Happy Catastrophy has gone international. Like, 31 countries international. Which, is..



US, UK, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand, Israel (Hello Tel Aviv!) Germany, Finland and more…SO many wonderful new international friends!

i was jumping up and down in excitement when i got to the bottom of the list.


At first i assumed it was a misspelling of Xanadu. Because THAT i had heard of before.

Xanadu. Where dreams come true. i suppose.

Then, i remembered that Xanadu is not actually a real country but a magical mystery place in a magical mystery movie starting magically mysterious Olivia Newton John (and Gene Kelly!)  i can’t quite remember anything other than the name so i looked it up on the internets. And if you look it up on IMDb, you too will see the totality of the synopsis is this:

“The story of a girl who makes dreams come true.”

Wow. Even the description of the most forgettable movie ever made is forgettable.

But, as i suspected (eventually) Vanuatu is NOT Xanadu misspelled.

It’s actually a thing and it’s clear across the planet from the US.

In fact, once again consulting the all-knowing internets, i learn that Vanuatu is a cluster of islands, kind of northeast of Australia – kind of west of Fiji – just sort of out there in the middle of a lot of blue. It was first inhabited by the Melanesian people, but then like any beautiful idyllic paradise, it was forcibly taken over by a series of different nations and colonized  – Portuguese, Spanish, French, UK. Finally, in 1980, the Vanuatuians? Vanetians? gained independence and became the Republic of Vanuatu.

Vanuatu. NOT Xanadu.

There are several active volcanoes, which makes life interesting in paradise, but the biggest threat to the islands is humans. The islands have been heavily logged and therefore, clean water is becoming scarce. The waters near villages are becoming over-fished so food is also becoming difficult to find. And human waste isn’t being disposed of properly so.. there’s that.

Enter my good friend, the toilet-digger.

My dear, sweet friend and her husband are Christian missionaries, of the good kind. The kind that fly for days clear across the world to visit a tropical paradise with a potty problem to dig toilets and help villages get the clean water they need. Not the historical kind that went into villages and imposed Western culture, took children to re-educate as “white”  and brought illnesses that tribes had no immune systems for. Nope. i doubt any of those folks would get knee deep in the mud and dig a toilet for a village in need. My girl is DA BOMB.

My girl is also a reader of Happy Catastrophy.

So, when i ecstatically posted on Facebook that HC had gone international – even all the way to Vanuatu/Xanadu – my sweet friend posted a supportive, enthusiastic comment and then added that she had just been in Vanuatu and that she had read my blog post while she was there and wondered if Google Analytics had captured that?

Why, yes. Yes it had.

My one reader in Vanuatu, is in fact, my very American friend who lives in a nearby state and has a LOT of frequent flyer miles.

S0 – yay that my adventurous explorer friend would actually take the time to read my blog while digging toilets in the South Pacific islands!

All my new friends!! Maybe…

But wow – this brings up a really good question?

Do i have followers in 31 countries?

Or 31 followers who like to travel?

You tell me – are there any real Germans reading this? Brazilians? Fins? Vanuatuies?

and if is IS 31 dear friends who like to travel –



TAKE ME WITH YOU!!! i’ve seen pics of Vanuatu and i WANT TO GO! (see header image at the top of this page)


(And Gene Kelly on roller-skates for Xanadu’s grand finale !?! Does it get any better than this?)








  1. Before I saw the end of your post I was going to say that Xanadu had roller skating. I remember that much. Oh, and some dude was painting a mural on a wall and Olivia N-J was the chick in the mural. And all us little kids knew that Xanadu was pronounced Xanadu because we lived near Xenia, Ohio and knew that X is pronounced like Z, begging the question, why not just use a Z??? But anyway…

    I am a follower/reader who goes nowhere and my mechanic can back me up on that. He shakes his head at my 15 year old truck that just barely topped 80K this year. So I really don’t go anywhere, not even across town if I can help it.

  2. I have been following for a few weeks and am actually in Beijing, China. However, it probably won’t show up on your Analytics because I have to use a VPN to access almost any website that is outside of China since everything here is blocked. Right now, I am VPNed through Japan, so if Japan shows up in your stats, just know that I am actually in China. I just have to break a few laws in order to access your blog and that involves fooling the internet into thinking I am actually someplace else.

    Next, Xanadu is a real place. Or at least it was, It is mentioned in the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem Kublai Khan. It is in Inner Mongolia. I was there a few months ago riding horses through Kublai Khan’s summer vacation grounds.

    When I started my blog a few years ago, some mornings I would wake up surprised that I had gotten a surge of activity from Croatia in the middle of the night. Other days, I had just used a particularly relevant buzzword that drove some temporary traffic to my site for the day. It’s hard to know how some people come across our words.

    If you want some real entertainment, dig through the search terms that led people to your site.

    Latest post Chinese Lessons – 中文课

    • Thanks for following and for the great comment! i visited Beijing last year and it was hands down, the BEST vacation i’ve ever had! Love the food and the people are incredible! i know of the Kublai Khan mention but didn’t know Coleridge was referring to a real place. How cool you got to ride through there!
      Love your blog!

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