I Wrote This For My Mother

2013 in Blogging Great Big Scary World

About 18 months ago, I left my job teaching English in South Korea and I decided that I would hitchhike around Europe. Of course, my family were absolutely delighted to hear that their 25 year old son would continue avoiding the career trail and spend the foreseeable future trying to get into cars with strangers and sleeping outside. What a bright future they all saw for me.

I promised that I would stay in touch and send them pictures. By doing this, I wanted to share my journey with them and show them that I was enjoying what I was doing. I wanted to show them that I was not simply a homeless, unemployed bum. Rather than doing this through Facebook or email, I said that I would start a blog. As far as I was concerned, a blog was where people posted about their carR-razy pet rabbit or the difficulties of life being trapped inside their steel cage mind filled with aggressive scorpions. I would be posting about my hitchhiking journeys and as a kid who grew up afraid of everything, the name Great Big Scary World seemed appropriate. My target audience was my family: primarily my mother because I knew that she was the most likely one to read what I put online.

So off I went and I started posting things here and there. Sometimes I’d post once a week, sometimes once a month. Just enough to let everyone know that I was alive and enjoying what I was doing. At one point, I even thought I would be fancy and make a short video to show some of the unusual places that I’d been camping.

Fast forward seven months and I stopped hitchhiking and went to visit my family in the UK for Christmas. This was supposed to be the end of Great Big Scary World. But then I moved to Istanbul and I thought, why don’t I turn it into something that could support my future travels? People had been emailing me about advertising and I saw some potential. Thus I started posting a crazy number of advice pieces for a couple of weeks. Just before I accepted the adverts, I thought, is this what I want from this site? Am I happy doing this? The answer was a resounding no, not at all. I do not want to write a typical travel blog: they are extremely useful things, but writing destination guides and travel advice does not excite me. I still have the travel advice pages on this site, but most of the them have not been updated and probably never will be. I would like to add a couple of advice pages about long distance budget cycling and raft building… but the interest level hasn’t been sufficient to drive me to do such a thing yet. The main advice I offer, is go out there and live a life true to yourself (this is expanded in The Avant-Garde Life).

So instead, I decided I would write about exactly what I felt like writing about. Primarily my adventures and why other people should follow their hearts and have their own adventures. We all want to ‘help’ in some way, right?!

By writing about what I wanted to write about, rather than what I thought people wanted me to write about, my traffic went like this:

Total Visitors on Great Big Scary World

I really didn’t expect that. However, this is still a very small site. My end of year WordPress informs me that

This blog was viewed about 170,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 7 days for that many people to see it.

That doesn’t mean much to me, but the bar graph does: it means more people are taking an increased interest. The total views from the final four months of the year, far outweighed the views from the previous eight months. What I would like to know is why? What are you looking for, why do you read more, how did you find this site in the first place? Against my initial desires, I set-up a Facebook page for GBSW in the middle of last year and most weeks, I try to schedule a few posts to sustain a bit of interest (yes, sorry, most of what you see was actually prepared in advance and posted at the beginning of the week – I’m not a fan of sitting on FB all week).

This is the first post I have ever made about blogging. Possibly the last. It feels unnatural to write like this, but I like stats (I studied Mathematics at university for four years) and WP sent me these pretty pictures about this site so I thought I would share some of the most interesting pieces of data with you.

In 2013, GBSW was visited by people from 183 countries:

Where Visitors Come From

Despite being British most of my page views have come from Americans, closely followed by UK views. Canadian then Australian readers follow. As a site written in English, this seems to make sense. Mauritania, Lesotho, Mali, and Burkina Faso have all brought exactly one reader ever.

Some of the more diverse search terms that have led people to this site include (number of searchers in brackets):

naked massages (58)
naked on a boat (54)
golden penis (21)
erotic prostitute stories (17)
erotic sleep (12)
scary prostitute stories (5)
the most beautiful penis in the world (4)
erotic bush (4)
sleeping porn stories (4)
the most beautiful penis in the world (4)
prostitute porn story (3)
boy penis (3)
big scary penis (1)

I think many of them will have left disappointed.

I often get asked about how I make money form this site. As you will notice, there has never been a paid banner on this site. For me, it is important to keep my voice clear from these distractions. I make a tiny amount of money when people book travel insurance through my site (take a look if you are going away soon) or when people set-up a website using my advice. But mostly, I write for other sites and now I have started to make websites (if you need a website or know someone who does, feel free to contact me).

I’ll keep writing this when I feel I have something to say and I intend on keeping it as clean and clear as possible. But again I ask, what are you reading this for and how did you get here? I will continue to post what I feel like posting, but what posts do you most enjoy? Feel free to leave a comment with your feedback.

I enjoy the messages that I get from people (please feel free to contact me, but don’t be offended if it takes me a week or two to reply) and I like experimenting with videos / photographs. This is a nice platform for me to share.

Very shortly, I hope to be releasing the most useful thing yet. It is a story and it is about a journey and overcoming fear. The name is decided (although I can’t tell you yet), but if you are interested in reading it when it comes out, please subscribe to my occasional email list (which can be left at anytime) or follow GBSW on Facebook. Alright, that’s enough about blogging.

Go have yourself an adventure (that’s all I really wanted to say anyway).

10 Comments

  • Hi! I found the website by googling “travel without money”. My girlfriend and I are going to cycle to Vienna next summer (Ljubljana-Vienna isn’t much of a distance, but I can’t explain how excited I am) and after reading through a whole lot of websites that mainly told me my bike wasn’t good enough for the trip and that I needed to buy more stuff to survive, I was very glad to have found someone who agreed with me in terms of material preparedness and I found your story very inspiring! I think it’s much more motivational to simply share a story of your own experiences than “advice” and instructions in full-detail telling me how I should or shouldn’t do something. Thanks!

  • Hello Jamie! You’ll be laughing, but I have to tell you I discovered your website because I was Googling for “Scary world” in the image search page of Google. And among tons of scary world images (I need it for a blog post I’m working on) I found your website!!!
    And I started resonating deeply with your mission. You rock boy, thanks for sharing your amazing stories. Keep on. D

  • I am planning on teaching in Korea later this year and I found you initially through your article about how you didn’t want to go back. (Don’t worry it obviously didn’t deter me) From there I just explored the rest of your articles. I keep coming back because your adventures keep me inspired and remind me why I continue at my job these coming months before I leave. Good luck and safe travels!

    • Funnily enough, I have come back to Korea, but this time not for teaching. Best of luck with your upcoming adventure.

  • Hey Jamie. After getting home my travels (Gap Year in Oz and Summer Camp in USA) and getting a job in October, a short time later I got bored of it and have decided to cycle from home (Ireland) to Morocco starting in March. Looking for inspiration online I found Tom’s Bike Trip, and from there found your site. It’s been a great read, and I have finally decided to start a blog too! Keep it up!

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