To reading blogs.  Probably the main reason why I decided to hop over to wordpress and start blabbing on.  I have a very long list of bookmarked blogs, plus a number of blogs not on that list that I visit on a regular basis.  To be honest, I could spend the whole day reading some of the most amazing stories and tips and ideas out there.

It really started when I tried to get my financial life in order last fall.  Shortly after graduating from university, I realized that I was working a lot (I had a full-time and a time job at the time) and rarely had anything to show for all of my hours at the end of the month. I had no idea how to put together a budget, or if it would even be useful for me. My central reason for wanting to get on track was so that I could save up to travel and pursue my interests.  I felt like I was on a treadmill, working to pay my bills and treat myself every now and then (or perhaps a little more often than that), but never actually getting anywhere.

So, I started researching money tips and frugality (my parents would laugh at the thought of me being frugal) and sites like the Simple Dollar, Get Rich Slowly and Zen Habits among many others, gave me the basic tools to getting everything on track, starting with finding a track.  I started noting my spending, put together a basic budget, and read a few recommended personal finance books. I was able to save up a few thousand dollars in a few months, and promptly went on a trip to Africa and to Coachella. Now, traveling and spending a chunk of your savings right off the bat probably looks foolish, but it was definitely worth it. More importantly, I now knew that I had the ability to save and go on an amazing trip without going into debt.  Since I’ve been back, I’ve ditched the part-time job, and continued to save on a less intense level in order to spend most of 2010 and 2011 abroad.

Starting from personal finance blogs, I now see how incredibly huge the blogosphere is.  For any interest or passion, there is someone writing about it, posting inspiringly creative photos and/or building a community for world domination.  I think the main part of my attraction is the personal level from which so many great bloggers write from.  You truly get to know other people, how they got through something, how they made changes in their lives or, in the case of blogs like dooce, how to find humor in everyday life (featuring lots of poop talk and pictures of babies) and in difficult situations.  I think that it’s also easier for me to connect with what bloggers are saying rather than magazine writers.  I love me my glossy magazines, but the stories are somehow different because they so often come someone who’s been there, rather than just researched it.  I can read anyone’s ideas and opinions that I come across and find interesting, rather than it being filtered by some editor or publisher.  And, I don’t have to pay to read blogs.

In short, thank you to all of bloggers who write ridiculously amazing posts and take home 10x the income I do. You’ve been an inspiring force of change in this young life.