This Blog Was A Complete Accident…

On the 27th November 2009, I did two things. The first seemed far more monumental at the time – our move to Doha. The second was a last minute haphazard decision to start a blog. I figured that rather than send a group email out to friends and bombard them with large files with family pictures, I’d leave the decision up to them. Here’s what we’re up to, come and check it out if you’d like.

I chose a blogging platform and began to write my first post. It was a mash of weirdly placed capital letters and my usual style of clumsy punctuation thrown onto the page without the respect it deserves.

“We’ve made it! We’re FINALLY here in Doha.” I was sitting in my hotel room after a 17 hour flight with 4 children, a barking beagle, and G.

“What will you call it?” G asked while looking over my shoulder at the empty title box. I looked around our disheveled hotel room, the little travellers we asleep side by side, surrounded by suitcases. It was a complete shamozal. I began counting. “How about 4 kids, and lets see, 17… 18… 19… 20 suitcases and a beagle?” The name didn’t matter, it was just a personal blog. I mean it’s not like I was going to have to fit it on a business card or a letterhead anytime. Ha! It would just be us, and our updates.

That’s how I’d thought it would be. A selection of posts with photos of the family with updates similar to something you might receive in a Christmas card. Trombone lessons, a basketball grand final, a trip to the zoo.

It was never like that.

The minute I opened the page, I began to think and write in stories. Just little stories, nothing monumental, nothing groundbreaking. Whatever popped up in my head that day: motherhood, travel, mobile relationships and the occasional feeling of isolation that comes with the geographical schizophrenia of having many homes. I wrote ten posts that year, forty seven the next, ninety five the year after, and then last year I decided to begin blogging every day.

For over a year now I’ve been asked if I’d like to advertise on the blog. I’ve spoken to PR companies and businesses about sharing my space with you. Nothing felt right. I’ve talked about writing a media kit for months but I kept finding reasons not to finish it. Something felt weird about it all. I’d spent years working in Account Management and writing proposals but this was different. This was my space, you’ve become my friends and my support and what happens here is genuine.

About a month ago G and I had the talk. The career versus blog versus returning to the office. I can make money from freelancing but was it time to return to what I knew? I realized that I really wanted to keep writing this blog. That it was much more than a hobby. It’s not just about recording the stories of our family, I also want to share the stuff I’ve learnt along the way. The tips for travelling with kids, the discoveries made while being pregnant in a foreign country. I love posting a question from Amy about where to sit on the plane with a one year old and seeing a community of women jump in with advice. That’s what this blog has become, it’s a community of women all over the world who pop by each day or maybe each week to have a laugh or a cry.

So, this is what I’ve done. I written down a list of international brands that I’ve used and trusted over the past thirteen years. I’ve started talking to them about what I like about them and how my experiences could be shared. I don’t have to tell you this, but I want this process to be as authentic as it possibly can. When I tell you that there is absolutely no way that I will ever talk about a product I don’t feel comfortable with, I want you to know it’s genuine.

I’ll continue to tell you about the bowls at the souq and the “highbrow” pencil I’ve fallen in love with.  I’ll let you know if someone gifted something to me – but I promise you, you won’t hear about it unless I love it.  Any post that is sponsored will be labelled as such, but please know that my intention is that these posts will continue as stories.

Thirteen years ago I landed in Jakarta, green as grass to the expat experience. A beautiful English woman came to collect me, she was a part of an organization that had a “welcoming” committee. I was five months pregnant and was standing in the hotel lobby with a similar expression to that of a child on their first day at school. “Do you get paid for this?” I asked her cluelessly. “No my dear” she was horrified. “Expat women have been helping each other like this for years, this is what we do.” I apologized and we moved on in silence for a moment. And then, I guess maybe after considering the fact she’d rushed her children off to school and given up a morning to sit in traffic halfway across town to then show a complete stranger around Jakarta, she said “we probably should get paid though, yes bugger it, someone probably should pay me for this!” We both laughed at how she reached her indignant conclusion.

This blog was a complete accident, an accident that has become a daily ritual and something that is just there, with me always. It’s not just a record for my children, it’s also about connecting with others and hearing their stories, your stories, while enthusiastically nodding away at your replies and comments. This morning I’ve heard from someone who was also in Libya, I’ve run into a blog reader at the supermarket, and I’ve emailed someone who is moving to Houston with advice on housing. I’ve also spoken to a PR company in Dubai. The blog seems to weave itself into my day, it has become the everyday, the ordinary. I’ve been lucky enough to meet people who have read this blog, people at parties who have instantly become friends. Really gorgeous women who have been very kind. Women who have encouraged me to keep coming here every day.

But if I’m going to keep coming here, and not going back to the office, I guess I should probably think about how I’m going to get paid.

Does that make sense? I hope so. I’m counting on you guys to tell me when I get it wrong.

Cheers,

Kirsty x

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Comments

  1. Absolutely x

  2. I love you blog – you write with humour and honesty – and it’s a joy to share your shenanigans. I feel as if I know you – though I’ve no doubt you censor what you write and keep really important stuff private. I would miss it if you decide to stop.

    But you have to decide what’s right for you. Blogging takes time and effort – you can’t keep going just to keep us happy.

  3. Why does it come down to money? Really? Perhaps because that’s how mortgages, school fees, food for the family are paid? Do you expect people to write for free, for your pleasure?

