All week I’ve been asking myself, what would I be most interested in hearing about from a blogging couple about to spend a year traveling the world. So many posts have been done and overdone on packing, itineraries, the reasoning behind certain “wheres” and “whys” that all those topics felt kind of stale to me, and I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to say or how I wanted to say it, but here it goes…
What can our readers expect from us as we travel that will be a little bit different from what they’re used to reading about on other lifestyle blogs? For starters, we’re going to be posting on here a whole lot more often, with a goal of about three to five posts a week, and will be posting a YouTube video for each location we stop in, too. Video is going to be a new major medium for us, and I’m pretty sure Porter has spent more time in our second week of marriage with his drone than with his wife. Can’t say I blame him completely. None of that is particularly unique in the blogging sphere, though, but we’re going to approach it all a little bit differently.
An issue I’ve had and continue to have both as a blog reader and writer is how to deliver sponsored content that celebrates a brand without feeling like your pushing consumerism on your followers, or trying to deceive them into not realizing they’re being sold to. The weight of anxiety I felt around that issue lifted significantly when Porter and I made the decision that Recess City would be an ethical lifestyle blog, work exclusively with eco-minded, sweatshop free companies, and never introduce a brand to our following that lacked the kind of ethos we felt like better people for having been exposed to. Any company we talk about on here is doing good through their practices both in shop and out and are driven by a team who, to quote Orsola de Castro, “demand quality, not just in the products they buy, but in the lives of the people who made them.” Yet even with strict criteria laid out for what we wear and who we’re willing to work with, thinking about turning out brand-driven content as we travelled in a way that was purposefully subtle still felt a bit like rubbing my shoulder against sandpaper; it was uncomfortable. So we finally arrived at the decision that, in the months ahead, any post we’re working with a brand on will blatantly display so in the title, in the format of “Recess City x Nisolo” or “Recess City x Two Thirds.” No gimmicks, no subliminal marketing, these posts are going to be about ethical brands we love, why we love them, and why we think they’re a better option for consumers when you find yourself in need of a certain item. For me the beauty of doing it this way is that, for those who have no interest in any of the brands we work with, they’re easy to see and skip. If a blog post doesn’t have that title format, we won’t be talking brands. Full stop.
The majority of the posts we’re going to be sharing and the photos we’re going to be taking are going to be documenting our day-to-day lives as we jump from place to place, “secret” spots we’ve found in less well-explored locations, and the kind of real, raw stuff I love reading about on other sites, things like adjusting to working with your husband (or wife) 24/7, learning how to live without having a real home base, and what we find we miss and definitely do not miss in this new stage of life. In other words, relatable information for anyone interested in how to make a traveling lifestyle work and what it can look like.
And then there’s hotel posts… If you know us personally, you know that Porter and I both love hotels. That sounds incredibly pretentious, but to explain a bit further, we both really love design. I haven’t always been this way and neither has he, but in the past four years or so we’ve both become increasingly obsessed with the kind of minimalist, organic boutique design hotels we’ve fallen in love with shooting, fine-tuned our photography skills with, and are structuring our time in Europe around visiting. If the different kinds of photography we do were a yoga class, then hotel shoots would be the Savasana, the point where we both kind of go quiet, tiptoe around whatever property we have the opportunity to shoot just before sunrise, and rediscover the kind of creative stillness we feel behind a camera. These posts will be as much for ourselves as for whoever follows along, and if you’re heading to one of the places we visit, hopefully they’ll be a good starting point.
So, there it is, a rough outline of the kind of material we’ll be posting in the months ahead. It’s not revelatory, just an adjusted approach, and, as always, our obsession will be quality.
I said to Porter months ago, when we’d just made the first baby steps toward planning this trip, if I’m not sick to my stomach the night before we leave, than we haven’t risked enough. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in the past five years is that, for me, intense fear of failure usually preludes incredibly rewarding experiences.
We leave for Rome in one week, and just thinking about finishing up packing and heading out our door, my stomach is in knots.
I’m taking that as a good sign.
Anna Lisa & Porter