The Migration

Follow the Light.

It begins as a barely perceptible nudge. The restlessness seeps in. That all-too-familiar whisper creeps into my mind: time to move on, dear. Before the monster of inertia devours you.

Over nine years ago, I began Wish I Were Here to have a place to keep my memories of traveling the planet. I never expected anyone to read it, let alone so many. I have the WordPress editors – Cheri, Ben & Michelle – to thank for introducing me to the vast WordPress community via Freshly Pressed and Discover. Somewhere along the way, they disappeared, as have so many bloggers. Viv, Meg, Van, Doris, Sean, Smilecalm, Stormwise, Patti, and so many others. Patti passed away, but the others vanished without a farewell. Should I do the same, I wondered. I’ve done that more than once in real life. For better or worse. However, I’ve grown to truly care about my readers. You have been my companions, my witnesses, my “others”. More importantly, I can feel that you care about me. This means more to me than I can possibly express.

Nine years. I’ve never stayed in one place for so long, in real life or virtual life, since I left home at seventeen. There’s a fine line between comfort and stagnation. What was once unthinkable has become necessity.

Over the past few months, I’ve read through my archives, deciding which posts will accompany me to the next destination. I’m humbled by the evolution of my writing. Somewhere along the way, I reclaimed my true voice. 205 posts. Did I really experience all of these incredible adventures? How easy it is for memories, no matter how vibrant and intense, to be suffocated by the 9 to 5 world. I struggle, now, with keeping that incredible spark of inspiration alive.

My archives have been safely tucked away into beautiful hardcover books.

I read each comment. All 11,000 of them. About half were my replies. Some of the others were the vague, “great post” variety. However, I feel that most of the messages were sincere. The comments are not able to journey along with me, and it was not easy to let them go. How will it be known how much I was appreciated without comments and likes? But the person who truly needs to know this is myself. And I do. I never expected my words and images to inspire such heartfelt responses. The sharing of epiphanies and memories and gratitude. I finally understood my purpose as a writer and a human being.

As with every move I’ve undertaken in the past, there is risk. Will I be welcome in the new land? I’ve got over 16,000 subscribers here. Will I lose all of them? The reality is that most of them are lapsed bloggers, spammers, bots, or hoping for a follow back. I prefer to have five authentic readers than thousands of superficial numbers. I’m so done with shallow validation. Empty connections. Those who resonate with me will find me. And vice versa. More than ever, we need to find our true tribes. To do that, we must have the courage and integrity to venture into new frontiers. The more I release, the higher I ascend and the further I drift. Into the clouds and forward, softly.

The vast majority of my readers have not made their presence known beyond numbers on the stat counter. I’ve grown fond of the mystery. I’ve also begun to read, in silence, the blogs I follow. I’ve discovered that I enjoy it more. The private contemplation seems to make what I read/listen to/view more powerful.

Over the past year or so, I have felt this shift happening with other bloggers. Rebecca Budd of Tea, Toast, & Trivia recently told me that what I’m doing is simply the next step in the evolution of sharing one’s gifts. For some of us, it’s no longer necessary to know who we are reaching. The important thing is that we put our work out into the universe. Less ego, more heart and soul.

After much reflection, I’ve decided that Substack is the next destination. Their philosophy of valuing nonconformity and treating writers and readers as sovereign adults really resonates with me. They are pioneers of the evolution out of the “attention-based” social media model. And I love the idea of a newsletter – words and images that arrive into a person’s email inbox. It’s as close to a handwritten letter in your mailbox that I can get. There are no likes or comments, but readers are able to respond to the newsletter via email, if they wish. As I mentioned in my previous post, I feel the need to move into deeper realms of silence.

Substack is subscription-based rather than ad-based. In the near future, I will enable paid subscriptions. My writing will remain free for everyone, but those who would like to compensate me will be able to do so. This is way out of my comfort zone, as one of my core issues is accepting generosity. But I’m ready to at least open myself up to it.

Those who wish to continue to lurk have the option of visiting the website: JDRISO.SUBSTACK.COM. My domain,, will soon be moved there as well. You do not need to have a Substack account to sign up for the newsletter or to read my work on the website. Here’s the link to: Wish I Were Here on Substack. The link will take you directly to the subscribe form.

To those who prefer to part ways here, I thank you for your company over the years. Happiest of trails to you, fellow voyagers.

This will be my last post on WordPress, except for an announcement of my memoir publication. I will self-publish it in 2022.

