Expat Life

Where Is This Blog Going?

Earlier this year I made a list of things I like to do most. It might seem a bit silly to have to physically write down something like that, but I was attempting to structure my new year’s resolutions around the things that make me happiest and writing it down seemed to make the process a bit easier. Leaving off the obvious, like family, here was my list in no particular order:

Travel
Photography
Food
Fitness
Languages
Reading
Blogging

There are more things I enjoy, obviously, but these were the ones I wanted to focus on this year since they were the ones that were currently making me happiest. (This is where we pause so you can laugh at me for including food on my list. Okay, moving on.) I made a lot of great resolutions for 2014, believing that if I stuck with all of them, I would have my happiest year ever. My resolutions all revolved around the things I loved the most, so why wouldn’t that make me happy? I was unprepared for what happened next.

Very quickly, I started to get overwhelmed. I was trying to learn too many new things at the same time, keep up with everything and everyone I’d made commitments to (both within and outside of my resolutions), plus still continue to fully perform all the duties required when you’re someone’s mother. I had taken on so much that I was actually having to write things like ‘take a shower’ in my planner and set an alarm to remind me when to pick Lex up from school so I wouldn’t forget. I continued on like this for months thinking I’d eventually find a good rhythm I could settle into, but it just wasn’t happening. I was exhausted, and completely astonished that the year that was supposed to make me blissfully happy was making me miserable.

A few weeks ago, I finally admitted that something had to give. The hard part was deciding what to let go of. I loved everything I was doing, I just didn’t have enough time. The only thing I was unwilling to budge on was travel. Those who don’t travel may not realize just how much time and research goes into planning these trips we take, but it’s truly like a part-time job. I enjoy it, but it is a lot of work. And since we’re only guaranteed another two years here in London, which means only another definite two years of being able to travel around Europe relatively cheaply, we’d be silly not to take advantage of that.

So then I started looking at how I could alter everything else to relieve some of my stress. I quit my gym membership, walking club, yoga, and personal training sessions, and instead went back to running and working out on my own time. I made the difficult decision to discontinue my Spanish night classes. I had completed 40 hours and could have taken 80 more to complete the course, but I feel confident enough now to continue learning on my own, with a little help from my Spanish-speaking friends at Lexie’s school.

I thought that cutting out just these things, which clearly took up a lot of time, would make me feel better, but then I realized something else was bothering me. I’d been too busy to even realize it, but somewhere along the way, blogging had stopped being fun. It had started feeling a whole lot like work. I was only writing three days a week, but for some reason I was starting to dread those three days. And the anxiety I’d feel every morning when I opened my email to find fifty new messages when I’d just cleared it out the night before was crushing. I really had to stop and think, when did writing about our travels stop bringing me joy?

And then it hit me. I knew exactly when it happened. I stopped enjoying blogging the minute I started caring if anyone read it or not. I blogged for years simply for myself. Blogging was my scrapbook of photos from our life in Tennessee and our move abroad, and my online journal. (Although a bit more impersonal, because this is the internet after all.) But after I arrived in London and met a few bloggers who had been travel blogging for some time and were receiving free outings, travel, and other compensation for their blogs, I started to think that maybe I could be doing that, too. I asked these bloggers what they were doing and I started following their instructions to the letter.

I created social media accounts for my blog, even though it went against my better judgment. (Read more about my social media boycott. I still agree with every single word I wrote two years ago.) I started keeping to a schedule of posting because I was told consistency and a constant flow of content, especially in the beginning, is key. I diligently put together a media kit and added a page to my blog specifically for PR and media reps. I started researching information on blogging platforms, SEO, and page rank. I downloaded Google Analytics and even attempted, unsuccessfully, to figure out how to use it.

And you know what? It worked. I went from receiving around 1,000 page views a month to 26,000 a month in less than seven months. (I must mention, 26,000 page views is nothing to write home about. I was mostly just impressed by the speed at which the page views grew.) But you know, that rise in page views didn’t make me as happy as I thought it would because all the work it took to get there was really freaking exhausting. All that work, just to start getting things for free. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for those who actually intend on making money from their blogs.

