A Virtual Blog Tour is a project that asks each participant to compose a one-time post to be published on a specific Monday. Its purpose is to introduce different bloggers through a series of questions about the creative process and what inspires us to do what we do. The same set of questions will introduce a blogger to another blogger’s readers, as well as the wider blogging community.
Last Monday Vasilis from Traveller’s Tree sent me an invitation to join a Virtual Blog Tour and here I am, one week later, participating (see my answers in the end of this post) and about to introduce the next participant, Sarah from Backpackbee.
However, before moving to South Korea where Sarah lives, a few words about Vasilis. Vasilis introduces himself as “Dad bitten by the wanderlust bug. Exploring the planet with his family”. He is a Greek man born in Athens who after studying paleontology in Japan made it to the other side of the world, Finland. I don’t know much about Vasilis, but what I know is that he takes cool photos and that he has interesting comments and analysis about Finland, my country of origin. He moved to Finland around the same time when I permanently left Finland, and I admit being intrigued by his life in Finland. Or rather by his observations should I say! Life of an expat is always interesting to another expat… So, thank you Vasilis for inviting me to a Virtual Blog Tour, keep Traveller’s Tree growing and be happy in Finland!
(Photo copied from An ode to a Finnish lake at Traveller’s Tree)
Now, let’s move to the other side of the world, South Korea, where Sarah has been writing her Backpackbee blog since March 2011. When I first saw this photo of her I said to myself “she looks like a kind, happy person”. And I started following her.
Similarly to Vasilis, my relationship with Sarah is purely virtual. I know very little of her, but I like reading her posts because she is another expat living abroad. She writes about food, restaurants, travels, weekend visits, her husband and friends. These photos below are from her 4th of July diving trip to the East Coast of South Korea. Beautiful shots, aren’t they!
Ever since I tasted my first bibimbap in Paris I have been fascinated about South Korea, so through Backpackbee I get my weekly dose of a country I have not yet visited. I appreciate the fact that Sarah is a regular writer and that her posts are quite lengthy. I don’t mean to say that blog posts should always be long (mine certainly aren’t!) but I admire the fact that Sarah finds time and energy to create long posts and at a regular basis. We all know that writing is not always simple and it certainly doesn’t come without effort. Even if I may have some idea about her motivation, I am curious to know more about her and I am looking forward to Sarah’s answers to the questions below (where you also find my answers)! Welcome Sarah!
1. What am I working on?
I am working on moving my mind from Finland to France. My body was transported to Paris last Saturday night but my mind is elsewhere and resisting. Our holiday in Finland was really very lovely and the summer house is one of those places where one can get lost forever; get lost in the rhythm of sauna, swimming, wood cutting and cooking (what else would one need in life?). Unfortunately I had to return to Paris but I would have liked to stay longer (tears).
In terms of my blog work, I will write more posts about the summer house and Helsinki because Helsinki is a fantastic capital to visit, ansd because our summer house is a paradise on earth (quoting a young French boy who visited it some years ago)! Some posts from last year can be found here: The Midsummer Weekend in Finland and more is to come!
I also want to finish my series about my first trip to India, Rajasthan, and write more about my fourth trip that took place in April this year (especially about Fabulous Ayurvedic Treatments).
I love India and I hate when people observe this huge, diversified country purely through violence and you-know-what. I want to show that nothing in India is so black and white as it seems, and that beyond the surface that we think is brutal, dirty and primitive one can find extraordinary beauty, wisdom and sophistication.
I am also working on other personal projects but let’s limit this answer to the blog world.
2. How does my work differ from others in it’s genre?
Pearlspotting is a travel and lifestyle blog. I have traveled in more than 70 countries (and worked in many of them) and my writing is based on the accumulative experience of visiting the world and everything it contains. Happiness, joy, sadness, astonishment, beauty, cruelty, injustice, etc.
For living I write about economic development of emerging markets, and I believe this professional experience provides me with a good foundation to understand other sectors such as for example tourism.
In my blog, I do not really list typical places to visit –there are enough of those guide books. I try to guide people toward experiences and feelings; towards some kind of a fusion where travel becomes lifestyle and lifestyle becomes travel, and where travel doesn’t always need to be geographical…
3. Why do I write/create what I do?
In the beginning Pearlspotting was about a desire to create (a basic human need!) by writing and taking photos. Very soon I realized that having a blog makes me very happy. Writing about food, wine, restaurants, travel, design, architecture, religion etc. in a positive light sort of became a self therapy, and as my husband now jokes, Pearlspotting has made me fall in love with Paris again!
So, to put it simply, living abroad is not always easy but writing a blog has made it nearly wonderful (lol).
Secondly, I also write because I want to memorize experiences I have had around the world. Sometimes it is a way of showing respect and gratitude toward people I have met during my travels. For example, The man who lived is a sad story about someone I met in Sudan and who passed away. On the happier end, I wrote a post about lovely Cretan bakery owners I met last summer. They were so kind and their products were so delicious that they had to be immortalized in Sfakian delights.
4. How does your writing creative process work?
First of all, I write about positive things. If I eat at a bad restaurant, I do not write about it. It is rare that you find negativity in my blog. You may find sadness and longing, but not a lot of criticism. Why? Because life is hard enough as it is and I want to focus on positive aspects! In the beginning this positivity aspect was not so conscious but I do now keep it in the back of my mind every time I write a new post.
I know that I should probably schedule my posts to be published at 9 in the morning but I am a night person… I often write in the evening and I often publish at night (like tonight).
I always read over what I have written, but I rarely wait until the next day. Some posts take longer than others, like for example the aforementioned story about my friend in Sudan, and Understanding Finland by Art and Helsinki by Food.
Sometimes I just take a look at the view from our balcony, see a beautiful sunset, take a photo and publish a post with a short text (for example That Parisian view). It depends!
I try to write as much as I can, sometimes every day and always at least once a week.
Well, my answers became longer than planned but I hope you liked reading about my thoughts. It is now time to send this post out so that Sarah from Backpackbee can start preparing her post! Good night for now.
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