Taking a Few Leaps

Meeting someone new often takes a leap of faith; Will they like me? Will I like them? Will we find enough in common, so there aren’t long stretches of uncomfortable silence? Because I am a bit of an introvert, small talk doesn’t come easy to me. I’m much better one-on-one than I am in large groups, but one-on-one means that I have to carry an equal load of the conversation.

Over the six plus years that I’ve been blogging, I have met eight fellow bloggers in real life. Prior to each initial get together, I wondered how the meeting would go. Every time, I took the leap of faith, and I have been please that I did. What I’ve learned about meeting each of these bloggers is that it feels more like catching up with an old friend than meeting someone new.

When I learned that Tracey Stubbs, whose blog, Artistic Pension, I follow, was going to be visiting my city, I leaped at the chance to get together. After some schedule coordination, we managed to arrange a coffee date earlier this afternoon. Just like my other blogger meet-ups, the conversation was comfortable and easy. She is just as nice in person as she is on her blog.

Photo taken by Tracey’s new husband, Mark.

Tracey and I both have been a bit off our blogs lately. Travel, Tracey’s new marriage and a possible relocation, an illness (mine: bad cold, nothing serious), and life in general has taken precedence. We agreed that our blogs are important to us and we missed posting. Yes, we enjoy writing and sharing our stories but, most of all, we love how our blogs link us with others. Writing makes us happy; the connections bring us joy.

Today, Leap Day, seems like the perfect opportunity for me to jump into writing again. Time to finish the posts that are half-completed and come up with new ideas for others. It’s time to leap back in.

Author: Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

99 thoughts on “Taking a Few Leaps”

  1. Hooray!!! I am so happy to read this post from you, Janis. I’ve missed your writing. And a get-together with Tracey — well, that’s just double-happiness! I’m glad that you are ready to leap into writing again. I look forward to reading!

  2. I agree with your blogging sentiments Janis, as I too find blogging fun, a creative outlet and an opportunity to “know” a variety of people. Hopefully, I will meet up with more bloggers as time goes on. In the meantime, many of you are penpals. Hopefully you are nearly over your cold. Lovely post and to be introduced to another blogger[Tracey] you follow.

      1. Yes, it would be fun to meet-up 😊 The flu/cold is not pleasant! I’m not looking forward to our winter season.

  3. I liked the way you said writing makes us happy and connections bring us joy. How true that is!

    I’ve met five blogging friends near where John and I were traveling. John thought he would feel like a tag-along, but the first four meet-ups were couples. He was surprised that all four of us hit it off. That made him eager to meet the next ones. The last visit was with a single person, but I had talked so much about her that John felt he already knew her. We jumped right into conversation.

    1. My husband and I have found that to be the case also; whether we meet a couple or just the single blogger, we both enjoy the experience. Isn’t it nice how we, as bloggers, have developed contacts all over the world? Traveling can provide a great opportunity to connect with them in person.

      1. That’s great that you both enjoy meeting bloggers. I was happy to have had one pen pal for a year in grade school. The worldwide scope is mind-boggling.

  4. Hi Janis! Yes isn’t it fun to meet other bloggers that we have met through our writing? And like you said, if they are bloggers you follow, and who follow you, that are actually good friends and there is plenty to talk about. I too consider those kind of get-together to be a true gift. One of the highlights has been getting together with you and Donna three times during the last three years. I also fondly remember the Mid-life blogger conference I went to about 4 years ago and met many of other bloggers. It can be quite solitary to sit and write in our own little world so it is wonderful to spend time together. And YES! Yay to you jumping back in…I look forward to your “take” on retirement and life in the days ahead. ~Kathy

    1. I am so grateful for the people I’ve met through my blog. Not only are they (you very much included) wonderful people, but I’ve been introduced to so many different lifestyles and ways of thinking. My life is richer because of my blog. I am really looking forward to our next meet-up!

  5. Speaking as another introvert, blogging allows me to get out and mingle without actually having to talk to people. That will sound horrifying to an extrovert, but other introverts will nod their heads in understanding. For me, blogging is a perfect way to form new social connections and friendships. By the time I would actually meet anyone, we’re past the small talk stage that is so excruciatingly painful. Although I haven’t yet been fortunate enough to meet any of the other bloggers with whom I’ve formed relationships (like you, Janis!), I do believe it will be more like stepping into a favorite, old pair of hiking boots than trying to get used to a new pair of sky high heels. So glad you’ve decided to make the leap!

