The blog we chose this month for you is English, but her author lives in beautiful Sicily. Meet Rochelle of Unwilling Expat. Enjoy, and thanks Rochelle for answering our questions.
What took you abroad?
Well I’m afraid the answer to this question is a little cliché really. You see I’d always wanted to live and study in Italy and so I managed to get a scholarship to study journalism at the University of Bologna back in the early 2000’s and I met a guy through long lost relatives I visited in Sicily while on exchange. The relationship blossomed and so I followed fate and love to live in Italy. I’ve been here for more than a decade now.
Why a blog?
At first it was a way of letting people back home know what I was doing. I started a few years ago, mostly writing about what I was doing with my son, bringing up a child in Italy gave me plenty of material. Then I wrote more about the particular culture and traditions I came across here in Sicily. I found it terribly difficult to adjust to life here and every moment was filled with awkward moments of culture shock, so it was a bit of therapy too, hence the name Unwilling Expat, as I was a little unwilling to put up with so much change. Over the years in the journey I have met and wrote with other expat bloggers which led me to appreciate life here more as an adventure. So Unwilling Expat has evolved and now is about my own experiences and different ways to explore this beautiful island smack bang in the middle of the Mediterranean. I eventually would like to turn my blog into more of a travel based blog and explore the rest of the boot of Italy and perhaps Europe.
Have you found any difficulties in setting it up and managing it? Are you assisted by someone or did you do everything on your own?
I blog on WordPress which has always been simple. At first I was on Tumblr which is also great but I think has become more of a platform for visual artists. I’m pretty much self taught, I read a lot of blogs, magazine articles and listen to podcasts about blogs and so I have picked up many helpful hints along the way which I’ve borrowed to enrich my own blog. I’d love to set up another blog in the future based on my own writing, a kind of creative literary blog which shows off my own work and publishes others. This whole blogging thing is quite addictive, you really build up an audience and a virtual community which helps you to keep motivated as a writer.
With what frequence do you publish on your blog?
I always try to blog at least once a week. I did try to blog every day but it nearly killed me. I think it’s best to stick to once or twice a week as it gives you time to concentrate on my other projects. I am currently finishing off my first travel memoir and powering through other projects.
Give us three reasons why your blog is important to you.
Blogging helps me to get into a writing routine, it generates new ideas and build up a readership which is a must if you want to be published author.
Have you met people through your blog?
Oh yes I have met many people from fellow Expats living in Italy, to editors and writerly contacts which has helped me to gradually get into freelance writing and many wonderful readers who comment and keep me inspired and writing, it is always fantastic when you realise someone is actually paying attention to what you write.
Unwilling Expat, https://unwillingexpat.wordpress.com