The amount of time and effort needed to grow a blog is just too much for me, especially right now when my main priority isn’t myself. In two months, Lexie will be out for the summer, and I know with absolute certainty that I do not want to be spending those precious summer days in front of the computer or constantly checking my phone. I want it to be just like last summer where we woke up with absolutely no clue what we were going to do that day, but we knew whatever we did, we’d make it fun.

So where does that leave this blog? To tell you the truth, I’m not entirely sure yet. Blogging is like any other business, at certain points along the way you have to stop and reassess in what direction you want it to go. As for now, I will continue to share here, but only when I feel like it. Some weeks I may be able to write three times, but if I can’t, I won’t beat myself up about it. And if I want to write a post that isn’t full of pretty pictures and it’s too long (like this one) I’ll do it. The goal here is to get back to the way I felt about blogging when I did it just for me.

This next part makes me a bit sad, but it’s absolutely necessary – I also won’t be able to read everyone else’s blogs as much as I have been. Before we moved to London, I read 10 blogs regularly. I’m now up to 80! I just can’t keep up with that anymore. As guilty as it makes me feel, I have to place my priorities elsewhere. I’ll still be around from time to time, but I want anyone who notices the absence of my comments on their blog to know that it has absolutely nothing to do with your blog, it’s simply that I have other things needing my focus right now.

When I was talking to Cory about this the other day, I brought up how embarrassing it was that I almost never stick with anything for very long – jobs, hobbies, even the places we live. When I get bored and want to do something new, I quit, every time. This means I know a little bit about a lot of things, but I know nothing very well. That’s a tad distressing for me, as a 30-year-old, to admit. But, like Cory brought up, it also means I know how to prioritize my happiness, and he’s right. If there’s anything worth being in life, it’s happy, and I have always made the necessary changes to stay that way, even if it made me a “quitter”. So if these changes don’t relieve some of the stress I feel, then I’ll know it’s time for me to part ways with the blogging world, but I’m not quite there just yet.

Where Is This Blog Going?

Well done, you. You managed to make it through this entire post. I should have told you to make a cup of tea first. Anyone else ever feel this way about blogging?

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  • Ashley | Domestic Fashionista
    May 13, 2014 at 7:33 PM

    Yes…. I, too, completely understand. I actually sat down at my computer to write a post to some sort of similar thoughts and then I got lost in all your Ireland posts!!! I feel like at least a few times a year I go through this sort of blogging questioning. I have also had to stop engaging as much as I used to just maintain writing. I hate that social media has such a huge role in blogging. It almost doubles the amount of work. But what I think is interesting is that you blog about travel and are currently traveling a lot. Going on vacation always seems to get me away from the fast paced internet world and I usually come back to blogging a little slower. This only lasts so long as I slowly get sucked back in to everyday life. But this is your everyday life! “Vacationing” and taking the time to soak in your travels…you are doing this weekly. I can only imagine how challenging it must be to sit down and share in words all that you took in.

    I also have felt the pressure to grow as I get to know more local bloggers. They have so much wisdom that I love to soak in but actually following through with some of it…I just don’t have the time or energy. It’s an interesting balance. For me to blog about simple living and homemaking…I actually have to be living simply and spending time doing things and not in front of my computer all day! I have come to the realization that by pushing more with my blog, I would no longer have the same voice that I have created on my blog. It just doesn’t work.

    Good words. It is comforting to be reminded to slow down.

    • Sarah Shumate
      May 14, 2014 at 2:17 PM

      I totally understand what you mean in your second paragraph – if you were to suddenly have your life revolve around stats and networking and blogging, I think you’d lose the authentic voice you have now. It wouldn’t come across as real any longer. Who’s going to listen to someone teach them about living a simpler life when it’s clear that you aren’t practicing what you preach? The way you live, and write, now is perfect. It suits your blog so well, and I think you’re doing a fabulous job.