  4. Your blog, your rules. Ensure full disclosure though please! 🙂

  5. Absolutely Lydia, you have my word. I’ll overexpose the disclosure 😉

  6. Dear Disappointed, I’ll miss you, but I totally get it – you have to do what you feel comfortable with, and so do I. Thanks for the comment x

  7. Thanks gorgeous. Watching you and Rob work away at it while the content of your blog explodes into fabulousness, has shown me that you can partner with brands without losing credibility.

  8. Thanks darls. Cannot wait to see you in June xx

  9. I feel as if I know you too Jo, which is exactly what I mean about making connections on the blog. I would miss you if I wasn’t here every day 🙂

  10. I love your blog and appreciate the thought and integrity you’re putting into this decision. I will continue as a loyal lurker;) PS – if your Houston transplant needs some help, I’m here!

  11. I’m no longer an Expat (woo!!) and no longer live in Doha but I would miss my fav combo of a cuppa and the ‘Daily Kirsty’ if you stopped blogging. With or without advertising I’m sure you will retain the humour and honesty that has kept us all tuning in for the last few years.

  12. Everyone dreams of getting paid to do what they love; if you can do it without sacrificing your honesty and/or feeling the need to censor yourself, please do! Your advice -be it on traveling with little ones or making new friends- is no different than sharing your thoughts on things that have made your life easier or more enjoyable as an expat. It’s the same things you’d share over coffee with your girlfriends, isn’t it? Which nappy works better, where do find a product from home?
    Cheers!

  13. I look forward to reading your blog every early evening in the kitchen at the end of a day’s work while mulling over homework, dinner, taxi duties and how long I can wait for ‘wine o’clock’. I so enjoy your take on life and feel confident you will continue to entertain us without any overt product pushing. We all have to make a living and to achieve this while doing something you love is a wonderful thing. Bonne chance!

  14. Kirsty you keep me grounded and I look forward to your entry everyday. I will be here no matter what. Good luck Kirsty!
    Vani

  15. Kirsty, go for it, absolutely! I’m really excited for you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with ads, we can all click on the ones that appeal to us and perhaps enjoy some great finds and as for you, absolutely do grab the chance to get paid for what you’d be doing for fun anyways!!!! Looking forward to lots more great posts.

  16. I LOVE your blog and look forward to reading it every day. Although I have never met you, I feel as if I trust you completely. If this means you can continue to entertain and give valuable information about everything then why the hell not… GO FOR IT.

  17. How about making a book out of the stories?

    A German lady who travelled the world (12 countries in 12 months) was blogging while she travelled, staying connected to a huge fan crowd. After she returned to Germany she made a book based on the blog. That doesn’t happen over night, I know. More work…. But it sells! So would your book! I would not only buy it but I would give it to many, many expat friends 😉
    (As I do with the link to this blog!)
    Cheers, and stay connected!

  18. Best of luck with it and I read some blogs that have advertising and use full disclosure and I usually appreciate their honesty much more than an ad! Will still be here 🙂

  19. I recently stumbled onto your blog, can’t exactly remember how. I’m not an expat but love reading it & will continue to. You need to think about your family, if this means you tell us about products then so be it. I’m sure if it is something that a reader has no need for they can skim over it. You have been very upfront & honest about your decision & have said you will make it known when you write a sponsored post, I don’t see the problem.

  20. Just going though the same motions myself. You have to do right by you chick and although I havent been following you for that long, I know you will be as authentic as you always are 🙂 xx

  21. You are entertaining and connecting with us everyday. That takes time and effort, so why not make it viable for the long term. Go for it Kristy 🙂

    http://www.seekingsynergy.wordpress.com

  22. You always write with conviction and honesty and I can’t imagine that changing because you fear upsetting anyone. Go for it – one of the benefits of this expat life for us trailing spouses (I hate that term but can’t think of another one!!) is that is gives us the opportunity to try out new things and fail or succeed without a lot of people knowing about it! You’ve found your niche and your passion why shouldn’t you get paid for it?

  23. Last I heard, Bloggers are not excluded from having to pay the bills and feed their respective families! If your writing is quality enough for someone to pay you for it, and yours certainly is, go for it! You put a lot of time and effort into every post, I am sure. How many of us are willing to go into work tomorrow and tell the boss, “I really like what I do, so you can keep my paycheck!” Not I! Go For It! Yea!

  24. The Expat women “that is what we do” comment is so true. Made me smile.
    Whatever decision comes from your heart must be right. Just check and do the maths before adventuring into commercial waters. Good luck!

  25. Hi Kristy – I am not an expat (but may become one — EEk!! and I LOVE your blog – I never miss a post and really love the way you write. I have forwarded so many of them on to my friends who I know would connect with what you have said and I have personally shed a tear, had a laugh or have just felt really moved by so many of the things you say. I cannot see how the content of what you have to say, or how you say it will be effected by having sponsors. Also, supporting a commenter below – you could publish a book for sure! I would buy it! xx Bee

  26. I don’t understand what the fuss about advertising and sponsored posts is~ ads are so ubiquitous I barely even notice them and if you do sponsored posts about products you actually like I’m interested to hear about them (^_^)d

  27. Thank you for continuing with your blog, and yes get paid for it. You have given so many of us so much and it’s time you got something back for it. Good luck and I say congratulations, you deserve the good that comes your way. J x

  28. I love the blog, have SO appreciate your Houston tips, and won’t mind at all if you throw a little product into the mix. 🙂

  29. That’s right .I really love those…….:)kids birthday parties nyc

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