The path ahead is as obscure as ever, and I will always prefer it this way. I no longer travel to distant lands, but the discoveries are no less profound. Je suis toujours La Vagabonde. May it always be so.

71 thoughts on “The Migration

  1. Subscribed and looking forwards to the new way of ‘being in touch’. Substack has a nice sound to it. Sub-Stack. Both words reminds me of things to eat and my simple mind loves that.

    Anyway, happy 2022 Julie and well done for the book deals! Looking forward to reading them as well.


    • Thanks, Fabrizio! I haven’t landed any book deals. I’m going to self-publish. And I may actually serialize it on Substack. I love the philosophy of this platform.

      What happened to your blog?

        • Hey Fabrizio, happy new year to you! I was wondering where you had got to, you’ve been quiet on your blog! I’ll subscribe on your new platform, as you are another that I love to read! Cheers

  2. Hi, Julie. Happy 2022 and thank you for your invitation to follow your path. (I just found the Jim Morrison post there! Yeah! He is much revered in my book.) It is lovely that you have hard covers of your blog posts. They are proper literature. Happy travels and please never stop writing.

    • Thank you, Manja.🙂 Happy 2022 back at you! That Morrison post was one of the first posts I ever wrote on WP, way back in 2012. It was featured on Freshly Pressed, too. The hardcover books are beautiful. It’s special to see my work in tangible form.

  3. I am beyond excited to read this post, Julie! I have been reading poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke over the past weeks, especially as I look back over the traditions of my past years and recognize the changes and transitions that came from events and circumstances and learning fresh ways to experience the moments. The recurring theme was the acceptance of moving on to what was next. “I am the rest between two notes That harmonize only reluctantly. (The book of Hours 1905)

    I have signed up and look forward to the journey ahead, to what comes next. Thank you for your friendship and your generosity and courage in sharing wisdom. Sending many hugs your way.

    • Thank you, Rebecca, for all of your generous, insightful comments over the years.

      A couple of my favorites that I’ve kept:
      This first one was on the post about Budapest ruin pubs:
      “A wonderful post, as usual. And timely. We live in a world that craves movement, change, excitement. In our existence, we only experience a forward push along our timeline, which allows us only memories, and those get blurry as time passes. That’s why I think blogging is essential. These past couple of months, I have been involved in a huge “decluttering project” which forced me to look back, to remember, to celebrate. There are many things that are no more. There are many friends and family that have passed. And I look around and am amazed that I am now looking into a future of artificial intelligence, increasing interconnectedness, and complexity. We desperately need our artists, our poets, our writers, our musicians. They give voice to the whole of human experience. My most favorite quote is from Vincent Van Gogh: “It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”

      And this one is from a post called Left Behind:
      “Perhaps the greatest fear that humanity faces is being left behind, of knowing that we are unable to follow, but must remain. Many times these feelings lie just beneth the surface, coming when we see a friend leve on a plane or when we hear the sound of a closed door, or when we walk through a cemetery and read the messages on the stones. We are defined by our locations, our time period, the very breaths we take. We move forward and leave behind whatever we did or said. A reminder that we must foster an inner as well as an outer journey. Simple, yet complex.”

      Wishing you a beautiful 2022!!

      • My dearest friend, thank you! I have no words to express my heartfelt appreciation. I am glad that we begin a new year in the winter season. I am ready for a winter walk, knowing that you understand that when we walk during the cold silence we are preparing for all the will come when the earth awakens. Sending all the beautiful wishes for a glorious 2022. P.S. By the way, my word for 2022 is “acceptance.” P.P.S. I LOVE the way you have organized your archives on Substack!!!

        • Yes, a walk in cold silence. I understand. 🙂
          It felt good to declutter and reorganize my best work on Substack. The minimalism of that platform makes me feel at home.🙂 My word for 2022 is “integrity” …towards others and also towards myself. Warmest wishes!!

  4. Nicely done, Julie. I resonated with much of what you’ve said, but my leap for freedom didn’t quite go to plan. In my case it doesn’t really matter. I enjoy what I do, and I enjoy the access to certain others. Glad I caught this post tonight. Wish you well, happy new year and I’ll see you on the other side.

  5. Hi Julie, happy new year to you. These words really resonated “The important thing is that we put our work out into the universe. Less ego, more heart and soul.” All the very best to you, keep writing and evolving. I’m off to subscribe. xx

  6. Hello Julie,
    Happy New Year!
    I have subscribed to your newsletter and sincerely look forward to following your writing and images through your new platform.

