This week’s death of Nature Poet Mary Oliver (1935-2019), and article about her in Washington Post, plus reviewing her poems led me to her “Journey” which in some ways describes what I was unable to describe in my 2014 “Decision Process” I called it then, of getting away from the depressing world of conservative Middle Tennessee, the clouds of a failed marriage and subsequent loss of family, branches and stones in my path of a vocational “calling” manipulated by power-hungry “rulers” ending unceremoniously first in 1999 and finally by 2002 in unplanned early retirement. In a daze . . .
I’ve always tried to “make lemonade out of lemons” and I turned my retirement into an adventure of nature travel and photography as much as I could afford, including visits to all 54 state parks in Tennessee with a book about that, A Walk in the Woods, along with many other nature/travel books and my growing nature photo gallery. But I was still looking for something else.
Moving from the vibrant life of rowhouse living in downtown Nashville to a suburban “Independent Living Retirement Home” was still not what I was looking for.
It was to commune closer with nature, to travel in natural exotic places that my limited income could not afford, then suddenly it hit me, why not move to one of the nature places in which I love to travel and just live there?
With only 2 family members left and no grandchildren, it was easier for me than some people to make such a life-changing move! And now I see it described in a new way in this poem by Mary Oliver:
As I continue to build my website “Retired in Costa Rica” I continue to add blog posts, photo galleries, and “static pages” (undated) about Costa Rica and about me, my travels and stories. This week I’ve added under TRAVEL a new NORTH AMERICA page, Canada and a new CENTRAL AMERICA, Costa Rica sub-page, Atenas.
I am beginning a new stories section of my website titled Travel. It will eventually have many stories of my many trips around the world (outside Costa Rica) with some illustrative photos along with links to the newest section of my Photo Gallery titled Pre-Costa Rica Travels. where I am slowly creating a gallery on each trip over the years or at least the recent years, one at a time as I slowly move such photos from the Travel Section of my old Pbase gallery. PHOTO ABOVE: Masai Shepherd in Kenya
Writing the stories and moving the photos are both very slow and time-consuming jobs, but time is what an ol’ retiree has isn’t it? 🙂
For multiple reasons, I decided to start with Africa in both the Travel Stories and the Photo Gallery sections. The photos are mostly moved but all of the stories have not been written yet. I have a good start, especially with most of my Gambia stories already told here. Here’s what you can expect to find now:
You find Travel on the main menu above with dropdown menus for stories started here and additional menu links on each country’s home page for related stories in other pages of the site. For example: my Gambia Missionary experiences and mission trips are on the HIS SPIRIT menu first and thus linked to there from this Travel Gambia Home Page or Kenya Home Page, etc. The software allows for drop down menus for only items initiated on that page, thus regular links to other pages like the missionary stories.
And since my photo galleries are actually on SmugMug.com, they cannot be on any of my site drop down menus but must be linked to from each country’s Home Page or found by going to the big gallery first from the above menu. I hope that is not confusing. Just use the country’s home page to find everything about that country. 🙂
I have only barely started on all the stories I want to tell, but for the main Travel section described above I have started these pages with more stories coming on each in the future:
My travel photos made before moving to Costa Rica are in a special sub-gallery title Pre-Costa Rica TRAVELS. Like my Costa Rica Trips gallery they are arranged chronologically by dates of each trip with most recent at top. At this moment, I have only travels to Africa included. Click above to see all or here is the list of my Africa Travel Galleries which will later be mixed in with other travels depending on the dates:
Even though WordPress websites have photo galleries and I could put all my photos on the website – my original plan – so far they do not have the flexibilities and quality options that I have with my SmugMug.com photo gallery which recently purchased and incorporated Flickr where I also still have a small class-related gallery. https://www.flickr.com/photos/charliedoggett/ I will eventually close it, even though free.
