This is a second instalment of my monthly series The Great Blogs Series, where I share with you blogs I love. The ones, which stand out in the crowded blogosphere because of their inspiring philosophy, I-want-more! writing or beautiful presentation.
This month I chose Rossi Writes. And Rossi kindly agreed to answer a few questions. Thank you Rossi!
I came across Rossi’s blog a couple of months ago and it was love at first sight (and read). Her evocative writing and well aimed camera lens quite literally transport you to places she visits. And they are all places where you wish you could be, as she currently lives with her family in Vincenza in Italy. Her blog is thoughtful and honest. And successful – thanks to her blog she has been approached by Telegraph to write a feature for their Expat section.
Time to hand over the pen, as Rossi is a far better writer than I am!
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Rossi Thomson. I am Bulgarian, currently living in Italy after 14 years in the UK. I am married to a lovely man and we have a little daughter. I am a trained linguist and apart from Bulgarian I speak English, Spanish and Portuguese. I used to work in localisation adapting software applications and websites for local audiences. As a stay at home mum I indulge my passion for writing through my blog www.rossiwrites.com.
What was your childhood like compared to the one you are creating (and documenting) for your children?
My childhood was quite multifaceted. There were some great things about it and some things like a dose of oversensitivity and a strand of self-doubt which were rather a hindrance. The two things which I loved about my childhood and would love to replicate as experiences for my daughter are how close to nature I was brought up and also the love for travelling my parents instilled in me. Like most Bulgarians, my parents are really into horticulture and have a rather large garden where they still plant lots of vegetables and take care of several fruit trees. As a child I would spend lots of time there, helping my parents tend the garden, running around and climbing up trees. Every summer we would have an abundance of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lots of apples and apricots, juicy cherries, even walnuts. The excess produce would be preserved for winter and I remember hating those long weekends spent picking up tomatoes and then helping my mum turn them into homemade sauces and other tasty things. I now look back and appreciate it, as the food was home-grown and whole. I had never had sauce from a jar until I moved to the UK and got caught up in the convenience of ready-made food. I would like my daughter to experience this closeness to the natural cycle of growing things, having real whole food rather than over processed stuff which comes in a box. Living in Italy is great in this respect, as food is very seasonal, very local and is delicious. As for my love for travel, my parents travelled quite a bit. At the time due to the political climate in Bulgaria it was difficult to visit certain countries and often people wouldn’t travel at all. My parents made a real effort to go and see places, which was quite something as they didn’t have the political connections or other easy ways to do things. Still, together with them we visited some amazing countries and had wonderful adventures. I loved listening to my mum telling me stories about their travels to Iraq and Greece, for example, and I was bitten by the travel bug. Even though my daughter is still very small, we have taken her to several places and always go exploring with her.
Why have you started blogging and what is your blog about?
I have been meaning to start a blog for such a long time, but was always stopped by an inner barrier with a big sign ‘You Have Nothing Interesting to Say’. After we moved to Italy, I thought I needed to seize the day and just do it, as we were slowly discovering a beautiful country and things were happening to us on a daily basis which I wanted to document in writing instead of simply forgetting them down the line. My blog is about my life in Italy, the UK and Bulgaria. I tell stories about the places I go to, about the people I meet and I also share some very personal thoughts and experiences. I try to write in an evocative way using lots of large size photographs to illustrate my story. My blog is like a portfolio of my writing and my photography skills with the caveat that I am honest about everything I say. I don’t follow the constantly regurgitated advice that you should write a blog like you are chatting to a friend. My blogging is me talking to myself. I hope it makes sense to other people, too, but my main concern is to stay true to myself and be authentic.
How do you organise your blogging around family life?
I use nap times to jot down ideas and update my social media accounts. A few times a week I stay up until very late to process pictures and put my blog posts together. As a family we use the weekends to explore Italy and go to places which I can write about. I would love to travel much more and go to many more local events so that I can post a new blog post at least every other day. I have to be realistic though and after some thought I aim to post 12 new articles every month. I wouldn’t want to post every day just to post something. I like writing long pieces which are well researched and have something interesting to say and show. So, two or three posts a week on average is something I can achieve without letting the blog take over my life.
Has blogging changed your life?
No, not really. It has added a new dimension to it in so much that I am constantly on the lookout for interesting places to visit and interesting events to attend in order to write about them. Instead of falling into the routine of doing the same things every weekend, it is my mission to find something new and exciting which we all as a family will enjoy and at the same time will provide me with a solid base for a blog post. Another thing about blogging is that it helps me to regain some headspace. I realise now that offloading my thoughts and experiences on virtual paper every few days helps me clear up my head. Before I would have this constant monologue going on about things I needed to do and things I didn’t want to forget. Now this has quietened down a bit and, after finishing a blog post, I get this lovely feeling of personal achievement like I have created a lasting memory, my head is clear and I feel at peace.
What have you learnt from blogging?
To always be honest. It is easy in daily life to avoid saying how you feel out of fear that you may offend someone or come across the wrong way. Early on, even before I started my blog, I decided to be authentic and comfortable with everything I write in it and this has served me well so far.
What is your best advice for new bloggers, or those thinking of starting a blog?
Just do it. Don’t overthink it too much.
What is the best/most surprising opportunity you have been offered thanks to blogging?
My blog is only six months old and I haven’t been offered anything on a plate yet (is this something that actually happens?! J ). Based on two of my blog posts I had the chance to submit some ideas for potential articles to the ‘Expat’ section of the British daily newspaper The Telegraph. My first piece was published at the beginning of May and it was shared over 1200 times on social media within two weeks, which I still can’t quite believe. My second piece has now been submitted, too.
What would be your perfect day – if money and geographical location is no object?
I have so many ideas for a perfect day that my mind actually went into an overdrive just trying to collate them all. There are so many picture-perfect places around the world which I would love to visit and spend a fabulous day (or more) exploring them. Japan, Canada, the Azores, Madeira, China, Sweden… Plus so many more. A perfect day based on what I have already experienced would be a visit to a medieval walled town in Italy with some sightseeing in the morning, taking all the amazing scenery in, learning about the history of the place and then spending time with my husband and my daughter at the local playground having fun at the swings and the slides and the see-saw. In the late afternoon we would head back home for some home-cooked dinner and a quiet family evening feeling just happy to be together.