not imagining things.
Ready? Grab your glass of wine and let’s do this.
Recently, I pulled back a bit to take a look at this blog, and where I’d like to take it. As I recently went down to part-time to focus on this as a possible business, it was necessary for me to outline what I wanted for the future of This Battered Suitcase, and for my career. I started going through my archives. I started looking at the posts that I loved writing the most. I started looking at the posts that readers loved reading the most. And it hit me: if I keep accepting all of these trips, and if I keep chasing SEO stats, my blog might grow, yes. But isn’t my blog also going to get really fucking boring?
It’s hard for me to put into words how I’ve been feeling since yesterday morning, just as I imagine it is for so many people around the world. I can’t even fathom how it must feel to be an American who did not want this result. My Facebook and Instagram feeds are all filled with sorrow, anger, and fear. There is so much I want to say and yet I, too, am too angry and too sad to articulate it properly. But, I have to admit, I am not completely shocked at what has happened. After watching what the UK decided this summer with Brexit, and after watching the American presidential campaigns unfold over the last year, I have been horrified at the racism, misogyny, bigotry, homophobia, and hatred that has emerged. Perhaps it was inevitable that it would come to a boiling point, and it has done so in the worst way possible.
But now, the day after the results of the election, I sit here wondering what I can do. As mentioned, I’m a Canadian living in the UK – a privileged migrant – and some may argue this is not my fight. However, I believe that it is, in fact, our duty to reach out in times of need, no matter where we come from or what our backgrounds may be. I have spent considerable time in America, have many American friends, have lived next to America for the majority of my life, and, most importantly, I do not want to idly stand by when there is so much work to be done. The fight for human rights is on all of our shoulders, no matter our gender, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin, or colour of skin.
So how can those of us who aren’t American help out right now?