Today marks my one year anniversary of blogging on Next Stop Adventure! It’s awesome how much this blog has helped record, share, and shape my life in the past year.
Instead of sharing my life via photos on Facebook, I have a growing collection of complete stories with photos, text, and context that I can share with more than just my friends back home, but other adventure-oriented people all over the world! When my life is lacking adventurous moments, the blog actually continually inspires me to grow and try new activities so I can share them here!
For those of you just joining me on my adventures, I believe a story is in order.
The Beginning: An Idea
It all started at Starbucks in Salt Lake last August. Brighton and I were “coffee-shopping” as I call it, meaning working at a coffee shop on our own separate projects. I was editing photos from our last hike, and he was learning some new coding language. I realized that I frequently read blogs to look up trail information, conditions, photos, difficulty, etc. in the local Salt Lake area. Brighton and I love hiking and road trips, and I wanted to share our outdoor adventures online as well. I have family back home that like looking at our trips, and I also wanted a personal record of these memories. In addition, we were engaged and in the midst of planning our wedding in Florida, and I was using quite a few blogs for wedding-planning reference so I decided that would be included as well.
The idea seemed perfect— a place to share our photos, trail reports, wedding planning advice and tips, and a personal diary of sorts. I was working at the hotel and I wanted a place where I could express myself creatively. I decided to jump in.
All I needed was a domain and hosting!
Behind the Name
I sat in the coffee shop trying to think of a name for my blog. I knew that I didn’t want to be too specific like “Hilary Hikes” because that seemed too narrow of a topic. My inspiration actually comes from something that Brighton and I sometimes say as we begin our hikes or road trips: next stop, adventure!
I liked it because it ties a couple ideas together: the idea of an ongoing journey, and the idea that the unexpected is bound to happen.
Many of our trips have resulted in “adventure” because we have now ended up in Canada without a plan— TWICE. When my friend Erica came to visit, we visited 3 national parks and drove 1,000+ miles in 3 days without any clue where we were going and that was definitely an adventure!
Look at the definition of adventure above. The two parts I’d like to highlight are “daring and exciting activity calling for enterprise and enthusiasm” and “…the exploration of unknown territory.” I try to make life an adventure— You never know where you’re going to end up.
This is especially true of me this past year. I had no idea that I was going to end up pursuing professional photography as a career. I am happy I am exploring this field because it’s really exciting and satisfying to me.
Back to the blog!
Learning about the Blogging World
I was up and running quickly and jumped right in! Blogging is both simple and complex at the same time. If you just want to write your thoughts, all you really need to do is know how to use whichever blogging platform you chose (WordPress, for me). That’s the simple part.
When I first started, I had so many questions!
What do I write about?
How do I come up with new topics for blog posts?
What should my site look like?
How do people get their blog title graphics looking so sleek and designed?
How do people market their blog?
How can I be diligent about posting to Instagram and Facebook consistently?
While I have answered some of those questions, I am still working on routines that work for others. It’s a learning curve that’s constantly changing. The blogging world is pretty saturated, as so many people start blogs now. But it’s about finding your corner of the world.
What non-blogging people don’t realize is that there are many steps going on in the background to make it look visually appeasing, interesting, and easy to read. For me, there’s the planning of the adventure, then going and doing it, taking and editing photos, writing the post, and then the posting and sharing on social media. When I first started, I didn’t realize that so much goes into one post! It’s time consuming, and I want to make all my posts fit my personal brand!
I’m happy to have this learning process in my life because it has encouraged me to develop new skills and learn new processes that I can transfer in other parts of my life. For instance, while I am no graphic designer, I was able to make an awesome flyer for an event we had at work! I am learning about marketing, writing, trip planning, and social media all at once in a satisfying and rewarding manner.
My Hopes for Next Stop Adventure
My hopes for my blog remain the same as when I started: I want to share my experiences with others, and I hope to inspire others to adventure in their own backyard and beyond. If someone can read my work and feel less alone in their own challenges, that is success to me.
Personally, I read blogs for two reasons: to feel connected to others, and for inspiration. I want to feel one of two thoughts: “I am so happy that I’m not the only one that feels this way!” or “That’s a great idea, maybe I can use this in my own life!”
Another bonus is that I’ve met some friends that I’ve met through blogging, and they’ve become real friends like Katie from Katie Wanders. I hope to continue to find more people that are like-minded and maybe even living in SLC, like me!
I can’t wait to see what next year of blogging brings for me.