I’m a Bad Blogger.

Fair warning, this post is going to be a huge stream of consciousness. I’m sorry.

I’m a “bad blogger”. I don’t promote my writing or my friends’ posts enough, I don’t take part in Twitter chats, I rarely engage with the community on Instagram, and I still don’t really know what SEO is (this is not a good post for my attempts to score internships in marketing is it). But I don’t really think that’s a problem anymore.

When I first started my blog it was my everything. Throughout summer 2018 my site really was my baby, and alongside my job in retail it was definitely my main hustle. I used to spend hours each day interacting with other bloggers on Twitter, and genuinely made some great friends from doing that. It kept me going through a tough period of being directionless in life and real intense loneliness, but for me that isn’t something I’m struggling with anymore.

I hate the rhetoric of “I don’t have time”. A philosophy I learned about from one of my favourite YouTubers and general online people, Ali Abdaal, is that you can never say you’re too busy for something – you’re just not making time for it. For example, if you spend say an hour a day scrolling through social media, you could probably channel that time into learning a new skill, meeting a friend for coffee or reading. But, people don’t want to do that, because memes are funny and dog videos are cute. Do you see the issue here?

Saying “I don’t have time” to write, promote and engage with my blog is, quite frankly, bullshit. I have lots of time in my day. I have around 11 hours of university classes a week, I don’t currently work during term-time, and aside from, y’know, eating and pooping, there’s not much else that is compulsory in life. However, in the last few months, I’ve chosen to fill my time with things that aren’t blogging. I’m training 5 times a week for a 10k in February (sponsor me here if you feel able!), I’m on the exec of a society, I’m a volunteer librarian, I take part in political campaigns for the Labour Party, I engage with LGBT+ things in Durham, I campaign in student politics, and yeah, sometimes I spend an hour watching vines instead of studying.  And to me, those things are worth my time. It’s not that blogging isn’t worth my time, it’s just that I enjoy those other things more right now, and I often feel like they benefit my community more.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love blogging. I love that it’s helped me find my writing style again after years of having written nothing. I love that it’s taught me valuable skills in publicity and using social media for good which take pride of place on my CV. I love that I’ve found a community full of lovely people who work ridiculously hard and who I will always be in awe of. However I also love watching my friends win elections I’ve campaigned for, I love the way I feel when I complete a hard run, and I love reading up on the oddly specific parts of my degree that I probably don’t really need to read about. It’s not that blogging isn’t fun anymore, it’s just that I’ve found other things that have ended up higher up in the priority ladder.

So, at the end of the day, I’m not mad about my view count being the lowest it’s ever been. I love reading comments from people that engage with my work sure, but it’s only one small aspect of my oddly varied life at the moment. I love that I’ve grown as a person and started doing new things; it’s not something I plan on going back on any time soon.

-Megan, listening to The Mountain Goats (which is a hobby that’s taking up a lot of space in my priorities right now, their music is fucking spiritual at times)

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Milano, Italy; The Ultimate Travel Guide

Hello lovely people,

Milano is considered the fashion capital of Europe to many, but I think it’s Italy’s best kept secret when it comes to backpacking. Situated in the Northern Lombardy region it is a vibrant and thriving city, with everything from urban neighbourhoods to Italy’s largest church. Whether it’s relaxing with an aperativo or taking a ride to the nearby Lake Como, Milano has something for everyone.

Quick Facts
Currency: Euro
Language: Italian (very few people speak English, which is great to see!)
Airports: 3 – Bergamo, Linate & Malpensa
Public Transport: Metro, buses & tram (€4.50/day)
Safety: 4/5, I travelled here alone and never felt at risk, except a few catcalls

Visit Duomo Cathedral
Duomo is far from underrated. The building is quite the feat to behold, with some beautiful white architecture. You can enter the cathedral and attached museum for €3.50, but I chose not to because whenever I looked the queues were always pretty long. I still loved sitting in the square and just taking in the architecture instead (because we all know I love a nice building).

Walk around Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Now, you can probably tell by the way I dress myself that I know virtually nothing about fashion, so it might seem unusual for me to reccomend the main high fashion shopping mall. However, to bang on about architecture again, it’s a stunning building. I adored the glass roof and intricate wall design, so just walking around was definitely worthwhile. I’d also reccomend going to the nearby streets for cheaper shopping, you’ll find the awesome European brands Bershka, Pimkie and Pull & Bear.

Explore Santa Maria Delle Grazie
I love me a good church, always necessary to pray the gay away (too spicy?). This one is much smaller than Duomo (obviously), so I was able to visit the quieter interior and grounds easily. Inside there were lots of different Catholic shrines and art, which I actually found really interesting.

 

Eat & walk in Semipone Park
This is a fantastic place to eat a picnic lunch and watch as people cycle through the park (why do Europeans cycle so much?). After eating my lunch I wandered a little and it was really lovely to be back in a green space after the bustle of Duomo.

Discover Isola’s street art & the Bosque Verticale
Isola was one of my favourite districts. It’s a working class area with a huge community feel that has progressively been gentrified with the introduction of industry. The Bosque Verticale is a pair of residential towers that appear to have trees growing out of them, and it’s so cool to see nature in the middle of an area dominated by skyscrapers. However, the real gem of Isola is the street art. There’s some truly stunning pieces that are best discovered by wandering, but if you’re short on time head to Porta Garibaldi station and see the way artists have made it their own.

Eat gelato at Artico Gelateria Tradizionale
Could you really go to Italy and not try out the ice-cream? Located in the heart of the Isola district, this gelateria is family-run and classically Italian. There’s lots of choice and the gelato is so tasty!

 

Visit Lake Como
Como is around an hour away by train, and definitely worth a day out. I want to write a full post on this truly stunning location, but for now I’ll just say DO IT.

Drink aperativo (tbh I’d go just for this)
The Italians have got this one right. At around 6pm bars and pubs begin to fill with people going for a post-work cocktail, but there’s an amazing catch. Buying a drink means that you’re entitled to a pre-dinner buffet! I don’t understand how this only happens in Northern Italy, because it’s fabulous. I paid anywhere from €2.50 – €6 for my aperativo depending on what drink I ordered and where I was. You cannot miss this one.

 

Head to the Navigli district to see the canals
Fair warning, this area has become a little overrun with tourist traps, but the canals were so worth it. I visited at sunset and loved seeing the sunlight reflect on the river, truly stunning. There are also a lot of small artists’ studios alongside the river to watch out for. This is considered a “good” location for aperativo, but I found that the prices were ridiculously inflated in comparison to less touristy areas, so I’d say it’s one to avoid when you’re drinking.

Learn something new at the Museo Nazionale de Ciencia e Tecnologia
This was a really interesting museum, and absolutely huge. I specifically loved their exhibits on nutrition, the history of CERN and television. As a pansy humanities student science is usually quite foreign to me, but this place was very accessible for those of us who aren’t scientifically minded. Furthermore it was housed in a great building, and I loved the way the exhibits were laid out. Definitely one to remember your student card for, as the entrance fee goes from €10 to €7.50 when you present one.

 

So it’s safe to say that I absolutely loved my trip to Milano. It was the perfect balance of relaxing and adventure before university begins again, and I would really reccomend it. Aperativo has absolutely ruined me though, when is the UK going to wake up to that one?

Have you ever visited Milano or Italy? Where should I go next?

-Megan, listening to Radio X and writing with my housemate BECAUSE I HAVE HOUSEMATES NOW AND IT’S EXCITING