Blogger Trish Burgess writes for the Free Press
It’s a funny old thing, blogging. I initially started writing online as a way to publicise SADOS shows. Once I had got the hang of it, the idea of an online diary, sharing episodes of our family life and, in particular, our holidays, began to take shape. I would take a notebook on holiday, scribble things down then write up the notes on our return, as much as a record for my family than any specific need to share with the world.
However, once these stories were shared, I began to feel very much part of a wider community of bloggers. I have readers from the United States, Panama and South Korea and with many I have begun an online friendship as we discuss trips, parenting and music; bound together by our shared love of writing.
A few years ago I started chatting to one blogger in Chicago and we instantly formed a connection. I only knew her as Toni from ‘Expat Mum’ but It transpired, some weeks later, that she was actually my second cousin. We had attended the same school in Newcastle, had both moved away then 30 years later were reunited through the internet.
Coming out from behind the computer to meet up with other bloggers was an important step. After attending a conference in 2012, where I won an award for my travel blogging, things moved to another level. Opportunities began to come my way as brands realised I had a voice and a following. Recently I worked with Visit Scotland, reviewing family attractions in Glasgow and Edinburgh in the run up to the Commonwealth Games later this summer.
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to speak for a second time at BritMums Live, a conference in London for 700 parent bloggers. I would be on a panel discussing travel issues with a fellow blogger, Emma Raphael, who writes ‘A Bavarian Sojourn’; Steve Keenan, social media expert and former online travel editor of The Sunday Times and, special guest, Simon Calder, travel editor for The Independent and TV expert for all things travel-related.
The conference was inspiring. I listened to speakers such as Emma Freud and Stella Creasey MP plus journalists Eleanor Mills and Bryony Gordon. On the second day, the travel session was well-attended and, as I sat on the sofa with Simon Calder, speaking into the microphone to a vast room of writers, I did have to pinch myself. It seemed such a leap from being a mum at home trying to write funny stories about our holidays to being a panellist with a clipboard and a lanyard sharing travel tips with the big names in the industry.
If anyone reading this has ever thought about writing a blog then my advice is to give it a go. It’s a great way to record aspects of your life, share views with others and, if you’re very lucky, you might find the odd long-lost relative along the way.
You can follow Trish on Twitter @mumsgoneto and read her blog at www.mumsgoneto.blogspot.com