The Cinnamon Journey

Variety is the spice of life”, it is said.  What better way to seek variety than to go on a journey. That is what this lady from Indonesia has been doing. She has travelling to places of pilgrimage all over South and South East Asia. The Cinnamon Journey is a record of her sightings and musings during her travels.

To start with, I must say I found the title very catchy. The word cinnamon has a rather exotic feel to it and kind of excited me to immediately go and check out this blog. The motif designs in the background kind of keeps with the title and maintains the exotic Oriental feel. The dark background inside for the posts gives a good effect to the photos. So I would give full marks for the title and background. My philosophy is simple background for picture blog, attractive thematic backgrounds for text blog.

I would not really put this blog with the regular travel blogs. I would prefer to put it in the personal blogs category.  Her purpose is to capture her internal spiritual journey through pictures and words as she makes a physical journey through places of pilgrimages in Asia. She also points out her specialty is her personal musings around the history and culture of the places she visits. That is the most endearing aspect of the blog. The photos are also more offbeat and not the typical ones on travelogues. They are of the sights that made her think and she honestly shares her thoughts with us. So we get to see places through her eye.

Talking of the overall quality of content, the photographs are excellent. The writing is interesting though a bit weak on the language side. The importance of grammatical correctness has always been a matter of debate. Bad language is only a problem when it distracts the reader from the content and becomes an irritant. Here that is definitely not the case. I find the usage somewhat cute, if I can call it that. Most of Asians talk similar kind of English. So it adds to the general authentic Oriental ambiance of the blog.

 Coming to the areas that can be improved, the overall readership and traffic seems quite low for a blog that has been active for close to 3 years. I can think of three reasons for this. There is hardly any navigational support. There seems to be very limited interaction with readers. The content is too personalized. Let me take up each of these aspects separately.

The archives are the only way to navigate the blog. Even labels have not been used effectively. So it is very difficult to access and read old posts unless reader is very passionate and wants to pore over the entire archives. Definitely a lot of work needs to be done in terms of navigational widgets and more effective use of labels.

In general the volume of comments is low. However even the few comments that come don’t seem to be responded to. Musing kind of posts can trigger lot of discussions with others sharing their experiences. The blogger should reply to every comment and promote more discussion to improve reader engagement.

In terms of scope of content, I feel it is too narrow.  A little bit more offline research on history and legends surrounding the place and some more structure to the content can make it more broad-based. Inclusion of the things such as logistic details of getting to places, shopping, climatic conditions etc. can attract people looking for travel guides as well.

Overall I would say it is sweet and nice blog. If one is interested in places of pilgrimage in South East Asia, this is a good blog. One can also see Indian places of pilgrimage from a different view point here. I have given below a sample of best posts selected by the blogger herself as a starting point to explore her blog.

1. Home of Shiva
2. Its all about Faith
3. Loro Blonyo
4. The Last night at Ganga Arti
5. Saigon Destination - Cao Dai Temple


Mareta Kusumaningrum said...

It's very complete review. Thank you Luciferhouseinc for your time, take a look of my blog..

Again, Thank You..

Shilpa Nair said...

U are right about Cinnamon. I read this post because of this very word! Your review is written very well and simply. Did u try sending it to her? Since I'm in Singapore from quite some time, I would like to say that her English is really quite superb by South East Asian standards. Most of the people from these regions have a problem with English and it really is frustrating personally to me because people here are such beautiful, gentle, well-educated beings and it kind of cuts chances of being friends with them.

Arti said...

Wow! Another one of my favorite blogs, reviewed finally! What I love about her posts is the simplicity and the honest approach that she takes to convey her feelings across to the reader. It's a journey that resonates in serenity and tranquility and I absolutely love to travel along with her..

You have summed it all so beautifully, TF. Wonderful review of a wonderful blog :)

The Fool said...

Glad you liked the review, Mareta.

The Fool said...

Nice to see you after such a long time, Shilpa. Glad you liked the review. The blogger has read it. The first comment on the post is from her.

The Fool said...

Thanks, Arti. Glad you liked the review.

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