Notes: Traveling Writer

Thom Chambers writes about the difference between being a 'travel writer' and being a 'traveling writer'. What he describes is exactly what I've been learning over the past two years.

My living experiences add to the richness and quality of my work, whatever that work may be, because I become a richer person through the experiences I gain while traveling.

Instead of being a travel writer, then, how about being a ‘traveling writer’?

Build a freedom business that allows you to make a living with words from anywhere in the world, and you’re getting the life of the travel writer no matter what your words are. You can ride the Orient Express while writing an e-course about baking. Or criss-cross America while putting together your first online magazine.

Yes, you can still write about your travels as you go. Who knows, you may even hit the big time and be the next Year in Provence. But in the meantime you’ll be able to live the lifestyle of the travel writer, whatever you’re writing.

Harder than ever to be a travel writer. Easier than ever to be a traveling writer.

The Resistance is Present

For most of my life, I've only written and shared things post-experience and post-reflection. When I started this journal, I did so with the intention of giving myself a platform from which I could share my experiences and reflections with you as they were happening. However, I gravely underestimated just how difficult that would be.

I've learned that when I'm traveling -- when I'm opening myself to new experiences and spending time in deep reflection -- it's extremely challenging to create and share from that space of exploration. Only after I've processed and reprocessed experiences, stories, and conversations do I feel comfortable sharing them.

But maybe that's my problem: maybe I'm too comfortable.

I tell myself that I'm remaining true to myself by sharing only when I'm ready to share and writing only when I feel compelled to write, but maybe I'm confusing truth with comfort and fear with patience.

One of my journal subscribers recently cancelled her subscription because she felt I wasn't publishing frequently enough. My first thought was fear-based. "What if more people start canceling? Oh, no! I should publish something immediately!" 

But then I stepped back and looked at the situation objectively.

My idea of "frequently enough" is not the same as everyone else. This particular subscriber publishes her own work far more frequently than I'm comfortable with; in fact it's too frequently for me. 

My enough is not her enough and that's okay; I shouldn't chase her enough and abandon my own (which can happen quite easily if we're operating from fear).

As I realized this, I also began asking myself if my recent low publishing frequency was really the result of 'remaining true to myself', or if I was in fact creating excuses and succumbing to fear and resistance. 

If we don't get uncomfortable on a regular basis, growth will stagnate. It's comfortable to lay down and relax on a plateau, but scaling the next mountain and climbing to the next peak should make us sweat. We need to sweat.

(Discomfort and pain are not the same thing; I don't believe pain is necessary, but all growth requires some level of discomfort because growth challenges the natural decay of things.)

At the beginning of this year I conducted a short experiment where I published to the journal every day for ten days straight. It was an uncomfortable but empowering experiment. In conclusion I surmised that I had overcome any previous resistance to publishing here. 

It's clear to me now that resistance is still very present and I have much work ahead of me; I need to get uncomfortable.


Travel Notes

I began a road trip almost two weeks ago and while I have been keeping notes on various experiences and conversations, I haven't been publishing much more than a few short thoughts.

I've always told myself that I don't like writing about travel from a travel writers perspective. "I'm not a travel writer", I would tell myself over and over. And while it's true that I don't enjoy writing long essays about travel, as a traveler I inevitably make observations as I explore and move around. 

I'm realizing now that my aversion to being called a 'travel writer' has been holding me back from recording and sharing these observations (talk about a self-limiting belief).

Starting with this road trip I'm going to start sharing my 'Travel Notes' through the Notes section. You can expect several such travel notes to arrive in your inbox tomorrow morning.