Only four days to go till take off, and just 2 days left at Texaco. Can’t wait, really can’t. And as usual I’m leaving half the planning to the last minute….all adds to the fun. So long as I remember passport, swimming trunks and cashcard it’ll all be fine! I have even managed to get this little website a domain name and a little place on the ‘net. For what purpose I’m not entirely sure, but I can use this bit as a record of my travels anyway, to remind myself of it all when I end up sitting in a hospice going slowly senile. It may yet turn out to be an easy way to get out of emailing each and every person seperately……..Of course, this is all reliant on me being able to update the site from Mexico, so this may well end up being both the first and last post!
And so, on the 22nd June 2003, I began blogging. Ten years ago today. It was the first post, but as things transpired was far from being the last one. My blogging skills have improved since then, I’m pleased to say. But anyway, Happy Birthday to the Mexile! Back then I didn’t call my blog the Mexile. And the domain was garydenness.com, not the garydenness.co.uk that I use today. The .co.uk domains are cheaper, and I’m from the UK. It made sense to make the switch. Although I recently bought the domain name back during a bout of nostalgia, and have a photoblog there.
Back then I also didn’t use WordPress. I could have, I guess. WordPress was created 26 days earlier. Blogger had already been going a few years, having been created in 1999. The first platforms, I believe, hit the virtual shelves in 1998.
The term weblog, and the short form blog, have their origins dating a year prior to that, in 1997. The difference between a blog and a website is reasonably easy to differentiate now – are you using blog software? In the early days it was a bit blurry. I guess there might be some people hand coding a website that functions as a blog today. But there can’t be many.
A very old blog banner I once used.
When I launched in 2003, my blog was self hosted and created using Adobe Dreamweaver. That made it an intensely laborious process, producing new posts. But I persevered for two years. In those two years, I did indeed go to Mexico, as promised in that first post. And I came back, after several months of touring the country from north to south, east to west. I blogged during another two month trek through Central America. Again in Budapest, Madrid and other destinations. And there were a lot of silent periods. Until I returned to Mexico again in 2005.
I cancelled the hosting plan and switched to the MyOpera blogging platform. I lost some of my posts during the move in a hard drive failure, sadly. The bigger loss was about 9 months worth of photos. I quickly moved all my photos to Flickr for safe keeping and have kept them there ever since. My blog has changed platforms a few times though. I switched from calling my blog ‘garydenness.com’ to Mexile in 2006ish. I even considered buying the domain, but Mexile.com was already taken. Some sort of music band, featuring a Brit in Mexico.
A few months later I discovered that I had actually been working with that Brit for several months. It’s a small world, is it not? I felt there was only room for one Mexile, and he got there first, so I changed to Ay Caramba. Yes, I was a big fan of the Simpsons. Then my Brit friend moved back to the UK with his Mexican wife, so in 2007ish I renamed my blog the Mexile. Want to know just how small this world can get? About a year and a half ago, Mrs P and I were walking in the park down the road, and there they were. My Brit friend, his wife and their kid. It turned out they left Mexico for Bournemouth, just a short drive away. Mrs P had her first Mexicana friend in Inglaterra. As I write this, they’re on a day trip in London with some other Mexicanas.
The original WordPress theme I used, many years ago.
I abandoned MyOpera in 2007, switching to Blogger. Blogger had so much functionality. Too much. A geek like me can’t help himself, and I made a mess of it with flashing lights, magic scripts and other bits of blog bling. I switched to WordPress in 2009 because it’s a solid platform, has clean looking themes and comes without all the unnecessary wizardry that I find so tempting to play with. My blog has been award winning and famous, I’ll also have you know! With Opera, I won Member of the Week, with Blogger I was once Blogger of the Day and my post Mexican Chess was a WordPress Featured Post. It’s also been featured on BBC radio and Channel 4 television in the UK.
My most popular post ever? Do you remember the New Seven Wonders of the World thing a few years back? Probably 2007, or thereabouts. I ran a poll on my blog, and published the results the day before the real thing revealed the real results. There was no Taj Mahal in my New Seven Wonders. The next morning I woke up to find I’d had a surprising amount of traffic to my blog, and hundreds of comments from irate Indians desperate to give me a piece of their mind. The comments were lost during one of my blogging platform switched.
I wonder how many blogs that are still active in 2013 have been going for ten years. Not that many, I’d guess. Less than 1% of them? I reckon that might be a conservative estimate. What do you think? I’m darn well going to claim that as a fact until someone proves me wrong. I’ve always wanted to be a onepercenter. If someone proves me wrong? Screw it, I’ll just become a conservative and continue declaring it as fact. Ain’t no one going to rain on my party today!
So has all this blogging all been worth it? Sure it has. I’ve gotten to write down my life for posterity. I wish there was the option to buy the space and domain in perpetuity. So many memories are stored in these pages. I’ve made money from it. I’m really impressed that I’ve kept at something for a whole decade. But most importantly, I’ve made a lot of friends on here over the years. So here’s to another ten years of blogging. Cheers!