Writing from the perspective of living on a bicycle

sitting in tall grass in swaziland eswatini

This post is about recent changes to this website, what they mean and how I hope they’ll help you.

Basically I changed its “theme,” which is what drives how a website looks and its layout. This new theme was free, just like the last one—DW Minion—was. Even better was lurking the actual human who created my new theme, which is called Rebalance. I had a moment of gratitude for what luddites like me can do on the internet in 2018.

What was added and removed

My first goal was to give you relevant information faster. Now it’s easier to navigate around the site, especially if you’re on a smartphone. There’s a clear menu at the top—finally!—where you can find:

  • About: more about me and this blog
  • Newsletter: about my bike travel newsletter and how to sign up
  • Subscribe: where you can subscribe for new blogs via email
  • Galleries: a few galleries of bike travel photos by country and by topic
  • Now: where I am and what I’ve been working on recently
  • Blog: where my writing lives
  • Contact: how to get in touch with me

I removed a few things to better reflect my focus. The videos I made in my early bike travelling days remain available on Vimeo in all their amateur and drawn-out glory, but they’re off this site.

I’m also in the process of removing and updating my photo albums. You can see my travel photos from Taiwan, Georgia, Turkey and Armenia on Flickr if you’d like. I don’t yet know how much of a focus making photo albums will be on this site.

I also axed the social media sharing buttons which were haunting you at the bottom of each post. I put them in there in the first place because of Kyle’s request. He wanted me to make it easier for him to share, a valid request that I also appreciated—it’s awesome when people want to share your stuff!

But it didn’t sit well with me. Unless I’m sharing on my own social media channels, it feels hypocritical to suggest that you should, even indirectly through buttons. I’m chewing on how and whether or not to return to social media.

Helping you understand my perspective

If you’re new here, you’ll want to know at a glance whether or not you want to read what I write. To help you decide, I made two changes to the header (the stuff at the top of the page).

The banner image checks all the boxes of a bike travel blog—loaded touring bicycle, off-trail, in nature—but it’s also meaningful to me. It shows Evan pushing his bike along a pebble beach on the shores of Lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan, searching for a place to camp. It was on these beaches that we decided to share a tent on a more permanent basis, and started our relationship.

I was bike travelling before I met Evan, but without his companionship I can’t say for sure that I’d still be on the road three years later. For a while this was hard to accept because my identity as a solo female (bicycle) traveller was central to how I saw myself.

The privilege to be on the road for this long brings me to the other change. I now describe what I do here as “writing from the perspective of living on a bicycle.” It used to be “cycling in Asian and African countries, writing about it.” Perhaps that seems like a subtle change, but it was important for me, if only to clear things up in my own mind.

We’re able to continue bike travelling on a permanent basis—a topic on its own, which I’ll write about in the future. We’re neither constrained by time nor have a home base. This affects how we travel, what we think about, and how we spend our days. This is how we’re living our life.

We spend just as much—or more—time stationary as we do cycling. In that time we work towards goals that aren’t directly related to bike travel. For example, Evan is learning Spanish and I’m learning how to write. We read quite a bit, but almost never about bicycle travel. The time we spend on these pursuits is equally important to us as days spent on the road.

I’ve feared that if I let myself write about all aspects of my life, my blog will be scattered and confusing (long-time readers will know I did this anyways when I tried science journalism). That if it’s not about a bike trip that no one will care. That if it’s only about bike trips, that it won’t be true to all that matters to me. That I won’t have a coherent personal brand or a niche.

Hear ye, hear ye, she makes the confessions of a dyed-in-the-wool anxious millennial of the creative class.

“Writing from the perspective of living on a bicycle” is where I’ve landed for now. It represents my goal to string a common thread through the wide variety of things I blog about.

Living this way significantly affects what I observe and how I interpret it. In writing about who I’m meeting and their impact on me, and what I’m reading, eating, learning, thinking about or struggling with, I’ll tell the story of how it relates to living on a bicycle. I reserve the right to break this rule sometimes.

There’s oodles of travel blogs out there. Writing from the perspective of living on a bicycle is the unique perspective I can offer you, it’s my #niche #brand reflecting how unique I am, because didn’t you know, I’m a #special #flower #unicorn.

A theme’s limits

It’s helpful to have a good theme, but the success of a blog is in its writing. When I say I’m learning to write when I’m not cycling, this means I’m figuring out how to tell compelling and accessible stories. That’s my goal here. My four-year blogging anniversary has nearly arrived. It hasn’t been what I expected, and I’m happy and grateful to still have this site as my internet home.

If you’d like, you can help me improve through the next four years. If you ever want to share your thoughts, I’m more than happy to hear from you. Comment or get in touch through my contact page. Thanks to those of you who already have!

I hope you enjoy the site’s facelift. Ultimately I hope the new look helps you feel at home here, the place where I’m learning to write stories.

Thanks for reading,

— Megan

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