GUJARAT – THE LAND OF HISTORY AND STORIES.

Written by Pooja & Abhign / localaroundtheglobe

Do you people feel intriguing to know more of the place where people still believe “Guests are God”, where late Shri Mahatma Gandhi was born and initiated independence movement. Birthplace of Lord Shri Krishna well-known as the God of love. The only place in the world where you encounter Asiatic lions. Yes! I am talking about GUJARAT. One of the states in India where people still preserve its vibrant culture and rich heritage.

Gujarat has a vastly diverse culture, history, and stories. These history and stories are well reflected in the precious monuments which are one of the well-known tourist places Gujarat. Here we are to take you on a ride to feel the free spirit of Gujarat.  

GREAT RANN OF KUTCH

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Ran of Kutch is the desert in Kutch district of Gujarat state, India. It is the largest salt marsh in that desert worldwide spread in around 7500 sq. km. This desert is designated as a world heritage site since 2002 have varied tourist attractions, moreover, Government of Gujarat has initiated a 3 months long festival where people from all over the world come and dive in the local culture and have their best time away from the monochromic life of the cities.

I could not get more than excited to share with you a glimpse of this wonderful RAN UTSAV”.

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Ustav means festival. Festival where people rejoice and celebrate the local traditional culture which is nowadays forgotten in our unvarying city life. The wonderful combination of local cuisines, folk dance, and music, art, and crafts, camel rides, encountering the unforgettable view of the salt marsh on a full moon night. Where the desert gets lighted up with the moonlight that makes this place more magical and dreamy. You have the lifetime experience to stay in luxurious tents with traditional “Kutchi” interiors. They also have a dedicated space for indoor games for tourists to relax and enjoy the stay, rather than going for various sightseeing excursions. You can take back beautiful handicrafts like embroidery, wood carving, mud wall paintings, seashell toys and much more. This festival is celebrated for 3 long months every year in winters.  

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You can also visit other tourist attractions like

  • Wildass sanctuary
  • “Mata no madh” is a temple of a goddess
  • Black hill – this is the highest point in Kutch and famous for the 400-year-old temple of a saint “dattareya”. Moreover, it is very close to Indo-Pak border and hence there is an army post at the top of the black hill.

This place is for people who love to add flavor to their life. The flavor of enrooted culture, mouthwatering delicacies, folk dance and music, the colorful ambiance on a white deserted land brings up the fun-filled atmosphere. Where you make new friends and enjoy the magical white dazzling desert of Kutch.

Travel tip: Best time to travel is in winters from October-February. Specifically, for Rann Utsav, dates are announced well in advance so you can book your trip accordingly. To book your ran Utsav trip you can visit official site www.rannutsav.com  Nearest airport is Bhuj airport.

SPIRITUAL GETAWAYS

Sacred jaunts are not everyone’s cup of tea. Yet some shrines on this planet have a huge significance. Gujarat state has an abundance of devotional and spirituality towards their shrines. This is a never dying essence of the state. It is next to impossible to cover all the Hindu temples which have huge gravity and history but I can’t afford to miss “DWARKADISH TEMPLE” and “SOMNATH TEMPLE”.

DWARKA

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Dwarka is an ancient city well known for the “Dwarkadish” temple of Lord Krishna. Devotees of Lord Krishna visit this temple not only from India but from different countries. This temple is famous for its beauty and location. It is situated at the banks of Gomti river. This temple has beautiful and enticing carving on the walls on the inside as well as outside. The pious and peaceful environment of this holy city gives you a soothing experience.

Dwarka is also one of the most studied underwater sites in India. It is believed by many that Dwarka was the city of gold had lacs of palaces and embed with crystals and silver. Dwarka was one of the richest city in the history of India. It is believed Dwarka has submerged thousand years ago. It’s an honor for India that the majority of the beliefs were proved to be a reality by Indian archaeological explorations.

Travel tip:  Tourist travel throughout the year, but, the best time to travel is between the month of October-February weather will be pleasant and cool.

SOMNATH

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Image source: By BeautifulEyes – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21223175

This place is a significant example of a greater history and spirituality. Somnath temple is a one of the 12 joytilinga of Lord Shiva located in the city of Somnath in Gujarat at banks of Arabian sea. Devotes of Lord Shiva come from all corners of world to seek blessings. An inordinate amount of people visits Somnath temple in the month of August as this month is considered holy in accordance to Hindu Calendar.