Currently I Have 2 Large Online Photo Galleries
Now back in my first 12 years of retirement in Tennessee I chose to use the online photo gallery called Pbase, which the Nashville Photography Club used. Images I sold in galleries and arts & crafts fairs are there in 5 categories plus all my travel photos by trip, and others. It is a great database type program with lots of sub-sub-gallery possibilities, etc. but not quite as user-friendly or as visually attractive as SmugMug which I chose as my new photo gallery after moving to Costa Rica and comparing several online galleries, thus came Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA, which has had only Costa Rica photos thus far.
Move Both Galleries With Website & Blog or Not?
This year when I decided to move my website AND blog to WordPress (from Joomla & Blogger), I really wanted to move all my photo galleries here too – the luxury of everything in one place! And WordPress has that option! But I quickly learned that the more photos I put on this site, the slower it runs! And that is with me reducing the size of most photos since the web does not need large files, but then they are not good for you to download and print if you want. While I upload full-size photos to SmugMug & Pbase that are not only good for you to download and use but they are big enough (except some zoomed in birds) for you to use the SmugMug “BUY” Button and order prints, wall art, etc.
Thus I changed my mind and decided to not move my photos to the new website. Though I will continue to use photos on the site & blog (web-sized), since photography is central to almost anything I do or write about.
One Gallery As a Linked Part of the Website
So on the top MENU of this site is the 3rd item GALLERY, which is a link to my SmugMug Gallery that I want to become my only gallery. And what about the hundreds of photos still on Pbase? Well I started with some of the Family History photos as inefficient little galleries within this website’s articles, adding to the slowdown. Then I decided to move all of those to the SmugMug gallery which is created to handle a volume of pix. That means I have now started my first non-Costa Rica gallery inside my Costa Rica gallery! 🙂
Only the first two sub-galleries are moved now from Pbase and they are both a part of the web pages Family History that includes much more like cemeteries and stories from WWII, etc. While the other two sub-galleries will eventually have their own web pages and likewise include a lot of other information! So lot’s of work still to do here. Keeps me out of trouble! 🙂
More Non-Costa Rica Galleries Coming!
Then I anticipate at least two more non-Costa Rica sub-galleries on SmugMug:
These too will be related to and linked from pages on this personal website. Eventually it will seem like my whole life is reported somewhere on this website. I cannot explain why I have a passion to do this, but somehow I am driven to complete it all long before I die. It is like my passion for nature, travel, photography, stories, my family history and reporting on it all here!
One of my regular activities when not traveling and photographing nature has been to work on the total rebuild of my personal website while continuing to build a collection of Blog Posts or Articles about being “Retired in Costa Rica” which is now at the same location of my website, charliedoggett.net.
I moved my personal website that was Joomla-generated and continuing to give me technical problems to an easier-to-use WordPress.com hosting service. And since WordPress.com started as a blogging platform and is considered by many to be the best for blogs. I transferred/moved my blog from Blogger.com to WordPress.The blog part transferred everything but the subscriptions so that I still have my blog history of the big move to Costa Rica and now with many more ways to find articles about different subjects I have written on, though most are under “Nature” and the “Places” I have discovered here. But there are some practical articles about actually moving here, residency processes, healthcare possibilities, and even some more mundane daily life issues for the followers who are considering a move here.
In addition, as with my old website, there are many “static” (WordPress label) pages about me, my adventures, family and family history as aids to those writing and researching their own family history related to my family lines. i.e. I have several family cemetery inventories with photos, lots of old family photos and reports on family reunions, etc. I also have extensive research recorded on my Uncle Earl Doggett whose plane was shot down in World War II.
For both fun and to get to know me better I have an extensive About Page full of details and fun “Life Stories,” “Biographies,” “Schools,” “Doing Good,” “Art Lover,” “Photographer,” and more! And a lot of fun and interesting history is wrapped up in my extensive research on the ship or Frigate Charles Doggett in the 1800’s with ties the Mutiny on the Bounty, the nickname of “Old Glory” for the American Flag, the American Civil War, Nashville, and South Sea Island adventures! As I approach the end of my life I will have it all documented or reported on right here on this website and along with the failures and disappointments, some great experiences and accomplishments to help me see that my life did have value. And maybe a tiny bit of inspiration for someone.