    What you have written in this post resonates with so many of your readers, including me. While not nearly at your level of achievement, my little blog has been going on for almost 9 years, and I never expected it to last this long. I too, am seriously pondering what to do with it, and reading your article – there is a selfishly comforting feeling to know “I am not alone” 🙂

    Thank you for sharing so much over the years, and may 2022 be a year full of health and blessings for you, your dear ones and for all.

    All best, your reader from Japan,

    • We have known each other for quite a long time and I’m so pleased, Takami. WordPress brought a lot of vibrant souls together. Some of us who have been here a while are making changes — new blogs, platforms, etc. We need that burst of newness. While it may seem that people are stuck in the rut of validation/ad-based culture, there are those who ate forging, new, exciting paths. I thought about my next move for a few months, considered pros/cons and researched possibilities. In the end, it was my heart that chose a quieter, more intimate form of sharing. The perfect solution will reveal itself to you, Takami. Warmest wishes for a beautiful 2022.

  7. Hello. I surmise I’m late to the party. It’s sad to see you go, given that I only followed late last year and I haven’t had the time to check out your earlier posts.

    You know, you compiling your posts into hard-copy book versions is something I wanted to do for my own blog in the distant future. Five years’ worth of posts only shows how far you’ve gone from where you originally started.

    Nevertheless, I wish you all the best in the next chapter of your blogging life – and in all other endeavors. Vaya con Dios!

    • There are a few blog to book websites that are easy to use. I actually wish I’d done that sooner. Good luck with your blog and happy trails!

  8. This is an exciting development! A few of my other favorite writers have also made the switch to Substack. I will subscribe and follow you there. 😎

    Now, for my final comment on WP, I will share with you my all time favorite “Riso.”

    ”I used to lie here, amid the wildflowers, and let myself fall through the sky.”

    Don’t recall which of your posts contained this gem, but it sits atop one of my notebooks and inspires me again and again.

    Much love and good luck with this new adventure!

    • That quote is from “Becoming Wild”. That was one of the posts that I brought with me to Substack.😊
      There is a lot of optimism on that platform. I’m pleased, but not surprised, that you are already familiar with it. Much love to you, my friend. Happy 2022.

  9. I resonate with much of your journey as a person and writer Julie, although I have gotten caught in the web of likes and attention I get from WP, plus the loving and supportive community. I’m not sure if I write for myself or the attention. Going to another platform like substack is intriguing. I will definitely follow you and your soulful writing while I ponder what I need to do to find joy and soul in my own writing. Kudos on your courage, clarity, and beautiful writing voice.

    • Thanks so much, Brad. I’ve asked myself whether I write for attention, admiration, etc. I believe that it started out that way. It’s natural to seek validation especially in a culture/world that makes you feel insignificant if you don’t have it. I have changed a lot over the years. This move is a necessary one for me. No turning back, as always.🙂

  10. You have been one of the first bloggers I’ve encountered, Julie, and who’s words and courage to do what you did have always touched me deeply! I would therefore like to thank you for the time and energy you have given to me and all your readers:) Je te souhaite le meilleur pour ton futur et à bientôt!

      • That’s good to hear, ma chère Julie:) You idea to have books made from your pictures and comments is really unique:):)
        I wish you much success with whatever you endevour in 2022.

  11. Happy new year and fresh start to you Julie! I was so sad to read that you’re finishing up here on Wp, as I’ve only just discovered you relatively recently. But at least I have all your old posts to go through, and receiving a newsletter from you will be great! All the best to you! X

    • Thank you, Anna and Happy 2022 to you. My archives here have mostly been deleted, but the best have been moved to my Substack page so you can look through the archives there, if you wish. I think I’m also going to send some of my very favorites in newsletters. Warmest wishes!

