Celebrating Five Years of Blog Writing: Oaxaca Cultural Navigator

On November 28, 2007, I started a free WordPress.com blog and posted my first essay there about visiting, traveling and intending to live in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Two years earlier, using iWeb on my Apple computer and the clunky URL web.mac.com/normahawthorne/iWeb/ [defunct, not searchable, remember those days], I started my original blog.  However no one could find me!  So, technically, I’ve been writing this blog for seven years!      

Writing regularly is an act of commitment, love of place, and desire to share the experience.  I want to mark this anniversary and share with you now what I published on November 28, 2007.  I didn’t take as many photos then and most weren’t of publishable quality.  Then, I was more interested in the narrative. The times they are a-changin’ — let’s celebrate!

Creative Commons Birthday Cake and Candles

5- Year Celebration Sale with Discount — Good Until December 25, 2012.   


Take 15% off any workshop offered through August 1, 2013 (except Felted Fashion Workshop).


Take 15% off any Shop Mexico-Artisan Sisters Items still available. 


Tell me you want the Celebration Discount!       



Reposted from November 28, 2007: Navigating with Norma

An explanation:  Navigating Oaxaca (pronounced Wah-Hah-Kah), Mexico, is a cultural arts and history experience that requires a certain sense of exploration, discovery and adventure.  For me, it is going without a roadmap down the back alleys of a small village to see what I will discover next:  a master weaver, an exceptional wood-carver, an accomplished potter or expressive painter.  I am open to the experience of creating relationship by appreciating artistic creativity, cultural history, shared values and vision, and the possibility for multicultural exchange.  After four visits of several weeks each over the past two years, and an invitation from Federico Chavez Sosa and his family to live with them in Teotitlan del Valle, I begin to call myself “cultural navigator.”

This blog is a way for me to share my experiences with you with the hope that it will excite your interest to visit this extraordinary place and  appreciate the rich artistic and cultural traditions of Mexican immigrants.  There are great artisans who live on the back alleyways, don’t show up in the tourist guide books, and aren’t willing to pay hefty commissions to have  tour guides and tour buses pulling up to their front door.  I am motivated to support fair trade so that 100% of tourist dollars go directly to the families who actually create the art.

In the next weeks, we will be preparing to return to Oaxaca through the winter holidays.  There will be Posadas and fireworks.  The ancient fife player will lead the village band in a Sousa march. Farmers will herd cattle and sheep through the streets.  The guacalotes will chortle and the donkey next door will bray at sunrise.  We will hike to the reservoir along the river through the bamboo and cactus forest, beyond us Picacho rises above the 6,000 foot plateau with a promise of a new archeological discovery.  We will eat handmade tamales con pollo y salsa Coloradito with fresh nopales, and the adventure will begin anew.

Then and Now

  • Then, blog posts were mostly prose and a few poorly executed photographs
  • There was no Wikipedia and little reference content to link to — I couldn’t make links happen with iWeb
  • I was really happy to get 30 or 40 page views a day and an occasional comment
  • Now, we get 500-600+ page views a day; our top day this year was over 1,800 page views.  That’s great for us!
  • Organizing workshops based in Oaxaca was the flicker of a dream
  • There was no financial way to support the blog writing
  • In 2010, I migrated over to a self-hosted WordPress.org website and finally figured out how to use Google ads [last year I netted a whopping $100USD using Google Adsense]
  • And, then, when we launched a diversified workshop schedule in 2010, I figured out how to use PayPal
  • Now as then, I’m still a one-person Oaxaca Cultural Navigator band, performing all instruments solo [oh, I should say, sola]
  • And, I speak much better Spanish, though it could be a whole lot better 🙂


2 responses to “Celebrating Five Years of Blog Writing: Oaxaca Cultural Navigator