‘Writing Off the Page’ – How to use writing as a means to travel the world.

Travellers, those hippy-types, who faf around asia all year in search of ‘themselves’

Writers, those self-centered-types, who faf around the house all day in search of ‘an idea’

Travel writers, searching for an idea whilst (sometimes) finding themselves.

Three mis-conceptions I had before leaving England, picking up a pencil and boarding a one-way flight half way across the globe. I’ve found out a few things along the way, things i’d like to share. If you love to write or you love to travel hopefully I can convince you that the two can be the most wonderful combination. Here goes.

Money? that’s fiction, right?

Travel writing will never earn you enough money to live on, I had better get that in early, at best you might be able to buy a new biro once in a while! This is exceptionally true for those budding young writers out there, taking a gap year from ‘creative writing 101’ in search of a million dollar story.

If your ‘destination’ is to become ‘rich beyond your wildest dreams’ than you needn’t travel the world. In fact, you needn’t travel further than your local retail park. But what if you’re not ‘in it for the money’?

Well, that’s a start! If you’re passion is for the words and not for the cash than you’re ahead of the game.

I read a speech once made by Alan Watts. He talked about if you truly love something, eventually, you can become a master of it. And when you become a master of something you’ll be able to charge a good fee for whatever it is you do. Sounds great to me.

The secret of writing.

There are so many writers to read. So many ideas to immerse yourself into. So many hours of procrastination to be had before becoming a masterful writer. Those really want to write will always do so. But the really good writers have something in abundance which the average joe-bloggs-would-be-novelist lacks. Inspiration.

That’s it. Secrets out. So simple too! just go out and be inspired, write a best seller, and retire in the Maldives before they sink. If only that were true.

Well actually there is a source of inspiration in the world, it comes from a Vietnamese hostel at 3am. It comes from waking up hung over on a boat and having no idea where it’s headed. It comes from an Indian yogi’s 7ft of unwashed hair. It comes from going out into the big wide world and experiencing new things.

But most importantly, Inspiration comes after you learn how to say ‘yes’.

“yes, I will try juggling those! so what if they’re on fire?!”

“yes, I will go with you to find your brother. where is he again? the arctic?”

“Yes! Free-diving looks like fun. bet I can hold my breath longer!”

What’s in it for me?

As if 14 hour bus rides and dysentery wern’t enough!

You’ll find that horrible things like writers-block cease to exist, it is replaced by an overwhelming urge to share your experience with the world (whether you write it in a simple blog or shout it from the beaches of Koh Tao). Life becomes a real adventure, the never-ending search for the next great thing… to be able to tell the world ‘i found this’. Here’s what I found…

  • Opportunities are found only when we go out and search for them.
  • New experiences fuel writers (and travellers).
  • The best stories come from great adventures.

So use writing ‘for a living’ your excuse to travel the world. Use writing ‘for a living’ as an excuse to say “yes”.

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