For the first time in a long time, I feel confident in what I want to do with my life. I want to make a living by traveling and writing.
The online kingdom of articles, publications, blogs, tips and networks is both welcoming and daunting to the potential travel writer. There seem to be a billion oppurtunities and prospects, but the simple act of starting that process has become nearly paralyzing for me. I’m reading the articles, the publications, the blogs and the tips. I’ve joined the networks. I’ve started my blog. And most importantly, I’m traveling. Yet I still feel this irritating panic that I’m not taking advantage of all there is to be discovered when it comes to becoming a successful travel writer. I haven’t tweeted or commented or pitched. I jump from website to website with the dizzying frenzy of a mosquito in Thailand, tasting the flavors of a new batch of tourists. Yet like the mosquito, I’m never in any one place long enough to feel fulfilled.
My ideas are endless and my motivation is there- all consuming. But just as consuming is the idea that I should be doing more.
Today was a free day on the homestay. We didn’t have to wake up early to ride elephants or hike to a waterfall or visit the rice paddies. For the first time since I’ve been here, we had the freedom to do whatever we pleased- even nothing. I planned to take this oppurtunity to write, a lot. I wanted to accomplish something big- complete a story, find a magazine to set my sights on, hammer away at my online presence. I did none of that.
I took a walk with the rest of the group around the village where we live. I took pictures, played with puppies, bought a coke from a little store whose vendor seemed perplexed and overwhelmed by the chatty group of light-skinned, blonde-haired girls looking to spend money. I sat on the front lawn and watched the sunset and got an amazing massage while looking up at a very rare clear sky. I lived moments all day long.
When I look back at the planning of this trip, it seemed like something that would never take form. The bookings, the maps, the guide books were all just fantasies that I was paying for. They would never really happen. The thrill of the confirmation emails and receipts were almost as good as the imaginary trip that I was organizing. But it was real, and I did it. I planned to go, and I went, and now I’m here.
The same will happen for my writing. As far fetched as a trip to Southeast Asia felt from the comfort and safety of my apartment in Chicago, it materialized because I made it so. And I will make travel writing happen in the same way- step by step, never fully believing in the successful outcome that I hope lies ahead, but making progress towards it every day, all the same.
Thank you for reading my blog and being part of that process.