      You know what’s kind of sad? Because of how much pressure I put on myself to have “perfect” travel pictures and to remember every detail, parts of our trips have started to feel like work. That’s awful, isn’t it? These trips are supposed to be our getaways, but when you’re a travel blogger, it’s also like work. There’s times when I want to quit writing like this just so I can go back to having carefree vacations! {For the record, I was able to do that in Ireland. It felt REALLY good!}

      • Ashley | Domestic Fashionista
        May 14, 2014 at 3:02 PM

        I have started to feel the same way about parties I host. I find myself getting mad at Brent because I am so focused on getting everything perfect and having time to take pictures before people arrive. It’s not good. After I commented on your blog, I was able to sit down and write a post on what we have been talking about. It’s been good to process this with you and find continued confirmation to step back and look at the pressure blogging has on my life. I think photography is also part of the balance. We spend the majority of our time taking pictures when on trips but it’s also because I love it. It’s how I have the memories of these places. But I agree that it can be a hard balance to put the camera down and just be. xo

  • Alyson Tart
    May 6, 2014 at 8:52 PM

    While there are already a lot of comments, I figured I’d pitch in my two cents! This is completely how I’ve come to feel about blogging. I started it as a way to share information with family far away when we moved to Turkey, then realised I loved doing it for me, then finally realised there were others out there who enjoyed it and/or found it helpful for learning about living in Turkey. As we moved to England and it became more about travel and less about our new expat lifestyle in the Middle East, I found I was enjoying it less and less. I think the stigma of blogs is especially so with travel blogs, because this seems to be especially where people want to make a living out of it. I spent some time not posting and thinking about it – and at the end of the day, like you, I don’t want to make a living out of a blog. That’s not fun to me. I want to travel the world and most of the time document it in a blog, but I don’t want the travel or the blogging to turn into work. So now, I write when I can, which sometimes is 2 days after a trip, 2 weeks more often than not, or sometimes, 2 months. It is what it is :)

    • Sarah Shumate
      May 11, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      Thanks for leaving this comment, Alyson! It feels good to know that someone understands this feeling the way I do. Someone once told me that you should find the thing that makes you happiest and then figure out how to make a living from it. I can see what my friend was saying, but I have to disagree. I love a lot of things, but the minute I start trying to turn them into something more than hobbies, that love starts to dissipate. That is especially true of blogging. When the pressure’s off, I love it! But when I’m turning it into work, the last place I want to be is in front of my computer screen. :)

  • Jo
    May 6, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    It sounds and is exhausting to try and keep up with it all …. I haven’t blogged in ages. I feel terrible about it but I have to be realistic that right now I just don’t have the time. I could make the time but then I would have to cut back on other things like spending time with the kids, going to the gym, doing the ironing :) So keep doing what makes you happiest!

    • Sarah Shumate
      May 6, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      I’ve noticed you missing lately – I do miss reading your blog, but completely understand. There are definitely more important things than writing a blog! Although I wouldn’t count the ironing as one of them… ;)

  • Emmymom
    May 2, 2014 at 7:53 PM

    All the time. Seriously every time I start to pursue it more for the business, the readers, the numbers, it sucks the joy out of it for me. For some people if they want to pursue it for that more power to them. Obviously I want people to read my blog as it is the connections and friendships that I have made because of it that keep me going, but I don’t want it to feel like something I have to do, something that has to be done just right. I want it to be real and I want it to be mine…. that balance is so hard to find.

    • Sarah Shumate
      May 3, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      Yes! That’s exactly what it does – it sucks the fun out of it! I’m so glad you can relate. I think you do a fabulous job with your blog – I think your readers really enjoy that you haven’t turned it into a moneymaker and you’ve been able to keep it real for all these years!

