Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What's next for Peyt's Island?

Step into my office...
After 26 months, 225 posts, 500+ comments, and nearly 46,000 views, Peyt's Island is about to come to an end. I think I'm almost as sad about saying goodbye to this space as I am about saying goodbye to our time on Guam and our friends here. Somehow it feels like Peyt's Island should be coming with us.

I originally started this blog at the prompting of a good friend (Sara gets all the credit) as a way to keep in touch with friends and family back home. I knew between time changes and busy schedules it would be difficult to catch up one-on-one with everyone as often as I wanted to. And I wanted everyone to get to experience a little of the adventure and excitement before us. I anticipated people back home would ask "How's Guam?" and the answer "It's great!" just wouldn't do it justice. It was really nice to have a place to fill everyone in on the glorious details.

What started as a keep-in-touch blog evolved into a portal to share this little island paradise, not just with friends and family, but with the world. It surprised me at first to see I had so many visitors from Russia, Australia, and Belgium (?). But strangely, none from China. I got to check this out myself when I was there. This is what Peyt's Island looks like from a browser in China:

Error message. Let's all take a moment to thank our lucky stars we live in the USA (including Guam, USA!), where freedom of speech reigns.

The back end part of the blog shares some interesting info in addition to where surfers are arriving from. It tells which posts get the most hits and what people searched for before finding your page. The stuff people searched for to find Peyt's Island has always been grounds for amusement. I started keeping a list of the stranger ones:

guam shark attack
blonde scuba diver
Happy Gilmore House
FBI academy preparation
chicken fighting pool
guam sea park
kostas sam's palau
cocos lagoon guam
48 hours in chiang mai
blue hole guam
hugging underwater
monitor lizard species from saipan
honeymoon crater lakes
Skinny dipping south river annapolis
hydroponics lettuce boat nutrients
elephant ride at own cost

Oddly enough, I know exactly which post each search term pointed the searcher to (except "FBI academy preparation"... that one still has me puzzled, though I suppose I could do a search and find out myself).

In addition to friends and family, it seems I amassed a small contingency of Guam residents that started reading as well, probably finding me through similar searches for Guam's various dives or hikes (I've found a few fellow Guam bloggers this way too). A comment from one such reader even led to an opportunity to start the Fresh Factor. I got my first paid advertiser and an entirely separate writing forum to write about something (local produce!) I would have never dreamed I'd be so passionate about.

Peyt's Island has been a fun way to recap all of my travels to various places around Asia and the Pacific. Just knowing I would be blogging about something prompted me to take more pictures, jot down more notes, and remember stories I wanted to share with everyone. After having my journal stolen in China, I was so grateful knowing my stories and reflections from these past two years were almost all safe right here.

One of the fun things about Guam is the inevitability of being a big fish in a small pond. It always cracks me up when I'm at a party at a friend's house or even up in Saipan this last weekend and someone says, "Oh yeah, I recognize you from your picture. I read your blog." [Blush] I wouldn't go so far as to claim Guam celebrity status what with 35 followers and all, but I find it highly amusing how many people I run into have stumbled upon these pages at some point.

All of this has added up to mean huge benefits of putting so much work and effort into keeping a blog. But none of it is what has most floored me about Peyt's Island specifically. That would boil down to one single email I received from a family who found me by googling the name of an orphanage in Manila, Concordia Children's Services. That orphanage suddenly became very important to them the day they found out (after a five-year adoption process) they were matched to become the mom and dad of a little girl named Mia Claire.... a little girl who I took a photo with and blogged about a few months before. That email came into my inbox literally 48 hours before our service team left for trip #2 (the email is posted here and just might give you goosebumps too). I left on Easter Sunday to go see Mia, this time having Skyped with her very anxious mother and father. We have been in touch off and on since that day. I have shared photos and videos of their daughter with them, and I have prayed over and over for the day when they will share their happy news with us that Mia's paperwork has been processed and they can go get her. Wouldn't you know, Mia will also be moving to Virginia and, by the grace of God, hopefully I will get to see her there soon.

So where do I go from here? Peyt's Island is going to come to its final chapter here shortly. That much I am sure of. But what I'm not sure of is what is next for me and the blogosphere. The thought of blogging about our everyday life in a townhouse in suburban sprawl sounds a little anticlimactic. But I haven't honed in on a new topic or angle to devote myself to going forward. So for now, I think I'm going to take a break. If and when it makes sense to end posting here, I will write my final post. And if and when I decide I've found my next writer's call, I will answer it.

Until then, thanks for reading and staying engaged. No question my little paradise has been richer and fuller because of Peyt's Island and the opportunity to meet you all here.


  1. The fact that your "keep in touch" portal has blossomed in to what it is today is no surprise to me. Everything you touch is morphed in to something bigger, greater and much more tangible than it originally was intended. How awesome that you have reached so many people, kept in touch with your friends and family, and created the ultimate coffee table book in the process.

    I do hope you continue. I, for one, would be thrilled to read about your adventures in townhome suburbia.

  2. I'm going to miss you!! I can't wait to see what the next step will bring. Best of luck with the move and hopefully I'll see you sometime in Florida or Virginia :)

  3. I echo Sara's comments. On to "Peyt's Adventures in Townhome Suburbia."


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