What is absolutely fascinating about this temple is it has witnessed mammoth and tragic destructions in the past. It is believed the temple of Somnath has been built in AD. Later on, destroyed by Afghans and Portuguese several times. Henceforth in 19th century The Iron man of India Sardar Vallabbhai Patel was conducive to build the old temple and New temple built was inaugurated by the First president of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad in 1951. This temple has alluring architecture carved from stone and inner pillar is made of gold. it is believed by many shiv linga possess radioactive properties to produce gold is a reason it has witnessed invasions for several years.

However, after such challenging and decades of warfare, it is kind of captivating how this temple has not lost its spiritual essence and aura. And people come here with a heart full of wishes and pray for its fulfillment with fidelity.

Nothing fancy about this Somnath temple but its history is a legend in itself to dwell upon. temples architecture, beauty, seaside location, and warmth will bring you at peace with your own mind and soul. It is worth a visit if you coming to Gujarat.

Travel tip: Best time to visit somnath is in winters between October to February it is less crowded and weather is chilly and pleasant.

Interact with residents, priest and devotees to explore more. Nearest tourist attraction is Prabhas Patan museum which exhibits the remains of the old temple idols and Chorvad beach is approximately 30 kms from Somanth.

Stay in somnath are very convenient. It offers you budget hotels to 5 star hotels and you can even stay in inexpensive dharamshalas.

The nearest airport is Diu airport.

Gir National Park

Gujarat doesn’t only consist of temples but it has also preserved nature in its best way. If you don’t know Gujarat is the only state in the world where you can encounter Asiatic lions. Yes, that’s right! Gujarat has been efficient enough to preserve the wildlife for several years.

Gujarat doesn’t only consist of religious destinations but wildlife, preserving nature is also at utmost priority.

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Picture credit: daljeet singh sadhu (unsplash)

Gir is the only place in Asia to sight Asiatic lions in Asia. Gujarat is a tropical dry state wherein you can say summers are for 6 months and the other half is winter and monsoon. It is, in fact, beautiful to visit Gir after monsoon when you can see the lush green flora blooming all around, while on the contrary, in summers the forest is all dried up and not dense. Hence it becomes very easy for the tourist to sight wild animals as they come out in search of water.

In this national park other than lions you can encounter leopard, monkeys, deer, reptiles, varies breed of birds. It’s a delightful experience to go on a safari and encounter the whole family of a lion in the wild region. Along with the lion you can see the lioness and their cubs too. Isn’t that cute! leopards are frequently encountered by tourists and neighborhood residents too.

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Photo credit to daljit singh sadhu (unsplash)

The ideal time to go on safari is in the early morning where in fresh and pleasant weather animals are out for scavenging. Early morning dawn is peak time to sight varied birds and listen to their sweet and mellow chirping. It’s a lifetime experience to go on a wildlife safari in Gir and dive in the wilderness around.

Travel tip:

Jeep Safaris is to booked online. You can visit  http://www.girlionsafari.com  get it booked. Book your safaris well in advance in yours prefer dates. On the spot bookings are not available.

National park is closed from 16th June to 15th October.

Carry your ID proof with you which you used while your booking. If any discrepancy found in your photo id you are not allowed to board the jeep.

We suggest you to visit is in winters as summers are too harsh. You can visit from December to February month.

You can even visit: black buck national park, Nal sarover bird sanctuary to sight birds.

 Historical landmarks

By now you might have got an idea Gujarat is a state of a legendary past, undying love for nature and divinity. Some places are left behind by ancestors to remind the coming generations of their intellectual intelligence without the use of advance technologies and formal education. There are few monuments in Gujarat that will blow away your minds just by looking at them.

Rani ni vav

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(Photocredit:ByKshitijCharania-Ownwork,CCBY-SA4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62435325)

 “Rani ni vav” stands for queen’s stepwell. This monument is like an inverted temple. It has seven level stairs in it. Various sculptures of celestial beings like Apsaras, goddess and seven avatars of Lord Vishnu are carved all around it.it was built by a widowed queen Udayamati in fond memory of her husband king Bhimdev IN 1050 AD.