      • Emmymom
        May 4, 2014 at 9:07 PM

        Awe thank you so much! That truly meant a lot.

  • Mandy Southgate
    April 30, 2014 at 6:42 AM

    I read this entire post – twice. Yes. I have absolutely felt this way about blogging and life in general. I was just lamenting recently that a quarter of the year had gone and I still hadn’t managed to do the language course and independent study I had wanted to get done before I register for formal study again in the autumn.

    Cutting down your feed reader is, indeed, the only way to keep your sanity I think. Recently, I’ve tried not to even use a reader at all and simply reciprocate comments and visits. That isn’t as mercenary as it sounds and I find that I’m eventually visiting most of the blogs I was subscribed to. I always say that if I ever find the time, I’ll go back and read the rest but it never happens.

    Another technique that worked earlier in the year was to draft my month’s posts in one go. It meant they had to shorter (for me, less worst because words come harder for me) but it worked. In one four hour stint is get 4-6 blog posts scheduled. But I’ve also realised (like you’ve mentioned) that I can’t blog about everything!

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 30, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      My problem with blog reading is, I don’t know how I can possibly cut out any of the blogs I read because I love them all! I believe my only solution will be to read them all, but a whole lot less than I used to. :( I know what you’re talking about – thinking you can get by with only returning visits to those who comment on your own, but the desire to see what everyone else is up to is just too overwhelming! I end up visiting everyone anyway! :)

      I remember you mentioning in another comment, or maybe a blog post, that you were able to get all your blog writing for the month done in one day. I was in awe. It takes me about 3-4 hours just to edit pictures and write ONE blog post. I’m working on simplifying how I write each post, though, so hopefully it’ll be a much quicker process in the future.

      Blogging has been a learning process for me. I’m glad to be getting back to my original purpose with blogging. I think it’ll make me much happier just to have a record of our travels – I don’t need no stinkin’ free tickets! ;)

  • Diana Bockus
    April 29, 2014 at 9:24 PM

    Yep! I agree. Traveling is SUPER time consuming and so is checking out everyone’s blogs and leaving comments. Then there’s the social media aspect which I think may be just as time consuming! Staying consistent is hard, especially when you’re busy with work and people have kids or things going on during the week. I have a friend who tells me all the time that I need to stay at home on Friday’s and just work on my blog but something will come up or I just crash from the week. It’s hard, I don’t think people realize how hard. Do what you gotta do lady! If you need anything, give me a holler! I’ll still peek in :)

  • Stephanie Bonnet
    April 29, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    This is such a refreshing post, and one that comes at the right time for me. I have been blogging for 7 months and was starting to get caught in the “get more traffic to get free invites” power trip. Reading your post makes me remember my true reasons for creating the blog back at the end of September, which was to have a creative outlet and to experiment with some geeky stuff.

    I still have a long term goal of being able to get an upgrade on a flight to New Zealand for the three of us when we go for our “sabbatical” trip in five years’time. However, I will certainly take it easy and focus on the journey not the end goal so that I can enjoy myself.

    Thank you so much for sharing your post.

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 29, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      It is REALLY easy to get caught up in the “turn my blog into a moneymaker” movement. You see other people making it happen and you don’t realize just how much time and effort they’re putting into it until you try to do it yourself. It’s not for all of us, myself for sure. I’m glad this helped remind you to get back to your blogging roots! Although, I do hope you’re able to score that flight upgrade – New Zealand will be the trip of a lifetime! :)

  • Miwa
    April 27, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    Hey, Sarah! It’s been a while since I commented but I’m still around! Hi :)

