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Year in Review: 2013

Collage2013
At the end of the year, people throughout the world focus on introspection. Some years are better than others, but the most important thing to me is to always grow as a human being. Sometimes growth comes from joyful experiences and relationships. Other times heartbreak or sorrow. Bad experiences and personal mistakes often create the greatest lessons, and the bravest of souls are those who can look in the mirror or inward, recognize personal faults and try to fix them. Every year, waves of emotion build and crash and life remains fluid, constantly moving and shifting in both good and bad ways. In 2013, life was mostly good and on the travel front exceptional! I never imagined at the end of 2012 that I would visit Russia twice in 2013. Many other new countries were added to the list, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Belarus. I discovered several new States in my own country, including wondrous Wyoming. My solo journey through the Jackson Hole area of this State was one of the best and most memorable of the year, rescuing me from a very dark emotional place mid-summer.

When I wrote my summary of 2012, I had only 12 subscribers on LiveJournal. Now I have 1,300. I'm still amazed that Russians care about the musings of an average American woman, but I'm happy to have so many new readers in 2013. Special thanks to my original supporter Alexander Belenkiy and new advocates inoblogs and ru_learnenglish, all of which continue to promote my blog and make people aware of my content. Let's take a look at my most popular stories of the year. I bet you can guess which post came in first place!

1. American In Russia: General Observations

The story that "blew up the Russian Internet," as one reader told me. It also brought over 600 subscribers to my blog and remains the most commented on post in my blog's short history.

russia1

2. Aeroflot and the Missing Vibrator

This post taught me an interesting blogging lesson - that reader interest and response almost never correlate with the time and effort invested by the author in creating a post. I wrote this post in less than one hour and it generated over 200 comments. Why? The mere mention of a vibrator! I never expected such a reaction from readers, nor did I realize that Russians still consider public discussion of such topics taboo - especially from a woman.

aeroflot

3, Bizarre Russian Foods

Again, this post took little effort but received a lot of attention on my own blog and others who republished it, including the new project inoblogs where it received over 650 comments and made it to Top LJ. Very amusing comments on the translated version. Take a look at this new community focused on translating interesting content from non-Cyrillic bloggers.

food

4. Russian Men vs. American Men

This post was fun to write and discuss with readers. Perhaps you notice a common theme in my top posts of the year? Readers like when I write about Russia and sex. Russia I'll continue to write about, but sex, men and relationships will never be the primary focus of my blog. Sorry to disappoint, but LiveJournal is already full of female bloggers writing on these issues. Take a look at Top LJ and almost every day you will see posts from miss_tramell and morena_morana there. These women are completely consumed with superficial discussions about women's bodies, the dreaded fate of older women, pleasing men, etc. Yes, I think about these issues the same as all women but not obsessively and I don't wish to focus my energy on such discussions with readers. However, I did visit and photograph an American sex shop due to reader curiosity and will write about it early in the new year.

hotrussian

Which of my stories did you like best during the year?

Here are a few of my favorite photos from 2013. The first was taken in my hometown area of Washington, DC. The second in an abandoned field in Wyoming.

favoritephotos

I know that in Russia the main holiday celebration comes this week, and I wish all readers a festive celebration! I'll leave you with the following inspirational quote from American author Mark Twain:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

We sometimes become so consumed with the mundane tasks of adult life that we forget to truly live. Explore...dream...discover...I hope each of you makes time to do so in 2014.

I have no doubt that many new adventures await me in the new year. I already know of one, and will announce the details soon. Stay tuned...

Happy New Year to all!

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Comments

( 112 comments — Leave a comment )
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yarowind
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:20 am (UTC)
Happy New Year, Shannon!:)
peacetraveler22
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks, same to you! I hope you and your family have a nice holiday celebration.
(no subject) - yarowind - Dec. 30th, 2013 04:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
koka_lermont
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:22 am (UTC)
Примите мои поздравления с Новым годом из России.
peacetraveler22
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:26 pm (UTC)
Спасибо, тебе тоже!
fesma94
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:35 am (UTC)
Happy New Year, dear Shannon! )

