On this day, five years ago I posted the first message on this blog in a move from chatting on a private website forum to posting my thoughts on a public blog.

IanVisits is five years old today. Happy Birthday!

At the time, the blog had a plan, of which nothing has actually come to pass, but who knew that at the time?

It’s been a strange few years, with the first year of the blog being a bit haphazard, but slowly settling down to what it has become today, which is still quite haphazard, but ever so slightly less so. Originally, it was to act as a conduit to continue something I had been doing for some years already in “the other place”, which was organising group tours to interesting places.

Indeed, the blog’s original title was “IanVisits… interesting places”.

When I left that other website, I notified people that I would carry on with the events, but the audience size wasn’t really large enough at the start, and my own personal life took a turn for the worse, so they died off, and I stopped visiting interesting places quite as often.

Which disappointed me at the time, but the blog has instead taken a life of its own, and as a result got me visiting interesting places again (even if I have go alone instead of taking 20 of you with me).

Of course, most of those interesting places are thanks to you reading the blog so regularly – and thus persuading other people I am the sort of chap they should let wander round their building sites or similar.

It’s what you might call enlightened self-interest.

Thanks to you reading this blog, I have meet some very interesting people, and stood in some very interesting places over the past few years.

So thank you!

Although I don’t organise events myself any more (more about that another time), this coming Tuesday coincidentally marks the 3rd anniversary of the listings guide I started on here.

It’ll never be more than a niche listings guide, but the niche seems to be slowly growing in audience size – so that is very exciting.

It’s also deeply reassuring to learn that there are people out there who are interested in the same sorts of things that interest me!

More importantly though, I get occasional feedback from venues letting me know that people mentioned IanVisits when attending something. That’s quite important as having a listings guide that gets web traffic is nice, but having a listings guide that results in people going out and doing something, is far more rewarding for me personally.

On a personal note, despite the pleasures that come from writing a blog, it has been for me a difficult time, as I started the blog while still recovering from a serious illness, and while my health recovered, the pendulum swung the other way as the recession destroyed my finances to the point I seriously considered personal bankruptcy earlier this year. Fortunately, the finances, while still dire are slowly improving.

I hope to resume organising my own guided tours and events again maybe next year if the financial situation stabilises (and I don’t get buried by debt and tax collectors!). Here’s hoping that I’ll be writing a more upbeat 10th anniversary report in 5 years time.

Regardless of that, I shall have a drink this evening to celebrate.

Cheers.

Ian

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17 Comments

  1. I’ve only been following for two years but your blog along with a handful others have been great at introducing me to niche, quirky, underground events in this huge melting pot that is London. Tomorrow I’m moving away from London and with my girlfriend I’ve started a new blog inspired by this blog. Your tone and dedication to offer a public service like this is admirable.

    Cheers and hopes for better health, better finances and another 5 years of inspirational London blogging!

  2. Mike

    Happy Birthday Ian, and all the best for the future. We will raise a glass to you tonight on holiday in France.

  3. Andrew

    Happy blogiversary from downunder. Trains, stations, old places, underground, culture, ferries, museums and more. Always a good read.

  4. Happy Birthday! Do we get cake?

    • IanVisits

      Not unless I get cake as well.

  5. HooraY!!!! Happy Birthday Ian, see you tonight.

  6. Carl

    I only discovered your blog a few months ago, but if I were in London I would gladly buy you that drink.

    Happy anniversary.

  7. Happy anniversary!

  8. Richard G Brown

    Congratulations :-)

  9. John F

    Congrats Ian. An essential bit of London.

  10. Mctumshie

    Happy Birthday! Many thanks for all the work you that you do to share the interesting events and visits with us.

  11. Happy 5th! It’s been a great (and inspiring) half-decade.

  12. Steve Thomas

    Happy 5th Birthday for you and your blog Ian. I can’t tell you how useful its been, in highlighting all the interesting stuff about London that I should go out and research, and in helping to promote my charity walks as well, as you’ve been so kind as to include ongoing listings for me.
    I’m sorry to hear that the recession has been particularly bad for you- it’s done that to me too, and I’m only surviving with help from a few people close to me- I hope that we can all soon turn a corner to better things ahead. Meantime, if we keep plugging away at what we believe in, no matter what, things must inevitably improve- don’t give up- what you’re doing is too valuable for that. Enjoy that celebratory drink- cheers from Steve.

  13. David Brown

    Ian – your site is a delight and has added a lot to my enjoyment of London. I have seen loads of great places because of your listings and blog entries. Keep up the great work that you are doing. Dave

  14. M@

    Happy birthday, Ian, and sorry I couldn’t make the drinks. Thanks for five years of truly astounding Londonalia, plus all the chats and shared site visits. I think I’ve learned more from you about London than any other person.

  15. Dean Nicholas

    Well done, and congratulations.

    On a curious note, what was ‘the other place’?

  16. Pete of London

    Just to echo what the other posters have said, congratulations on the five years and thanks for all the awesome blog entries and event listings.

    Despite me being subscribed to far more London websites than is healthy, you’ve pointed out tons of things that I haven’t seen elsewhere and would’ve missed. Off the top of my head – 1930s tube trains, a tour of Victoria Tower, booking highlights for Open House… and only a few weeks ago a Danger Mouse art exhibition.

    I appreciate how long it takes to put together even the smallest blog entry so thanks for all the effort.

    Cheers!
    Pete

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