“I thought we’d work at it for a year,” Magellan confessed when I asked him how long he initially expected we’d be at it, back when he announced his idea for Latitude65 to me over dinner in November 2014.
At the time, my thoughts were “We could do this until one of us goes and the other writes the ‘Last Post!’” (If it’s me and Magellan remarries and keeps posting, please keep reading but do mention me in the “Comments” section from time to time okay?)
Why are we still creating a blog once a week?
Not for the money, given Latitude 65 is free of revenue-generating clicks and we’re dipping into our retirement fund for blog-enhancing equipment like a new camera lens, a tripod, the Lightroom package… Friends like Myra have asked, “Why don’t you monetize your blog?” To them we say, “Thanks for the compliment, but I don’t think that will ever happen.” Do you know how many responses Ms. Google gives you when you type in “blogs for retired people who travel independently?” Two million five hundred and twenty thousand! We’d have to be far more talented, fill our site with social-media icons, market it to the world and work a lot harder. For less pleasure. And with little monetary reward if the young couple featured in The New Yorker essay #Vanlife, the Bohemian Social-Media Movement is any example.
Latitude65 exists for the pure, selfish joy it gives us.
“I think of it as a digital scrapbook for our old age so we can remember what we did,” says Magellan.
All three stages of travel—planning, experiencing and reviving—I find to be captivating, motivating and fulfilling. With Latitude65, the reviving element in the trio, we’re attempting to draw a travel experience for you, brush it with colour and elicit your attention, curiosity and emotion. The joy is in the process. To stare at my white screen with only the title “Sixteen Days in Japan” and have a haiku format emerge. To learn more about a place after we return, like the history of castells in Spain. To see MailChimp’s message “Prepare for Launch” and press “Send Now” on Sunday morning. To receive feedback, in private or on our site, and know our little bit of quiet, quirky creativity touched someone out there feels good to both of us.
“So how many people are clicking onto your site?” Pat asked me last weekend.
A few. We’ve had 10,337 sessions from 106 countries. Iceland, why aren’t you hitting on us? More than half (57%) are from Canada, 13% from our next-door neighbours to the south. The UK represents 4%. With our surprising share of hits from Russia (3%), we wonder if Hilary Clinton mentioned us in one of her emails. New Zealand (thanks for the referrals RA) and Brazil each make up 2%. Australia, Bhutan, Germany and Italy tie at 1%. Our biggest audience is jubilados (37%) with people aged 55-64 in second place (25%). Women slightly outrank men in our readership (58%).
Now let’s take a look at your favourite posts, the ones that scored the highest readership, beginning with the top three.
- Wharariki Beach
- A Day of Gross National Happiness (GNH) in Bhutan
- Lasagna Verdi alla Napoletana from Scratcha’
- The Question (Our first post)
- Travel Insurance: The Big Print Giveth and the Small Print Taketh Away
- Quixotic in a Mercedes
- When Will We Stop?
- Revolutionary Art
- Sixteen Days in Japan
- La Peetch
Magellan’s favourite post is The Question. Mine (a trait of most writers) is the one I’m currently working on but I liked the process of writing You Don’t Know When It’s Going to be the Last Time, The Question, Anthem for Grand Staircase-Escalante, Chiiori: Lost Japan and The Fluorescence of Peonies. (Teresa asked, “How did you do that?” When Magellan got the idea to record a peony losing its bloom over a period of days, I began a poem to accompany it. By accident, the volta line coincided with the peony’s loss of colour and a passing cloud. Lucky.)
And here are the posts you commented on the most:
- A Picture and a Poem
- As It Happens
- Anthem for Grand Staircase-Escalante
- Sixteen Days in Japan
- Loving Kindness
- FitzRoy, We Loved Your Weather
- Wharariki Beach
- The Hollows
Remember the words of Steve Jobs in the commencement address he gave at Stanford about finding work that you love to do?
As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.
And how long will that be? Who knows?
At our age, there’s likely ten years left for independent travel before we’ll be in what Robert Fulford is calling “Old Growth,” our travels limited to group tours or confined to wayward journeys of the mind.
For now, we’re still living our tagline: Jubilados Savouring the Journey. Spain’s Picos de Europa, Portugal’s Lisbon, Porto and the Alentejo, a 50th reunion of the trip Magellan and nine other guys took to Expo 67, a month in Costa Rica and May in Sicily are beckoning. And so is next Sunday’s post.
What to call older jubilados? Here’s the article from The Globe and Mail in which Robert Fulford proposes the name “Old Growth.”
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