For this next post, I reached out to Cait over at her blog Well I Never! to ask if she’d be willing to let me interview her about her own experience as a blogger trying new stuff for funsies.
(Side note — I found her through a Google search, and her blog just HAPPENS to use the same WordPress theme as mine. I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t that the most amazing coincidence this side of the Mississippi? That’s exactly what I thought, too. :)
I’ve never contacted a blogger I didn’t personally know about collaborating before, so it was a little intimidating. What if my message went unanswered, lost to the black of the interwebs, a faint echo in a sea of couldn’t-care-less? Or, what if it did get answered, and the response was, “you’ve got to be out of your mind — I am not letting you interview me for your stupid blog you stealer of my WordPress theme!”
But neither of those things happened and my nagging fears were unfounded, as they usually are. Cait got right back to me and was totally game (thanks Cait!), so here I am posting my very first interview with a fellow blogger! Enjoy:
- I love how you say in your “Why I started this project” section that you began blogging about your adventures because your friends told you you’d be great at it. And that at first you thought you shouldn’t do it because you “felt like [you] weren’t original enough to have a blog” — but then you did it anyway. Roughly how many adventures had you gone on before you started blogging about them, and do any stand out in particular that helped give you the confidence boost to go for this next new, scary blogging thing? Or do you think it was a culmination of your efforts to dig in and put yourself out there?
I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty “safe” girl. My mom always loves to tell the story about how my younger brother and I were learning how to dive into a swimming pool when we were little. My brother was a daredevil and pretty much had no problem just putting his head down and diving in…no problem and definitely no forethought. Meanwhile, it took me months to gain the courage to jump in. I was convinced that he was actually older than me since he wasn’t scared at all!
I think I shocked everyone, myself included, when I announced that I was moving to Hawaii (from my lifelong home of Connecticut) for grad school when I was 23. That was definitely my first ridiculously huge adventure. I moved home four years later after an unexpected breakup, and had to start all over again, which took a weird form of courage in its own right, I suppose.
That first summer back I basically couldn’t get out of bed. You know how sometimes you’ll be traveling down a path in life and then some random life craziness pops up and you make a 90 degree turn from your path? This was like a huge black ink splatter had just dripped over my path and I didn’t even know when the path would appear from this ink splatter, let alone where it would take me.
One of my two best friends had just had a kid and I agreed to nanny for her, but the job didn’t start for another month, so I had 30 days of nothingness. That’s when my project REALLY began. For 30 days, I did one new thing a day and posted it to my Facebook wall, which is what started to get my friends’ attention. A chunk of them, separately, brought up the idea of the blog, and I decided to keep it going after the the original 30 days.
So, honestly, it was me giving in to peer pressure that really started the blog!
- What’s the weirdest thing you’ve tried? And what gave you the idea to try it?
Hrrrrmmmm… I guess it depends on weird. If you mean:
…..Dumb-weird it would be when I watched a TV show upside down
….Unexpected-weird it would be when I was the entertainment at a one-year old’s birthday
….headscratch-weird it would be giving myself a mohawk
….”that’s Cait being WEIRD”-weird it would be when I tried to learn how to yodel
- What new thing have you traveled the farthest for? Had you ever been to that place before? Did you have another reason to be there, or just go solely for the story?
I’m going to say when I went to St. Thomas. One of my boyfriend’s best friends was getting married down there. It happened to work out well for my blog (and my newfound Harry Potter obsession)…
- Is there anything you’ve tried on this journey that you wish you hadn’t? What was it, and why was it a terrible idea in retrospect?
I literally just skimmed through my entire blog and I’m OK with them all! I tend to not regret many things in my life. I usually find that almost anything can be learned from.
- How do you keep costs down on this trying new things bidness? Do you have any super-duper coupon sites you use, or any other savings savvy to share?