    1. Haha: “…get out and mingle without actually having to talk to people.” So funny… and true! Meeting people through our blogs first really does pave the way and makes the IRL connection easier. I’d much rather pull on a pair of well-worn hiking boots than balance awkwardly in a pair of sky high heels.

  6. It’s funny how life tends to get in the way of other plans 😉
    Happy to see you back, and nice to see Tracey too. I think the friends we make blogging are extra special.

      1. Really?! That’s awesome! ❤️

        We rarely know how the ripple of our words and actions affect the people behind us. Even the most casual intersections with strangers can affect their day.

        We have great power at our disposal and most of us have no idea how to use it.
        Thanks Janis – you just made my day ❤️

  7. Janis, I love your take on ‘Leap Day’…as a “time to leap back in”.
    As always, I am a bit envious of your tally of blogger-buddies met…and I know, I was a ‘coulda’ but ended up sick in the hotel room – life’s like that, eh?
    Glad you’re on the mend, but take extra care to not rush recovery, especially as we’re entering the dawn of ‘new infectious bugs’ out there. (speaking a bit veiled on purpose so as not to incite panic…ya know?)
    Happy to hear you’re back in the game!

    1. It would have been great if we could have gotten together, but I certainly understand not feeling up to it. Getting that cold really reinforced the necessity of diligent hand washing and the need to not only protect ourselves (from getting sick) but others (from getting what we have). I think going forward these measures will become even more important. It’s so good to be back to 100%!

  8. I have never been disappointed in meeting a blogging friend. Unlike the dating apps, bloggers don’t feel the need to be something they are not so every time I met someone, they were exactly what their blog projected.

    1. I think it would be difficult to pretend to be someone else over a long period of time on a blog. Although we probably don’t share “everything” (thank goodness), I think what we do share paints a pretty clear picture of our individual personalities.

  9. A great post, Janis, and I like how you linked it with Leap Day! I was definitely a bit nervous when I first met Donna, yet curious, too. She is very kind and easy to talk to as you well know, Janis. I had only been blogging less than a year. She broke the ice and invited me to the Summer meetup where I had the pleasure of meeting you, Janis, and the other ladies.

    I also understand how life can take precedence. And yes, about Writing and the Connections. I look forward to reading your words, seeing your images and your perspective! If another opportunity presents itself, I will Leap at the chance to meet up again. I am going over to visit Tracey’s blog. xx

    1. We all had such a great time at our summer meet-up, didn’t we? I loved the easy connections but also the diverse personalities and opinions. It would be great to gather everyone together again. I know that you understand all about life taking precedence with your new grandbaby!

      1. I would jump at the opportunity and make it happen. Everyone was very kind and inclusive and made me feel very welcome. I also learned a great deal. Have a great week, Janis, and I look forward to more reading and connecting!

  10. Hi Janis, So true that meeting someone new often takes a leap of faith. I’m glad you had another fun blogger get-together and jumped into writing again. Last year I stepped outside of my comfort zone and met five bloggers on different occasions. The conversations were easy and fun. I’m hoping to meet a few more bloggers this year. I plan to be in Orange County at the end of May. If you’re available, please let me know. I’m off to visit Tracey’s blog.

  11. Well, judging by the long list of comments, you have been missed, and I know I’m excited to see your post! Happily, I’m one of those fellow bloggers who’ve met you in person, Janis. I’m looking forward to more posts and more of your photos!

  12. How fun! Glad to see you back, Janis. I have met a couple of people I connected with on a Weight Watcher board and it was nice being able to really put faces to names.

    1. I guess anytime you have something in common that is a big part of your lives (blogging, Weight Watchers, maybe an organization you belong to) you have a natural affinity with the other person. It is nice to meet someone IRL who you’ve only “met” virtually.

  13. How awesome! I, too, have been floundering with my blog lately. First time this has happened in over 10 years. I have only met one blogger friend and his family. Alas, he no longer blogs. It was a great experience. I will be embarking on a cross-country road trip this summer and I’ve toyed with the idea of reaching out to blogger friends along the way. But like you, I’m an introvert and battle that awful fear of meeting new people. It’s silly, but…it’s always there, like a hidden trap waiting to derail me. Kudos for you for leaping over the trap.

    1. Oh, I think that you should definitely reach out to other bloggers along the path of your road trip! I don’t think you’ll be sorry at all. If you’ve been following their blog for a while (and they yours) I predict that you’ll feel comfortable with them almost instantly.

