Why ‘Toothbrush Travels’?

If you’re reading this and you write a blog then you already know that naming a blog is bladdy difficult…

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But if you’re reading this as somebody who doesn’t blog, then I’m going to tell you this:
Naming a blog is harder than naming a baby.
I know, I know, bold claim.

The thing is, when you name one of those cute-but-screamy mini-human things, you have a lot of tools to help you decide and it doesn’t matter if that name has been used before because chances are your surname will ensure that the mini human’s full name will differ to everybody else’s. But when you name a website it needs to be completely unique. Not just because you can’t have two of the same domain names, or because Google won’t love you if your site name is too similar to somebody else’s, but because you want something that really shows who you are. You want something that’s unique to you and your tone of voice, so today I thought I’d tell you about how Toothbrush Travels came to be.

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I’d been a blog reader for years before I took the plunge and started my own.
I’d adored writing for as long as I can remember, but when you read through the big blogs which are out there you get plagued with self-doubt. You wonder what makes your story so special, why people would want to read about your life when you’re essentially an 80 year old grandma in a twenty-somethings body.
But then S and I decided to move to Thailand and I realised that I wanted to remember it.

I didn’t want to remember our experience through rose-coloured glasses and think that every day was amazing (I mean mainly it was, but there were some tough times too). I wanted to remember the good and the bad. I wanted to remember the way that S bribed me into moving countries with half a suitcase so that he had enough room to take his xbox. I wanted to remember that I didn’t feel nervous about moving, I felt like pieces of my future were clicking into place. I wanted to remember that saying goodbye is never easy and you never quite get over people promising to come and visit you then never turning up. I wanted to remember it all, and I knew that the only way I would remember it all – is if I stopped the “What If I’m Shit At This” attitude and actually wrote about it all.

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So I signed up to a free blogger account and I started tapping away. Most of my posts went unpublished because it’s scary baring your soul on the internet, but I began writing regular lifestyle posts as a way to update friends and family. My posts became more regular and I found myself excited to go back to our condo, connect to our intermittent wifi and write about the places I had been, the things I had experienced and the weird and wonderful things that I had eaten. But my blog didn’t quite feel like home. I mean they were my words, but being on Blogger felt a lot like renting a house. You know that it feels like yours, but the reality is that it isn’t. So when S asked me what I wanted for my 23rd birthday I knew what I wanted. A self-hosted platform.

Only at the time I didn’t know what it was called. I mean I literally had NO idea on how to do anything blog related. Luckily I only worked about 4 hours a day and spent the other two eating way too much street food, so time was on my side for research. I grabbed a pen and paper and started doodling designs for what I wanted to my blog to look like, scribbling notes in different colours as I went and then I sent my images to a group called DSBKK (Desperately Seeking Bangkok – a community group of expats and locals who help answer one another’s questions). I’m pretty sure my post read something along the lines of “I’m looking to find someone who can decode my squiggles, make sense of them, and code them into a site for me, if this is you get in touch.” I mean it probably didn’t say exactly that because I have a memory like a fish and this was three years ago, but pretty soon my email was pinging left right and centre. Turns out there are a LOT of web designers in Bangkok!

I eventually decided on a chap called James, who runs Pixel Fox Design. He decoded my squiggles, understood my questions and together we turned my blog into what you see here today (he’s seriously amazing and I still use him for all of my web projects!). It took a little back and fourth because it turns out I’m a tad specific when it comes to sizing, layout and spacing, but soon enough the design was ready – there was just one problem… I had no idea what to name my blog. I think I spent about two weeks reading posts on how to choose a name, looking up blogs that I adored and brainstorming potential blog-name combinations, but it turns out that a LOT of names you like are already taken…

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The more I thought about what I should name my blog, the more pressure I put on myself and the further away I felt from ever creating one that I loved. Eventually it dawned on me that the sooner I chose a name, the sooner I would be able to launch my site and get on with the writing part, and so I thought about what I wanted my blog to be about. I knew I wanted to include the word travel, because whilst it’s a common phrase, it’s one that helps instantly identify the type of content you’ll see, but I wanted it to be different. There are already a thousand bloggers whom write about backpacking and write about it well, and whilst I do enjoy a good backpacking trip (what’s not to love about being able to carry your possessions on your back like a global snail?) I don’t believe that there is only one way to travel. I believe that there are numerous ways and I wanted a name to reflect that. After all you don’t have to sell everything, you don’t have to leave for extended periods of time and you don’t have to go around the world to be considered as someone whom enjoys travelling.
You don’t even necessarily need a passport.
I mean it definitely helps and all, and mine is pretty much my favourite material possession, but it’s not a requirement, and so it got me thinking of inclusive travel and I asked myself “what’s the one thing you always take with you regardless of where you travel to?” And then it hit me, and on the 3rd of May 2013 Toothbrush Travels was born!

So… Where in the world is your toothbrush currently resting?
Let me know in the comments!