Happy New Year, everyone!
2018 was a mixed year for me. I suffered personal losses and ill health, got involved in family issues, did not read as much as I wanted to.
It did have its highlights though–and one of them was my India trip in November. I volunteered at Project WHY, helped fundraise with other bloggers, worked in Mumbai for research, and hung out in Bangalore with friends and bookish people.
The very best thing?
That has to be meeting so many of my online friends in real life. In Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, I met a bunch of cool folk who I’d earlier met via their blogs alone.
To those who were not at the meetings, this might sound like a boring old list of names, but I was fortunate enough to be at all those meets, and I can tell you what it felt like.
Like meeting old friends you’re meeting for the first time!
That might sound like a weird anachronism and oxymoron (are you confused yet?), but that’s the best way I can describe it.
I’ve met online friends before who have turned offline friends, but never has the experience been so overwhelming, and so overwhelmingly positive. I met some of these new old-friends-new-friends individually (some more than once, in different cities–I’m looking at Sanchie, Shailaja, Apeksha, Vinay, Shalini), some in groups of two or three, others in groups of six or seven, with lots of good food, laughter, and um, drink! Chatter, lots of chatter: about books, blogs, food, life, kids. I even made a delightful friend in Gy, who features a lot on her mother Shailaja’s site. I was bestowed with gifts, hugs, wisdom, and love–oodles of it, spades of it, bucketloads, really. I’m thankful, because I was fragile last year, and needed it all.
With so many of these friends, it felt like we could keep chatting for hours–the online connection seamlessly translated offline.
This experience has inspired me to take on other journeys, visit more cities, in India and further afield.
In the last ten years of blogging, I’ve made SO MANY FRIENDS.
I’ve always thought of them as real friends– this time I was able to make myself real to them as well. I’m not great at photos, and try not to flinch most of the time, but here are a few.
What was the best thing that happened to you last year? How many of your online friends have you met offline? Have you met any fellow-bloggers offline? What was the experience like? Would you do it again? What would you do differently? What city do you recommend I should visit next to meet my blogging family? Leave it all in the comments, please.
I co-host the monthly We Are the World Blogfest: I’d like to invite you to join, if you haven’t as yet, to post the last Friday of each month a snippet of positive news that shows our essential, beautiful humanity.
This monthly event has brought smiles on the faces of a lot of participants and their audiences, and somewhat restored their faith in humanity. Here’s a sampler. Click here to know more. We took a break for the holidays but will be back for the new year! Sign up here and add your bit of cheer to the world on the next installment of January 25!
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