News flash: it’s been a while since my last blog post.
In the two months since that post was published, I’ve sat down numerous times to write and included some variation of “get it together and work on the blog” on my daily to-do list more often than not. It’s resulted in a whole lot of staring at a blank screen, wondering why I started a blog in the first place, and giving up and getting back to enjoying my trip. The reality is that I haven’t wanted to sit still long enough – or hang out in front of my computer when I could be out having new experiences – to write.
I mentioned this dilemma to a friend when I was in San Diego in May, and she advised me to write about it. It made sense, but unsurprisingly it’s hard to write about why I’m not writing when I don’t feel like writing.
In truth, I’ve struggled with the idea of abandoning the blog, the monthly videos, and my Instagram account a lot lately. Despite my few dedicated and constructive readers and followers (I truly love and appreciate you all), it sometimes feels frustratingly pointless; why sit back and think about what I’ve already done when I could be out exploring somewhere new?
When I started my trip, I knew it was a great opportunity to grow my portfolio and keeping a blog, vlog, and Instagram were great ways to share my work and keep my friends and family in the loop. I enjoyed sharing my adventures and getting wonderful feedback from you, the reader. I love writing; sitting down in an unfamiliar cafe with a latte and just tapping away at the keyboard is a happy way to spend a morning, and a nice way to take a mental break from the constant go-go-go mentality of travel.
I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way it started to feel like a chore. First it was the videos; running around experiencing my trip left little time to edit, and when the end of the month comes around I usually have a few hours of footage to cut down to my three-minute montages. It’s a little daunting when I’ve been working, hiking or playing all day to spend the evening hours on the computer, especially when I have the option to hang out with people I might never see again. While my first few videos were posted in the first week of the month, May’s wasn’t posted until June 16, and I haven’t even started a Premiere file for June’s video yet.
Slowing down with my videos made it easier to slack off with the blog posts. Ideally I’d do a post for every place I visited, but after taking a month to write about my stay at the Hare Krishna temple in Utah, which was hurriedly written and didn’t deserve or receive any of the positive feedback I’ve gotten on previous posts, I wasn’t in any hurry to sit down and write another one. Now I regret it, because just like with that post, it’s harder to write a fresh account when it’s been weeks or months since the experience itself. But as the list of places I’ve been to since the temple grew, so did my hesitance to sit down and write. It just looked like more and more work, rather than a time to sit down and reflect on my trip, to think about why I’m doing this and why I love it so much.
With Instagram… truthfully I don’t even know what I’m doing there. It should be a tool to increase my readership here, but since I wasn’t blogging, it seemed a little silly to be directing readers to months-old posts. In the last week I’ve made an effort to line up photos to post several times a week, encouraging myself to write here, even when it’s hard.
Because as uncomfortable as it can be to take a break from the experience, to say no to a late-night social activity or to stay up an extra hour to write when I’m exhausted, to stop and reflect rather than go out and do more, I know I’ll be grateful to be able to look back at these later. I know that I’ll enjoy it when I hear my friends’ and family members’ responses to my posts. Ultimately, I know that I need to shift my perspective: this isn’t work. This isn’t something I’m being forced to do, and I could quit if I wanted to.
Really it’s an opportunity to share my ideas and experiences, to learn how to be a better writer and photographer from the people who care about me enough to keep up with all of my nonsense. It’s a privilege to be on this trip and the ability to keep a record of it is a gift.
So here’s to you, dear reader, whether you’re a friend or family member who’s trying to keep track of my life or a new follower who’s joined me on this journey: I’m grateful for you, and for your encouragement to keep posting, to keep shooting, and to learn to balance experience and reflection.