Last Friday we drove down to Melbourne for the Voices of 2013 blog awards night. I have to be honest here and tell you we were a bit anxious about attending the awards. Though we were thrilled to have made it to the top 5 finalists in our category and felt truly honoured to be included in such great company as the other nominees, at the end of the day we’re a pair of awkward little introverts and big, glitzy social events just aren’t really our scene. We were feeling pretty nervous and out of our element when we arrived at the event but, of course, everyone was so lovely and friendly. We got to meet lots of amazing bloggers, some of whom I’ve admired for years (like Pip, Kate, Kirsty and Rohan!) and to our absolute delight we won the award for our categeory. We were chuffed! Before we knew it, it was time to announce the major prize winner. It had honestly never occurred to me that there was a possibility we might win, but then they said it. House of Humble. And in that moment we had won a $15,000 trip to New York, a brand new Ford Focus or Territory to use for a year and a $6,000 writing contract with Kidspot! I was so surprised, I actually thought there had been some kind of mistake. I froze. We stumbled up onto the stage. I cried. Reubs looked shell-shocked. Four days on, we are still totally overwhelmed.
I’m sure that winning a $15,000 trip, a new car for a year and a writing contract would be pretty huge for most people, but for us it’s seriously life changing. We live a simple kind of life and in our quiet corner of the world stuff like this just doesn’t happen. We have always wanted to see the world but have never had the money to do so. Lacking the disposable income to travel now is actually the one thing I regret about the lifestyle we have chosen. We love our life and are perfectly happy living without a huge amount of money or lots of expensive things, but I couldn’t count the number of times I have thought “I do wish we had just enough money put aside to take a great trip…” $15,000 to spend on travel is an absolute dream come true. An almost incomprehensible dream come true.
The car is also a big deal for us as we are currently a one car household, which at times is pretty difficult, and the writing contract is great. Aside from what I share here I haven’t done nearly enough writing since we left Sydney (where I worked in communications and publishing) and I do miss it. I think this might be just the nudge I needed to put pen to paper again.
The funny thing about the timing of this award is that it came just as we’d been thinking a lot about blogging; why we blog, the blog world in general and what we want for this space. I love sharing our story here and whenever I post about something that has been weighing on my heart, I feel some of the burden lift. I love the sense of community that has formed in our comment section and inbox. I love that there are people all over the world and in all walks of life that are interested in our relatively unexceptional journey through life. But the line between real life and blog life is a funny, blurry thing. I’m accutely aware of how vulnerable making parts of our life public makes us. I’m aware that blogging is perceived as pretty narcissistic and I question why I feel the urge to share at all. At times Reuben and I have also struggled with how House of Humble fits in the increasingly commercialised blog world. We dabbled with running ads for other bloggers and indie businesses in our sidebar for a short time, but feeling obligated to post because we owed it to the businesses who supported us made us really uneasy, so we shut it down fairly quickly. These days we don’t worry about our blog stats or how many comments we get (though I freely admit, I used to). We do not worry about networking or SEO or growing. We don’t blog for sponsors or as a career (though I have nothing but respect for those who do), we do it simply because it brings us joy. To be recognised with an award just for doing something that makes us happy is wonderful, but also a bit strange! We don’t really feel deserving.
The last couple of months have been a real roller coaster for our little family. The lows have been terribly low but the highs have been so high. From the bottom of our hearts, we are so grateful for those highs! For this place, for you guys, for this amazing award and for the huge amount of goodness in our lives outside of blogland, especially our friends and family. We don’t take a bit of it for granted.
So thanks to you for reading. Thanks to the judges for seeing something of value here. Thanks to Kidspot and its sponsors. Thanks to those we know in “real life” who have encouraged us with this blogging caper. Thank you all so much. We wouldn’t be here, in the incredibly privileged position, without each and every one of you.