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ByShakti-Ownwork,CCBY-SA3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11427525

It was believed during that era the water of the stepwell was so pious that it had a healing properties to heal various ailments and viral fevers. It was a beautiful stop for people traveling and want to have layovers. It is said beneath the last steps of the well a 30 m tunnel is build that takes you to a city of Sidhpur close to the Patan city.

A must visit place if you coming to Gujarat. In 2014 it is registered as a world heritage site by UNESCO

LAXMI VILAS PALACE

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https://www.gujarattourism.com/hotel/details/1014

Laxmi vilas palace is a must visit palace whilst visiting Vadodara city of Gujarat. This place is four times Buckingham palace. Spread across in 700 acres. You will see lush green gardens which are still maintained for the visitors that adds beauty to this palace. If you are lucky visitor you will to monkeys, peacocks, and birds roving around the green gardens of the palace. The architect of this palace is mixture of Hindu, gothic and Mughal. It is mesmerizing to see such a pretty palace with such a beautiful garden around gives you memorable experience. No wonder, it is still a resident to the royal family. Palace ground is amazingly utilized for golf, moreover in earlier times museum was used as school where you will find a small pond and few crocodiles.

You need to buy a ticket which includes audio tour and snacks.

Travel tip:

Nearest airport is Vadodara. Vadodara is beautiful city and you will get enough options for hotels from budget hotels to 5 and 7 stars. It is very convenient to get to the palace via local auto rickshaws, buses and cabs.

Palace is closed on Monday and visiting timings are from 10: 30am to 5:30 pm

Visit hours is for maximum 3 hours. For more details, you can visit http://www.gujarattourism.com
Continue reading “GUJARAT – THE LAND OF HISTORY AND STORIES.”

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)

On 11th March 2019, I witnessed the eye-opening phenomenon of Big Brum’s theatrical production of Jekyll and Hyde, an adaptation of the original novel: Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) by Robert Stevenson. This dramatized adaptation of the book portrays a representation of a dream that Stevenson experienced which led to the writing of the novel (Stevenson, 2003: 218).

Jekyll and Hyde is an allegory based on the protagonist Dr. Henry Jekyll who exploits the formulation of an extremely dangerous potion, predominantly focusing on the power of evil and addiction. This inner evil is presented through the character of Mr. Hyde who is unleashed from Dr. Jekyll when he drinks the potion. Stevenson demonstrates a distinctive difference between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde through their unique characteristics. Dr. Jekyll is known as a good, respected, well-educated and reputable gentleman. Whereas, Mr. Hyde is identified as an evil, murderous, and compelling creature who appears unidentified at night; all covered up and hunched over. Stevenson emphasises on the key concept of addiction through Mr. Hyde who exploits the formula of being able to develop split personalities.

Jekyll and Hyde is not the only written story to explore the ideology of split personalities. In 2016, the film Split was released, a psychological thriller, that analyses the mental disorder: Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). DID is a rare disorder, commonly known as multiple personality disorder, in which ‘two or more distinct identities, or personality traits are present […] and take control of an individual’ (Psychology Today, 2019). In Split, the key concept of identity is excessively portrayed through a total of 23 personalities, primarily as a representation of what the victim of DID would experience. However, there is one personality yet to be exposed, who is the most dominant of all, known as ‘The Beast’ who portrays similar characteristics as Mr. Hyde.

Although, the representation of DID within Split caused a lot of criticism about the stigmatization of mental disorders, the theory behind it was to demonstrate an awareness for educational purposes. On the contrary, the creation of Mr. Hyde is not because of a mental disorder, but instead because of a failed scientific experiment. Personally, when Dr. Jekyll interferes with human nature, he is playing with God by creating a supernatural persona. This is completely unethical as Mr. Hyde has been designed similarly to the mental disorder DID, which is considered serious to individuals who have been diagnosed.

Foundational to this, Jekyll and Hyde is a realistic adaptation of Mary Shelley’s (1818) original novel, Frankenstein. Frankenstein was developed based on the story by Victor Frankenstein; a scientist who creates a monstrous, intelligent creature in an unorthodox experiment. Similar to Stevenson, the story of Frankenstein derived from a dream that Shelley experienced (Write a Writing, 2010). Although, Stevenson’s monster (Mr. Hyde) is not constructed in the same way as Frankenstein, it still materializes itself into the dark evil side of Dr. Jekyll’s personality. Both of these monsters (Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein) are extremely dangerous who oppress innocent individuals within society.

