It’s been a little over a year since I started leavingamerika.com. I wanted to use the URL leavingamerica.com, but the squatter who domain parked it wanted 18 thousand dollars, so that never happened.
When I started this blog, it was early in the Trump presidency. I knew (a) this could be trouble for Arab-Americans, and (b) that I personally could not tolerate living in a country ruled by that asshole. So I made plans to leave the US.
At first I was going to move to Nice, France, but that turned out to be too expensive an option. So I went to El Gouna, Egypt, instead, and blogged quite regularly about the following subjects:
- Becoming an American expat
- Leading the immigrant’s interstitial life
- Literature and philosophy and the search for meaning
- What happens when you get older, including depression and health issues
- Travel observations in the South of France and a vibrant Middle Eastern country
I thought that five-pronged radius of topics would be broad enough to elicit a readership of at least a few thousand followers.
I thought my writing style was sufficiently engaging to attract many readers.
I thought the depth and real hurt that I talked about in some of the posts would resonate in some deep way with serious people, who, like myself, are adrift in this world,
This did not happen.
Most of the followers I did get (which never exceeded around 60) seemed to be bots that Followed this blog because of keywords like “travel” or “health” or “losing weight.” (I deleted most of them off my blog earlier today, btw.)
They never commented, of course.
In fact, the only 2 people actually commented on this blog, and one was an old friend, and another an articulate lady from Australia who had visited Dahab.
As for the rest, nothing, ever.
I did reach out to other blogs, in particular, to people who ran blogs about topics that interested me deeply — such as modern Arab fiction in translation, or Arab-American fiction, or what is happening to my once beloved city of Alexandria.
But the response I received from them was always tepid and often snarky. You always got the sense that somehow you were not important enough in their view.
In view of the anemic traffic (which I am publishing here, something very few blogs have had the courage to do unless they are successful), the inescapable conclusion is that leavingamerika.com is a failure.
Not through lack of trying, as I have worked hard to make it work, but it simply did not succeed.
So I’m shutting it down, except (possibly) for capsule book reviews, which may appear on a sporadic basis.
In the days ahead, I will cause many “legacy” posts to vanish, especially the ones I wrote during the past two months.
Then I will melt back into complete personal anonymity.
It will be as if leavingamerika.com never happened.
I may travel to the Oregon Trail this summer; I may move to NYC next month; or I may return to Gouna in the Fall — the return ticket is already booked, and the villa where I hung out with Sandy the cat earlier this year remains available, and the wilderness of the Eastern desert still beckons.
Whatever my future brings, dear strangers, you will never know about it, nor will you much care one way or the other.
Perhaps a blog is an amateur’s distraction, a conceit, a thing to do instead of jumping off a bridge, when your life blows up — or maybe it’s a way to avoid coming to terms with the reality that you cannot actually write at a professional level.
I have no advice to anyone about what I learned about why this blog failed, even with all the hundreds or original pretty pictures I posted and the tens of thousands of carefully crafted words I wrote during the past year.
I am past the age of 65, and my view of life is fairly standard for someone who has made it to that age — without turning into an arrogant dick or stabbing a conga line of people in the back along the way.
Sorry ya’ll found it so boring!