When we introduced Taking Route to the public eye just over six months ago, we could not have possibly foreseen how quickly it would be viewed by so many readers around the world in such a short amount of time. We were blown away! In awe! Super excited! And then we realized we still had a lot left that needed to be done on our blogging to-do list. 

One area which we felt was neglected was our connection to you, the readers. Things were happening fast so we just focused on getting quality content published on the blog, opening up our social media sites to make it easier to follow along with us, and cleaning up “the look” of the blog. As the saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20” and we’ve clearly seen where there’s some room for improvement. 

This year, we have chosen the word “connect” as our one word goal. We want our little corner of the internet to be a place where all expats feel at home (because we all know feeling “at home” can be difficult sometimes). We want you to feel free to ask, comment, and discuss the things that are on your mind. We want you to be able to share your thoughts, tips, ideas, and photos. And we realize that we’re not the only expat blog out there in the world wide web, so we want to be better at connecting you with other helpful resources, blogs, and expat writers. 

So, to start of this brand new year, we want to highlight the three ways we’ll be putting our word, connect, into action.

We welcome comments, suggestions, and questions. We read every single one of your comments and we do our very best to respond back. If you email us, you’ll hear back from us (unless you’re a spammer). Is there a topic of expat life that you would like to see on the blog? Let us know! Do you have a question you’d like for us to post on our Facebook page for other expats to respond to? Don’t hesitate to email us or send us a Facebook message. We did that recently with a newly engaged expat wondering what would be the best items to register for if she intended to move back overseas. We were thrilled to see how many people responded with great tips. Even I was reminded of some items I wanted to try and purchase when I go back to the States this year. We are big supporters of expats helping expats.

We want to read some of your writing! Do you have a blog of your own where you write about your life as an expat? Link it up! If you haven’t already noticed, there’s a list of regions around the world at the top of our left sidebar. Simply click the region where you live and follow the directions to link up your blog. Not only do we get to connect with you when you link up, but other readers who live in your same region can read and relate to your stories. You might even consider guest writing for Taking Route.

get connected on Taking Route

We definitely didn’t give the link-up feature of our blog enough attention in 2014 so we’re correcting that error this year. Starting this month and happening each month after that, we’ll feature one blog from one region. The writer of the featured blog will answer some “get-to-know-me” type questions and have their blog featured on our sidebar for the entire month. So, if you have a blog and don’t mind sharing it with us and every other expat in the world, go find your region on the sidebar and link it up!

We would love to see your expat life via photos! Thanks to smartphones and Instagram, it’s now so easy to quickly snap a photo and share it with friends. We’d like to think we could be friends on some level in real life, so we would love to see some of your awesome photos. At first, we weren’t so sure how we wanted to utilize our Instagram account but we’ve worked out the kinks with this connection tool as well. Our Instagram account will be a place where we share our own photos along with photos that inform you about upcoming posts, giveaways, and weekly photo prompts (more details on that below). We’re counting on YOU to share your photos too by tagging the photos with #takingroute. Once you’ve added that hashtag, your photo will automatically pop up on our blog on the left sidebar. If we really love that photo and want to make sure everyone sees it, we might re-gram it on our account (giving you photo credit, of course). 

photo 2-7The one downside about hashtags is that we can’t see the tagged photos if your profile is private. HOWEVER, we respect your privacy and by no means do we want you to surrender that privacy setting. Fortunately, there IS a way you can still share photos with us and we can make sure it gets hashtagged and posted for all to see (while still keeping your profile private). If you’ve never sent a photo directly to someone on Instagram, simply follow this quick, 4-step picture tutorial once you’ve uploaded your photo and reached the final “Share to” page.

To encourage the sharing of photos, we’re going to start having a weekly theme on Instagram (and maybe even Facebook for those who don’t have Instagram). For example, one week the theme might be “something red”. That’s your cue to find something red where you live, snap a photo, and then share it with us. Bonus points* for creativity! 

As we’ve said before, we want to “interact and encourage each other as one, big expat family who understands one another.” So don’t be a stranger! 

Let’s get connected in 2015! Cheers to a new year!

 

Did you choose one word for this year? Share it with us in the comments!

*Bonus points can be turned in for one Schrute buck. Or you can exchange your one Schrute buck for one billion Stanley nickels. Conversion rates are based on a unicorn to leprechaun ratio. Any Office fans out there or am I just talking to myself at this point?

 

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