To the date, two years ago I published my first post on this blog. "How did we get here, where are we going to?", I ask.
Mid 2006, I took a 13 months' sabbatical. I needed a break from work, re-evaluate where I stood, reconnect with my family, sail the Atlantic, and write down the stories in my mind. Stories of people I had met and situations I had lived through.
As I was writing, I missed something. Without anyone reading the stories, it felt pointless.
I did not want to go through the agony of publishing them on paper neither so I thought of the Internet.
I had never published anything on the Internet. Did not know where to start. I downloaded a copy of Dreamweaver and tried to design my own webpage. It was too cumbersome.
By coincidence, I discovered something called "blogs". So I tried it out. It took a few days to figure out this was probably the right way "to give access" to the stories.
Several weeks later, all stories were online.
While I was at it, I took a book I wrote years ago, about my past expeditions to the Antarctic and the Pacific, and published it on Verslaafd aan de Horizon (Addicted to the Horizon).
As I got familiar with the blogplatform, one fine day, I realized I could continue writing and publishing on this blog. That day, The Road transformed from a static eBook, to a dynamic blog.
I started writing about stuff I experienced around me, in daily life. I started to publish news I found interesting. Pictures, videos and sites I discovered.. Before I knew it, the blog started to create an audience.
The look and feel of The Road started with a very simple blog template. Learning about HTML and all that stuff, as I went along, I tweaked it bit by bit, and for almost a year, this is what The Road looked like:
Many tweaks later, with a lot of blood and tears in trying to understand "webstuff" and Internet publishing, what you have today is the result of "a road" of two years.
So, today The Road celebrates its second birthday. A cake with 955 candles on it, one for every post published.
222,000 people from 208 countries visited The Road in the past two years. 23,000 came back at least twice. 6,000 of you came to read updates at least 100 times. About 100 of you drop by at least once every two days. About 150-200 of you subscribe to daily updates via email or RSS feeds.
Apart from ego-tripping on how proud that makes me feel, what do I want to do with all this?
Well, it seems gradually we form a community around this blog. A loosely knitted connection of people either interested in travel, adventure, or the humanitarian issues. I would like to take this community a step further..
That is what I tried with Change Starts Here, the blog's social project, where we raised over US$4,000 for micro-financing projects. I'm happy with the results. It is feasible to start some "action" with you all.
That's also why I started The Road's discussion forum, to start more interactivity in 'our community'.
Summarizing, these are my goals for this blog:
- continue inspiring people
- have the community gathered loosely around The Road, to make a small change in the world. For the better.
And that is my wish as we're blowing out the candles on The Road's birthday cake.
Thank you for walking The Road with me in the past two years. We still have a long way to go before we reach The Horizon, but let's enjoy what we experience while walking along this road, this path of life. And do good for those around us, as we discover the world on our path.
Pictures courtesy Sleepishly (birthday cake) and my brother Kris (winter beauty).