I never really told you how it all started. Let me start from the beginning.
It happened almost a decade ago. I was working at the BBC at the time and was asked to go to Glasgow for two days to deliver some workshops. It was my first business trip and I couldn’t contain my excitement. As my colleague and I landed in Scotland, I began to hastily plan how to squeeze in as much sightseeing into this short trip as humanly possible. I went sightseeing before and after work, and managed to run across town for some haggis during the lunch break, desperate to try the local food. My colleague laughed at my zeal for travel and we began to joke that one day I will write a travel guide entitled “How to see the world while on a business trip”. At that time I knew nothing about blogging, had no decent camera and never in my wildest dreams have I thought I would one day be traveling with work on fairly regular basis while writing about it on my blog.
And yet here I am. Writing, posting, slowly getting the confidence to start promoting my blog and getting into the hang of it all. But I must admit blogging has not always been easy. There’s something quite excruciating about putting yourself out there, opening your thoughts and words to scrutiny of others, letting your experiences be judged by the public. Writing a blog means letting yourself be vulnerable, getting a writers high whenever you get a message of appreciation and fighting off the nagging “I’m never going to be good enough” each time the number of entries is low. But you keep going because you remember that deep down, you’re doing it for yourself. You’re doing this so your travels leave a mark, so that there’s forever a record of the places you’ve seen and things you have felt. But there’s also another thing that makes blogging so special to me.
You see, my blog has a life of its own. The in-between trip me is quite fond of staying indoors. My idea of a perfect evening involves a cup of tea, cozy sofa and good book or an old movie. I can go an extra mile to avoid having to leave the house, bringing the need to socialise to an absolute minimum. But then there’s my blog. It cannot sit still. It needs to explore places and it forces me out of my “I’m tired, let me just stay in my room tonight” mode because it needs me to go out and take photos. And the moment I step outside, a little switch in my mind goes off and my travel-self takes over. The me that is never tired of new experiences and who is my blog’s best travel companion. Together, blog and my travel-self go hand in hand, curious about the world and eager to explore. But it wasn’t until recently that I’ve realised it.
Over these few years that I’ve been writing, I have thought many times of deleting my blog. “What’s the point” I wondered, as I struggled to find time to write on top of my already full life. I felt disappointed and overwhelmed, sometimes hating the blog for making me feel like I couldn’t just sit back and relax on a beach, that I couldn’t even fathom going to a new country without a camera. But as I was getting back from work recently, a conversation with a colleague made me realise something important. My blog has become my shield against the kind of life I refused to have. While my colleagues continued to work in the evenings or heading for dinner to the nearest restaurant or bar they could find, I was out and about, making friends with the locals and getting a taste of what living in that place was like. It was thanks to my blog that I found the motivation to step out into the cold and go sightseeing, instead of calling it a day and spending yet another evening with Netflix. There was of course nothing wrong with their choices and I know how nice it is to have a bit of a routine and down time ahead of another busy day, but I didn’t want this to become all there was. I wanted a bigger life, with more excitement and with reality that continuously forces me out of my comfort zone. I need to see things I haven’t seen before, to understand people I knew little of, in a place I never visited. Without realising, over time I became my blog and my travel-self and true-self have merged into one. Maybe it was inevitable to happen, but I doubt it. I think the older we get, the easier it becomes to pick comfort over excitement, to go with familiarity rather than novelty. But without the sense of wonder, days turn into weeks, months turn into years and before you realised, the life has passed you by.
So despite all the ups and downs of writing, the good and bad days, I am glad to have that little voice urging me to “go and explore”. I’m glad I have the blog that makes me leave the comfort behind and keeps reminding me that the joys of travel are greater than my fear of flying. A blog that reminds me how beautiful this world is. And if it can do a little bit of that for you too, if my blog can instil a tiny bit of the wanderlust in you, then it’s all been worth it.