Thanks to Marsha's kind nomination on Single Occupancy Blog, Diary of a Wandering Student is back in action after a much-too-long hiatus (due to a combination of end-of-semester insanity and extreme post-finals laziness) with my post for Tripbase.com's My 7 Links Project. The project asks nominated bloggers to take a look back at old posts and highlight seven in various categories.
I was expecting this to be difficult since, with a blog less than a year old, I thought I wouldn't have much to choose from for some of the categories, but it turned out that choosing between some of my favorite posts that I'd forgotten about was harder! At any rate, here goes...
My most beautiful post | Profiles in Transit: Antonio
I was torn between three posts in this category, the other two because they feature what I consider to be some of my best photography, but my heart was wrapped up in this post long before I wrote it and I'm proud of how I was able to capture the beauty of a few moments with a stranger in words, not images. This is one post I was completely satisfied with when I re-read it after posting, which was a relief, since I was incredibly nervous about finding the right words to express a beautiful experience.
My most popular post | A Bug Called Bilingualism
In terms of actual hits, my post about Antonio is my most popular, since it was re-tweeted by Lonely Planet (that was a great feeling!), among others, but this one was a big success for a three-weeks-live blog and got me really excited about how many people out there are as interested as I am in the crazy experience that is immersing yourself in a foreign language and the culture that goes with it.
My most controversial post | Americans in Florence: Obnoxious vs. Incognito
I haven't written any posts that have turned out to be what I'd call controversial - not surprising, since I'm a pretty can't-we-all-get-along type - but I was worried that this one might be. I was concerned that some might read it as bashing my fellow Americans travelers, when it was intended instead to highlight how radically different travelers from the same country can be and how it can impact their experiences abroad. Fortunately, no one I heard from took it the wrong way and the general opinion seemed to be that we all have compatriots who fit certain unflattering travel stereotypes that make us cringe.
My most helpful post | A Table for One?
Apparently I need to write more posts aimed at being helpful, because this was a tough one to figure out! I hope my post about my first solo travel experience encouraged a few people to take the leap and give solo travel a try, or at least start thinking about it, because the fact that not having any friends or relatives who want to take a particular trip with me doesn't mean I can't travel has been one of the best discoveries of my life.
A post whose success surprised me | Getting Hustled in NYC
This post was intended to highlight an (I'd like to think) rare moment of out-of-town stupidity and the importance of paying attention to your instincts, but the comments really took off and I was pleasantly surprised by how many new faces chimed in supportively. It just goes to show that unpleasant people like the hustler featured in the post are the exception and kind, friendly ones are the norm!
A post I feel didn't get the attention it deserved | Why travel?
This post had a higher than usual ratio of comments to page hits, but I felt like it never really got the exposure it should have, maybe because it was posted shortly before Christmas and New Year's. It's a post I love, because I feel like I was really able to capture what travel means to me: the okay-this-is-a-little-scary moments, the thrill of stepping into the unknown and, above all else, the sheer joy of exploring somewhere new.
The post I'm most proud of | A Whirlwind Romance in Cambodia
This isn't my best-written post, my funniest, my most touching or my most popular, but it is one that I'm very proud of. Why? Because, if I'd visited Cambodia even just five years ago, I would never have written it. Five years ago, I was barely beginning to scratch the surface of solo travel and, while I might have taken a solo trip to Southeast Asia if the opportunity had presented itself, I would have been much too busy worrying about everything that could go wrong to let myself see or fully appreciate the beauty the region has to offer. Before I left in April, I knew I would be comfortable traveling through Thailand and Cambodia by myself, but I didn't expect to view my time in Cambodia as much more than an interesting learning experience. The fact that I've become comfortable enough as a traveler, solo or not, to relax and let myself fall in love with a country so radically different from my own is something that makes me incredibly happy. Which is why the fact that I was able to write this post makes me proud.
Sharing the My 7 Links love. Wow, travel blog community, you've been busy. My 7 Links has spread like wildfire around the blogosphere! Only two bloggers I know haven't been nominated yet, so their links - a wonderful soon-to-be-expat blog by my friend Alyssa and a mouth-watering foodie blog by my friend Leran - are below, so take a look! If you haven't yet been nominated and want to be, shoot me a tweet - I have three nominations left!