      • Ah yes I have just seen that all the old posts are deleted! But I see some of them on sub stack. I’ll check out over there now! Cheers! X

  12. “More than ever, we need to find our true tribes. To do that, we must have the courage and integrity to venture into new frontiers. The more I release, the higher I ascend and the further I drift.”
    I love that, Julie, and admire your courage and integrity. I’ve been around WP for about 9 years too, and have been feeling the urge to transform into something new, to turn my attention toward other rivers of creativity. Thank you for your beautiful writing, honesty, and for capturing my heart and soul over and over again. I hope to find you at your new haven. Hugs ❤

  13. I was a bit… taken aback at the beginning. Thinking “Noooo! you’re not shutting the operation??”
    Then thinking of other channels… 😉
    Good move. I have subscribed. So hopefully I should get your next post.
    (I have been thinking of doing other things too. (And I do agree with you about the followers and the followees. Most are amazing people who do care. The rest are just stats…
    Compliments pour cette nouvelle aventure…
    (Been mulling about one… I will let you know)

      • Will do. Need to structure things a bit.
        (Having said that I recall a picture in your post: great that you printed your writing – and photos I imagine – in bound books. (How did you pull that off?)

        • I used to convert most posts into books. It was super easy and the books are really beautiful. I need to format the final book myself and use a printer like to make the book because I needed more control over word/image placement. If you’ve got questions feel free to email me.

  14. I’m glad I emerged from hibernation long enough to catch this post. Naturally I’ll follow you to your new digs. I’d miss your musings, even if I mostly just lurk these days.

    The hardcover versions are impressive. I’ve been thinking about just doing a simple pdf just for posterity, but it seems daunting. Or maybe I’m just lazy.

    Happy New Year, and new perspectives.

    • Thanks, Dave! Lurking is very welcome. I’m becoming one as well. It’s nice to just be able to read and/or look at photos in silence.

      I used for the first 4 hardcover volumes. It’s super easy and the books are really beautiful, but you have no control over photo placement. I’m formatting the final book myself because photo/word placement is important for my more recent posts. I believe that there are services that will do a pdf.

      A fabulous 2022 to you, too!

  15. I’m not surprised you’re on the move again … at least virtually. It’s probably pretty obvious my own WP commitment has faded as well, but as you note, that doesn’t have to mean our creativity is done or gone; it has just moved on down the road. I had only a fleeting love affair with my blog stats years ago, so that part is long dead to me, but there is a core group of people/followers that I now consider real friends (you are certainly in that group!), and I’d be pained to lose them, too. Best of luck with the books, and see you on Substack!

    • Thank you, Lexie. I consider you and others real friends, too. It was a good run here. But all things must pass. Wishing you a wonderful 2022!

  16. J.D., sorry I haven’t commented in a long time… life has kept me on the run. Memory fails me, I suppose but I was trying to remember if we met on Google+ then we ran into each other again on Ello, is that right? I think at some point you decided to dedicate your social media time to Instagram (aside from your blog), which I don’t use, so except for here, we kind of lost touch.

    Anyway, I remember being impressed by your photography, way back when, but when I started reading your work, I was blown away… and thought to myself, this is your calling.

    I’ve added my email to your blog on Substack and look forward to read where life takes you in the future. As for me, it appears that I’ve settled in South America… after 13 years here, the roots are growing deep.

    Take care my friend… John B

    • Dear John- it’s great to hear from you. It’s okay if you don’t comment so no need to apologize. I was never on Google +. We met during my brief but fruitful time on Ello. I wonder if that’s still around. I left Instagram a while ago too. I’m done with social media. Substack will be my only internet presence now.

      May your roots burrow deep into the earth of that magical continent. Thank you for your kind encouragement, always.

  17. It’s been a privilege to travel hand-in-hand with you over so many years on WordPress. I’ve been so fortunate to have found your blog and to have had such wonderful exchanges with you about life, love, and other matters. Looking forward to your Substack emails. I’m on there as well, so I will be enjoying your company as we continue into the new year.

    • I’m so grateful to have found you, too, dear. You’ve been a light along my path. So pleased that you are on Substack, too. I’ve found you there. Thank you for traveling along with me all these years.💖

  18. Our writing group was just having this conversation yesterday with lots of discussion about pros and cons of different ways of getting work out into the world and several folks really liking/ recommending Substack. I have very much loved following you and reading your posts and will continue to follow you on Substack. I am one of those infrequent commenters and a somewhat lapsed blogger. Blogging has changed/ evolved over the years but guess that is the way of things. It has helped me continue to write and find other writers – not sure what my next step is – have been having some of the same thoughts. Wishing you the best on your journey!

    • Thank you very much. I’ve enjoyed reading you, too. Your writing has a combination of melancholy and beauty that really resonates with me, especially because it relates to nature. Wishing you a wonderful path ahead.

