Yesterday, Friday, we stayed at the camper all day. Dar spent a lot of time getting caught up on photos from this past fall that hadn't been processed and uploaded to online albums yet. I worked on a few small projects and spent some time soaking up some sun while reading with my Kindle (still happy as a clam with it!).
It's days like this, with no pressure to be anywhere or to do anything in particular, that I also ponder about things. Among the subjects of this reflection yesterday was this blog... the Journal. Lately, I've been a little dissatisfied with how it's evolved... or, I guess you might say, how I've "evolved" it... since it's all me. If it's turned into this or that, I'm the only one to blame since I'm the only author. My dissatisfaction comes from what I think is the mundane nature of most entries -- something that wasn't planned, but something that just happened. It's easier to write a daily diary of events than it is to write mindful self-reflections, insights, and interpretations of some aspect of what you did or saw or thought. One of the primary purposes of traditional journaling is self-discovery through the process of putting your thoughts down on paper. OK, but it can't be that all the time either.
I'd also like the journal to be a place where I can occasionally express myself creatively, to be a little crazy once in a while, to write something really out of the ordinary, maybe some poetry, maybe an ultra-short story. A couple years ago I did some of that and really enjoyed it. I think it's time to do some of that again.
Clearly, there's no right or wrong here. If someone wants their blog to be a diary of events, or a list of places they visited, or just a place to display their photos... that's OK. It's their blog and it can be whatever they want it to be.
But when I look back over my recent journal entries, I was somehow hoping for more. To that end, I have resolved to work a little harder at spicing things up a bit.
I have two driving purposes for the Journal... first, is to keep family, friends, and curious others updated on our location, activities, thoughts, and experiences; and second, to be a permanent record of our travels, our thoughts, our experiences... a legacy, if you will... so our kids, grand-kids, and, maybe, future generations might have a chance to understand a little more about crazy Thom and nutty Dar, those two strange but intrepid explorer ancestors.
Blogging works well for the first reason... keeping others updated. But I'm uncomfortable with how well it does with the second... the legacy. All these words and images are out there in cyberspace... on someone's blog-hosting server, and perhaps in some computer files somewhere.. Will it still be there, and be readable, in 5 years? or 10? or 20?? I'm not sure. How many computer files you produced 20 years ago are still readable or even available today?
Because of this issue, we've started producing a printed book of the Journal for every full calendar year we've been on the road. So far, we've done 2007 and 2008, and I'm working on getting 2009 together. The books are professionally bound soft-covers printed on high quality 8-1/2 x 11" glossy paper. Their not cheap... the 2009 edition is over 200 pages and will cost in the area of $60 or $70 per copy. But they're perfect for the purpose of a legacy document that can be handed down from one generation to the next. I also like how the individual journal entries in these books can be presented in chronological order rather than the reverse-chronological order of an online blog -- it makes the book more readable... an unfolding story.
I use Blog2Print.com for these annual books, but please don't take this reference as an endorsement or an ad. It's just the service I started working with and have had some luck with. I'm sure there are others "out there" that work just as well.