I only landed my first real “big-girl” job about a year and a half ago. So for the first 32 years of my life, I lived on a budget of nothing and have always found crafty ways to get around the problem of never having money. I’m also have a raging case of ADD, so I usually have the ability to space out or see an object and think of something random to do with it. Also, I’m a firm believer in checking out local things or amusements or oddities. They’re what make your place of living unique!
- Have you met anyone wildly interesting while trying to do this crazy thing? Who? And what did they teach you?
I got to spend some quality time with boyfriend’s cousin, Brenda, when she taught me how to make soap. I had met her once at a Family Reunion, and as soon as I found out all the cool things that she does for a living (runs her own photography business, her own skincare business, and teaches photography classes) I knew I wanted to spend some more time with her!
I also met a friend-of-a-friend who shows every aspect of what an amazing teacher should be when I met Shannon while visiting my friend Emily in Philadelphia. I went with them both to a teacher’s union rally after some crazy stuff happened in the Philly schools. Shannon was a light to her students that day….right in the middle of them. She even got them to be able to speak in front of the school board!
- What do you tell yourself when you’re tempted to just…not. Because surely there are times when you’re tired and trying old things is so easy and very possible and probably quite desirable in the moment. How do you get yourself to keep on heading out the door toward that next new thing?
When I started the blog, I literally didn’t have a job and had all day to sit and think about all the new things that I could do. It’s kind of cool to go back and read through the whole blog and see how I went back to school, worked some random jobs, and finally landed my dream job. So where I am now, in terms of free time, is drastically different than where I was when I sorted it.
For the majority of the blog, I posted once a week. But you can see when I was student teaching that I started missing a few weeks. I was just too busy to keep it going! I felt so bad about it, but then I realized that it’s MY blog! And the majority of my readers are my friends, soooooo….what was the big deal if I missed some weeks?
I took a big hiatus for a year when I was really trying to figure out my career situation. And now I post (try to post) once a month, since that is what my career allows. But what I’ve learned NOT to feel bad about is that just because I don’t post in my blog doesn’t mean that I’m NOT trying new things. This project has taught me that new things come in small AND big sizes. Trying a new tea flavor may not be as crazy as exploring St. Thomas, but it is still a reminder to expand your horizons.
- Do you read any authors whose works focus on switching things up and venturing out? Or podcasts, or musicians. Basically, what other artists have inspired you? Recommendations, plz! :)
For my intense love of research and reading, I’m actually a horrible digester of others’ blogs and books on these subjects! One book that I do remember reading (which now has several podcasts and other supplies attached to it) is a book by Po Bronson called What Should I Do With My Life? It’s all a bunch of interviews he did with people just trying to figure their own stuff out. There’s also Pathfinders by Gail Sheehy, which draws conclusions about how people face challenges and come out stronger after.
In terms of resources for trying new things, or noticing the small things, there was a TED talk (https://youtu.be/ajKMkIXN1eg) that inspired a book of 1000 awesome things. I emailed him after seeing the TED talk and he responded! He’s very nice. I also met another friend via her blog of the same nature: http://www.tootimidandsqueamish.com/
- What have you learned about yourself during this personal experiment that you didn’t know before?
People are almost always willing to help you do something new….they love trying new things, OR they really like sharing something they do with someone else.
Also, I’ve never regretted any new thing I’ve done, but I have regretted NOT trying things when I was younger and too scared.
- What’s in store for 2017? Have a roadmap, or trying things on the fly?
Nothing planned much. The only real thing is a trip to New Orleans in April! My boyfriend was going to get me a new iPad case, but I asked for an experience instead, and he surprised me with the trip!! I’m pretty lucky. I also always keep a list in my phone of random new things I’d like to try in case one of them pops up.
The big thing that I’ve wanted to do since day one of this project is milk a cow. I’ve exhausted all resources for me to try this one up here. If anyone has any recommendations on the east coast (preferably northeast?) send them. [Readers: I know at least ONE of you know how Cait can make this happen. Speak up in the comments — let’s help her get her hands on a Bessie!]
Try something new lately? Leave your story in the comments!
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