Monday 2 July 2012

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Happy Birthday More Kids Than Suitcases

Happy Birthday to me! Well, not me really, but us. One year ago today I wrote a post questioning the sanity of people who want to travel like my family does, and now here we are 365 days later, and for those of you who have been along from the very beginning, I'm no longer questioning the soundness of your minds. You've proven yourselves crazier than any readers I could have ever hoped for, and for that I really do thank you.

It's been a lot of fun writing More Kids Than Suitcases over this last year, but for me it's also been very educational. For instance, I've learned that I'm definitely not cut out for a career in web design. This came to light after I accidentally linked one of my posts to an adult dating service, and I got to spend the rest of that week editing out comments from people who had uses for suitcases that would have never crossed my mind. Sadly it took me a little while to figure out where I had made my mistake, but for a while there it was easily the most popular post on the site.

We have cake!
There was also the moment when I realized that the readership base of this website might stretch beyond my immediate friends and family. Now don't get me wrong, I love that my family reads my writing. Lori's family alone is large enough that if half of them read everything posted I'd be challenging Google for the title of most popular page on the web (despite the fact that most of them still get to this site by Googling "More Kids Than Suitcases"). It just came as a bit of a surprise to me when people from all over the world started dropping by and leaving comments. Some of them were even places where I'm pretty sure Lori has no family. Places like Bulgaria, Iceland, and Ocala, Florida. You wouldn't believe some of the strange comments that come out of Ocala.

If you think my learning curve has been steep though, consider my children. This time last year they were leading nice, normal lives, free to enjoy new experiences in any way they saw fit. They used to be able to eat food without having to wait for the camera to be ready. Hotel rooms didn't have to be completely untouched until Dad was finished taking pictures, and Starbucks used to be for coffee, not for logging in to respond to comments. There's also been a gentle shift in their vocabulary, as the phrase "That was the most embarrassing thing ever!" has been replaced with "That's going on the blog isn't it?"

Always wear your helmet when eating cake!
Truthfully though, the real beneficiary of this website is me. When I write, I feel a little more focused, and apparently when I actually pay attention to my life good things happen. I now get requests to write articles for both print and web-based magazines. Businesses are starting to invite us to come and check out the things that they do, and there are even people who would like to pay us to advertise on our site (including the Adult dating service I accidentally linked to before). There's also a long list of people who would like me to help them smuggle unclaimed money out of Africa, but to be honest it doesn't seem like they're really all that interested in the family travel demographic.

So let me take this opportunity to thank every one of you for visiting More Kids Than Suitcases over the last year. If you came by because we met somewhere in this strange blogging world, I appreciate the support. If you came here searching for something, I hope you found it, or at the very least I hope we pointed you in the direction that you need to look. If you're here because you're part of Lori's extended family, I'll see you at the reunion next summer, and if you came here looking for love...well I appreciate the visit but I'm afraid I can't help you with that. You might want to look into Ocala, Florida. Those seem like your kind of people over there.

Written by Steve Pratt