    I’m actually going through the exact same stage as you right now–I haven’t posted anything on my blog for a while (not that I had a schedule like you, but…) Although my blog doesn’t have that much of a following, I recently started to feel like it was becoming too much with having to think of relevant posts, taking photos, keeping up with social media, etc, all while maintaining my job as a translator and raising a two-year-old. So I decided to take a step back for a bit and I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Which is really silly because I’d been putting that weight on myself! For the moment, I’m happy sharing one or two photos on Instagram every day, since taking photos and sharing them is what I enjoyed the most about blogging anyway. That, as of now, is the solution in my case.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is–I completely understand and I hope that you find the right balance. Even though I haven’t been commenting, I have been reading your posts because I really enjoy them. You do this blogging thing very well. But having said that, as much as I’ll miss your three posts a week, I’d be much happier knowing that you are out there enjoying your days instead of feeling exhausted from all of the work that you put into this (wonderful) space. Thanks for sharing. Whoa, this is a really long comment. …Sorry!

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 28, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      I love really long comments! Thank you for that! :)

      You are so right – it is VERY silly that we feel so much pressure to write on our blogs because NO ONE is making us do it except ourselves! It’s kind of funny, but now that I’ve removed the pressure to write three times a week, I actually find myself WANTING to write again. Ha! Kind of ironic, isn’t it? :)

      I really appreciate what you said about enjoying what is posted over here. That really does mean a lot. I always enjoy your writing and photos, as well, and am happy to see new posts whether it’s once a week or once a month! Once a month will probably be about what I manage over the summer! :)

  • Jen Mc
    April 27, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    You HAVE to be happy! I would miss your blog but completely understand!!! Do what makes you happy and relieves your stress.
    Hugs my dear friend!

  • Tina @ Girl-Meets-Globe
    April 27, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    Oh how I hear you! I’ve been blogging once a week lately. It’s about all I’ve been able to put into it. I love the connections I’ve made, you being among them :,) but this is hard work! And there are just not enough hours in the day to do it all and give our families the time they deserve. I’ll look forward to keeping in touch however often you’re on here. :)

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 28, 2014 at 1:18 PM

      I say that all the time – if only I had a 36+ hour day, I’d be able to get so much more done! There just aren’t enough hours with only 24! Or maybe I have too many interests. :)

      Blogging never felt like hard work until I moved to London. Maybe it’s because I was writing about chickens and home remodels…. :)

  • Melanie Fontaine
    April 26, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    I remember you talking about this the other week and while I’m sad to see less of you online in the time to come, I completely understand your motives for taking blogging more slowly from now. While I do promote my blog in different ways, I have never been obsessive about it. I never had a schedule, posts go up whenever I want to go up – sometimes more often, sometimes less – and weeks could pass without me updating my Instagram account if nothing interesting happened. And still I feel the stress of blogging often enough!

    There seems to be a lot of pressure in the blogging on what to do with your online life once you’re interested in having other people read your blog and frankly, it’s ridiculous! I especially don’t get the point about monetization – is it so unbelievable that people write a blog, want other people (& strangers) to read and not care so much about earning money from that hobby? These days, it sometimes seems to everyone who starts blogging strives to gain some sort of financial benefit out of it, simply because it seems to be expected. And while that’s not something I’m against (I actually think it’s wonderful if you’re able to earn some extra bucks from your blog), I’ve met enough people who say that focusing on earning money took the joy out of blogging for them and I think that’s just sad. Okay, I’ll stop with the rant – I just felt like getting that off my chest for a very long time! ;)

    I hope that blogging less often is going to help you to get some clearance on your feelings about blogging and that the time away from your blog is going to relieve you from the stress. And maybe, the time will bring back the fun in blogging for you – I certainly hope so because I’m selfish enough to want to hear about your time in Ireland one day! :) But until then, just know that it doesn’t make you weak or a quitter to choose to not pursue blogging that actively anymore – in fact, I think you’re a pretty strong person for walking away from things that don’t bring happiness to you anymore. It takes some guts to walk away from something that you know for something that you don’t! :)

    Good luck! I really love that I got to meet you through blogging! (And just how embarrassingly long is this comment? I blame it on the Breakfast Club!)