Jekyll and Hyde is a prime example of negative behaviour which could have contributed to the societal implications that individuals experience today. In my opinion, the production of Jekyll and Hyde raised awareness about the world, primarily because of the violence and crimes which are taking place daily. Although, many individuals have different beliefs and morals, I think it is important that individuals are not exposed to these dangerous ‘evil’ characters, as it can influence or inspire them to take on that persona. I think the more violence, the more crimes, and the more serial killers’ that individuals are exposed to, the more it can indoctrinate their minds into thinking that is who they want to become. In the last decade, there have been many cases of attacks, riots, bombings, and even hijackings which has resulted in the deaths of innocents. Crucial to this, it is important to consider that even if these texts appear to be fiction or dreams, there is always the potential for an individual to transform that story into reality; perhaps one that influenced Jack the Ripper two years after Jekyll and Hyde.

According to Curtis (2001), ‘the 1888 mutilation murders attributed to Jack the Ripper’ (Curtis, 2001) who remains as one of the most infamous unidentified serial killers. It has been clarified that Jack the Ripper’s targets were the lower-class women who were loitering the streets at night, specifically the prostitutes (Jack the Ripper Tour, 2012). Curtis suggests that Stevenson’s novel ‘can be read as an extended metaphor for a deeply divided city’ (Curtis, 2001: 35). In my opinion, there is an unequivocal connection between Mr. Hyde and Jack the Ripper, primarily because of the actions and behaviours they both displayed. Curtis believes that ‘serial killers are not real human beings who resemble us’ (Curtis, 2001: 8) which is ultimately a representation of ‘evil’ and the monster within. Admittedly, during Jekyll and Hyde, I was convinced that Mr. Hyde was a representation of Jack the Ripper because of the similarity of their names and mannerisms. The reason for this is that ‘Jekyll’ is similar to Jack and ‘Hyde’ is relatable in terms of hide and seek, considering Jack the Ripper was supposedly never seen or known.

The story of Jekyll and Hyde is one that has had a lot of speculation regarding its true meaning, yet I cannot justify the affects it has had on individuals within society. There are many true and fiction stories that portray a similar representation which have influenced individuals to replicate them. The key concept within Jekyll and Hyde is addiction which articulates the importance of being able to recognise the point of no return. Addiction can be identified as anything, but when the actions made are irreversible then the true consequences begin to evolve. Big Brum believes that Jekyll and Hyde provides questions for individuals to ‘make meaning of their lives and the world around them’, predominantly focusing on the power of theatre, dramatic action and to challenge new ways of thinking (Big Brum, 2019).

What does this tell us about the duality of man?

 

Words: 1024

Reference List:

Big Brum (2019) Big Brum: Theatre in Education. Available at: https://www.bigbrum.org.uk/ [Accessed 17 March 2019].

Curtis, P. L. (2001) Jack the Ripper and the London Press. London: Yale University Press.

Jack the Ripper Tour (2012) Police and Prostitution. Available at: https://www.jack-the-ripper-tour.com/generalnews/police-and-prostitution/ [Accessed 17 March 2019].

Psychology Today (2019) Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder). Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-disorder [Accessed 17 March 2019].

Stevenson, L. R. (2003) Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Write a Writing (2010) Why did Mary Shelley write Frankenstein? Available at: http://www.writeawriting.com/write/mary-shelley-write-frankenstein/ [Accessed 17 March 2019].

Slava’s Snowshow: The Best, Yet Worst Production I Have Ever Seen.

After all these years, I am still confused…

In March 2011, I went to The Mayflower Theatre, in Southampton to watch the theatrical production of Slava’s Snowshow, performed by Slava Polunin himself. The running time of the show is approximately an hour and forty-five minutes and is recommended for ages of eight and above (Mayflower Theatre, 2017). Personally, I think that watching this production at the age of thirteen I was too young, primarily because of the idea of not having a spoken narrative and not being able to understand or relate to Polunin’s childhood memories.