So, for a boring, rainy day you might want to explore my website which is still being built. The Header Menu or Top Menu could be divided into these three sections: (1) BLOG, (2) LINKED PAGES, and (3) STATIC PAGES
Home – has an excerpt from the most current blog post and I may add some more introductory information there later. I have 8 or so favorite Costa Rica Photos that pop up in rotation here full screen which was how I wanted people to enter my website.
Blog – This is where all my blog posts reside in reverse chronological order, most current on top, going all the way back to my June 2014 emphasis on “The Costa Rica Decision Process” where I debated the pros and cons online and made the decision to move here publicly on this blog. The drop-down menu has “Categories” (WordPress term) and sub categories to help you find the articles of your interest. Plus the right sidebar or right column has several ways to search for articles by category, tags/subjects, and by date.
MY 2 LINKED PAGES
Gallery – My Costa Rica Photo Gallery, “Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA” is my pride and joy and located on SmugMug.com which simply has a better presentation than I can currently get within my WordPress site. That could change later and reside on the website, but for now I encourage you to see my images of Costa Rica and for birder friends I have quite a collection of about 270 Costa Rica bird species that is growing! Plus more birds from neighboring countries! – – – For those familiar with my old Pbase photo gallery, it is still up now with all my past commercial and Tennessee photos, travel photos and family photos. But I am slowly moving them to this website in the simple galleries and slideshows that my template provides here, which will help liven up my family and travel articles and will be the new residence of my historical photos, in time!
Bookstore – Since before my time in The Gambia I was trying out different online photo book publishers as a way to preserve my many photos which otherwise got lost in closets, computers, or scrapbooks. By around 2003 I settled on Blurb.com as my book publisher of choice, mainly because they provided me with a free “Bookstore” of just my books that continue to be available for order indefinitely. Here you can see the many subjects and trips I have produced books on and even “Review” every page of every book on your computer. Pretty cool! No pressure to buy! 🙂 These books and the above Photo Gallery are the only places for my photos.
Travel – is where all my many pre-Costa Rica trips will be reported with those photos from Pbase.com, but more than that, with pages on places I lived and about my jobs in these places and just about everything else that doesn’t fit somewhere else on the website! 🙂 I have not started this page yet.
Family– I have started with Family History pages and will work back through both my family or origin and family of marriage, probably first with photos, but just barely started at the time of this post writing. Only Family History now.
His Spirit – In some ways I no longer want to be considered “religious, Baptist or Evangelical,” but maybe “a man of faith” or better yet a “Follower of Christ.” I try to explain this here with more writing than photos, though it seemed to be the best place to report on being a missionary in The Gambia, West Africa, thus one of my most exciting adventures is recorded here with lots of old photos or copies of print photos and some of my best stories! It is still in progress, but a lot already here!
About – Biography, personal interests and hobbies, and the beginning of a collection of “Life Stories” that I hope will be both entertaining and inspirational. I am still in process of writing these! 🙂 It is my personal history and hopefully not too much ego!
Contact– Your basic online contact form and all my addresses and one phone number. At the strong encouragement of WordPress, I removed my email address from this page which they say spammers and bad guys know how to harvest. The form will give you a response on my email and you can collect it that way. 🙂
I’ll try to make future blog posts shorter!
But I felt like I needed at least one thorough explanation of my new website/blog combination. You got it! Contact me with any questions and I try to respond quickly to all comments on blog posts.
The Giant Swallowtail is a fairly common butterfly here and even in the states, but I haven’t shown one in a good while, especially the under-side like the photo above. The topside of this fellow (below) is the more familiar black and yellow shown here on the same butterfly photographed above! Yeah, I know, they look different as do the top & bottom of many butterflies. Read about Giant Swallowtails on Butterflies and Moths of North America.