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 27, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      You could probably turn this comment into a blog post! :) I loved every word of what you said, though! You hit on some really interesting points – I think you’re right about it being almost expected of a blogger to somehow make money through this hobby. And that’s where a lot of the pressure comes from – if you’re a blogger who isn’t making money, then you feel like you’re doing something wrong. But you’re right, it doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible simply to blog because you like doing it. And that’s what I’d like to return to doing because I DID love blogging once.

      At least for the time being I think I’ll be able to keep up with continuing to blog, but once Lexie’s out for the summer, I don’t think I’ll be around here at all. She’d stage a mutiny if I spent all summer on the computer! :) I absolutely want to share about our trip because it was my favorite place we’ve been so far. Luckily, Ireland will be pretty easy to share about because it’ll mostly be pictures. That’s not nearly as time-consuming as all the research I normally put in for each of my blog posts!

  • Carly @ Let Us Wanderlust
    April 26, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    I feel the exact same way. I can completely relate to each and every word. I’m at the point now where I’m not sure what to do with my blog – it’s only 8 months old but now that I’m home I just want to spend my life doing things other than sit in front of a computer all day. I want to enjoy my life for me, not for my blog. But I also don’t want to close the door on it altogether as I do love the creative outlet. I think for me, I’ll just blog when I want to or when I have something I want to say, share or document but definitely not post 5 days a week. More like once a week I think :) this post really spoke to me because I feel I am in a very similar situation now!

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 27, 2014 at 9:34 AM

      I think we share identical feelings on this, because I also can’t stand spending so many hours at home every day editing pictures, researching, writing posts, and then pimping myself out on social media. :) It was when I realized there were things I wanted to do, but couldn’t because blogging took up so much time, that I knew something had to change! But like you, I’m hesitant to close the door completely because I know this was something I used to love and I think I can love it again if I make enough changes!

  • Alex Fahey
    April 26, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    I completely understand where you are coming from. Right now blogging is at the bottom of my list because I have to be focusing on other things right now. I still maintain that my blog is for myself and my family and that’s good enough for me. Everyone else I meet along the way is just bonus!

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 27, 2014 at 9:29 AM

      I need to keep that same focus in mind when I’m blogging. It would help me get back to writing each post as if it’s only for me to read in order to remember our experience here. That’s what it was like when it was still fun!

  • Autumn @ The Spirited Violet
    April 26, 2014 at 1:02 AM

    Boundaries are so important, even with the things we love. I love blogging, but I don’t blog as much for an audience anymore as I do for myself. I think when I am not teaching in a public school, I will be more open and candid again, but I am a little afraid of how my opinions could be taken professionally. It sounds like you are finding your balance, although when you said you were quitting your Spanish class it totally made me wince, because that is totally something I would want to take too!

    I feel like a big ole quitter sometimes too, but it also shows you are willing to try new things. How boring would like be if you only allowed yourself to be the same and live the same way everyday year after year?

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 27, 2014 at 9:22 AM

      I may be quitting the classes, but I haven’t stopped learning on my own. Luckily there are a lot of free online resources for people wanting to learn languages. Oddly enough, I think I’m actually learning faster now that I’m on my own!

      I think you are smart to be careful what you say on your blog while you’re teaching. Teachers are scrutinized so much more than most other professions, so you do have to be careful. I’m glad you’re still blogging, though, because I enjoy reading it!

  • Alyx
    April 26, 2014 at 3:21 AM

    Dude. I don’t blame you at all. I think real life is a little more important than blog life. It’s great to see what you’re up to and look at all your adventures, but I think it’s more important that you share those times with your family first and foremost. If that means you forget to take blog-perfect pictures one day, then oh, well.

