BlipFoto: record your year abroad in photographs
Not many people seem to know Caen, bar the fact it was a strategic point in WWII (and it was therefore bombed to bits) and that the name sounds a little bit like Cannes, so I decided before I went away that I wanted to do something a little bit different with a blog, combining my love of photography with a desire to keep in touch with family and friends at home.
Luckily I had been introduced by friends to a site called BlipFoto, where your challenge is to take one photograph a day, and then you can upload it whenever you want, and write as much or as little as you want about anything, whether it be the photograph or just about your day. This format really appealed to me, as I feel like sometimes those moments you feel are going to live in your memory forever soon get forgotten, and the impetus of having to take a photograph a day really inspired me.
One of the great things about Blip is that you can actually buy a printed copy of your year in pictures at the end of it, so you can something physical that you really can treasure forever.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it is quite stressful to find and take a photograph, let alone having to write up an entire day. However, my French (and home) friends have soon got used to having a lens pointed in their face at every opportunity, and one of them even admitted that they didn’t mind me doing it that much as it meant that they got some nice photographs of themselves!
The things I tend to write about are general thoughts about my day, what I did, what classes I taught, what I did with them, any new words I learnt, any mistakes I made or embarrassing moments that happened (quite frequently unfortunately!), new French songs that I have found that aren’t too Johnny Hallyday (apologies to all those who enjoy his masterpieces)…things like that. It pretty much is a day-by-day account of my life, and it is a brilliant way to keep in touch with family and friends without having to repeat the same things over and over again to five or six different people.
I mean, there are problems with that as well… once I hadn’t posted a photograph for two days (I had been on a night out, I had lesson plans to write, a friend was staying over etc, etc.) and my mum thought I had died, but I think I can put that down to the general worry of parents!
By forcing myself to write something every day, and to take, edit and post a picture it really has made me think carefully about what I do every day on my Year Abroad, and I look back on what I have already done with a real sense of pride. There have been times where I have really not wanted to move from my apartment, but the obligation to take a photograph has sent me out to an evening out that in hindsight I would have regretted not going to!
The support and praise from fellow ‘blippers’ has also really inspired me to continue, as they are all doing the same thing as me. I am now 162 days into my 365 day challenge, and I still have not missed a day (although I hope I am not jinxing myself by saying that!), and I feel my confidence in both my writing skills and my photography has increased tenfold.
I truly believe that there could not have been another way that I could document my Year Abroad.