A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam, and for a brief moment, its glory and beauty belong to our world… but then it flies again, and though we wish it could have stayed… we feel lucky to have seen it. ~Unknown Author
A New Blog Feature in this New Website
You can hover over the top Menu Item “Blog” above for Category Sub-menus that will drop down. Go down to “Nature” and its submenu “Butterflies” to see all the blog posts I have made about butterflies since 2014. In this case, 6 pages of butterfly posts! Some old posts are mixed subjects with too many photos. Now I am trying to stay focused on one “category” (WordPress term) at a time with no more than 2 photos per post and a short, easy-to-read post like above. And you will see that there are many other “Categories” to follow if interested, with “Birds” being the largest and more are being added. And of course you can click on “Blog” Menu item and see all the posts in reverse chronological order or most recent on top.
All of the posts are also searchable in the right hand column or right sidebar by tags, categories, or by date. This makes my blog posts the main focus and main information found on my website now with multiple ways to find old posts. This is the strength of WordPress hosted websites, being blog-focused with many ways to utilize collections of posts.
You will also find a lot of “static” (WordPress term) or non-blog pages which I will tell about in another blog post.
Feel free to explore your interests now within the blogs through the pull-down menus or search boxes. I am having fun creating little articles about my interests, especially when I can share nature photography from my new home country of Costa Rica!
MY WEBSITE WILL CONTINUE TO BE PHOTO & INFORMATION RICH
I have just started rebuilding my website, meaning if will be skimpy for awhile as I learn the processes inside a WordPress Website. But I will bring to it most of the content from the old website, just presented in a better way I hope. There are several family history and cemetery articles that can be helpful to those doing family history research, along with personal stories and history and about my photography. Much of my content has been and will continue to be information for people doing research on several topics. Plus as a personal website it will continue to be partly about me, documenting my life and pointing to my interests.
MY BLOG WILL MOVE INTO MY WEBSITE
WordPress began as a blogging program and they excel at blogs. They say they can move my blogger.com blog into a new WordPress blog. We will see how they mesh. I believe that will strengthen both the blog and the website and basically blog posts become articles on my website that can be organized in categories or similar subjects as a seamless part of the site.
THEN I MOVE MY PHOTO GALLERIES INTO THE WEBSITE
WordPress has many good gallery templates and attractive presentations as well as organizing tools, though possibly not as many features as my current SmugMug Costa Rica Galleries, so it will be my last move and maybe most difficult. Though WordPress has tools to move my SmugMug galleries into WordPress and I think the same from my older PBase Gallery. Hopefully I will then have all my photos together and well organized. Plus they will be easier to use or link to in both the blog and website articles.
Maybe that is what it will be – consolidated – or everything in one place! And I hope more beautiful! I have been using Joomla for my web design and it is complicated and difficult to use and a lot of things I simply do not like about it. I like my web host, a friend in Nashville hosting out of his house in addition to his regular job. But now I will use one of the WordPress Hosts call DreamHost and will supposedly have more help, more plug-ins, and more possibilities! Though they host businesses and commerce and I could try to sell photos, I will not. I’ll keep my CafePress Shop and if WordPress adds 3rd party vendors of my photos without any production on my part, then maybe. But I am not in business!
ANOTHER FUN HOBBY
And maybe the best part is having another creative outlet for this strong desire to always be creating something of beauty or value. The creative part is fun! The technical stuff drives me crazy as the last few days trying to get my domain name moved over has. I almost changed my domain name to Retired in Costa Rica which will continue to be the overarching theme, but decided that I needed to stay with my domain name used since 2000 in The Gambia.
AND A NOTE ON LINKS TO MY PAGES
If you have any links to my family history pages, the Nashville Hardgrave Cemetery page or Uncle Earl’s WWII page, etc., then you will need to relink after I get the new site up and running. Links will be different.
AND SUBSCRIPTIONS TO THIS BLOG
You will most likely have to resubscribe to the blog once it is on WordPress. I will let you know in advance.