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 27, 2014 at 9:27 AM

      Yep, that’s absolutely another pressure I feel – to take perfect photos every time we do something. Seeing as I’m not a professional photographer, it takes quite a while for me to set my shots up and get good ones. Sometimes I miss the good old days of just pointing and shooting! But the thought of putting a grainy, cell phone photo up here gives me the sweats! ;)

  • rorybore
    April 26, 2014 at 1:29 AM

    Yep, I completely get you. That’s why when someone tells me I need to be more active and visual on Twitter, Google Plus or Facebook, I say, “um, no I don’t. I will be as active as I want to AND am able to be.” I don’t have to grow my blog – but I do have to like it. I don’t check stats, I write when and what I want to. I enjoy receiving and returning comments because I like that connection. I appreciate everyone who reads, and I like to think we are sharing something bigger here. But it’s never any pressure. The intent was never to make money, or get something free. It was, is and always will be – Just Write.
    I predict you will be much happier having decided this, and we will be happy to see you whenever you have the time. (but I kinda would really miss your lovely photos if you did go :)

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 27, 2014 at 9:25 AM

      I won’t be disappearing – I do have to keep up at least semi-regularly with blogging because this is my only record of our time as expats and unfortunately I can’t depend on my brain to remember all of these details! But I won’t put so much pressure on myself to have something new every M-W-F or be interesting on social media, and I think that will help a lot. I’m impressed at how well you’ve been able to maintain your focus with blogging for so long and never get side-tracked!

  • Erika
    April 25, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    You know, I think this is something that a lot of people struggle with, Sarah! And like you said, I think it’s good that you’re seeing what works for you and what doesn’t and what you want to get out of this. If all the extra stuff is causing you to resent it and drain your energy, then it’s time for it to go! This is your blog, your space — you don’t need permission to write as you see fit, but I also understand you explaining why there will be changes. It can feel like you are breaking some blogging “rules” but to be honest, we create the rules in our own space. This can be whatever you want and need it to be! :)

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 27, 2014 at 9:05 AM

      You are so much better at putting things into words than I am, Erika! I love that about you! This comment completely embodies how I feel right now. I HAVE started resenting my blog and it makes me sad because I used to love it. I really do feel guilty breaking the “blogging rules”, especially the one about continuing to blog and yet not reading and/or commenting on everyone else’s. That’s the worst.

  • Liz
    April 25, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    Oh I love this! This is ME! Except I never really put too much work into making my blog “famous” ;) But somewhere along the way, I did start caring if anyone read it. And after Taylor was born, blogging just became too.much.work. Love you, and love your words!

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 27, 2014 at 9:01 AM

      There are too many other travel bloggers who’ve been doing this MUCH longer than I have for me to be “famous”, but it did start mattering to me that each post get exposure. I hope I can start feeling like I used to about blogging again. I don’t want to give it up completely – given how undependable my brain is at remembering things, I sort of NEED this blog so I won’t forget all the cool things we did while we lived overseas! :)

  • Sara Louise
    April 25, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    You having to prioritize your happiness is 100% true and very important.
    Do what you need to do and we’ll see you when we see you, Big kisses from Texas!!!

  • Stacie Stamper
    April 25, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Sometimes I write posts and I get no comments, views but no comments, and I start to worry that they don’t like me anymore. But then I remember that years from now, I can show my blog to Elise and it will be like a scrapbook for her and that is all that really matters to me. Just do what makes you happy…but don’t be a stranger! I’d miss you!

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 27, 2014 at 8:51 AM

      I put too much emphasis on comments, too. If I don’t get many, I wonder what it was about that post that people didn’t like and I take it as a personal rejection. I’ve definitely got to get over that. Years from now, this will be our scrapbook of our time living abroad which is why I want to keep up with it – it’s just all the other work in blogging that is wearing me down!

  • Sammy @ Days Like This
    April 25, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    Completely understand Sarah! It all gets a bit much in this crazy little blogging world. Sometimes I feel myself getting stressed because I need to write a new post and I think I just need to chill out – it’s just a blog and being happy and having FUN should take first priority!

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 27, 2014 at 8:49 AM

      You are absolutely right! There are way more important things in life than blogging! I’ve always know that, but for some reason I let it get me stressed out anyways!

