That is how many countries are represented from more than 25,000 views of my blog in this past 365 days. This means that someone from nearly half the world’s countries have visited my blog.
I am not so arrogant to believe that I am now a “world-renowned” blogger, writer or storyteller. The number of views are miniscule to the readership that other bloggers receive.
Nor do I think that anything I share is much different that what has been written before me or what will be written after I have been long-forgotten. My ideas are not new. My words are paled eloquence in comparison to the great writers and philosophers.
But what is amazing to me (through blogging) is that the world is so much smaller today than it has ever been before. Technology has made that possible.
When I was a child I dreamed of traveling to far-away lands. As an adult, I have not traveled to most of the countries that were on my list.
For me, it was never about the countries themselves, but getting to know the people, their customs, culture, food and languages. My curiosity has always been in discovery of the fascinating differences between countries and its peoples.
Most importantly, it was in celebration of the similarities.
As I have gotten to know people from all over the world having spent many years in the military with others from many different cultures and countries, as well as the journeys abroad I have made, I have had opportunities to get to know other people from the genuine, vulnerable place that we each face as human beings.
When I worked on my university degree, I gravitated toward the “foreign students,” and became a “conversation partner” to many as they were learning or perfecting their English language skills. I lived in the dorm (at the of 45) that predominately housed the exchange students. I traveled to the United Kingdom with a backpack and stayed in youth hostels, cooking, dining and sharing meal conversations with other foreign students visiting over their Christmas holidays.
These talks over a countless cups of coffee, shared meals, or one-too-many beers in pubs have not all been polite niceties, but have delved into the deeper thoughts, beliefs, feelings, opinions that have allowed me an opportunity to become much more tolerant of others who think differently than I do, something which I was not taught from my family of origin.
I have shared heartfelt conversations with men and women from all over the world. Many have been face-to-face. Others over the internet or telephone. We have shared laughter, joy and funny stories. We have also shared tears of great sorrow, pain and suffering.
None of us is exempt or excluded from having stories to share.
It does not require us to be pretty or handsome, brilliant or educated, young or old, or any other limit that society’s others or internal selves place upon us. What it does require is “showing up.”
When I started writing and creating on online presence at several sites, including this blog, I did so with the distinct purpose of “writing to find my voice.” I promised myself I would be vulnerable and would share my thoughts, also open to others doing the same. And I have always maintained that “whomever is intended to receive my message will do so.”
Yes, there are times when my ego wants more readership and views, and wants others to comment on how brilliant I am. I would love that others would get into discussion of the topic of each blog entry.
I do not know who has read what I have to say, nor if it has had an impact on most of them. That is not for me to determine.
But there are some people who have shared their comments, opinions and stories with me by commenting on a post that had some significance for them. Several online friendships have been forged through these “conversations.”
Yet, as I look at the statistics alone from this blog, I have been genuine, honest and vulnerable with people from 89 countries who have stopped by to read what I have to say.
Perhaps, my childhood travel dreams are coming true, because…
A part of me has traveled to nearly half the countries of the world.
(Note from the Author: Many thanks to all those who have read, commented, shared and subscribed to this blog. I appreciate each and every one of you.)