New year, new Away is Home

Welcome to the new Away is Home. Again.

If you’ve been following our adventures — and misadventures — for the last six years, then you know this site changes with predictable regularity.

Call it continuous innovation. Call it throwing spaghetti at the ceiling to see what will stick. Either way, we’re always evolving, exploring, pushing the boundaries.

That’s how we creatives roll.

Away is Home started as a personal blog for our family travels, but it quickly morphed into a destination website. Then it switched into a discussion site about travel. Soon after, it took a little detour to become a site for women and travel (Really? Really.)

And now we’ve come full circle.

Today, Away is Home returns to its former self.

Today, it once again becomes our family’s site.

And that’s good news.

We’re not saying the other ideas were wrong, just that we’ve changed, and with each iteration we’ve discovered that there is a better way of doing things..

A fork in the road

When we started Away is Home, we wanted to find a new way of chronicling what we believe to be the future of telecommuting. Many of our friends had gone completely nomadic, which is to say they no longer owned permanent homes. They were always on the road.

We thought that simply writing about our family adventures, and the way we chose to be “nomadic,” would be enough. But as we started to write about our experiences, we felt like were were becoming like every other travel blog.

So … we changed.

We started by questioning the conventions of travel. What does it mean to travel? How do we travel? Who should travel? That got the comments started.

Then we added new voices to the mix: friends, travel blogging colleagues – even our own kids. And that seemed to dial up the excitement.

Still, we had more to say. Something was missing.

How big is your parachute?

We were writing about topics and, like so many of the other blogs we love to read, we only had a few paragraphs to capture readers attention before we could see a drop off. It was the way of things online. Readers wanted a quick fix, instant gratification — a discount code, a special offer, a salacious detail.

If they didn’t get it, they left.

Through our innovating, two things became apparent. First, this was and always would be our family travel site. Second, the travel blog format as we traditionally knew it would not allow us to tell the story in the way we wanted – no matter how many people we invited to participate.

We needed more than a few peppy paragraphs. Scratch that. We felt that our readers deserved more than a superficial few lines about a destination, the kind you would write after parachuting into a place for a few days.

But how? Good question.

Well, we weren’t the only people innovating.

More is more

About halfway through our adventure, Apple introduced a little thing called the iPad. Within a few years, we noticed that people were willing to spend more time on the sites, absorbing larger quantities information, making more thoughtful observations, and interacting with the authors on a deeper level instead of zipping off to the next deal site.

High-speed internet is now the norm and Wi-Fi hotspots have popped up everywhere — especially at places where we usually lose precious time, like in lobbies, coffee shops, libraries, parks, airports, on buses, planes and trains. Having unfettered access to high-speed wireless means followers can upload visually rich content almost anywhere, anytime.

Introducing the new Away is Home

So here’s what we want to do with the Away is Home. We want to bring our family’s voice back. We want to take our time with the stories. And we want you to hear from us – all of us.

A few years ago, that wouldn’t have been possible. Our youngest child couldn’t write and didn’t have the ability to share her pictures. Now, we have three full-fledged artists, writers and poets.

As a family, we also have the experience and patiences to share information about a place in a way that we never had before. I think you’re going to like it.

Practically speaking, here’s what you can expect from the site:

Our posting frequency will drop to about once a month, maybe a little bit more. We’d rather deliver one amazing story than 30 conventional ones.

Expect more from the stories. Longform journalism takes hard work, and we’re committed to making it work. When we delve into a subject, we’re going to take our time. We hope you’ll give us some of your time as well.

From now on, you’re also hear from all of us. Aren, 12, is an accomplished photographer; Iden, 9, is a budding young artist. And our daughter, Erysse, has already made her mark as a poet and multimedia artist.

We think you’re really going to want to bookmark the new Away is Home. We’re going to take you places we just can’t stop visiting and to destinations we love so much, we moved there. In these places, we have the added perspective of knowing the place over time and better than most travel writers.

Mostly, we’re going to bring you a destination narrative that’s not influenced by a single, parachute-in “fam” trip. Instead, we’ll be talking about our own experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly — that have been largely self-funded, and independently organized.

That kind of honesty may seem shocking, coming from a travel blog. But we think you’ll get used to it. You may even love it.

So strap yourself in, it’s going to be one helluva ride.