Polunin is a Russian performance artist and clown who was highly influenced by the English comedic actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin (Slava Snowshow, 2019). Polunin describes his own work as being a ‘silent storyteller’ (Slava Snowshow, 2019). In Slava’s Snowshow, Polunin rein-acts his childhood memories by using the drama technique clowning to assist with the story-telling of his childhood memories.

There are three to seven old-looking clowns, dressed in yellow and green over-sized costumes, large shoes, big red noses, and dramatic eye make-up. The show highlights the key moments of a lost clown as he lives his everyday life. It is performed in a series of sketches, some are funny, some are complex, and some are very absurd. As part of the audience, you are required to let your imagination go wild, you need to follow their every move to get a general understanding of the memories they are re-telling.

The production of Slava Snowshow was incredibly mesmerising, yet one of the most complex performances I have ever seen. However, I did not enjoy the production as I found it difficult to interpret the gestures and movements. The best part of the performance was the ending because of the incredible snowstorm, or blizzard as it was called. It only falls for a little bit, but it is a fantastic phenomenon to witness, especially in a theatre. As well as that, there were giant balloons and bubbles which came from nowhere; it was like magic. This encouraged the audience to be a part of the show, by breaking the fourth wall, as the audience were hitting and passing them around. Both moments demonstrated a clear representation of childhood memories as you could see the excitement in the audience’s faces when they were able to take part and play with the props that were falling from the sky; it was like experiencing your first ever snow day. Polunin claims that ‘Snowshow is just an excuse to celebrate life in a foolish way’ (Slava Snowshow, 2019).

Polunin explains that the ideology behind the Snowshow was to ‘create a show that would take us back to our childhood dreams’ (Slava Snowshow, 2019). It was inevitable that not the whole audience would experience the same childhood background, and therefore not everyone would be able to relate to the experiences. Slava Snowshow was a wonderful production visually, but I found myself disappointed because I could not re-tell the story as I could not follow it. I understand why it would be targeted at children, but as a child myself I found it incredibly complex which is why I think that perhaps the target audience should be reconsidered.

Words: 537

Reference List:

Mayflower Theatre (2017) Slava’s Snowshow. Available at: https://www.mayflower.org.uk/whats-on/slavas-snowshow-2017/ [Accessed 26 February 2019].

Roy Export S.A.S (2018) Charlie Chaplin: Overview of his life. Available at: https://www.charliechaplin.com/en/articles/21-Overview-of-His-Life [Accessed 26 February 2019].

Slava’s Snowshow (2019) Slava’s Snowshow. Available at: https://slavasnowshow.com/en/about-the-show/ [Accessed 26 February 2019].

College Production: Animal Farm (2016)

The best piece of Art I have ever been involved in, was a college production of Peter Hall’s (1985) dramatized adaptation of Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945). This adaptation of the book portrays a representation of the truth which outlines the events of the early twentieth century. Although, there appears to be some changes in the text such as, minor characters being omitted, and scenes being compressed; the overall plot remains the same (Hall, 1985: xii-xiii).

Animal Farm is an allegory based on the events leading up to The Russian Revolution (1917) which demolished the Tsarist autocracy and led to the rise of the Soviet Union (Hall, 1985: viii-ix). Orwell emphasises on Marx and Engels concepts of a capitalist to a communist which influenced the demand for political freedom; to revolutionise society (Hall, 1985: v-xiii).

An example of capitalism is demonstrated by Mr. Jones (the owner of Manor Farm) who represents Tsar Nicholas II. The animals on the farm are a representation of the liberal revolutionaries (the workers) who suppress Mr. Jones because he abuses the animals for personal gain (Hall, 1985: viii-ix). Orwell highlights the importance of communism, known as animalism, in which the animal’s rebel against the humans and no longer work for them. Foundational to this, all the animals and humans are a representation of the lives who were affected by The Russian Revolution, including Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, and Molotov (Hall, 1985: viii-xi).

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I was cast as one of the leading roles, Squealer, who is known for his deceptive, manipulative and convincing manner. Squealer is a representation of Molotov; the one responsible for Snowball’s (Trotsky) death and a central figure in the Soviet government (Kohan and Traver, 1986: 48). I took on the role of Squealer as being stuck up, sly and mischievous, primarily because Squealer had power over the other farm animals. This is evident when Squealer admits that ‘leadership is a pleasure’ (Hall, 1985: 31) and that the pigs should ‘direct the work and give the orders’ (Hall, 1985: 14). Squealer uses the animals lack of intelligence, and inability to recall sudden events to exploit them through his manipulation.