      Sorry to hear that you are floundering a bit. It’s probably because your book has been published (yay!) and you need a little breather. I hope you take us along on your cross-country road trip (especially if you meet other bloggers!).

      1. Quite perceptive of you Janis. Yes…the book….yes, still so many details that need my attention that aren’t at all fun to deal with.

        I haven’t quite figured out what I’ll do while I’m on the road. For security reasons, I sort of hate to go public with my whereabouts when I’m not at home. I’ll think on it.

  14. Glad to hear you are getting back into the swing and over your cold. I’m losing count, but I think I’ve met 8 bloggers too, all successful meet-ups and six of them sustained relationships to this day. However, one has now disappeared from blogging and another’s blog has morphed into something much more “professional” and we don’t really connect any more. That happens in all personal relationships I suppose, whether online or not. Friendships ebb and flow.

    1. I’m not surprised that you’ve met so many bloggers IRL. The pictures you post of your area are so beautiful I imagine you’ve encourage a lot of people to travel there. I’d love to go hiking with you and John! Good point about friendships that begin online being similar to more conventional ones. They are bound to change over time.

  15. What a great way to celebrate Leap Day. How fun that you got the chance to meet up. I often think the relationships that you form online are often more authentic than the ones you have in real life. Sometime I hope that I meet in real life someone I’ve met via blogging– and have a good long chat.

      1. Janis, oh wouldn’t that be a hoot! I’d close the curtains immediately, of course– then invite y’all in for a drink.

  16. What a fun way to leap back into your blog! I haven’t met any fellow bloggers yet, but who knows… I have met some distant cousins I’ve connected with through Ancestry.com, and they meetings have always been great, despite any initial awkwardness.

    1. I think that whole ancestry journey is so interesting! I haven’t done it (yet) but that idea of finding distant relatives intrigues me (especially since I have a pretty small family). I hope you are able to arrange a few blogger meet-ups too!

  17. My few meet-ups with other bloggers have been great also! One was such a leap of faith that I wrote a whole post with just that name (which I remember you read back then)! I was all set to meet two more in February in Southeast Asia, but that got messed up by this annoying coronavirus … anyway, glad your latest meeting was fun, and don’t sweat the time away from the blog! Real life has its merits too! 🙂

    1. I’m sorry your visit was impacted by the virus. I’m afraid that may be the wave of the foreseeable future. Fortunately, we don’t currently have major travel plans but a semi-local trip probably will have to be cancelled. Real life does have its merits 🙂 It’s just hard to be away from my blog for a while, then it can be difficult to jump back in. It’s good to be back!

  18. How nice Janis – I have never met any fellow bloggers but two people whom I both follow and also follow me, recently connected in New Haven, Connecticut where Susie is studying here in the U.S. for one year. Anne and John Mehrling visited and they had dinner and spent the evening together. Because we have gotten to know people through their blogs, it is like a continuation of that easy interaction, much like discovering a long-lost friend on Facebook that you’ve not seen in decades and you are able to pick up the “conversation” and the years just fall away.

    1. Hi Linda! I imagine that you’ll meet a fellow blogger – or bloggers – one of these days. I’ve met a few in my travels and a few when they visited my area. All meet-ups have been a real pleasure. I know I look forward to meeting more bloggers along the way.

      1. Hi Janis – I hope to meet up with other bloggers as well and it will probably be if I am visiting at someone else’s locale, as the Detroit area is not a big draw (much as the Mayor of Detroit likes to think it is). I feel like I’ve known some bloggers for a much longer time than it’s actually been.

          1. I know that’s true Janis. As to me, I don’t have a significant other, but a good friend of mine, who is not a blogger made a comment “isn’t blogging tedious doing the same thing all the time?” I was annoyed and said that you really had to be a part of the experience to “get it” … not very nice I suppose, but even I have been stepping away a little more from blogging as I’ve been spending about 10-12 hours a day online which is too much sitting, which is not good. I work from home, so I am not moving around as much as I did when I worked on site (before getting laid off, then rehired again when I began working from home). But yes, others do not understand the blogging experience.

