The past week, I have been singing happy birthday to myself in four different languages, smiling at every take I see, promising myself I will take myself out for a sweet treat to celebrate my blog’s VERY FIRST BIRTHDAY! Yes, this past week, The Kay Days turned one year old – and status she has escaped the initial “burnout” period for student travel blogs, in fact she’s practically on fire, starting with just a few hundred monthly readers to thousands in just one short year. She has come with me to four continents, hundreds of new friends, two travel conferences, Blog House Toronto 2013, and of course, through the stressful days of college. I would say that, on the contrary, The Kay Days is quite the growing flame.
The Kay Days was actually born as a normal student’s travel blog – one to document for friends and family about my travels through the Philippines, the land of my ancestry. During that first summer, I recorded all of my adventures about swimming with whale sharks, diving into the Enchanted River, living on my grandma’s tiny but beautiful island of Camiguin, and tasting admittedly some of the weirdest foods in my life. By the end of that summer, I had a couple hundred email subscribers and a handful of comments on every post expressing appreciation from those, friends and strangers, living vicariously through my blog. What moved me the most, though, were emails I got from fellow college students, asking me for help or tips on how to manage so much travel with a student’s limitations and schedule. As someone with first-hand knowledge, I happily agreed to help. Inspired, enthusiastic, and energized, I decided to keep the site running after my Philippines excursion ended, to help other young people have the same opportunities that I stumbled upon myself.
Although at many times I have had a hard time keeping up with this travel blog while I am not traveling (AKA when I am stressing as a full-time, coffee-addicted college student), it has been a rewarding and surprising road – never would I have known, when I started off, that I would be sitting in a coffee shop in Ouro Preto (I guess I am still pretty coffee-addicted), Brazil writing this most to all of you, my friends who have made this blog truly what it is today. So really, I should be congratulating YOU, for being such kind, supportive, faithful, and loving friends. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my stories and my mishaps, my love of cheese and random ukulele jam sessions. Thank you for being the pillars that uphold this blog, no matter which way it sways.
Now, I look at The Kay Days not only as a site, but as an entity that grows alongside me as I grow alongside it. It’s a storybook with her own personality, her own goals, and her own vision, paving a path that spans countries, continents and languages of a wide variety. This blog has not only become my work, my passion, and my extracurricular activity, but in a lot of ways, it has become my life. I would not be the person I have become in the past year without the growing vision of where this blog is going to go, and equally importantly, where it will take me.
I don’t mean to drag this out, so I will keep it short and sweet: I want to celebrate with you all the end of the first year of insane college travel adventures and the beginning of many more incredible stories, near and far. The thing that has inspired me the most out of all of my travels? You. People and interactions have definitely been the fuel for this traveling flame, and it’s YOU that will continue to make this blog(/diary/life/photo album) what it is.
So here’s to one full year of The Kay Days, and to everything that this experience so far has taught me.
Always keep your traveling hearts alive.