The costume, hair and make-up were excessively messy with the use of paint and mud which reflected how the animals were treated and the conditions they lived in whilst governed by Mr. Jones. Initially, the idea was to create animal costumes, yet, it was crucial that the audience were encouraged to think about the idea of talking animals, who visually were played by humans. Personally, Orwell intended for this to happen to enlighten the audience about the representation of these farm animals and how important re-telling this story has become, especially to those living in a capitalist society.

The story of Animal Farm represents a great deal of importance, not only because of the events that took place in 1917, but rather the concepts and themes which are still relevant today. Although most countries, including the United Kingdom are capitalist, there are a very few countries who consider themselves as communist, such as China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam (ThoughtCo., 2018). It has been shown that the principles of capitalism and communism articulated by Marx and Engels in the 1800’s has played an enormous part on society from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first century, and for many centuries ahead; as there is the potential for another revolution!

Words: 564

Reference List:

Hall, P. (1985) The Play of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. London: Heinemann Educational.

Kohan, J. and Traver, N. (1986) Soviet Union Present at The Creation Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov: 1890-1986. 128, (21) 48. Available at: http://web.a.ebscohost.com.winchester.idm.oclc.org/ehost/detail/detail?vid=5&sid=8f9bb073-bbb5-47a7-b633-d3c417424265%40sdc-v-sessmgr02&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=57889859&db=a9h [Accessed 22 February 2019].

Rosenberg, M. (2018) A List of Current Communist Countries in the world. Available at: https://www.thoughtco.com/communist-countries-overview-1435178 [Accessed 22 February 2019].

 

 

 

 

 

MTB: Glaiza Binayas

 

Glaiza BinayasIntroduce youself, why did you start blogging? 

I’m Glaiza, a lifestyle blogger from the Philippines. I started blogging last December 2013 because I wanted to have my own online journal. It started when I was browsing the internet when I stumbled upon a blog of a nursing student. (I forgot her name but I think it’s Caitlyn) She writes on her blog every single day about how her day went and I saw that she has a lot of engagements. I thought it was so cool that people are so interested in her life.
Since I’ve always been a journal/diary user, I thought I’d make my own blog and journal
online as well.

How did you come up with your blog name?

I didn’t want to use my name as I was scared I’d get judged with my grammar. (English isn’t my first language.) That time, I was in college with a part-time job. Life was busy but I wanted to document the things or memories that made me happy. Thus, GLIMMER OF
HAPPINESS. 🙂

What type of content do you generally post on your blog?

I usually post about stuff that happened to me, like my travels, books I’ve read, a day out with my friends and lifestyle posts. A friend once told me that I’m more like the ‘personal blogger’ since I post more personal stuff. So ya, I guess I could call myself “lifestyle and personal blogger”.

What are your main struggles as a blogger? 

  1. English isn’t my first language. Sometimes, I get discouraged to write a post because I feel like my thoughts and grammar errors are everywhere. For my grammar and spelling, Grammarly has been helpful, though.
  2. Creating content. There would be days when nothing exciting happened to me so there would be no new posts as well.

What are your favourite tools for blogging?

  1. Grammarly – very helpful with my spelling and grammar mistakes
  2. Pexels – when I don’t have my own photo to use, pexels.com is a lifesaver. They have a lot of pretty stock photos for free
  3. Statusbrew – where I schedule my tweets to promote my blog posts

What is your favourite social media site for interacting with your readers?

I don’t have much interaction with my readers other than on the blog itself but I guess I’ll answer Twitter. I get to talk more with other bloggers (who sometimes are also my readers) there and I like how there are threads to help us with our blog.

What is your favourite post that you have written? And why? 

My favorite post that I have written is “How to Achieve the Teal Effect on Photos in Three Easy Steps” https://glimmerofhappiness.wordpress.com/2017/09/22/how-to-achieve-the-teal-effect-on-photos-in-three-easy-steps/ Along with my other how-to posts, I like sharing in my blog how I do things and love seeing that the readers are liking it. With these engagements, it motivates me to discover or learn other things that I could share again to my readers.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a blogging? 