" I did visit and photograph an American sex shop due to reader curiosity and will write about it early in the new year." (c)
So...I wait , you know for what )))))))))))))))
peacetraveler22
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:27 pm (UTC)
Maybe you will finally see boobs, but not mine! :))
sirottka
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:49 am (UTC)
Happy New Year!)
peacetraveler22
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And you wrote in English. :)
general_denikin
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:53 am (UTC)
I subscribed to your journal after macos reposted your post American in Russia. But I still am not your zhe zhe friend yet. It is great Russians can read the musings american woman regarding their own country. Many russian bloggers believe Americans are stupid people and you've been proving it ain't so.
I hid both tramell and morena in my blog, because they post a nonsense. Hopefully you understand not all russian women so stupid, filthy, debached and wanton.
peacetraveler22
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:29 pm (UTC)
Why do Russians believe Americans are so stupid? This is probably one of the worst stereotypes about my fellow citizens. All over the world people are using American inventions, watching our television shows and movies, etc. Of course, there are many stupid people here as in all countries but I would not say they are the majority. Have a nice holiday!
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Dec. 30th, 2013 07:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Dec. 30th, 2013 08:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - general_denikin - Dec. 31st, 2013 05:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - general_denikin - Dec. 31st, 2013 03:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Dec. 31st, 2013 03:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - general_denikin - Dec. 31st, 2013 06:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Да ты весельчак - andrey_kaminsky - Jan. 2nd, 2014 07:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Да ты весельчак - general_denikin - Jan. 2nd, 2014 07:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Да ты весельчак - andrey_kaminsky - Jan. 3rd, 2014 11:25 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Да ты весельчак - general_denikin - Jan. 3rd, 2014 12:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Да ты весельчак - andrey_kaminsky - Jan. 3rd, 2014 12:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Да ты весельчак - general_denikin - Jan. 3rd, 2014 12:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Да ты весельчак - andrey_kaminsky - Jan. 3rd, 2014 01:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Да ты весельчак - general_denikin - Jan. 3rd, 2014 01:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Да ты весельчак - andrey_kaminsky - Jan. 3rd, 2014 05:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Да ты весельчак - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 3rd, 2014 02:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Да ты весельчак - andrey_kaminsky - Jan. 3rd, 2014 05:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Да ты весельчак - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 3rd, 2014 05:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Да ты весельчак - andrey_kaminsky - Jan. 3rd, 2014 07:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Да ты весельчак - andrey_kaminsky - Jan. 3rd, 2014 12:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nagolny - Jan. 4th, 2014 04:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 4th, 2014 02:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
chanceux_n
Dec. 30th, 2013 04:15 am (UTC)
good idea: a collage of photos for the entire year.
very visual!
I also need to do so sometime...
thanks for the good idea..
and .. I wish you for new experiences and positive emotions in the new year ;)
peacetraveler22
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the well wishes! My collage is too big, but I couldn't pick which photos to eliminate. I love them all and there are positive emotions and memories associated with each frame.
onkel_hans
Dec. 30th, 2013 04:42 am (UTC)
In 1980s Aeroflot was nicknamed the Flying GULAG. I did not fly in ever since. Do they still fly carrying the Communist swastika? The display of this bloody symbol has been banned in quite a few countries!

Have a happy new year for yourself.
peacetraveler22
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:31 pm (UTC)
Communist swastika? :) No, I didn't see it. The airline was nice and comfortable. I was surprised. Best wishes for the New Year! Maybe I'll finally make it back to Boston in 2014.
(no subject) - onkel_hans - Dec. 30th, 2013 03:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Dec. 30th, 2013 03:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Year's End - onkel_hans - Dec. 30th, 2013 04:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Year's End - peacetraveler22 - Dec. 30th, 2013 04:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Year's End - onkel_hans - Dec. 30th, 2013 04:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Year's End - peacetraveler22 - Dec. 30th, 2013 06:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Year's End - qi_tronic - Dec. 30th, 2013 08:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Year's End - onkel_hans - Dec. 31st, 2013 12:14 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Year's End - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 3rd, 2014 05:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Year's End - onkel_hans - Jan. 3rd, 2014 06:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Year's End - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 3rd, 2014 06:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Year's End - onkel_hans - Jan. 3rd, 2014 08:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - onkel_hans - Dec. 30th, 2013 04:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
sergechel
Dec. 30th, 2013 04:50 am (UTC)
Happy new year, keep exploring the world )
peacetraveler22
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:32 pm (UTC)
Yes, so many places to explore yet so little time and freedom with work obligations. Happy New Year to you also!
mybathroom
Dec. 30th, 2013 05:30 am (UTC)
Shannon, I liked all your posts! Happy New Year!
peacetraveler22
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Denis. Have a nice celebration with your family. I'm sure it's fun with your young son, as children are always excited about such events.
(no subject) - mybathroom - Dec. 30th, 2013 05:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
andrey_kaminsky
Dec. 30th, 2013 05:56 am (UTC)
большое видно издалека
When he was gone, i felt how it is sad to live without him. It's amazing, but true. I thought this
patrial is annoying me by generating whiny, useless messages. But he came back and I feel joy. Now I realize that the image of a baby who lost his mother in the crowd and issuing plaintive cries is incredibly creative. He continuously delivers food for thought. He came back and I'm glad. You know how much is my desire (or animal lust) to become the third Inamora's
paramour, but i'm not going to talk about her. You still have time to crown the reader of the year. The reader of the year should be Pasha1980.
peacetraveler22
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:34 pm (UTC)
Re: большое видно издалека
Why should Pasha1980 be reader of the year? I never thought about such a contest, but it's impossible to pick a winner. I have a really loyal, attentive and intelligent audience.
(Deleted comment)
peacetraveler22
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your support and interesting project!
nar_row
Dec. 30th, 2013 06:54 am (UTC)
Happy New Year, Shannon. :)
peacetraveler22
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks, same to you! How will you celebrate? Will you eat Olivier salad and tangerines? :)
(no subject) - nar_row - Dec. 31st, 2013 07:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Dec. 31st, 2013 12:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nar_row - Dec. 31st, 2013 01:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
rollson
Dec. 30th, 2013 07:29 am (UTC)
time to exchange popularity of your blog to a money!

all the best in 2014!!
peacetraveler22
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, it would be great to make money from my blog but there are two problems. First, I don't understand all the ratings/statistical components of LiveJournal. Second, I need a larger audience. :) Happy New Year to you!
pasha1980
Dec. 30th, 2013 09:07 am (UTC)
Happy New Year!
pasha1980
Dec. 30th, 2013 09:08 am (UTC)
And Happy Now Here! :)
peacetraveler22
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks, same to you! How will you celebrate in Belarus?
(no subject) - pasha1980 - Jan. 14th, 2014 07:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 14th, 2014 07:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
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