Last night I watched a show called Mediawatch. They did a story on myself and a few other bloggers earning money from their blogs, and that's how I was introduced.
"And Eden Riley of Edenland – recovering alcoholic, World Vision ambassador, plain-speaker extraordinaire."
I heard it and winced. Played it for Dave when he got home and watched him wince. It's a little embarrassing, being known as the recovering alcoholic blogger. It's not like I'm a recovering brain surgeon, or a recovering Nobel Peace-Prize winner.
But it is the truth. I lived it. And I wrote it.
I've been blogging for five and a half years now. Watched entire online landscapes come and go. Waited patiently for Australia to play catch-up to the rest of the world when it comes to this digital space. I've learnt and grown and made mistakes on this blog. I've evolved, told the truth, ranted, matured. I've bent over backwards to disclose any sponsorship I may have with businesses and brands and could not be more transparent if I tried. I don't have anything to hide, I adhere to my own personal code of ethics, as do most every other blogger I know. The ones who don't, don't last long.
I signed with business dynamo and talented woman Lorraine Murphy from the Remarkables over four months ago. She is helping me value the time and energy it takes to maintain a blog. DISCLOSURE: I'm not out to earn a million bucks. I've had an unsteady relationship with money ever since my dad killed himself over his finances back in 1988.
I've never blogged for stats or money, or fame. Some days I don't know why I blog ... but then again, some days I don't know why I do anything at all.
You know what's a great thing to use your blog for? Drawing attention to things that you passionately believe in. Like social justice, feminism, child abuse, poverty.
A few weeks back I met up with World Vision CEO Tim Costello and told him there was a chance that I could be travelling to India in November as part of a World Vision blogger trip. Tim told me all about the caste system and I told Tim all about rehab. He didn't bat an eyelid ... I love how World Vision are cool with aligning themselves with somebody like me. Maybe I kind of fit into their ethos of digging deep and making a change in the world. (In my case, I had to start with myself.)
In a few weeks time, I leave for a ten-day trip to India to blog every day about child labour, children living in poverty, and women's rights. I've never wanted to go to India - too hot, overcrowded, stinky. Had to google it the other night, told Dave it was two countries up from Afghanistan. I have a feeling I'll be blown open in ways I can't pre-empt. Like my last World Vision trip to Africa, I'll be using this blog to bring some attention to parts of the world that often get overlooked, but also focus on a lot of the positive goals and initiatives that World Vision are achieving over there.
The other bloggers on the trip are Carly Jacobs from Smaggle, and Kelly from Be A Fun Mum. Renowned mobile street photographer Misho Baranovic and Joy Toose from World Vision Australia will also be coming.
I'm so privileged and lucky to be going. I'm incredibly grateful to my husband Dave for being so utterly supportive and continuing to run his own building business up here in the Blue Mountains while taking care of our two young boys, while mummy goes off on a not-so-frivolous globetrot. It means the world to me. I'm also really grateful that the (not huge!) amounts of money I have earned from my blog can go towards groceries and childcare so I can justify going.
Blogging IS mainstream, being a recovering alcoholic is SO much nicer than being a plain alcoholic, and I'm getting immunised tomorrow for a trip to India to raise awareness about issues that "the media" appear to have lost interest in.
It's a long way to travel for a prawn vindaloo.
Who's with me?
Should I google India ... or just wing it when I get there?
PS. Maybe there is no media. Maybe you can be your own media.