More Self-Indulgence… My 100th Post



My 100th Post

I realized by chance and chance alone that this post was my to be my 100th.  I was trying to think up a title for my last post, something I spend more time on than writing the articles themselves, and saw that it was #99.  I thought of calling it “The Wayne Gretzky of Travel Blogs;” something that I’d guess you the reader would only understand if you were Canadian, or at least North American.  I chose the title “Returning to the Land of Mystic” because of my international readership.  How do I know I have an international readership?  Because there is no way that I could have received as much support in 99 posts without one.  I only have one mother to click on links and read my articles, and my friends don’t like me enough to read about my self indulgent wanderings.  In order to explain what I’m trying to express in this post I would like to first say thank you to all of you who read my articles and look at my pictures.

My World…

I look back and laugh at the journey I have embarked on since I started writing with the intention of actually having a readership wider than just my mother. I had written a blog on all my previous adventures and, to be honest, I began to bore of the normal blog entries. I was sick of writing “today I went to the market and there were cow heads!!!!” I wanted to do something new, something that would cause more stimulation. As a political scientist, I began to write a couple articles on Latin American Civil Conflict, which was my specialty in University. However, about half way through the first article I came to the realization that no one in my family reads about politics, let alone Latin American politics, I might as well be writing those to myself. I set the pen down, yes I still usually write in pen first, and thought to myself “ok Brendan, it’s time to get brave.” You see I’ve always loved travel writing, I read the National Geographic Traveler religiously and love how the articles could just suck me away. I decided later that day to write an article about Ecuador, one that you can find right here.

Within a couple days of writing my first creative travel writing article world I started to receive responses. The reactions I received caused me to step back for a number of reasons.  First of all, I was surprised that anyone read my articles to notice a change, and secondly, I couldn’t believe that the response I was getting was positive and not ridicule. I remember two comments I received in particular, one from my dad and the other from an aunt of mine. My dad’s reaction, although slightly insulting, was encouraging. In a skype conversation we had he asked me inquisitively “Brendan, did you actually write the last article on your blog?” My aunt, who is a fantastic artist with a penchant for travel, had a different idea.  “Why don’t you submit those articles to a couple travel magazines, they are great.”

Basically, as a matter of testing the waters I searched that little white box in google for “Travel Writing Submissions”.  I sent three articles to about 20 different webpages, and received returns almost instantly offering to publish my articles. From that day, I realized that I needed to self-host, post my articles, and see if I couldn’t make some money along the way. I posted my very first blog here to Brendan’s Adventures: The World is my Jungle Gym and article called “Learning a Language: The Foreign Family Vacation” on march 11th,2010 and never looked back.

I remember the first 3 months or so that I wrote my blog I was receiving between 5-20 visitors a day, and to be honest, when I was hitting 20 I was laughing like a school kid who just found out that he had a crush. To this day, I regularly receive hundreds of visitors each day. However, what is most amazing to me isn’t the number of visitors, it’s how long that they are now staying on the site. It blows my mind that so many people want to go through my website and read my words. The simple idea that someone is reading my words is worth any amount of money.

So since the day of my first post, when I realized that if the ads on my blog were my own and not ballofdirt.com’s and I would be making the ad revenue instead, things have changed a lot. I have realized that it’s not about the ad revenue at all. It’s not about the self-indulgence involved in the idea that people know ME, and they are reading MY words, and taking MY advice. I’ve realized that what’s really important is that sometimes my words can take people away just like those of the writer’s of National Geographic Traveler. I hope, that without knowing it, I have found a way through my words to take you along with me on my life’s journey. Because the other thing that I’ve learned through this process of all this is that although the destinations are what drive us to travel, it is sharing the experience with others that makes it all truly special.   Thanks for being along with me on this journey so far.

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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10 Comments

  1. Congratulations! I remember when I had 13 visitors I thought I hit the jackpot :)
    People stay to read because you write great posts, and now with your nifty new camera we can enjoy your photos!

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  2. That’s it – it’s not so much the traffic as….the traffic that *cares*. People who dig what you’re doing, cheer you on, and come back to see what you do next. They’re the people who make it worthwhile (and help you craft a career out of it all, too).

    Funny term, “self-indulgence”. Like “selfishness”. We’ve been taught to sneer at it, look down on it. But why? When it’s self-indulgence and/or selfishness that makes us happy, harms nobody else AND helps us communicate to other people a bit better….surely that’s a good thing? All writers are selfish. That’s how they become good at writing. You sit in a room and you’re selfish in a determined, committed way. And the end result is something you can be proud of.

    Yay for self-indulgence. It’s the only way to get anywhere in life. ;)

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    • Mike, I always love your comments. I too bathe in the glow of self-indulgence! haha

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  3. I have had a bit of a hiatus from my own blog on the summer months. Then I logged in and saw my stats–I had to admit I was amazed at the variety of hits I am getting from around the world. I too had the ambition that maybe a few friends and family might read my musings but its definitely beginning to go beyond that and I’m so excited to write more! Congrats to a fellow Canadian on your 100th post!

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  4. Congrats Brendan. I have enjoyed your articles and pictures since I signed up. I am proud to be part of your international readership. Keep the good posts coming.

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  5. Congrats Brendan, you’ve got a great blog here so keep up the good work! Here’s too 200!

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    • Thanks so much Laura!

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  6. I just wrote about my 100th post recently too, weird. Great post, although I don’t know if I can dream as big as you, “what’s really important is that sometimes my words can take people away just like those of the writer’s of National Geographic Traveler.” That’s a pretty powerful dream to have.

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