MY TALL SHIPS RACE JOURNAL – Reflecting on the beginning!

I started my blog eight months ago with this post – Good Afternoon.  It was pretty much a lame piece of writing when I look at how far my blog has come on, and what I write about now.  I was rather timid and scared of putting my thoughts out there.  Was not sure what to write, or what to include.  Whether the subject matter would interest others or whether my blog would go unnoticed out there on the big World Wide Web.  I was dabbling in the blogging world for the very first time, not even sure if it was quite right for me, or right for the reason why I started it.

In my first ever blog post I touched on the reason for starting the blog – my trip of a lifetime in July.  I wanted to use something other than pen and paper, something electronic that would be easy to use, so I could write about this fantastic opportunity.  Something I could do on my phone whilst on this trip of a lifetime and then post afterwards when I returned because I knew I would be out of signal for at least a few days of this trip.  It turned out that I had no signal for nine days!  Nine days of no phone calls, text messages, internet, social media, or emails.  Nine days without the trappings of this modern world where information is always at a touch of a fingertip or a click of a mouse.  Nine days like it would have been twenty years ago where you go on holiday and would be out of contact for days.  Nine beautiful whole days of pure ignorant bliss to what is happening in the world.  Nine days cocooned in a bubble where only the here and now mattered, totally immersed in the present.

I asked myself today did I choose the right media to write about my trip of a lifetime with?  The answer to this is yes and no!

Yes, because I find blogging good for me.  It gives me an output.  It is a great distraction to the pain.  On the flip side though, there are times I want to write and can’t.  Times when the words don’t come easy and my brain does not seem to function enough to string sentences together verbally without having the added complication of getting my fingers to use a keyboard.  Pain does that to you though, and this can be known as Fibro fog in the wonderfully strange world of Fibromyalgia (sarcasm by the way with that statement!)  I have found that this can be very frustrating – wanting to write and not being able to because the mind is completely blank, or as I often say “away with the faeries!”

Getting back on track!  Yes it was the right media to use and through blogging over the last eight months I have found my writing voice, which has increased my writing confidence.  The last time I did any proper writing was 17 years ago at college, and for me it was a skill that had become very rusty.

Although this blog was initially set up to write about my trip of a lifetime I have found my writing has branched out into other areas. I have written about my health issues and how they effect me and my family.  I have conveyed my thoughts on articles that I have read, linking them to my blog so others can read them, learn from them, understand me in my world of chronic pain, gain something from them, understand that what they are feeling is natural, or simply just enjoy them.  I have written about my past tall ships experiences and about my thoughts and apprehensions for my trip of a lifetime as a crew member with a disability.  I have even included posts based on Minions Quotes from Facebook for a bit of fun.  Oh and I had a whole month or so where every Tuesday and Thursday was a tall ship day, where I posted yet another tall ship taking part in the Tall Ships Race 2015 from Belfast to Alesund in Norway.  I really must have been driving my followers nuts during that period.  I won’t apologise if I did drive you mad with tall ships because it was a very special tall ship and booking a trip of a lifetime on it that got me started with this blog in the first place.  Also the blog was to record everything I could about my trip in the run up to it, during it, and probably for a while after – and tall ships played a very big part of that.  Although I will not apologise for the excessive number of tall ships I post about, what I will say though is thank you for staying with me on my journey and on my voyage!

Now down to the question of whether it was the right media to use during the trip, i.e. using WordPress on a mobile phone?  Again this would be a yes and no answer!

Yes, because when I was in port on my first day I was able to post a blog straight to WordPress.  However that was the last time I posted a live blog during my trip.  My second day on board I used my phone to write a blog post with all good intentions of publishing it before I lost mobile phone signal, however ship’s life is a busy life.  I had not finished the post, nor had I proof read it, and by the time I remembered we were already racing and mobile signal was no more.  This was the last draft blog I wrote using the WordPress App during the voyage.

So no, it was not the right media in the end to use during the trip.

It’s alright though, all is not lost for those of you who were looking forward to hearing all about my voyage, I just had to move onto the old fashioned way of keeping a journal – using pencil and paper.  The only downside being is that it will take a little longer for me to type it up and publish it on my blog that’s all, and that will be an upside for me getting to relive my voyage through my writing.  Luckily I had prepared for this eventuality and had brought along a special little pad and pencil just for this very reason.  Special little pad because the penguins move on the front of it when the pad is tilted forward and back.

I had a feeling blogging on my mobile phone using the WordPress App would not work out quite as I had expected.  For a start it is all so very small on a phone for lengthy blog posts.  It makes it hard work and a chore rather than a pleasure, and I think writing for fun should always be just that – a pleasure.  Also being on a choppy sea meant sometimes the words I wanted were not the words I got – you know what predictive text is like at the best of times?  Now imagine it ten times worse!  Writing does not come easy when you are constantly trying to correct what a computer thinks should be the right word!  Plus I had an intense fear of something happening to my phone, like getting it wet, or deleting a file in error, causing me to completely lose my journal.

Modern technology did not lose out entirely though to the pencil and paper.  I did have to revert back to using my phone for three days of my journal between Day 5 and Day 8.  It was not WordPress I used or any other writing type app, it was the voice recorder.  Why?  You may ask.  What made Day 5, 6, 7 and part of 8 so special to have it voice recorded on the mobile phone?  Read on!  It was far more comfortable during these days to lie on my bunk with my eyes closed and record my journal than to sit on my bunk trying to focus on what I was writing whilst feeling nauseous, dizzy, and having a headache.  Yep, you guessed it, I was feeling seasick below decks and suffering with all the classic motion sickness symptoms.  I was fine if I was lay on my bunk with my eyes closed, however if I tried to do something like writing, or if I stayed below deck too long after getting up out of bed, the symptoms of seasickness crept up on me.  I only vomited the once during these three days, the only time during the whole voyage.  This was pretty good considering the constant roll of the ship and the fact that I had taken no sea sickness preventative tablets because of clashes with my pain medications.  By Day 8 I must have gained my sea legs because I was suddenly able to sit below deck and write without even the slightest bit of discomfort.

With using pencil and paper, and the phone to voice record part of the trip, I now have the pleasure of reliving my trip through typing it up and adding in the photographs so I can post it on my blog.  If my plan had of worked out to have come home with 14 days worth of draft blogs on my phone, I probably would only have been proofreading and hitting the publish button.  Typing it all up from scratch is far better I think and I am looking forward to sharing my voyage with you over the next few weeks.

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