Just do it! Especially if it will just be for a hobby at first? It’s fun to write stuff about anything under the sun and have someone interact with you because they find your posts relatable and fun to read. If you’ll plan to become a full-time blogger, you’ll have by then experience in blogging, how to market your blog and you have new learnings that you could apply to manage your blog.

 

Glaiza Binayas 

Blog: https://glimmerofhappiness.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/glaizabinayas/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/glaizabinayas/

Thank you so much, Glaiza, for participating in my ‘Meet the Blogger’ series. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. If you’re new here, be sure to check out her social media and blog with a little comment saying you found them via BryoniBurnsBlog.com

 

 

 

MTB: Thomas Slatin

 

Introduce yourself, why did you start blogging?

I started creating websites in 1996, and by 1998 I had landed a job in IT. For many years, I created websites in HTML using a variety of software suits. As time went on, my sites grew to massive sizes, making maintenance and organization a nightmare. Eventually, I migrated the content to a modern content management system, which is now referred to as a blog.

How did you come up with your blog name? 

I just used my name, Tom Slatin. I wanted something that would be easily identifiable as being mine, and something that nobody could ever reasonably claim as their own trademark.

What type of content do you generally post on your blog? 

I went to college for information technology, then I changed my major to English and
Literature, then I decided to pursue medicine. Eventually, I gave up on college and went on to work a series of random unrelated jobs. I eventually landed a job as an Emergency Medical Technician and Firefighter, a job which I kept for just short of 18 years.

The majority of my blog posts are long-form written narratives and original photography. There are about a hundred free WordPress themes available for download on my blog as well, many of them have been used as themes for other peoples blogs.

What are your main struggles as a blogger? 

My only complaint is that very few people comment on my blog. This has been my main struggle since the very beginning. I have well over 500,000 followers collectively, across the main social media sites, including, but not limited to, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, though very few people comments. I get an enormous amount of visitors and traffic, and even advertising revenue, but very few comments.

What are your favourite tools for blogging?

I absolutely love WordPress. I love the way it works, the way in which posts are organized, and written, and the extensive amount of plugins which extend the functionality of the platform.

As far as photography is concerned, I am absolutely in love with my Canon 5D Mark IV camera, and the multitude of lenses. I also photograph with medium and large format film cameras, though it has proven slow and impractical for everyday blogging. But on occasion, I will post film based photography on my blog.

What is your favourite social media site for interacting with your readers?

There exists a tie between Twitter and Instagram, the reason for my decision is based solely on the number of followers and interaction on those two platforms.

What is your favourite post that you have written? And why?

I have been writing and taking pictures with an SLR since the young age of 8, so to select a favourite post from over 30 years worth of work would be exceedingly difficult, so I have narrowed my scope to the past few years. In recent times, my favourite blog post is Thomas Slatin, On Writing. I was inspired to write this post as an answer to all of the questions that people have been asking me about my writing since I started.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a blogger?

Be sure to sign up for paid web hosting if you are planning on blogging long term. Stay away from free hosting services, especially those which will advertise on your content. I have been hosting with DreamHost since the very beginning, and they provide outstanding service, in my opinion.
Ideally, you will want to publish at least two posts a week, more is better. I post every single day at 9 AM here in New York, which has worked well. After a year or so, you will want to start looking for opportunities to promote your blog. If at any time someone offers you a means to promote your blog, take it. Don’t think twice. I am one of the lucky ones who has been featured in the news and given radio station interviews. Seize every single opportunity to promote your blog, even if it is commenting and posting links on other peoples blogs.
Everyone is welcome to comment on my blog and include relevant links; please tell a friend.
In addition to posting content, you will also need to moderate and respond to blog comments. Always keep comments open on your blog, and always respond to comments in a timely and thoughtful manner. If you want to maintain a good blog, you will need to communicate with your readers. It is also a very good idea to include your email address in the footer of your blog for press and media inquiries.

 

Thomas Slatin 

Blog: https://www.tomslatin.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/twps

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tomslatin/

Thank you so much, Thomas, for participating in my ‘Meet the Blogger’ series. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. If you’re new here, be sure to check out his social media and blog with a little comment saying you found them via BryoniBurnsBlog.com.