  19. Yes, Julie, there is a restlessness in me as well as I continue to make changes in my life. I hear what you say and I acknowledge that new when it comes to our passions is right now calling our hearts. You know I will subscribe for I adore your writing and not only that, I respect fully the person you are. I have as yet to arrive at the place you are for the Universe has me preparing for what I’m not sure. So here we are, off to new adventures and I don’t know about you, it is both intimidating, uncomfortable, yet it brings an added beat of excitement to our hearts. I wish you all the very best and look forward in seeing where you go in the future. Sending much LOVE to you!! xo

    • Yes, it is intimidating but exciting to venture into the new. I’m looking forward to seeing where the path takes you as well. Your gifts continue to evolve in magical ways. You have my deepest respect, my friend. Much love back to you💖

      • As I told my sister today I know that what is expanding within me is taking me where I am going, yet I still don’t know where that is. We had a good laugh on that for she seems to be about in the same place. At times I get butterflies in my stomach for that “knowing” is so strong and like a kid in a candy store, I just want to hold on to something tangible. It will come. As for you, just so happy for you. I’ve yet to get over to your new place, but I intend to. Here’s to 2022 …. the start of all that is possible!!! xoxoxo

        • Many of us are at that place of limbo. I have made a move, but it’s far from over. I visited your latest post for the second time. The images are sublime. You do what few others can— capture the beauty in the monochrome, snowless winter. And yes, the veil is thinning. Warmest wishes to you, my friend.💕

  20. Well, I guess I reached the hiatus stage a year before you did, but I’m still stuck there. 🙂 Thanks for taking me along on your journeys. It’s been a pleasure to read you over the years, and to have shared online conversations. Thanks for your advice when I’ve sought it – still need to get to Angers someday.

    Oh and everytime I take a photo of a wabbit you always seem to pop into my mind.

    I’ll see you around, Julie.

    • I do hope you can go to Angers. Is your hiatus permanent? Are you going to display your work elsewhere? I’m still waiting for you to publish a Biggus calendar.😎
      Thanks a lot for traveling along with me all these years. It has been fabulous to know you, Secret Agent Draco-san.

  21. Julie, best wishes for your new adventures, and thank you for such a poignant and lovely farewell here on WP. Your writing has always spoken to me over the years–it’s authenticity and voice. It gives me pause to consider my own evolutions in this timeframe. It’s lovely to see we just never stop “becoming” ourselves–how we need the new to unearth the genuine, to keep the calcification of routine at bay. It’s as true in our bodies perhaps as in our minds. So your words have meant a lot and I suspect will continue to do so… Blessings on your journey, my friend!


  22. Hello Julie, I have subscribed to your new domain. I am rather sad you are leaving WP, I have tried other methods of sharing my thoughts and ideas but WP has certainly worked best for me. Wishing you well on your new path.

  23. I somehow just came back to the digital world, after being in my land of ichu and clouds that seem to be at the reach of the hand. Wishing you a great 2022, amiga; I appreciate the journey to read you, as a good lurker I don’t mind the platform as they come and go, but the person; it is quite beautiful to see your works in hardcovers too, to which your memories will be added. I read a tale of a blogger that chronicles about technology, and she accepts an implant to get a technological assistant inserted into her brain, one that can drive her body while she is in her mind connecting directly to the internet and writing and editing with her mind. At first all seems great but then the artificial intelligence is starting to take over her more and more over her body, as she is inside the virtual space, and even tries to sign her over a publishing web that requires her to do what she is told to write about, it even writers a farewell to the readers so they can go there xD. I am so happy you are the totally opposite, the humanity in you always first, and this change is to reinforce your independence, as I heard some of the famous or popular writers that got into substack are indeed people that have discovered that, to mention one example, the social media they are closing was actually wearing them down due persons interested in scrutinize the purity of their opinions rather than sit and read, appreciate or comment their art and work. So happy for this new day. By the way, among the eleven thousand comments I am sure I am in the category of very long comments so I end this one, as a farewell and a new hello : )

    • Your long, thoughtful comments have always made me smile, dear Francis. It means a lot to have you as an amigo, amigo. There is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm at Substack. It reminds me of my early days at WP when there was Freshly Pressed and a very vast and vibrant community. Everything changes. I’ve changed, too. There is an opportunity to “network” in the community there, as there was here. I’m done with that. Those who can benefit from my writing will find me and vice versa. No more grasping. I believe in the magic of the Universe again. That slipped away from me for a while, but I’ve found it again. Here’s to a 2022 of new beginnings. Of miracles. Thank you for your gentle companionship along the way, fellow voyager.

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