Last year on this date I publicly launched this blog.
Can you believe its only been a year? I really can’t.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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!
My most shared post is this one about our long distance marriage:
And my most controversial post is this one about why I left Kuwait:
My two most searched for posts are
This one reviewing milkshakes in Durban, South Africa:
This one outlining things to do in Kuwait:
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!
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!
How did you do it? Great stuff 🙌🏾
Lots of time and effort and passion! Thanks for reading 🙂
Frankly, I haven’t read all of your posts but when I do read them, I usually end up loving them and every time that happens, the link to your blog spreads like wildfire in our class group on WhatsApp. So, on behalf of an entire class of young adults, and taking the Vodafone tagline as an inspiration, “Wherever you go, our network follows”. Thank you for creating this blog!
This is one of the best compliments I have ever received on the blog! Your comments never fail to make me laugh & smile! I am so glad you decided to follow my blog and become my virtual friend 😀
What can I say, I gravitate towards any adventurous and exuberant human being…plus you’re called panda…THEY’RE CUTE! I’m pretty sure you are too…so its a win win 😁😁I’m a happy follower!
Well done Panda.
Thank you my lovely friend!
Dear Panda, Thank you for sharing your experiences! It is a pleasure to read your witty posts! I also appreciate that you are keeping it real, life is not so black and white…um other than Pandas!
Haha I laughed at that! I admire other bloggers who sugarcoat things because I just do not know how to do that!! Thank you for reading 🙂
You are such a cute writer and I want to read more of your posts! Congrats on one year!!
Thanks so much for reading and glad you enjoy my writing 🙂
Your words and sentence melody attracts me to read your post most often. When I read, I delve myself into the world that you describe and I really enjoy reading your blogposts. I’m really amazed at how you achieve this.
Congratulations 🎆🎇🎉🎉🎉🎊🎉🎉🎉🎇🎆 great job 💗💗
Thanks for reading! 🙂
Happy blogversary! 🙂
Thank you Marta! 🙂
Wow and congratulations! I love your posts and it’s obvious from your stats I’m not alone, very impressive. I’m glad that blogging connected us and I’m excited to continue to read your adventures. Well done Hun awesome milestone
Thanks so much blogger bean and welcome back to the world of WordPress after your long holiday! Agreed, us connecting through the blog was definitely one of the highlights of my journey thus far! 🙂
Hey! I just wanted to mention that I’ve nominated you for the Mystery Blogger Award. You can check all the details out here: https://robinleeann.com/2017/08/08/mystery-blogger-award/
What an inspirational blog post! I’ve only recently discovered your blog (through Instagram), and I have to say it is such a beautifully designed blog with great writing to boot! I’m curious as to approximately how much time you spend per week writing? I really wish I were as prolific a blogger! My one-year blogversary is coming up next month, but I have no where near 75 blog posts! Any words of advice would be welcome! Keep up the awesome work, and congrats on your one-year milestone!
Hey Stefanie! I am so glad that Instagram led you here! The time I spend on my blog really depends on my schedule. Some weeks I can spend 6 hours writing and working on the blog and other weeks I won’t even look at it. When I am free, I try to write as much as I can on whatever topic is on my mind. Then, when I have less time, I add to those existing drafts and eventually publish. I try to publish at least once a week. I also use the WordPress app on my phone so as things happen, I just jot them down so I don’t forget them. Weirdly enough, the time I am most productive is on the plane back from a holiday. Long haul flights are my most productive writing times!! My only advice to you would be to keep going- when I first started, I only had three readers- my mum, sister and husband. As my content grew, so did my audience. Also, stay true to your style; in my early days, people always told me to be less sassy… but now that sassiness is what attracts people to my posts! Best of luck Stef and I hope that helps a little bit 🙂
Thanks so much for the insight! And for the inspiration! 😉😊
Congratulations on a successful first year of blogging! May I ask where and how you made that infographic?
On canva.com 🙂
Congratulations Panda!! You are an inspiration to others and I love reading your posts!! <3 Stay sassy – it's what keeps the world going.. X-D Happy to have come across your blog even though it was towards the end of your Kuwait adventures, but hopefully we can stay in touch through Instagram and blogging! xoxo
Jeena! Meeting you and inviting you for hole in the wall South Indian food was one of the highlights of my blogging journey! Yes we will definitely continue to stay in touch whether we like it or not (Haha!). I love the updates of little Madeline Sara 🙂
Love this and love the summary of all your accomplishments!
Thank you so much! I hope the next year brings more joy to my little slice of the internet 😀