The Future of DriftingFocus

Well, today is the fourth day of the federal government being closed due to Wintergeddon ’10.  We’ve now gotten 58″ of snow, breaking the all-time record.  There are cars out there so buried on the side streets that all you can see are the antennas.  It’ll be awhile before everyone is completely dug out.

On one hand, it has been nice to have the time off, to get stuff done with my various projects, to play in the snow, etc, etc.  But on the other hand, I’m getting tired of being stuck inside, I’m losing money from not being able to work (my company closes when the feds do), and I can only spend so many hours staring at Photoshop, Coda, and Firefox before I start to go a little insane.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot this week is this blog.  Last week I posted an entry about potentially splitting this blog into two:  DriftingFocus (personal) and Kick in the Breeches (professional).  There were a lot of good arguments in both directions, and I have come to the conclusion that at least for now, I think it’s best for me to just work on “re-aligning” this blog.  I will hold onto the KITB domain, but it will remain dormant until I decide what I want to do with it.

What I’m going to do with this blog, instead, is to work on making it simultaneously more personal and more professional.  One of the realizations that I came to in reading the various comments is that due to my personality and the nature of my life, it’s difficult to try and separate myself into a “personal” self and a “professional” self.  One of my strengths is actually my ability to combine the two, so why try and separate them?  Instead, as part of the “re-aligning” I’ll be doing on this blog (along with a redesign), I want to emphasize my personal philosophy, which can be summed up as “there’s no right way”.

Here’s some of the commentary that had the greatest effect on my decision:

“You have a number of interests, hobbies and goals that might not seem to flow together.  Some of these interests I don’t personally give a hoot about.  I don’t care much about reenacting, but I still enjoy the posts because you manage to show how a major expense, such as a hobby, can fit into your financial and professional goals.  I like reading about the upcoming event, what it takes to get ready for the event, and how the event went. Even not having an interest in the hobby, it reminds me, and those that are pursuing a travel lifestyle, that there are ways to incorporate a number of facets within that life.

Likewise, your posts on your jobs and your motorcycle are also interesting, not because they are about dog walking or repairs, but because of how you chose a job that maximizes your time to support your lifestyle in the way that you see fit.  Your job enables you and Marc to use your motorcycle for weekend travels.

You wrote about your frustrations with other lifestyle bloggers recently.  I think you are doing exactly what you requested of other bloggers; you are showing readers that beginning a life of travel doesn’t have to start after years of cubicle hell and it doesn’t have to detract from other interests that at first may not seem to fit into travel. ” – Kristen

“According to the generally recognized social rules, we are supposed to ‘play a role’ in a professional context. I personally tried to keep ‘professional’ and ‘personal’ opinions and attitudes separate, but at the end of the day I had to acknowledge that I’m not good at doing so.” – WaitingInTheDark

“I also found that since the split I’ve been torn about what to post where. My photography isn’t just professional–it’s personal, and when I post something new on the photo blog, I also want to post it on the personal one. So I double up my content sometimes and which means my existing readers to only read or comment on one blog and not the other (and generally that’s the personal blog–the original blog).” – Kortney @ 21st Century Nomad

I also have come to this decision due to some of the comments that are on my surprisingly popular post “My Beef with Travel/Lifestyle Bloggers“.  Some of the commentary on that post helped me to realize my own little niche, which, similar to what Kristen said above, is to not really have one.  Here’s some of the comments (or pieces thereof) that stood out to me:

“This article is so true! As a young person with a background much like yourself, […] I’m on a totally different level and wavelength.” – Ari

“I don’t think you should ever feel punished for never having been part of corporate America. That’s a truly unique gift – just have sympathy for all those poor working stiffs who would love to have the freedom that you (and heck, me, too, for that matter) have been blessed with.” – Everywhereist

“the fact of the matter is.. those of us already living outside of cubicles are more in the role of being beacons, not of needing guidance ourselves” – Cherie @ Technomadia

“You’re so right, many of us don’t know what it’s like to start traveling from nothing. That’s where you have such an advantage over the majority of travelers, and it’s we who have lots to learn from you!” – Live.Work.Dream

“You’ve identified an untapped niche, one that you are clearly an expert on. While that doesn’t help you too much with finding advice, it’s great that you are out there to give advice to people of a similar background.” – Stephanie @ 20Something Travel

That said, people should work on giving wide-ranging advice. [….]

Much the same, I find your blog the most accessible as I have noticed a lot of other blogs that talk about your topics assuming a much larger and more comfortable starting capital which I just don’t have. Even if I did, more than likely I’d prefer yours as I -like- the challenge (as seen in that I used to go camping in the Rockies). It’s… such a very very different mindset. I’ve never much liked not thinking about where the money for that next step comes from. Even in the few times I’ve -had- that money (or which ever resource), I still thought long and hard about it. – PunkRockKittie

Some day soon here I’m going to work on building a mind-map of what I want this blog to be/to represent.  I think that several people hit on the note that I am coming at the travel/lifestyle design arena from a much “less comfortable” position than most folks start out in.  Not only that, but I have a very active life outside those realms (as Kristen so astutely commented on in her remarks about my reenacting and motorcycling), and yet I’m able to keep everything going without neglecting any particular area of my life all that much.  My disinclination to compromise in my life and my unwillingness to sacrifice things that make me happy, and yet make everything still work out, even when I have next to nothing to work with, is one of my primary strengths, and I think that’s something I should emphasize on the blog.  As Kristen said, those “personal” subjects really are also a part of my “professional” message, because they’re part of my lifestyle.

I’ve also decided to integrate, rather than separate, my photography portfolio into this site.  I originally had planned for it to be separate (even with a different domain), in order for it to look more “classy” and “professional”.  Lately I have realized that honestly, that just isn’t me.  I have a strong and quirky personality, and I feel that it would be a mistake for me to not show that on my portfolio.  After all, someone who wants to hire me for photography should see what the authentic, motorcycle-driving, Mongol boot-wearing me is like, rather than mistakenly thinking that I am sleek and sophisticated like the classy portfolio site I had been planning.  My personality should be highlighted as a strength, not hidden as a weakness, and I want the re-alignment and re-design of this site to reflect that.

What do you folks think?

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