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Blogs I Was Reading In 2014

As the end of 2014 approaches, I thought it would be nice to share with you the blogs that I’ve been reading this year. As many of you know, 2014 was the first year of blogging for me, and there were many blogs I looked to for inspiration as I waywardly tried to find my way in the blogging world. I follow the blogs listed below mainly because they make for great reading, but I also wanted to mention them here as a way of showing my appreciation to the writers behind them. If any of you are reading this, thank you! I learned from all of you.

If you’re looking to pack out your blog reading list for next year, look no further…

 

Spartan Traveler

“We have access to more information on our iPhones than any other humans have had in history, and that rate of information-sharing synthesis is only accelerating, in every field. Let me underscore this point: the same amount of information is available to everyone. It’s all out there in a how-to blog post or book somewhere. All you have to do is dedicate the time and energy to find and learn it.” 

-Clayton Cornell in 22 Things I Learned As A Digital Nomad

Who is he?

Clayton from Spartan Traveler is a new-ish digital nomad who always writes extremely practical, informative posts about online business, travel, health, and life in general (around the world in $220, anyone?). His travels have taken him from Asia to Latin America to Europe and beyond, all while building internet businesses from his laptop. I instantly related to a lot of his writing, probably because him and I tend to have similar outlooks on life, are a similar age, and both share a love for travel.

My favourite post:

How I Broke My Body And Then Fixed It

For almost all of 2013 and 2014, I dealt with a shoulder injury that prevented me from exercising. Then I came across this post, which ended up being the single most thorough and helpful piece of information I ever consumed on dealing with long-term injury – and that includes consults with several doctors, physios and specialists in a number of different countries. I also emailed him for some advice, and he turned me on to a couple of books and, most importantly, body maintenance videos from Mobility WOD. The post is extremely thorough and thanks to his advice, my shoulder has improved tremendously and is well on the way to recovery. I seriously would’ve paid Clayton for this post – it’s literally changed my life.

Find him at:

Blog | Facebook | Twitter


Mark Manson

“If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” and you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous that it doesn’t even mean anything.

A more interesting question, a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before, is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.”

-Mark Manson in The Most Important Question Of Your Life

Who is he?

Mark Manson is a modern thinker who writes such succinct and insightful articles that I often find myself reading them 4 or 5 times in a row, or simply just sitting there afterwards in silence thinking about my life. I don’t agree with everything he writes, but I can always tell that his messages come from a place of honesty and clear thinking, which is the most important thing. He’s also one of the few prominent bloggers that writes about men’s issues today, which are often swept under the rug, ridiculed or ignored. I’ve found that the wisdom he shares in his writing could only come from someone who has travelled extensively outside his borders, has experienced high levels of both success and failure, and has willingness to accept both the good and bad in the world. More than anything, his writing inspires reflection and thought, which is what everyone needs from time to time.

My favourite post:

The Most Important Question Of Your Life

This is quite simply the best post I’ve ever read on finding one’s way in the world. We all have those moments where we sit in self-doubt, wondering what on earth we want to do with our lives, and despite (or maybe because of) the abundance of possibility in the world, our generation seems to be the most troubled in history. Eventually, we all need to choose a path, and if you’re still not sure which one you’re going to take this post might be what you need to help guide you there.

Find him at:

Blog | Facebook | Twitter


The Fat Kid Inside 

“I gained weight because of a sedentary lifestyle and overly indulging in foods I knew were bad for me, eating out too often, taking the easy route (microwavable dishes) and not caring what went in my body, before I knew it reached 240 lbs. I lost weight through pure dedication, tireless hours of hard work and yes, food. I cooked my way to fitness, making sure to only feed myself tasty well prepared dishes with all the right stuff, the perfect fuel. Of course I indulge from time to time, as the fat kid still lurks inside of me.”

Erwan Heussaff from TFKI

Who is he?

Erwan Heussaff is a chef, restaurant owner and food blogger I became aware of while living in The Philippines. He is wildly popular there, and it’s no surprise why – he has a great story (a former ‘fat kid’ who’s now a triathlete, celebrity blogger and dating a famous actress) and, unlike a lot of food bloggers out there, doesn’t come across as try-hard or know-it-allish. His blog is filled with great healthy eating advice and easy-to-follow recipes, a few of which have become personal favourites of mine. I usually hit up Curtis Stone when I’m out to try a new recipe, but Fat Kid Inside is quickly becoming my go-to guy.

