Last year on this date I publicly launched this blog.

Can you believe its only been a year? I really can’t.

PERCENTAGE OF WHAT THE OFFICE PEOPLE FEEL ABOUT PETS?

 

When I think back to a year ago, I honestly never would have thought Expat Panda would be where it is today. I’m not saying that I’m huge and successful by any means, but I never would have imagined that I would be getting constant positive feedback from a lot of people; that I would have people who always keep up to date with my posts and that I would’ve met so many fantastic people through this blog. Seriously… so many amazing people!

 

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Expat Panda has been in more corners of the globe than I have!

 

I’ve also had the opportunity to visit 11 countries since I started this blog and if you click on the “Travel Destinations” Tab at the top of my home page, you can read more about my adventures in each place. Here are some of my highlights:

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Watching the waves in Galle, Sri Lanka
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Stunning views in Wadi Tiwi, Oman
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6 camels and a Panda in Petra, Jordan
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Relaxing in Zanzibar, Tanzania

 

After posing the question to my Instagram family last night, I discovered that most bloggers do a giveaway to celebrate their blog’s birthday. But I have nothing to give you except that small shred of dignity that teaching abroad hasn’t taken away. Not that you want that anyway. What I can do is answer the one question you posed to me last night in various forms such as:

 

  • What made you want to start a blog?
  • What inspired you to blog?
  •  How did you decide to start your own blog? (And what keeps you going?)

 

SO it seems that you are all interested in why I started this blog. Most of you know that I am from South Africa. Most people from South Africa have big dreams about going places but lack the information or motivation to see plans through to the end. So I started this blog to document my journey of moving abroad in the hope that it would show people that moving abroad isn’t the impossible task they think it is.

With some cajoling from my husband and friends, I realised that I had a story worth sharing with those who cared to see/hear it. I had quit my job, given up my apartment, sold all my things, condensed my life into three bags, and started travelling to a scary corner of the world with no idea of when I would see my loved ones next.

I am a woman of colour who didn’t grow up with wealth, have a passport from the third world, an Arabic name and an undeniable amount of sass. But still, I left my comfort zone and saw the world.

The more I saw and experienced was the more I learned; over time, my blog became more focused on sharing those lessons with other people who could benefit from my own hardships and possibly avoid them or get through them as I did.

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If you know me, you know that I don’t do anything in half measures, and if I’m competing in something- I’m winning. 🙂  It’s this reason my friends love to be on my team when we play games and my family members are always exasperated with me.

This competitive side of me is even stronger when it comes to personal achievements. The person I love to beat the most, is myself.  I want to be the best at my job, make the most money, lift heavier, teach better, and now…have the best blog.  Not quite sure what that means, but what started as a little hobby has now turned into something that I want to be successful.  I want it to be important to other people, and most of all, I want it to be helpful.

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In case you were intrigued:

 

My post popular is of course, this one written by Fox about what its like to be married to me!

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My most shared post is this one about our long distance marriage:

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And my most controversial post is this one about why I left Kuwait:

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My two most searched for posts are

This one reviewing milkshakes in Durban, South Africa:

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This one outlining things to do in Kuwait:

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In conclusion,

 

So today, on the day Expat Panda turns one, I want to thank YOU, dear reader. Whichever corner of the world you live in. Whether you are a follower, a regular visitor, or if you have seen my blog only once. Thank you for giving a meaning to my efforts. Thank you for the gift of your time. Thank you for telling me that my words and my experience is worth reading. Thank you for your comments, your questions, your doubts, your requests and your support. Without you, I’d have no reason to write. Without you, I’d never learn how to take better pictures than I did one year ago. Without you, I might’ve packed up my bags and left Kuwait at the first sign of hardship. You are the reason I ploughed on, and will continue to. THANK YOU!

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Tell me what you like about my blog posts. Tell me what you hate. Tell me what you want to see more of, so I can give it to you. Really. I want your feedback in the comments below!

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