Here I am: Sastrugi is 5

The other day I was looking for a post, and I kept go back, and back, and back, to 2013, May the Second, the day when I searched up “writing blogs”, created a site, came up with a weird name, and put some words on a file. Feeling pleased with myself, I thought I’m a blogger. My very good friend, Dave King said to me at footy later that week “That’s great you are writing, but you know to be a blogger, you need to keep writing” Oh.

But, somehow over the past five years, I’ve managed to keep writing. 150 posts worth. 5838 people have stopped by, and had a look at 13, 554 different pages. Of course, many probably searched for “What does sastrugi mean” and end up here. Somehow, I’ve managed to conjure up 112,000 words on weird and wacky range of topics. 110 people are subscribers, but many more come through other channels.

Of course, it hasn’t been consistent. As  I’ve recently written, there were times I didn’t feel like writing, or had nothing to say, or had no energy. But then there are days I wake and think, I have to write something on that. It’s also been quite cathartic, particularly in the early days.

Looking back on that first post, and my reasons for starting the blog, have we stopped relearning the same things over and over again. I don’t think so. Are there no thinkers in the industry. No, there are plenty. Are we all white middle aged, middle class overweight men? No, the diversity of my colleagues is fabulous. Certainly the sector is deepening, and diversifying, and through this maturing.

Sometimes I’ve written what I think is a cracker of a post, only for a handful of diehard readers (I’m looking at you, Dudley) to read it. Others, like the last post, which was a book review, has been my best ever! Go figure.

I hope into the next five years, the blog becomes a bit of a road map, a sign post to the fabulous things that are happening in our work. I’ll still try to put my take on it, of course. And naturally, there will be music :). In the end, the future will be challenging for us, with the pace of change and increase in risk extraordinary.We need to adapt, and we don’t have the time to start from scratch each time.

To do this, to keep it fresh, you need support. As I have been pushing for the past decade or so, connection is the key, and I am most fortunate to be connected to an extraordinary circle of people. I couldn’t do this without Hanna, Emily, Amy and Archie the Wonderdog, who give me a reason for being, my siblings, Maureen, Mary and Owen, they have always been there, the Brothers Bang, who keep me somewhat young, my friends near and far, and my colleagues, who tolerate my idiosyncrasies. And of course, you, the reader.

This blog is dedicated to those that have been through disaster, to give them voice, from which we gain wisdom, so the future can be positive.

6 thoughts on “Here I am: Sastrugi is 5

  1. Congratulations, John. That’s a sustained effort and a huge contribution. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, wonderings, and personal experiences so freely. Has John Handmer officially agreed with your definition of Sastrugi yet? #geographerbattles


  2. Dear John/Sastrugi

    Happy Fifth birthday! Amazing effort (and resource). Time flies very fast.

    Sophie x

    Sophie Cunningham +1 424 2301958 Adjunct Professor of RMIT University (non/fiction Lab), in the School Media and Communication in the College of Design and Social Context



  3. Hi John, I don’t often write but I am definitely reading and really enjoying your posts. They offer lots of insight, reflection and learning for us all. I am one of the lucky ones who had the chance to work with you when I started out in this work. I learnt so much during that time. I still talk about the days when we were the team of four and you, AC and Sal introduced me to the world of emergency management and REDiPlan. Since leaving the RC crew, I am just really glad that the learning and wisdom can still be shared, I really appreciate it. It helps to instill some of my thinking, make sense of our work and keep learning from someone I respect and admire. Thanks John!

    Liked by 1 person

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