Coast of Bays, Newfoundland

A thank-you to my fellow Newfoundlanders

A few weeks ago, I was doing some marketing research for my Facebook page. When I tried to figure out what other pages people had liked in relation to MY page, it was mostly a whole lot of Newfoundland business pages. I thought it was kinda funny, because a friend had done similar research, and HIS matches were mostly other travel blogs.

If that doesn’t make sense it’s because I don’t actually know much about marketing so writing that entire first paragraph is like me spewing facts about medicine and astronomy and romance. NONSENSE.

The bottom line is this: My biggest audience is my fellow Newfoundlanders, without a doubt. And for this little supportive community I’ve built around me, I am incredibly grateful.

These days, I am consistently stopped in the street or at a bar in St. John’s by a reader who seems bewildered by what I do and how I do it. I’ve been on several coffee dates with people who are curious about how I cracked the travel blog and writing scene, and mostly I sit there clutching my coffee and pretending like I know what I’m doing. “I have no idea what I’m doing,” I say. “Seems to work for me.” Then I throw vomit-worthy words into the conversation like “SEO marketing” and “native advertising” and “unique page views” to further support my image as Wandering Douchebag Extraordinaire until I bore the poor person to tears and they never contact me again.

(I’m so kidding. I actually love meeting you to DEATH.)

Here, in Bay d’Espoir where I grew up, I can’t walk five feet without someone asking me where I’m going next. Let me tell you, it’s a weird feeling to have all eyes on you. Especially when you HAAAAATE being the centre of attention (lol says a narcissist blogger). And sometimes I get annoyed by people thinking the only thing in my life is travel, when my biggest passions are actually writing and literature.

And I guess that’s where the blog scene gets more than discouraging at times, because even though being a brilliant blogger and a brilliant writer aren’t mutually exclusive, you certainly don’t need to have an inkling of writing talent to succeed. Sometimes it feels like people only care about page views and social stats, not the actual writing quality. And sometimes it feels like the blog world is one big circle jerk full of mundane headlines and overused adjectives. I quit all the Facebook travel blogging groups because people were nasty and vindictive with one another. BUT! BUT! Then there are all the good things, like community support and the fact that bloggers responded SO INCREDIBLY KINDLY when Dave Bouskill of ThePlanetD broke his back recently. And the fact there’s a whole massive campaign launched to save rhinos, and it’s wonderfully organized.

Wait, where was I going with that? Oh yeah. So even though there are a ton of ups and downs, you readers keep me humble. You allow me to take a step back and think, oh hey, this is actually pretty cool. It’s thrilling, and flattering, and very surprising to know people are reading.

And if you ARE wondering, the truth is this: I actually have no idea what I’m doing, but I followed my dreams and worked really hard and somehow it worked out and sometimes people pay me to do things because they like reading my stuff and they follow me on Twitter. WHAT A NOVEL CONCEPT! I also make less than $30k a year, travel most of the year, paid off my credit debt, manage my life-sucking student loans, and still manage to afford vegetables from Sobey’s. Turns out you don’t actually need much money to be free.

I have often struggled to define what it means to be a Newfoundlander, as I point out in this interview with Daily Travel Podcast. The sense of community on this big, rocky island is kinda crazy. Being a Newfoundlander is such an engrained sense of identity, it’s impossible to shake. No matter where you go in the world, you’re a Newfoundlander first and foremost. And I love that. It’s tattooed on my skin.

Newfoundland tattoo

But being a Newfoundlander makes it really hard to LEAVE. Already I’ve postponed my Berlin moving plans by six months, thanks to a big Come Home Year celebration next summer, and a friend’s wedding, and so and so. When you grow up with 24 aunts and uncles and dozens of cousins (like I have), you take any opportunity to appreciate their company all at once.

Kendell family

A very small sampling of my Kendell family.
There’s an old joke that says you always know who the Newfoundlanders are in heaven…because they’re the ones that want to go home.

This blog post isn’t meant to slight my other readers from around the globe – not at all. I am endlessly grateful for your attention, and your comments, and your support. This upcoming year is already filled with travel plans: a sailing trip around Greece, an archaeological dig in Spain, three weeks in Hawaii, moving to Berlin, a trip from Vegas to the Grand Canyon. And I hope you’ll follow me along for the journey.

St. John's view

Also hard to leave: This view.
But I am so eternally grateful to have this island to come home to, always. The saltwater is my veins…kinda like the salt beef in a Newfoundlander’s arteries. Thank you, Newfoundland! Thank you, readers! HOW PUMPED ARE WE FOR 2015?!

  • December 30 2014
    Maggie BB

    WOOO! 2015!!
    I did not know you pushed back Berlin. I am shite at paying attention to your travel plans (and I am asked fifty million times a week “where is candice now? going next?” and I feel like a shitty friend for not knowing…)…. but, yay internet, so we can continue to geek out over books no matter where you are ;)

    • December 30 2014

      Hahaha it really only happened recently! And even that’s not entirely solid yet. But those other trip opportunities popped up, and I couldn’t really turn ’em down. What a life.

  • December 30 2014

    Beautiful post. Moving overseas has forced me to reflect on being Australian and the lifelong identity that comes with that. We’re more than beer-swilling crocodile hunters, but I struggle to articulate to people what the other, truer characteristics are.

    Also, thank you for sharing your frustrations about the travel blogging world. I’m quite new to it all and find myself getting demotivated by the obsession with stats and the endless top 10 lists.

    • December 30 2014

      Right?! Maybe it has something to do with being islanders. Bred in isolation, raised a certain way. I feel like NLers and Aussies actually have a lot in common, haha.

      And yeah, it gets disheartening, believe me. But I think overall you’ll find people are more drawn to personalities than another faceless website, or at least that’s what I hope…

  • December 30 2014

    It’s the most wonderful thing on earth to have family and friends and place to call home. It sounds like you have it figured out even if you don’t feel like you know what you are doing. From our view, you’ve got it going on girl! Congratulations on all your success, it’s well deserved and couldn’t have happened to a kinder person. All the best for 2015, looks like you have some great travel plans ahead :)

    • December 30 2014

      Awww this post made me so happy, thank you! You don’t know how inspirational you two have been throughout your medical ordeal. I’ve been in tears reading your posts. Love triumphs all!!

      • December 31 2014

        Aw, thanks Candice! You’ve always been a shining light in the travel community. Always fun and positive. I love that you are stopped regularly. You, my dear are a true celebrity. It’s Dave that’s been inspiring to me, he’s been keeping me calm when he’s the one going through it all. :D

  • December 31 2014
    Pamela Winsor-Preza

    Even though I have lived in Greece for 30 years, Newfoundland will always be home. I love going back and I hate leaving. Bay Roberts is my little piece of Heaven. I don’t know if I could have settled there, ( I have too much wanderlust) but it is HOME. Most of my school friends are still there. I love reading about it and I love talking about it. Greece is a beautiful country and also rocky (another Rock), but it will never feel like HOME, even though my own family and some very good friends are here. This baygirl, who woke up and saw the north Atlantic out her window (Conception Bay!!) now lives inland and it really BOTHERS me!!!! CANDACE, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK !!

    • December 31 2014

      Have you been really away for that long?! Oh my. I’m looking forward to getting back to Greece this year, so hopefully we’ll meet up. :) I’m also having a difficult type grasping how I’ll survive Berlin and being so far from water! Lol. Thank you for readng!

  • January 06 2015
    Ryan Woodford

    If you get a ton of hits from Ottawa I’ll take some of the credit. Us ‘mis-placed’ Newfoundlander’s are fans as well.