Deleting my former "travel" blog
On Facebook, friends began to remember that I had a “coffee blog” or “Japan blog”. I had a knee jerk icky feeling. But once labels are slapped on, they stick. What I wrote about reinforced those impressions, so I could hardly begrudge accuracy.
But on the blogging journey, defining the blog became a peble in the shoe that wore me down. Rather, it was a pebel that made me realise the shoe wasn’t a good fit. So now that I’ve made this new blog, the old one can go.
I have a lot of feelings about the old blog. And now that I feel more comfortable with this one, I am going to let those seep out in due time, mixed in documentation. This post will be a mess – too technical for someone reading a reflection, and not concise enough for someone wanting to do SEO. And I’m writing about whatever I feel like in the process when I feel like it. That prospect tickles me, which is a pretty good sign.
The First Axe
I wanted to keep the maps. More accurately, Google has my maps, so I wanted to make sure people could still find them. Since I figured out how to set up the “Collections” in the Minimal Mistakes theme, I decided that I would like looking at the gallery of maps on them. They now live here: https://shenchingtou.github.io/maps/. The Google Search Console removal link is here.
A year ago, I knew I wanted to drop resources for digital nomads, a term I had flirted with in my early blogging days to understand how to attract audiences. I wanted to drop all redundant information – cafes that dozens of much more prominent hipster, digital nomad, startup publications had done already. I deleted over 30 entries of cafes in English-speaking, Western-centric cities. The “Coffee Walk” posts were spared the axe because they had maps.
So this time around, the first to be axed are the “Coffee Walks”. The reviews I had created were gone already. It was easy to copy and paste the Google Maps as iFrames and then drop the coffee list, in case someone for some reason wanted to see them. One new post on the ashes of four. If only cyber removals were as simple as bonfires.
Digging through the dust pile
To take a step back, in order to justify the collection, I had to find out whether I had enough maps to put up. Originally, I only thought about 5-10 old entries might go alongside newer ones like the Berlin Asian Food Map: Coffee Walks, Tokyo Coffee, Tokyo general, some Vancouver ones.
The only two I got right were the coffee walks and Tokyo coffee walks – hack code snippet pastes, with lists and addresses stripped of the user-friendliness of the original blog (which was meant to convenience readers).
Aside Style stripping Wordpress > Quiver (text) > Quiver (markdown) > HackMD or Obsidian Markdown
But then I discovered the vegetarian Tokyo map, accessible Tokyo map, and Muslim-friendly map. Uncovered from the heap (200+) of posts over the years, they no longer seem like esoteric investigations. They were flashbacks to the conviction from which they were created, a rare flashpoint where I could see clearly what mattered from five years ago, a witness who has arrived five years later, meeting the past who still recognises a shared present.
These maps do not deserve to be dumped into one Tokyo archive. The blog can be scripped, but these are the pillars that need to be moved. These three maps sucked up the bulk of a day. Stuff that doesn’t translate well – tables.
But in that process, I discovered how many maps I’ve created, and even more surprisingly, how many times they’ve been used (or not). How naive – as a content marketer, I focused on the page views that grew over the years. I’d completely forgotten the maps I had built the pages around. If only all naivite could feel so rewarding.