Hello, it’s me!

Expat bloggers: self indulgent or service-oriented people?

It has come to my attention recently that some folks see writing as an act of self-indulgence. I am feeding myself chocolate. Yes. I am now rubbing the chocolate all over my body and it is melting because of my body heat. Yes. I am recording myself and uploading the video on yu-be-tubing. Oh, yes.

I see writing as a service. I am servicing the community by writing down my thoughts and feelings because if I wasn’t writing then I’d probably be gratuitously talking or doing something equally destructive to express myself.

So by the time it reaches my blogs, my writing has been cut down and reshaped into easy bite sized, pre-chewed pieces of delicious goodness. See?

I blog to share. And not because I think I am the Holy Grail of writers (thirsty?) but because I enjoy writing. When you enjoy doing something you inevitably share it. I think. And the relevant feedback I have gotten lets me know I’m on the right footpath. I mean isn’t that what the internet is for? connecting to others?

Now, I know some expat bloggers (not personally, but I’ve like heard about them) who try to connect just for the sake of having a big readership so they can look good to the other peacocks in the parade of bloggers. Supposedly they go out and have oriental experiences so they have something to write about. I jokenly told my friend, maybe they decide to have a baby so they can blog about it.

I don’t know. Eventually though I think people can sniff out inauthenticity. What’s interesting to me is bloggers have become such a sub-culture that we can now poke finger lickin’ fun at them. I mean, I just described a caricature or a cliché. Spineless bloggers are today’s used cars salesmen.

Although to quit that “good” job and travel the world and blog about it is also creating a generation of self-educators. At least I hope that is what they are doing. Children and all, travel bloggers/expat bloggers are becoming more and more commonplace.

So I’m not sure who is worse: the blogger whose personal diary is so bad it is like taking a bath in perfume or the blogger who just wants your paypal account.  And yes, I do see the irony in saying my writing is a service. Because that sounds self-indulgent.

But. I think writing is a search for clarity and understanding. Sure sometimes it is pure entertainment and good writing is all of these things. Not that I’m saying my writing is good or anything (*cough, cough*). If blogging is a service-oriented past time/full time job then what are you providing? What are you giving?

Me? Self-imposed restraint.

8 replies on “Why do (expat) bloggers blog?

  1. I blog because I like it, because I wanted to remember our traveling experiences, because I got sick of the time it took to individually email everyone about what we are up to…..that way I can write one entry and they can read it if they want otherwise it doesn't matter. It also stops me getting bored and eating cake


  2. 555. I hear ya. And good point. Many blog to share their accounts with family and friends. Mine never started out that way because my mom doesn't know how to use a computer but inevitably friends stop by to see what I am doing.


  3. I blog mainly for myself, because I have a bad memory.The ads on my site are merely to scare off others. Really, they buy me one cup noodles a month.


  4. I really like your blog Lani despite the fact that I have met some of those anthropologists-bloggers who seem to get caught in Asia and are the biggest wankers of all time.I also love the '555'!One thing, can you change the font on your blog? It's pretty, but it's really straining my old eyes!Thanks again for your insights. Also, thanks to JP for posting the link on fb!


  5. If you hit ctrl+ you can increase the font size, to decrease ctrl-I changed the font not too long ago so I probably won't change it again! Thanks for reading Mr. Nomad and Anon!!! 😀


  6. “I am now rubbing the chocolate all over my body and it is melting because of my body heat.”I got stuck on that part for a good ten minutes…but I digress.I started writing because people were tired of me telling them about Thailand and blogging made a good outlet…I cover a little bit of everything and I do have ads but it all helps pay the server costs.


  7. I think that Thailand’s expatriate bloggers/writers are a diverse group that really defies categorization. Most of the writers have some skill as ethnographers, but there the similarity ends.Many writers focus on their jobs, some on cultural or religious events, others on the food, and a few on politics or village governance. Travel writers are almost ubiquitous. Several bloggers have varied interest, and so they write eclectically.As a reader, I appreciate those bloggers who have some writing “craft” [either a natural talent or learned], enjoy their subject, and add a touch of irony or a bit of humor.Happy Thanksgiving from Ken C. [Stuffed with turkey & satiated with football] in southern California, USA


  8. Hmmm… why do I blog… I asked myself this very same question this week when I contemplated quitting. The flood crisis and Thailand in general was getting me down, and… quitting became a real consideration.But I love writing about learning Thai and languages in general. I love getting off my sofa and going for an adventure to share. I love finding out wonderful tidbits about the Thai culture. And the thought of not having that outlet… sad. So it seems I'm not ready to be done yet – there are too many more exciting things to learn, to see, to write about.As for my writing quality, it's sorely lacking. But seriously, I'm spending too much time enjoying myself researching and looking and sharing what I'm finding to bother spiffing it up.Reading back through my explanation, I guess I write first for myself and if you wanna hang along, I'd be thrilled to have you.


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