‘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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Plan How To Change Your Life Forever

    I’m going to talk about the way I looked at the next few years of my life, more specifically the ways I planned it all. I’m not saying that my ‘to do’ list is going to be the same as yours but I will say that there is a method you can use (exactly like I did) to see what your short (and long) term future could look be. I will say at this point that if you want to understand how I got to this point then go back and read my earlier blogs about How to earn money quick and where to begin? 

 

Now the answer to how exactly to go about planning a life different to your day-to-day routine is both the easiest question you’ve ever been asked and the most difficult. the funny thing is, we all know and we’ve all been asked it…

 

Alan Watts made a speech that i can never forget,  I’ll let you decide what to make of it…

 

(Click here to hear the speech yourself in a new window)

 

 

 

“So I always ask the question: What would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life? Well it’s so amazing as the result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say ‘Well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers’ But as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way! Another person says ‘Well I’d like to live an out-of-door’s life and ride horses.’ I said ‘You wanna teach in a riding school?’


Let’s go through with it. What do you want to do? When we finally got down to something which the individual says he really wants to do I will say to him ‘You do that! And forget the money!’ Because if you say that getting the money is the most important thing you will spend your life completely wasting your time! You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living – that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing! Which is stupid! Better to have a short life that is full of which you like doing then a long life spent in a miserable way. And after all, if you do really like what you are doing – it doesn’t really matter what it is – you can eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way of becoming the master of something, to be really with it. And then you will be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don’t worry too much, somebody is interested in everything. Anything you can be interested in, you’ll find others who are.

 

 

But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like in order to go on spending things you don’t like, doing things you don’t like and to teach our children to follow the same track. See, what we are doing is we are bringing up children and educating to live the same sort of lives we are living. In order they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to bring up their children to do the same thing. So it’s all wretch and no vomit – it never gets there! And so therefore it’s so important to consider this question

 

 

What do I desire?” 

 

 

 

 

    Upon hearing this for the first time the words struck a chord within me. I think this is true for a lot of people. His words simply make sense. What he talks about makes sense. The best thing is he is telling you that you don’t need some magic potion to be happy, you don’t need the money or the education. All you NEED is already possessed by you – the clarity of mind to sit down and think to yourself ‘what do i enjoy’



    I did just that, i thought about everything from if a university degree would make me happy, or if I wanted to become a teacher, if I loved film enough to try to make a career in that… In the end I wrote a list. I sat down and wrote a list of things I want to do. now these were not all sensible, they were not all practical and they definitely were not all going to change the world but nether-the-less I wrote down things like…



see the sunrise and sunset in the same day.

Fire a big gun

play a song on guitar

live in another country

sing in public





    My list is not finished (and may never be) but the important thing to me was I could see them. I could look at this piece of paper and see goals to head toward. You want to know how to plan a life changing future for yourself? Start by asking yourself exactly what you want in life, if you do that then it will not matter if its boring, stupid or completely insane because its YOURS. If you can write 5 things today that you would love to do tomorrow and end up doing one of them because of it then its WORTH DOING.

 

Try and prove me wrong.






    There we have it. I had the drive and passion to leave my day-to-day life. I was earning the money I needed to leave and I had a list of things I wanted. Time to take a leap of faith…