An Honest Account of How I Impulsively Fell Into Writing
July 2, 2014
I’ve never given blogs much thought.
Mainly because, well…I never read one in my life.
Not until a chance encounter that – minus the happily ever after – could’ve been stolen from a straight-to-DVD-released romcom starring Katherine Heigl and Ryan Reynolds.
It happened at a bar in New York City, sometime between 2am and my ninth margarita. Tequila’s not my thing but its reputation as an upper appealed to me that evening because, well, it’d been one of those days. My roommate sat on the barstool next to me listening to me complain as someone once again spilled their drink down my back. Thanks to patrons leaning over us to extract their poison of choice from the over-packed bar, this was a habitual disturbance. I turned to yell at the offender. Twenty minutes later we were playing tonsil-hockey in the back of a cab.
What can I say? Verbal sparring has that effect on me.
The cabbie dropped Random Sexy Stranger and I off at his West Village apartment. After walking up 4 flights of stairs, we grabbed a couple beers from his fridge and took the remaining two flights up to the roof. Laying down on the cool concrete deck, he asked the typical I just met you and know nothing about you question of “What do you do?”.
I stared at the starless city sky, contemplating his question.
Well let’s see, I like to think I do a lot of things.I read good books, watch truly terrible TV shows, run 7 months out of the year, cook decently appetizing meals while pretending I’m the next iron chef, play weirdly addictive geography quiz games online, make up music videos in my head while listening to my iPod on the way to the subway station, and occasionally I go home with a complete stranger. These thoughts swam through my head but having been asked this question a million times since moving to Manhattan three and half years ago, I knew he really meant something more along the lines of ‘what do you do for a living?’
Seeing as I have had the same job for the past 3 years, this question had a very simple answer. Or at least it did until I remembered that just the day before, I somewhat impulsively quit my job.
It was about that time of night (actually morning I guess), where the rambling idiot my mouth seems to become after a night of heavy drinking, spills my whole work-life sob story. I’m pretty sure my mouth kept talking for a full 45 minutes without this poor guy being able to get a word in edgewise (which probably explains why I haven’t seen him since).
After my long and harrowing soliloquy about outgrowing my position, not much job growth, bored and unchallenged in my role, blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH – I finally paused long enough for the question I knew was coming next – “So what do you want to do?”
There it was. The dreaded question every 27 year old having a quarter-life crisis hates. What did I want to do? Internally, every fiber of my being was screaming I HAVE NO F****** IDEA. But when I went to express this out loud something else entirely came out – “Travel. That’s what I really want to do.”
When my words sailed up and reached my ears, I wasn’t surprised at all that that’s what had come out. After all, I was already in the midst of saving up enough to take a few years off to travel although I was still 2 years or more from wheels up.
But let’s face it, nothing is definite and anything could happen. For all I knew, the subsequent 2 years could see me and Random Sexy Stranger fall in love, get married, move to the suburbs of Manhattan (ewwww) and start working on making a brood of obnoxious yet incredibly attractive children.
Safe to say this has not happened but you get my point.
How does all this tie in to blogging? Well, my mouth decided to go on another rambling tangent about how I wish I could just travel full time and never settle in one place and how I wish I could find a job that allows me to do that 24/7 for the rest of my life (am I really asking that much?). His solution was simple “So, start a travel blog.”
Such an easy answer but my brain rejected the notion straightaway and my mouth told him all the reasons why. For one, it’s really not a lucrative money-making business. For two, how unoriginal. I mean do you know how many blogs about travel are out there? It seems like everyone under the sun is writing about ‘vagabonding’ or ‘taking a year break’ or ‘budgeting and packing for the long-term trip’.
Why would anyone care about my story? I’ve read several books and sites by writers who have done exactly what I’m doing. To me, saving up and then spending a few years travelling is nothing new. People do it all the time. There’s even a group of three 20-something year old women who did just that and became famous in the travel writing world for it. What makes me so different from them? What gives me the gall and authority to write a blog about this?
These thoughts were adamantly vocalized but Random Sexy Stranger disagreed with every valid point I made (and yes I still think they’re legit opinions). “Not everyone just up and leaves to spend a few years travelling,” he said. He thought it was interesting and unique and I guess he had a point that no, not everyone would do that. Surprisingly, he kept pushing and pushing saying “yes, you can make a living being a travel blogger. Stop making excuses and think of a way to make this work.”
It was sort of odd that this virtual stranger should come into my life right after I quit my job and start insisting that I go after my true passion and come up with a way to make travelling my full time job. Some might call it fate or divine intervention but I still insist it was just the magic elixir of booze that was making him my unofficial cheerleader.
Whatever the reason, I find myself a week later sitting down and writing my story (probably not the best time to mention I’ve never actually written anything in my whole life minus the occasional book report in high school).
In the end did I decide to write this blog to make a quick buck and become famous? Absolutely not. Despite what it may seem like based on the above dialogue, I don’t have impossible delusions of grandeur. I consider myself a fairly reasonable (if at times idealistic) person and am perfectly aware that travel blogging is no easy task.
A successful blog isn’t an automatic given and there are very few renowned professional travel bloggers compared to the sheer amount of bloggers in the online cosmos. I know it takes time, dedication, and a tremendous amount of hard work. Even with all that you may never have a prominent and well-known blog.
I am creating this blog simply because I love to travel and there is nothing more satisfying to me than spinning a non-fictional yarn about my latest travel ventures.
So why not try penning it to paper?
Maybe it will inspire people to explore their own backyard. Maybe it will motivate them to travel to places they never thought they’d be able to. Maybe it’ll be something mildly entertaining to read while people are bored at work. Maybe it’ll suck and no one will care. Maybe it’ll be a way for my family and friends to keep tabs on me and make sure I’m not completely losing it. Maybe they’ll realize I actually am losing it. Maybe it will eventually turn into a way for me to make a living.
The possibilities are endless!