My 7 Links Challenge: A Year of Travel Blogging in Review

About four months ago, awesome photographer, writer and friend Lola Akinmade nominated me to take part in the “My 7 Links” challenge.

If you’re in the travel blogging world, you’ll know what I’m referring to.

It’s an idea that originated from TripBase: you go through your blog archives and post “7 Links”  in answer to 7 specific categories (listed below).

You have to be nominated to participate.

And once you do, you get to then “tag” or nominate 5 more bloggers to take their turn at this fun exercise (just make sure they haven’t already been nominated by looking them up on this list).

I was at the start of my Road Warrior program, in Belize, when I found out I was challenged. But I was so swamped that I never got a chance to post my entry.

Now that the end of the year is approaching, I can’t think of a better time to look back at my year of blogging and walk down memory lane.

A sort of year-in-review, in 7 posts… here we go!

1. My most beautiful post: Camera Mishaps on the Road – Finding Grace & Opportunity

I’m really proud of this post, because I was able to overcome what could have been a really depressing situation – a damaged camera body on the road and a looming assignment – and turn it into something positive. Just writing about it made me realize how much I’d matured as a photographer, as well as a human being. Making lemons, you know!

2. My most popular post: Rappelling 300 Feet Into A Belizean Rainforest

I’m not sure what counts as “popular” but I decided to go with the number of comments, tweets and like’s, rather than views. This story sure struck a nerve. Somehow we can probably all relate to the fear of heights and whether we have what it takes to conquer that fear. I honestly didn’t know I had it in me!

3. My most controversial post: On Solo Female Travel: Are You Black or White?

When I wrote this piece, I was reflecting on how much race plays a factor on black solo female travel. Sometimes in a bad way, other times in comical ways. But more so than race, I wanted to show that the whole purpose of travel, is as much about learning from others as it is to educate them about your own culture. It can be hard to decide how far to push the controversy on your blog, but I find that as a seasoned blogger, I’m much more comfortable with it now than I was when I wrote this piece. I have a feeling I’ll be voicing my opinion much more in the coming year!

4. My most helpful post: On Photography – The Basics of Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO and Difficult Lighting

This post was part of my assignment for my photography course at MatadorU, and to this day I receive messages thanking me for the advice. It took me a long time to put this one together! But I like that the next time anyone asks me “how do you shoot in low light?” or anything of that nature, I can hand out my card and point them to this entry. Ha!

5. A post whose success surprised me: Club Mobay, Jamaica’s Brand New Departure Lounge: Culture, Relaxation and Swank at MBJ

From the moment I posted it to this day, this piece is the number one most read entry on my blog (you’re welcome, Club Mobay! I’ll be picking up my lifetime pass soon, lol). Who knew airport lounges were that interesting?! But I guess I should’ve known – we’re talking about Jamaica here, island of repeat visitors. Still, it was an eye-opener into the practical things that interest the average reader.

6. A post I didn’t feel got the attention it deserved: Annual Maroon Festival in Accompong Town – Celebrating Freedom and Courage

If I had to pick a top five list of must-attend cultural events in Jamaica, Maroon Day would be on it. It’s an important part of Jamaica’s history. But looking back, I had actually saved most of the details about the ceremony for a photo essay for another outlet. I may just publish it here in January.

7. The post that I am most proud of: Overnight Adventure at Caracol – Wining, Dining and History at Belize’s Largest Maya Site

This was so hard to pick! Blogging is a tough task, and every time I manage to complete a substantive post, I’m proud. But really – I’m most happy with this piece because I was so overwhelmed by what I experienced at Caracol – it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I wanted to do justice to the story and bring my readers along for the ride in the most authentic way possible. I also love story telling and in the end, I managed to do that, as well as shoot in the most difficult and tricky light conditions ever. So I’m truly proud of myself for this piece and even more with the response it received, including a sweet tweet of my entry by a National Geographic editor. 😉

Who I’m nominating

Looking forward to seeing your picks, ladies.

Diana O’Gilvie from Love to Travel, Write, Film

Kristen from Jamaica My Way

Rebecca from San Pedro Scoop

Jackie from My Wooden Spoons

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Lebawit Lily Girma

Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning, Ethiopian-American travel writer, photographer and author of several Caribbean guidebooks for Moon Travel Guides, including Moon Belize, Moon Belize Cayes, and Moon Dominican Republic (October 2016). Her work focuses on Caribbean culture and adventure, and has been published in AFAR, CNN Travel, BBC, Delta Sky, The Guardian, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, and Every Day With Rachael Ray, among many others. Lily is also the 2016 recipient of the Marcia Vickery Wallace Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism for her Caribbean coverage, from the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Lily calls herself a “culture-holic”–she speaks four languages fluently and has lived in Cote d’Ivoire, England, Jamaica, Belize, the Dominican Republic and traveled to some 30+ countries around the world. Last but not least, she is a former corporate attorney who ditched her Washington DC office for the road in 2009 to pursue her dream of becoming a storyteller. Lily holds a Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish (summa cum laude) from the University of Maryland at College Park, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law.

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2 Comments

  1. Diana 13 November, 2011 at 8:17 PM #

    OK! I’ll do this. Excited to try it.

  2. Jackie 13 November, 2011 at 8:35 PM #

    Thanks for your vote of confidence with the nomination Lily….I’ll see what I can do 🙂

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