I have two major loves in my life (of the non-human variety). Travel and writing. Passionate, sing from the hills, chest pounding type love. The good stuff. That’s me and travel. We’ve had a thing going for over seven years now.
Out of the many many countries spanning the various continents, independent travel in Latin America is my favourite. It’s ‘my thing’. I’m good at it… awesome at it in fact (yes, note blowing of own horn). If its Latin it’s got my heart, and I’m not just talking about Ricky Martin. I could write about Independent Travel in Latin America all day, I could talk about it all day. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat up late at night in dingey hostels giving travel tips and itineraries to travellers going in the opposite direction.
In fact, a few months ago when I’d taken a night bus from Antigua to Flores in Guatemala with an awful cold and arrived at a hostel in Flores in the early hours of the morning, exhausted, full of snot and smelling disgusting, instead of sleep I sat straight down with Blake from Argentina 2 Alaska and helped him set up his blog in exchange for coffee, before they had to hit the road again… purely because I love it. I love travel, I looooooooooove Latin America, and I love sharing the knowledge. And these guys had such a great story that I just couldn’t resist sharing the little WordPress knowledge I had to get it out there…. At 6am, on 24 hours of no sleep and looking a disgusting wreck.
That is how much I love it.
So no one was more surprised than me when I stumbled upon a funk… a blogging funk. I stopped posting my posts, I stopped watermarking my photos… I just stopped. It was the beginning of the end, and I didn’t even know it.
What started my blogging funk? Well, initially I didn’t even know it was happening. I started looking at other peoples travel blogs, as you do. But I commited the ‘Oh So Terrible Blogging Sin’ and started comparing myself to others, without even realising it. The niggly little thoughts started creeping into the back of my mind like a growing shaddow. “Oh wow, that one looks pretty… mine doesn’t look that pretty”…“Oh look, that one’s got a free eBook… maybe I should have a free eBook”… “Oh, wow they have so many comments….. I don’t have that many comments… maybe nobody’s really reading mine…”
And then the startling realisation…
“Shit, maybe I am just writing for my mother…”
And so it began, the beginning of the end. My posts sat there, staring blankly at me from the drafts section of my wordpress dashboard, wondering when they would see the light of day. Procrastination set in, the soooo many other things that needed to be done in life started getting more attention, the mundane, the boring the 5 loads of laundry… they all got done… I even found that I was particularly skilled at folding t-shirts, but my wee blog sat there collecting dust. A friend emailed me asking for my packing list and an itinerary for Ecuador and instead of my usual joyful and expedient response, I put that off too. My mother started asking why the ‘slider thingy at the top’ hadn’t changed in weeks and really, how was she meant to know where on earth her daughter was if the ‘slider thingy’ never changed.
My Blogging Funk… Why hello, How very nice to meet you.
And so one morning the universe came to my aid when I received an email update from one of my favourite travel blogs, mentioning something about a ‘Problogger Conference’… in Melbourne, my home sweet home. So I had a little look. It was in two weeks time, was sold out and I wouldn’t be home in time for it anyway, so I was on my way out when my eyes stumbled upon the words ‘Virtual Ticket’… And so I hovered… and then I clicked.
To be honest I’d never heard of Problogger. Usually I write, I post, and I close the lid of the laptop. But as I searched through the site and the conference info something inside of me sparked …. A sudden realisation that I wasn’t alone, there was a whole world of people writing their own stories out there, and they were meeting up to talk about and answer all the questions that I had…
Oooooo, the flutter of excitement.
So I jumped on a virtual ticket and as October 12th rolled around, I set down my new found laundry skills. I found myself so excited that I sat up in the middle of the night in Canada just to be apart of it (yes, of course I could have done it in the morning, but at times of intense motivation, one must simply go with it).
Listening to Darren’s keynote speech “From Little Things Big Things Grow” he could have been speaking directly to me. My Blogging Funk suddenly found itself sitting in the spotlight, and slowly it began to dissipate.
So then I sat down,
… I opened my laptop
… and I read.
I read My Travel Blog. I read My Stories. I read My Adventures… And I regained my faith in my own story. In my own Extraordinary Life.
I remembered why I started writing about my travelling life in the first place… I remembered that 17 year old girl about to get on her first ever airplane to spend a year in Brazil, I remembered the 25 year old who finished uni and packed up her backpack for a year away and never came home… I remembered the questions I had, the reassurances I needed, the inspiration I was looking for… I remembered the churning of my soul each time I set out alone with my backpack into the world, a churning that comes only from a deep passion… and I remembered that I started writing this for her.
I guess you could say that as well as being a source of brilliant information, the Problogger Community has reminded me of why I began, and that I didn’t have to let my passion slide simply because I didn’t want to compete. And it inspired me to start writing again.
The Wealth of Accumulated Worldly Knowledge that’s frolicking in the space between my ears, sipping Late’s while tapping at its watch and giving me a stern look out of the corner of its eye, is finally going to get its time in the sunshine…