A few weeks ago WordPress sent me a note to congratulate me on my blogging anniversary. Apparently, it’s been five years since I started sharing my thoughts with the world. That includes a couple of years on my previous photo blog, but still half a decade feels like a substantial amount of time. For the most part, it’s been a fun ride. Occasionally, however, I have my moments questioning the whole purpose of this endeavour. A fifth-year anniversary seemed like a good moment to indulge in some re-evaluation.
Last week, the bloggoverse sent me the answer: a fellow blogger from Justabitfurther nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award.
The Sunshine Blogger Award is an opportunity for bloggers to recognize other blogs that inspire creativity and positivity within the blogging community. I was very honoured and humbled by this nomination considering there are so many inspiring and creative bloggers out there. And the award name seems just perfect considering the quote from Emmerson that I use as my blog’s motto actually references sunshine. So in the spirit of award presentations, I want to use the opportunity to thank Glen and Lynn from Justabitfurther for this honour and also for sharing their own adventures accompanied by beautiful photos and for the words of wisdom that help brighten gloomy days. Make sure to check out their blog at https://justabitfurther.wordpress.com/
Now according to the award requirements, I have to share the rules in a blog post, answer eleven questions, nominate eleven other bloggers and come up with eleven questions for them.
So here are the rules:
- Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
- Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
- Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
- Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
- List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.
Below are the answer to the eleven questions from Justabitfurther.
1. Why did you get into or what motivated you to start blogging?
I’ve always enjoyed writing. I love the way it feels when I find the right word or phrase that accurately reflects my feelings. Back in Ukraine, I wrote for a number of newspapers. Then, a few years ago I started to dabble in photography and almost immediately fell in love with the whole idea of thinking and expressing myself in images, as well as photography’s ability to stop time and capture a fleeting moment. My first foray into blogging was actually a photo blog but as I started adding more and more words to the photos I realized it was time to rethink it. I asked myself what I liked to do the most, what subject I knew best and that’s how Gone Camping was born. I often rely on other bloggers when we plan our trips so I thought I could do the same for other people. Eventually, however, it evolved from camping as an activity to camping as a way of life – all about reconnecting with nature whether in the wilderness or in the middle of a busy city.
2. What’s your favourite comfort food?
Good hearty soup with sourdough bread always does wonders for me. My favourites are leeks and potato, butternut squash with sweet potato and carrots, and, of course, Ukrainian borsch.
3. What does happiness mean to you?
Happiness takes many forms. Watching the morning sun peek through the fold between the earth and the sky. Listening to the loon’s yodel at dusk. Feeling the sun on my face. Witnessing the change of seasons: leaves starting to blush, the first snow, snowdrops pushing their way through the ground. The first paddle of the year after a long winter. Waking up to a bird chorus at dawn.The moment a great view reveals itself. Sitting by the campfire with a morning cup of coffee. After days of obsessively checking, finally noticing the first sprouts in my container garden. Diving into the lush greenery of the summer forest. Pleasant humming in my muscles after a good hike. A long board game on a winter night. Losing myself in a good book, pouring all of myself into dance. Sharing a glass of wine, good talk and laugh with a friend. An air kiss from my niece. My nephew’s giggles. Hugging my kids, kissing my husband. In the end, however, it all comes to one thing: feeling you are immersed in the world, merging with your surroundings, deeply connected to the people around you, rooted in the here and now but free to roam, feeling that you belong.
4. What do you do in your spare time (assuming you have any)?
When I am not camping, writing about our last camping trip or planning the next one, you’ll find me wandering around snapping photos, digging in my balcony garden or busting some dance moves in a Zumba class.
5. What do you love most about blogging?
Connecting with nature lovers either online or in the real world. Writing and putting blog posts together is a fulfilling experience in itself but it’s always great to hear from others that my post helped them plan a trip or get outside more. My favourite comment is that my love of nature shines in everything I write. That’s when I know I achieved my goal to show the beauty of the outdoors in hopes to inspire others to get outside more and experience it for themselves.
6. What is one random fact about yourself?
As a kid, I dreamed of becoming an astronaut. And even though I have since discovered the Earth offers endless opportunities to explore, to this day I can’t watch a space movie without thinking how cool it would be to see our planet from afar.
7. What is one piece of advice you give other bloggers?
Write about the things you know and love. If you pour your heart into your writing, that passion will shine through and the readers will notice.
8. Favourite flavour of ice cream?
Black Raspberry Thunder from Kawartha Dairy is my absolute favourite. I also like raspberry sorbet or anything raspberry really, especially after a day of hiking.
9. Do your family or friends know about your blog and what do they think of it?
Yes, they do and they are very supportive of it. My kids sometimes make fun of me that it’s all about the photos or that I am more likely to leave them behind than my camera. But at the end of the day they always enjoy being part of the adventures.
10. Dogs or cats?
I always thought of myself as a dog person until we got a cat that clawed her way into my heart.
11. If you could be any superhero, what power would you have and why?
I am really conflicted here. In a selfish way, I’d like to be able to teleport. Even though getting to places is part of the fun, this way I could save lots of time, see more and reduce the carbon footprint of driving. On a larger, save-the-world scale, I’d like to have the power to help humanity re-imagine our relationship with nature. With all the grim climate change reports and loss of biodiversity, we have many challenges on our hands. And while there are lots of smart people working on solutions, most of our problems stem from the same place: we’ve lost our connection to the natural world, reframed nature as nothing more than a depository of resources to be abused for our pleasure, and embraced a delusion that we can exist outside of it. So my superhero – the Wander Woman – would help open people’s eyes to the beauty of nature, its intrinsic value and the deep satisfaction of just being part of it.
This next part was pretty hard. There are so many adventurers, writers and photographers that I admire that narrowing the list to eleven was not an easy process. I wish I could nominate more than eleven but here are the blogs that inspire me to get outside more and help make my morning bus rides more entertaining, but most importantly, help see the world from a different point of view.
Finally, here are the questions for the nominees:
- Where do you draw inspiration for your blog?
- What are some of your blogging challenges?
- If you could travel in time, where/when would you go and why?
- Who is your favourite fictional character?
- Where is your happy place?
- If you were a tree, which tree would you be and why?
- On a perfect morning you can be found…
- What is your favourite dish to cook or, if you don’t cook, to eat?
- What person, living or dead, do you most admire?
- What trait do you most value in friends?
- If you were to write an autobiography, what would you call it and why?
I look forward to reading all your answers or seeing the pictures, whichever way you decide to express yourself. I want to once again thank Justabitfurther, all eleven nominees and the broader blogging community for adding sunshine to my life.