Where Are the Albanians, Estonians, and Greenlanders?

MyMap2My fellow WordPressians know about the square on the Site Stats page called “Views by Country.” If you don’t, know this: when someone from Albania visits my WordPress Site, Albania turns a hue of yellowish, orange-ish red—pumpkin to tomato—deepening as the number grows. Click a link called “Summaries” and you see all the countries that have visited since February 12th 2012, which, in blog chronology, is essentially all time.

I admit I’m collecting countries the way a quilter collects scraps, hoping someday to patch the planet without holes, from Belarus to Uruguay, from Suriname to Greenland.

Okay, I chose those countries deliberately because no one from them has ever visited my blog, and I’m hoping my attention will snag some Google searches and garner love in return. I‘m finished trying to figure out why Belarusians or Uruguayans—or for that matter Paraguayans—might not care to hear what I have to say and what topics attract people from French Guiana and Kazakhstan. Now I’m begging.

Last week, I received my first visitor from Mongolia, and I pictured him in a loud internet café in Ulan Bator, hunched over a laptop, pulling in some attenuated connection from elsewhere just to read my scattered thoughts on metaphor or find my perspective on Jean Follain. It is indeed a small world after all when readers visit from countries where approximately 30% of the population is nomadic.

Of course, I don’t really know why anyone visits from anywhere, but perhaps they’re practicing their English, borrowing a borrowed image, or maybe adjusting my meditation on Huck Finn and Holden Caulfield into a fresh English paper. I don’t mind. I don’t mind at all. I like believing something I’ve said finds a place somewhere larger than my circle of friends, Chicago, or even the US. I wish someone from Guatemala—the only nation I lack in Central America—would find some value in my work.

My daughter introduced me to site called Free Rice to help me learn countries by their shapes on a map, but I have to rely on wiki-search and my imagination to know anything about Botswana where, though I’m a fan of Amantle Montsho, I say nothing relevant.

Travel is not one of my passions, as it is for other people. They’re braver. They love alien sights and sounds, the challenge of fulfilling their needs in novel ways, and meeting strangers whose culture and experience is radically different from their own. I like home. Or, more accurately, I only like the meeting part of travel and wish foreign visitors would occasionally stop by, especially people from Estonia, home of the singing revolution and somewhere apparently no one likes me.

You may think me a crass collector, someone interested in stamps, not the people who use them. My defense is the warmth I feel when a gray country turns orange or an orange country turns persimmon. They say all of us breathe a little of the oxygen Caesar breathed, but, in a time when any soul might meet and even mingle with another in cyberspace, we have so much promise to do more. I’m silly enough to believe in handshakes through electronic channels. The big blank of China—though I know it’s largely closed to traffic from the rest of the world—may someday shift, and we can exchange thoughts on Elizabeth Bishop or the devastation of envy.

I imagine what the world will be when it’s entirely orange, or even red. Perhaps we can all be friends at last.


Filed under Ambition, Blogging, Chicago, Essays, Gemeinschaft, Gesellschaft, Gratitude, Home Life, Hope, Identity, life, Modern Life, Numbers, Solitude, Thoughts, Travel, Views by Country

11 responses to “Where Are the Albanians, Estonians, and Greenlanders?

  1. I also get a thrill to see where my readers live. But I can only see areas for today and yesterday and can’t “call back the past”, which is a pity. Or can you, perhaps, tell me how? (In exchange maybe I’ll look in on you when I’m next in Botswana… 😉 )

    • dmarshall58

      Here’s how I do it: Go to Site Stats under your name on the right side of the brownish gray band. Then the box for countries appears on the top left. Click Summaries, and, under that, you should find the heading “Since February 25, 2012.

      Now I’ll be looking for Botswana. Remember you promised. –D

  2. I don’t look at those stats by country very often. But now I know that none of my (ex)relatives in South America read my blog– although I seem to have quite a following in Romania. Personally, I’m waiting to get big in Austria.

  3. Your world is filling up faster than mine but I do have a view from Albania.

    • dmarshall58

      That post pulled in Estonia and Albania, but Kosovo, no Greenland. I’ve been assuming I must be doing something wrong, offending them in some way. I’d really like to get Greenland because it’s such a big hole in the map, but Kosovo is now my only European deficit.

      Let me know if you discover some sure-fire way to draw them in. –D

  4. Oh, David,. What a lovely way to start a morning when I’m getting ready to fly across the country. I, too, prefer home. Yes, I am a little behind on reading, but I’m getting there.
    My goal was Hong Kong and I have someone from there. Maybe I need to look at other acquirements. Well, this is fun. I’m looking at my map and apparently the US and Ireland are visiting me. Hey, I have Jamaica, Jordan, Finland and the Ukraine, in my since February list, among others. A new toy.
    Have a good holiday. Rest. Breathe. Relax. Then, it’s only a semester until summer.

    • dmarshall58

      We are in the last week before break now, and I’m staggering over the finish line. This is the time of year when I wonder if I can make it one more day. I hope you’ll have a good holiday too. –D

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