My favourite post:

I’m normally a sirloin guy, but after watching this video I was cooking rib eyes every second day. Since then I’ve tried a good dozen of his recipes, and they all come out great, especially his healthy carbonara. I like simple, classic food, and am a big fan of his unpretentious cooking style.

Find him at:

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube


Boost Blog Traffic

“It’s not about how smart you are. It’s not about the professionalism of your blog design. It’s not even about giving readers tips they can go out and apply immediately. It’s about the way you make those readers feel. You want them to cry. You want them to laugh out loud. You want them to shake with anger. But the most important part? You want them to feel alive. 

You’ve felt it with other art forms, right? You go to a great concert or act or movie, and when it finishes, you feel a little bit different? A little bit more awake? Well, great writing does that too, and the beautiful part is it can affect people on a mass scale. You can write a great post once, and thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people will be affected by it. Do you realize how incredibly precious that is? 

It means you’re not just here to inform. It means you’re not just here to entertain. It means you’re not just here to persuade. Those little pixels on the computer screen can change somebody’s life.”

– Jon Morrow in How To Be Unforgettable.

Who is he?

Jon Morrow is a blogger who’s worked with some big names in the industry, and more than a few times one of his posts have given me the motivation kick I’ve needed to sit down and start writing. I generally don’t read blogs about blogging (I’m not a huge fan of the whole “blog about how to write a blog” thing), but Jon’s is one that I did feel compelled to subscribe to and his posts rarely disappoint. He also has quite a fascinating personal story, one that often forces me to shut up and put away my excuses very quickly indeed.

My favourite post:

On Gluttony, Selfishness and Unleashing The Power Within

If you’re not a blogger you may not relate to this post entirely, but it totally changed the way I thought about this site and what my goals for this blog would be. Starting a blog was a very new and challenging experience for me, like nothing I’ve ever done before. It started with just a simple message that I wanted to share, but over time that started to fade into the background and I start thinking too much about traffic, shares and money. This is why I love Boost Blog Traffic. Jon really understands what it’s like to be a blogger, the thoughts and conflicts that go through your mind, and then writes a post that really resonates and helps you get back on track. If you’re a blogger, I highly recommend you check in here from time to time. Many posts here will do wonders in helping you remember why you started your blog in the first place.

Find him at:

Blog | Facebook | Twitter


Wandering Earl

“In order to gain the most from our travels, we should be completely open to changing the way we view the world. We should accept and welcome the fact that what we think and believe now, is not the only way to think and believe. By trying to hold on tightly to one set of views and ideas instead, what can we truly gain from our travel experiences?” 

-Earl Baron

Who is he?

Earl has been travelling full time for over 10 years, and now writes one of the most popular travel blogs on the web. I don’t really read many travel blogs, simply because I find most of them quite boring. I’m not sure if it’s because I write a lot about travel myself or just because there aren’t many good travel blogs out there, but I just never feel compelled to follow too many of them. However, this is one of the few I do follow. Why? Well, Earl’s blog is a bit different. Despite how big it’s grown, it still genuinely feels like a simple, personal blog where he shares helpful stories and messages about life on the road. He also has quite a unique writing style, and often just goes off on tangents and writes about the most random things sometimes. It’s a little odd, but definitely a lot more interesting than the typical “10 things to do in Prague” style posts which are quickly getting old. I’ve also interacted with him quite a bit on email and he’s been unbelievably helpful with some of my newbie questions – the sign of a true blogger is one who takes the time to respond to his readers!

My favourite post:

Thank You To The Militant Who Stole My Car!

This post is just one of those crazy stupid travel stories that everyone should read – and there’s a nice little moral at the end too.

Find him at:

Blog | Facebook | Twitter


Migrationology

“We moved to Democratic Republic of Congo, back then it was known as Zaire. We lived there for 3 and half years or so, and I was home-schooled, but it was in Congo that I did a lot of awesome things like run around in the jungle with no shirt on, and eat all kinds of jungle creatures – I used to go with a slingshot and shoot little birds and eat them, and I’d also eat all sorts of other jungle creatures like flying termites, grubs, delicious things like that.”

