Blogs by Hilary Hopkins

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April 08, 2014 / Happy Birthday, Hilary’s Places!

A whole year has passed since my website went live on March 29, 2013.

Oh, it was such a long time in the conception and gestation and birth.   For years I had kept journals and made images when on travel. 

The first really big journal I wrote by hand, in East Africa, in 1980.  Those were hot places and every day I sat somewhere in the shade, between game runs, and wrote until my hand was sore.   I think I wrote about 24,000 words.   In 1987 we went to Nepal to visit our daughter in Peace Corps, and there in her tiny village I again kept a hand-written journal, also about 24,000 words.  Finally in 1988 on our first trip to Australia I had a laptop of sorts—you can imagine how clunky it was!—and that journal was 29,000 words.  One of the entries I wrote sitting by the side of the road in the dirt while waiting for a flat tire fix. 

I have kept journals of most of my travels ever since.  This demands a great deal of energy, foregoing a nice nap, or an early bedtime, for writing—and the older I get the more naps and early bedtimes I seem to need.   So there have been some wonderful travels of which there is no written record: Viet Nam (3 times), Turkey, Chile and Ecuador, France and Spain to see prehistoric cave art, various interesting cruises.   There are travels for which there are few images, for picture-taking also takes energy, especially when you get home and have the monumental job of editing to do.

So I had all these words and images, and I desperately wanted to share them with more than friends and family.  Sharing a vision is so important to me.  I have been known to grab perfect strangers to point out some wonderful almost-hidden thing and say, “Look!  Look!”   Life is short, and we need to see everything we can of it. 

I began to think about a website.  How daunting that seemed!    I mean, I used my computer, certainly, but had no confidence in my ability to set up the kind of website I envisioned—something beautiful, alluring and elegant.   Hire somebody, urged my husband.

Time passed, several years of it.  Finally, boldly attending my own mantra of “If Not Now, When?” I began to browse the net for web designers.  I looked at a few; the language they used was utterly mysterious and profoundly scary to me.   But then I found Bree Rodriguez’ site ( www.ebree.com ).   She used words I already understood, and she seemed to have a sense of humor.  After several days of nerving myself up, I called her.  She talked fast, but she was reassuringly funny, and so patient with me!  My anxiety level plummeted.  We agreed on a meeting. 

It took several months of meetings and back and forth, and refining my vision to fit what was possible—AND the ever-willing and patient help of my more tech-savvy husband, but finally www.hilarysplaces.com went live. 

I had no idea, a year ago, how much I would love writing for Hilary’s Places.  Of how intense would be the pleasure of editing and choosing what I want to present to my invisible audience. 

Isn’t this a treat!  Here I am, almost 76 years old, and I get to do this new thing!   YAY!  Keep it up, girl!

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