Having had the baton passed to me, I realised what a tough question this is to answer and there are way more than five reasons but I did my best to answer it as honestly as I could.
This is my response:
1. Lost in Translation
Reading that post again, for the first time in years, I also find that the writing is better than I thought it was. I’m actually quite proud of it. As regards the movie it’s the themes of isolation and consumerism that hit home.
A year earlier I had returned home from travelling and there was so much I didn't recognise. You may have heard the British Conservative party referred to as the Nasty Party they were/are hang ‘em and flog ‘em, anti-immigrant, anti-homosexuality, anti-one-parents families etc etc.
Well with Labour’s move to the right it seemed we had become the Nasty Country.
I hope my anger was directed in the right places. I hope it wasn’t like the hate I saw in so many other places.
To expand on a theme touched on before I felt ashamed by my country.
Up to that point I genuinely thought the Brits were the good guys. I, and it seems laughable now, actually believed in that British sense of fair play thing. It took a lot of reading to find out otherwise.
To realise how complicit we were in so much that was wrong with the world, authors Chomsky and Pilger played their part. And Pilger’s expertise seems to follow me from country to country. He’s passionate about Vietnam and he’s passionate about Nicaragua too.
Elsewhere bloggers such as Riverbend moved me to tears time and again. Blogging was just something else I could do. I wrote unanswered letter to politicians, I marched in Newcastle and travelled to London to do the same.
The most frustrating bit, was having taken part in these displays of defiance against the war, I’d rush home and BBC would ignore it.
Hey, the world could ignore my blog too but at least I got to put it out there. I got to shape it, edit it and say what I wanted.
3. The whole hits, links thing
I am a junkie. Always have been, always will be. When it’s good, it’s really good. Like when the Guardian referred to me as one of the Best Blogs. I actually read that in newsprint on a train. I didn’t know it was coming. I was bowled over.
My hits went sky high. I still check a million times a day to see who is reading and where they came from.
4. The anonymous fame.
I spent part of my working life as a journo and part as a PR man before I got into this volunteering thing. Both times I had to toe the line as regards what I could say. I would actually ghost write columns for PR clients who forgot that they didn’t write them and would regularly take the plaudits for them – even in my company.
As much as I have protested otherwise, in the small expat environment that I lived in, I loved the fame of being Our Man in Hanoi That blog didn’t have a fraction of the hits Space Hardware did but it was widely read locally.
A couple of people told me that the didn’t mention it when they first met me there but they knew about me from my blog. Months after we started going out, even my girlfriend admitted the same.
I think I am quite a quiet person.I like the level of fame that a blog brings. I like the: “..see him, he’s the one that writes…”
That’ll do nicely for me.
5. Being smug
I know at the time it wasn’t work that I agonised over, it just flowed and that is always my best writing. When it moves people and my comment box fills then it’s the most fantastic feeling. Sometimes it only moves me and that is fine too.
Also I’ve heard from the likes of Rachie that my blog persuaded her to volunteer. I think that is what I am most proud of.
Reasons bubbling under:
* I hate large slices of the
Rupert Murdoch controlled traditional media. I like independent media.
* I want it, one day, to earn me money but on my terms , so I can keep on volunteering for grass roots projects that don't have the cash to pay me.
* Because I know in my heart, that with some decent editing Our Man in Hanoi is worthy of a book. People have told me on a number of occasions that they have sat and read through it in one sitting. That they cried through it, just as I cried when I read Riverbend. This blog isn’t there yet – it’s still finding its feet. But I could never write a book, except in installments/posts. With the blog I at least have the dream.
* Because there is a part of me that feels guilty about me being away from my family. My blog is one of the ways I try to share my life and adventures with them.
People I'd like to ask "Five Reasons why they Blog":