  19. Like you, I have been so fortunate to meet a few fellow bloggers and it has been so wonderful experience.

    I too, have been quite absent from my blog these days, life just seems to be very busy! I do hope to get back to writing as I miss it! Hopefully I will still have some people left who are interested in reading!😂

    So lovely to see you back Janis💕

    1. Your absence has been noticed! Rest assured, we all will be out here whenever you decide to post again. I try not to let it go too long between posts because it can be hard to start again. Meeting Tracey seemed like the perfect reason to start writing again. I hope all is well and that your busy life is full of fun and interesting things to do.

  20. I’ve never had the pleasure to meet another blogger, but look forward to it. I look forward to reading your posts in the future. What a great picture the two of you made. so happy looking!

  21. Wow Janis! Look at all those comments. You’ve been missed! Thanks so much for suggesting the meet-up. The time flew by! I really could have stayed talking much longer! You are very clever to associate your leap of faith with February 29th. Blog well done! Tracey

  22. Weird. I tried to “like” your post, but it wouldn’t let me. Poor me. I’m having a bad tech day.

    Sent from my iPhone


  23. It’s always a good decision to meet like minded peeps face to face. The physical contact is binding.

  24. Janis interesting the timing of your post … for me. This past week we met two different bloggers, both of whom have been reading our blog and vice versa, for the past 3-5 years! Both of them were visiting Hoi An (Viet Nam), our home base this week and we arranged to meet. In both cases it was absolutely delightful. Strange how easy it was and how much they felt like old friends even though we had obviously never met before. We took the one couple street food hopping and it was so much fun. They were so open to trying new things and so enjoyed the personal food tour. It actually seems to be a great way of making new friends…..!


    1. What a wonderful week… meet-ups with two bloggers! I bet the couple was thrilled to have you take them on a personal tour of the food vendors. That’s an experience not many travelers get to have. And, I bet you appreciated the visit and the easy conversations. Sounds like win-win-win-win for everyone!

  25. That’s so nice that you got to meet Tracey in person and that you enjoyed each other’s company. Like you, I am somewhat introverted and get a little nervous meeting someone new one-on-one. I’ve yet to have the pleasure of meeting any fellow bloggers in person, but I definitely want to do that. When I retire, we want to travel more, and if we find ourselves in your neighborhood, I’d love to grab a cup of coffee with you! Welcome back to blogging. I hope you are having a lovely week!

  26. I have only been blogging for 2 years and in that time I have met 2 bloggers in person, both at races. One meeting was accidental – at the Marine Corps Marathon, where there are tens of thousands of runners, I recognized another blogger whose blog I follow right after the finish line. We spoke briefly, but we were cold, tired, and our brains were oxygen-deprived. We both just wanted to change into warm clothes and SIT DOWN.

    So glad your leap of faith went well and that it inspired a post! 🙂

  27. Happy Leap Day, Janis! I have been off my blogging game for awhile too. We have been going non-stop down here in South America, but finally have some time to try to catch up with some of my favorite blogger friends. I have really missed our regular correspondence. Maybe, one of these days, I might even get a blog post out the door?

    1. Hi Joe! I miss your regular travel updates but I also know it can be hard to post regularly when you’re on the road. I do see you on Instagram (when I get on it, which is rare) so at least I know that you are having a great time. Of course, the travel experience is first and foremost… but if you get a chance to post now and then, it would be great! I love seeing places I’ve never been – but hope to go – through your eyes.

      1. Thanks for your kind words, my friend. Instagram is a much easier way to keep friends and family posted on my whereabouts, but I miss the writing and have a few ideas that I think might be interesting.

  28. What a wonderful meet-up, Janis! And, welcome back. Also, happy belated leap day. I’m a bit late, as you can tell, but hope to slowly catch up on my blog reading and commenting, starting this weekend! By the amount of comments it sure looks like people missed you and are there to (re)connect. Yep – a great perk of blogging!

    1. Hi Liesbet! I am glad that you roamed about in our part of the country a while ago so we could have several meet-ups. I bet it can be a challenged to keep up with blogs when you are on the move like you are, so I am happy to have you visit my blog whenever you can.

  29. Hi Janis. I had a bit of a gap in my blogging recently too, but I’m back and trying to catch up on blog reading. I’m so glad you’re back to blogging. Of course, it was wonderful to meet you in person last summer, and more recently to see you again through online conferencing. We introverts can find ways to make it work.


    1. Blogging feels “normal” so I’m trying to keep it up. I like being able to keep in touch… whether in person (from a safe distance 🙂 ), via writing, or using video conferencing. Even introverts need human contact now and then. 🙂

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