  • andrea
    April 25, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    I think this is a huge thing to admit, to act on, and to believe in. I started my blog when I moved to london in 2006, when blogging was still relatively new, compared to today, and had a strong blogging community. Somewhere along the way I lost my focus, and many of my readers (likely when I had kids and moved back to the US). It made me really sad, and I stopped blogging as much, because I was frustrated and disappointed that what I had worked hard to get was gone. Over time I realized I loved writing for me, for my kids to read in the future, for those who were left reading. And so I do, with no schedule, no agenda, and no plans. And I feel so much better for it! Good for you, enjoy your daughter, I know my kids are younger but every day I think I can’t believe how fast it is all going. x

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 27, 2014 at 9:19 AM

      You really were immersed in the blogging culture early on – I bet it was kind of neat to be one of the “pioneers”. :) No schedule, no agenda, no plans – that sounds perfect. I’m glad you found a way to enjoy it again. I’m really hoping I can, too, otherwise I’m giving blogging the boot!

  • Keith Wynn
    April 25, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    I think that sometimes our blogs begin to feel like a chore, and when that happens it takes the enjoyment away. So glad that you’re making the right changes for yourself, after all, it’s supposed to be fun!

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 27, 2014 at 8:49 AM

      I miss how fun it was in the beginning. Everything was so new then, but now it just feels so…boring. :( I gotta figure out how to renew my interest in it again!

  • susannem
    April 25, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    You are not a quitter. You are not letting things get in the way of fully living your life. I hope you continue to post about your adventures and will read even if the posts don’t come on a regular basis.

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 27, 2014 at 8:56 AM

      Thanks for saying that. I’m going to try my best to still blog often, I may just need to change the format a bit so I don’t have to spend quite so much time preparing each post. We only have two more years left as expats, so I feel like I need to continue to blog at least semi-regularly so I can have a proper scrapbook of our overseas journey. But there are definitely areas of “blogging work” that I can scale back to save myself some time.

  • Katrin
    April 25, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    I totally understand your feelings. And you are definitely not a quitter. I love to read about your life, no matter if it is 3 times a week or a month or a year. I can imagine how stressful it is to keep up with all the work that a professional blog means. We definitely all need to prioritize, as hard as it is sometimes. But the main thing is to do the things that make you happy!

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 27, 2014 at 8:53 AM

      My blog is far from a professional one, but while trying to turn it into one I lost track of why I started doing this in the first place. I totally plan on continuing to blog – this expat job is a once in a lifetime experience, so I’d hate not to have a record of it, but I do need to scale back how much time I spend on the computer every day. It’s gotten ridiculous!

  • Dannielle @ Chicadeedee
    April 25, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    I got really into promoting my blog for a couple weeks, and slowly fizzled it out. When I first started I tried posting everyday too, but that’s just not feasible to also live your life and work full time. I think prioritising your happiness is way more important.

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 27, 2014 at 8:48 AM

      I know I could never post every day. Three times a week is my max, but even that has been too much for me to keep up with lately. Clearly I’m not meant to be a professional blogger! :)

  • Tanya @Other Side of the Road
    April 25, 2014 at 7:57 AM

    Good for you on prioritizing. Awhile back, I struggled on whether or not to become a “real” blogger and decided to just stick with keeping it a family-style blog. When I started becoming worried about getting “popular,” I knew my blog was becoming more important in my life than it should be. Enjoy your time with Lexie…they grow up too fast!

  • Margo @ The Overseas Escape
    April 25, 2014 at 7:03 AM

    I completely understand! Good for you for recognizing what needed to give. Blogging should be fun and enjoyable, when it’s not, tweak it or drop it. Identifying the cause of the stress may have been the hardest part of it all.

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 27, 2014 at 8:46 AM

      I hope that by putting less pressure on myself to stay consistent and grow that blogging will be fun again. It hasn’t been fun for me for quite a while! :(