Monday, November 2, 2015

Farewell from Loreto!

For those of you who have been checking this Blog website recently for new postings I must admit I have been procrastinating writing for the past couple of weeks, since I have been back in Loreto, but I have now finally made the decision that I will bring the “Living Loreto” blog to a conclusion after 7 years, 225 posts and over 140,000 hits.

Perhaps obviously, this is not a decision that I have come to easily – writing a weekly Blog chapter has been a significant part of my life and my identity in this Community since I started doing it during my second season living here in 2008.  While it has sometimes been challenging to come up with weekly topics, I have benefitted in so many ways from writing the Blog over these years.

First among those benefits are the many people that I have met, both in person and through email, who got to know me first through this Blog.  Many of those Readers I have subsequently met through my work here in Real Estate, some of whom had followed the Blog for years before making their first visit.  One of my first memories of meeting a Reader happened just a few months after I had started the Blog.

I was doing a tour of several of our properties listed for sale with two couples who were visiting Loreto for the first time and while we walked through the pathways of the Community I was talking about some aspect of life here and I made a passing reference to the Bocce court which was then located adjacent to my home.  At that point, the person I was talking to stopped me in mid-sentence, looked at me intently and said “Raking and Baking!” (which was the title of one of my first posts about raking the Bocce court and baking homemade bread). 

Up until that point he had not made the connection between me and the Blog, but he went on to explain that he had been thinking about visiting Loreto for some time before, and he had found the Blog on one of his searches for information about the place.  He said that one of his concerns about coming here was that he didn’t know what he would DO in a remote location like Loreto, but when he read “Raking and Baking” his reaction had been “I could do that!”  - which eventually resulted in him making the trip that had now wound up with us meeting.

At that point I realized I was not writing in a vacuum – that people were finding the Blog and some of them were reading it on a regular basis.  Before long my weekly hit counts started to rise and after the first year or two I was receiving a fairly consistent 20,000 hits per Season.  The other thing that surprised me was that those hits were coming from all over the world – Russia, Singapore, Australia and many places in Europe (there’s a reason that it is called the World Wide Web!)

Of course these international hits were a small part of the total numbers, with by far the largest parts  
coming from regular Readers in the US and Canada, many of whom probably owned property here in Loreto Bay, but, particularly in the first few years I was posting, they were not yet living here.  For them perhaps I was providing a vicarious contact to their future Home, and in a small way keeping their dream of living here alive, until such time as their home was built or their lifestyle permitted them to begin spending more time here.

In hindsight, when I started writing the Blog in November 2008, the original Developer was just starting to wind down their operations due to the economic turmoil that virtually collapsed the Real Estate market.  The responsibility for continuing what they had started increasingly fell to our Home Owner’s Association, which was then in it’s infancy.  Many challenges followed over the years as the Development grew and more homes were finished and the now thriving Community began to take shape.

From the outset, I took a consciously positive view of what I saw developing around me, partly out of self-interest (I had already committed to living here at least 6 months a year) and partly because there were already more than enough “negatives” associated with the uncertainty that surrounded this Development in its early years and I felt a responsibility to create a more balanced perspective.  As I have written here before, one of the lessons I grew up with was “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” and I have tried to hold true to that in my Blog.

Living Loreto has also “forced” me to find things to do and write about, many of which I may have missed without the weekly “publish or perish” deadline I had self-imposed.  Which brings me back to some of the reasons I have decided this is the time to end the Blog.  Starting this Season my work in Real Estate has become a full time 5 ½ day a week commitment and I no longer have the time to “do” many of the things that I have been writing about in past years.

Another reason for my decision is the evolution of the Community and its Residents over recent years.  Loreto Bay has now become a vibrant and active community, but it has also stabilized and matured and there is not the same sense of adventure and new beginnings that had been the case in earlier years.  Also (and perhaps more significantly) many of the people who followed this Blog from the beginning are now living here at least part of the year – they are now Living their own Loreto – and they do not need my jottings every week to keep them in touch with their piece of Paradise far away.

In conclusion, I would like to say Thank YOU!  Thank you to all of you who have followed this Blog in the past, and through your continued support over the years, challenged me to write over a quarter of a million words about a place I love to live.  If experience is the best teacher, I have become whatever writer I now am through the exercise of writing this Blog over the years.  If in some way the collective posts in the archive of this Blog have become a sort of informal history of how this community began and evolved into what it has now become, I will be happy to have played a small part in that history!

Adios from Loreto!