S2, Ep1: one year on, a blog facelift, leaving my heart in New Orleans, and thanking you all :)

Don’t worry, you’re in the right place – it’s still me, I’ve just decided as a first birthday present to the blog, I’d honour the journey of the past 12 months a little better with a new and more fitting name, a facelift and a bit of a make over! A whole year… crazy!

I started this blog because I needed an outlet, and writing is what I’ve always turned to, as both a creative and emotional outlet. I’ve spent my whole life writing; even as a kid, I never went anywhere without a pencil and paper. When I started writing here 12 months ago, I was finally starting to find myself and what makes me happy instead of putting all of my energy into trying to conform to what I thought I was “supposed” to be. In short, I was feeling pretty ordinary. I had crazy dreams, but I, myself, felt an ordinary little thing. It’s a hard lesson to learn that you actually don’t need to give a damn about what other people think of your choices, nor do you need to justify what you’re doing to anyone else. The things I like doing are what this blog is all about – travelling and eating and cooking and reading and learning and exploring, hence the name change! It’ll also hopefully make things a little easier for people to find me in cyberspace amongst the plethora of other blogs out there.

I read something ages ago, and can’t remember where I read it, but someone had been interviewed and said that they thought of blogs as a sort of a high tech time capsule – once something’s on the internet, it’s there forever, like it or not. I like the idea that in 100 years, maybe someone else sees some of this, and knows what the world was like for me and my generation. How extraordinary our dreams were, what we worked for, what we ate and what we read. I don’t flatter myself that I’m interesting or important enough for that, but you never know…

So, even though I write this primarily for me (which is why I write and post pretty much every day; it is literally my outlet and keeps me sane!), THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to everyone who’s read what I’ve had to say over the past year. Thank you for taking time out of your day to look at my photos and read my stories and leave your comments and share it all with me – now, I’m writing for you guys, too!

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I’ve also given the site a little change in appearance and photos – I thought after a year it was time 🙂 This post explained a bit about why I chose that photo I took in Egypt as the photo you’d first see when you visited my blog. That’s changed now; the first image you’ll see now will be New Orleans. For the same reason that you saw Egypt for the first 12 months – that city changed me, again.

It’s hard to really explain why. It’s another world. It wasn’t America, it was something all it’s own. You couldn’t pigeon hole it or really pin it down. It didn’t really conform to anything or fit any one definite box. That’s how I felt as a person when I got to New Orleans. Which, ironically enough, made me feel like I finally did fit and belong. People there did their thing, their own thing, without any fear. They were free. As someone who’s spent the best part of her life held back by fear, I was hypnotised by the thought of it. I had a lot of time to sit and think, over a cup of tea and some Café du Monde beignets. I wanted to make some changes in this new year. I felt like 2014 was my warm up, my pre-game. I was preparing myself, mentally, for shit to get real. I had all these things I wanted to do, but was too scared to actually just try them. I might fail. People might judge me. It might be the wrong thing. Maybe I’ll regret it later. Maybe I’ll regret not doing it…

I saw a psychic in New Orleans. We’d never met, obviously, but she was disturbingly accurate on everything she told me. It wasn’t a case of “you’re doing to die at this time and win the lotto with these numbers;” rather, she put a voice to my inner thoughts. Things I’d been thinking for a long time and hadn’t shared with anyone, not my sister or best friend or husband. She confirmed everything I had been thinking about. It was almost like she was my way out of fear, the “it’s meant to happen for you, so just get on with it” that I needed. I bought myself a silver ring at a little silversmith on a tiny street to remind me of that.

I’m back home now and, having taken her advice seriously, things are changing. Or, rather, I’m changing things. I’m starting a new job next week. I’ve booked a trip to Japan for later in the year. I’m making time for real friendships and letting go of toxic ones. I’m trying to trust more and love more, despite the possible consequences. I’m looking after my body a little better. I’m making time to read and write and draw again and tinker on my piano. And the hardest part of all, cliche be damned, I am trying to follow my heart and disregard the preconceptions and judgments of others. So, instead of welcoming people to my “ordinary” life from now on, please join me as I eat, travel, read and blog!  To make life easier for both myself and everyone who’s reading along, I have kept the URL for the site the same – we’re still at https://ordinarygirlextraordinarydreamer.com/ so no need to re-direct anywhere new!

I might have only been there a few days, but New Orleans was so good for me. It changed my soul. I felt like a completely different person there, and I’ll never be able to fully understand why. Maybe it was being around musicians and cooks and writers and artists and bohemians – I’m a bit of all of those at heart. It gave me the one thing I desperately needed. I can’t tell you exactly what that was, but I got it there, and my soul feels so much happier now  : )  So, thanks for sticking with me this long, I hope you guys hang around for a bit longer, because even though I started this for me, it wouldn’t be the same without all of you! On that note, let the adventure continue!

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12 thoughts on “S2, Ep1: one year on, a blog facelift, leaving my heart in New Orleans, and thanking you all :)

    • Ohh thank you so much!! This is actually my second time around blogging, so the best advice I can give you is the advice I needed first time around – do it first and foremost for yourself, write honestly, and make sure it’s always fun and never an obligation or a chore 🙂 How are you finding it so far?!

      • I love it! I have always loved writing, and it’s like what you wrote about it being a super high tech time capsule. I have always wanted my name to be remembered in some way once I have passed and this is the perfect way to do it. I know it sounds weird because I’m only 24 but I want to leave my mark on the world. Thank you for the advice!

  1. I can’t believe we started blogging at around the same time AND (if I remember correctly) we have the same birthday AND we both feel like ordinary girls with extraordinary dreams! But even if we didn’t have any of that in common, I still wish the best for you, your blog, and all your loved ones. Here’s to even better things ahead. 🙂

    • Hehe you make excellent points! My goodness… see, if it weren’t for blogging, we’d never have known these things about each other! I hope you and your blog continue to bigger and better things too this year 🙂 And thank you so much for all your support!!

    • Awww Terri, thank you SO much!! It’s people like you who’ve kept me going, and I think it’s such an amazing thing that we can inspire each other through our writing and passions 🙂 thank you for supporting me and becoming such a good blog friend 🙂 xo

  2. Loving the new look! I’m playing catch up. Plus, I’m enjoying the new direction you’re taking by adding in all the other sections.
    Seems like some good spots to eat too! Thanks for finding these!

    • Ohh thank you so much Nigel, getting these kinds of comments and encouragement makes all the difference! I’m loving writing at the moment and I’m glad it’s not going unnoticed 🙂

      • Absolutely! You’re bringing a personal touch to it too, which is engaging and charming. To be honest, I struggle with it but am looking to push the envelope within myself.

        Thanks again for being so inspiring!

  3. Pingback: Through my eyes: Washington DC’s National Mall | Eat. Travel. Blog: Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary Dreamer

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