-Mark Wiens from Migrationology

Who is he?

As you can see from the extract of his personal story above, Mark from Migrationology is both a true traveller and foodie. I find it’s very easy to see who’s truly passionate about what they do and who’s a fake, and Mark is definitely a food FREAK. I think I’ve watched every one of his Youtube videos, and while in Bangkok I went and tried a few of his recommendations which all turned out to be amazing – somehow this guy manages to find the most insane eats in the most obscure parts of the city. You can tell he pours his heart into his blog, from the writing, to the photography, to the vids on his Youtube channel. I can’t even imagine how much work all of that is (I struggle to write one blog post a week), but he obviously loves what he does and makes it happen. If you’re a food traveller, this blog needs to be top of your subscription list.

My favourite post:

After watching this video, I knew I had to try this place on my next trip to Thailand. It was a bit of a mission to find the place, but it was totally worth it. I ordered exactly what he had in the video and it was insane. Might be the best food I’ve had in Bangkok, and I’ve had some pretty epic feasts in Bangkok.

Find him at:

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube


Legal Nomads

“Like an everyday commute in New York, you don’t need the social clout of stepping outside the quotidien to have memorable experiences. You only need to look at the people around you – truly look, communicate, smile. The rest falls into place.”

-Jodi Ettenberg in What Does Off The Beaten Path Really Mean?

Who is she?

Jodi is a former lawyer who hails from Canada and has been on the road since 2008. Now based in Vietnam it seems, she’s done her fair share of globetrotting, and now is part of the who’s who in the travel blogging world. If there’s one blog that’s inspired me more than any other, it’s this one.

Why?

I don’t know. Partly because I relate to a lot of her stories and perspectives, seeing as we’re both corporate runaways. Partly also because I love to eat, Asian food in particular, and she seems to be an even bigger enthusiast in that department than I am. But I think mostly, it’s because of her writing. She’s one of the few (if not the only) travel blogger out there right now who I think is a really good writer. She brings such simple, everyday travel stories to life and I’m always left wondering, “How does she do that?” I don’t know where she got her vocabulary from, but I want it. And it’s writing like this that always inspires me to build a better blog and be a better writer. 

My favourite post:

On Homesickness and Long Term Travel

If you haven’t spent much of your life travelling this post may not hit the same buttons with you, but this particular article brought back so many memories and feelings, both good and bad, and really highlighted both the bright and dark side of being a nomad. Travel has so many potent lessons to offer, but also carries a heavy emotional burden that can get overwhelming sometimes. You’re everywhere, and you’re nowhere, and the relationships and friendships you leave behind eventually take their toll. I love Jodi’s blog because rather than writing about the places she goes, she writes about the lessons she learns, and this post was a wonderful collection of reflective thoughts and memories. And really, that is what travel is all about.

“On my end, I certainly do think we leave a part of us in each of the places we visit. There are repercussions to doing this with frequency, too – if you keep leaving parts of yourself around the world, what’s left to leave? And is there a way to go back eventually and collect all the pieces?”

Find her at:

Blog | Facebook | Twitter


So, to everyone on this list, thank you! My first year of blogging has been extremely rewarding but the truth is, I learned from all of you. I truly hope you all keep doing what you do, and inspiring others to do the same. And you’ll always have a devoted reader in me.

Who did I miss? What blogs were you reading in 2014? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Blogs I Was Reading In 2014

  1. Another great post from Bren! I can’t believe you’ve only been blogging for a year, all your posts are so well-written, engaging and super interesting, like you’ve been at it for years! Anyway, so beside you, I also regularly read Matt at nomadicmatt.com and Sab at justonewayticket.com. Cheers!

    1. Hi Corinne, thanks so much! It’s been hard work but a lot of fun. I’ve heard of both of those bloggers but I don’t check in there too regularly – already have enough on my reading list! Glad you’re enjoying my posts here and thanks for following along 🙂 Bren

  2. Hey Bren – I’m really happy to hear that my blog is one of the few travel blogs you follow and that its ‘odd’ style hasn’t turned you away! Looking forward to interacting some more in 2015. Be well my friend!

    1. Hey Clayton, thanks for the awesome post and I hope sharing it here will help a few others as well. Looking forward to the follow up! Safe travels and happy new year.

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