This is a small rant. It’s needed. I have debated about writing this post for some time now.
A few years ago I was living in a very small town (small and uber religious), running a grocery store. I was stressed. The previous manager had been “invited to leave”, and I had jumped from supervisor to store manager (leaping right over the assistant manager in the process). The staff were under stress. Morale sucked, it was Thanksgiving and my assistant decided to go on Medical leave (did I mention the very small, uber religious town I was living in?).
During that time my boss would call me and tell me to stop listening to all the noise. At the time, I was angry, frustrated, tired, stressed and so many other things. I decided he was being an ass (which he was on a regular basis). It was hell. A hell that I lived through for almost a year before I finally gave up and packed it in.
It wasn’t until I left that I realised that he was right (Oh man, I hate admitting that). I was listening to the noise. I was paying attention to what everyone around me was thinking and saying instead of focusing on myself and doing what I know I can do. When I listened to the noise, I became lost and unfocused. I made mistakes. I was unhealthy and unhappy. My job became my life and my life became my job.
Fast-forward about 3 years and I’m further away from the noise I experienced in that small uber religious town. I’m living part of my dream. I’m travelling more and I’ve created this blog as an outlet.
In the beginning, it was fun, a lot of fun. I loved logging into the internet and sharing my stories and thoughts with all of you. I became mildly addicted to Twitter and started to interact with a huge group of people who were travel bloggers, like myself. At the time, it was perfection.
In the last year, my version of perfection has been slipping away. Slowly, but steadily. The noise started to creep back into my life. It started when I made the choice to fly back to Canada early to take care of some family stuff. The reaction I received was “You’re trip is over? You’re not travelling?”. That’s when the noise bought a reclining chair, set-up a big screen t.v., bought a keg of beer, ordered 10 large pizzas and made my mind its home.
I started to pay attention to all these people who were giving suggestions on what to write about on a travel blog, and what not to write about (I believe this post was in the not section). Numbers, omg everyone seemed to be talking numbers, analytics, rankings, SEO and more. My mind went from a crystal clear zen-like state to a muddy one. Panic started to set in, and things became muddy.
I started to worry that I wasn’t enough anymore. I was in Canada. I left Asia. OMG, my readers are going to bail as if this blog is the Titanic. They don’t want to read my stuff anymore. It’s going to be boring as hell.
So, I decided to bite off way more than I could chew at the time and thought of adding contributing authors. The ladies who volunteered their time, skills and thoughts were amazing. I feel so blessed to have had them working with me. However, as time progressed I became more and more distant. My blog didn’t feel like the space I had created in October 2009. The noise around me had a full grasp on me. I was trying to do and be what everyone else thought I should, and I stopped being, well, me. I even disappeared from Twitter and Facebook from time to time.
In February I went on this awesome road trip for a month. I visited 4 states, met up with friends and hung out with family. I was looking forward to sharing my trip with everyone, but when I got home, the funk set in, fast. I didn’t have the energy to do it. I felt low. I didn’t think I could write about my trip in a way that my readers would enjoy. I tried and in my eyes, I failed. In March I was still feeling the same way.
Last month things started to change. I would wake up in the morning and think of my return to Thailand in October. I felt excited, for the first time in a real long time. The noise seemed to be less intense and I became more aware of myself and my surroundings.
I looked in the mirror and decided to put on some noise cancelling headphones and take the control back. I deleted the Alexa widget on the blog, as well as the Feedburner widget. I stopped looking at analytics and I wrote my lovely ladies to thank them for their contribution and to let them know that I had decided to stop the program for now, and I removed the newsletter sign-up button.
I decided that I need to go back to when blogging was fun. I need to focus on me, my experiences and what I love about writing. I need to stop trying to be something (or someone) I’m not. Sure, my numbers will suffer, but to me, finding my crystal clear zen-like mind is more important. I’m dialing back to find the joy and when I find it, I won’t rush to be more than I am able to handle.
One of the reasons why I love to travel is because it’s all about me. It’s about my experiences. I have an amazing time because I make myself available to it. Basically, when I travel, the noise isn’t there. There is nothing distracting me. It’s just me. As selfish as that may sound, it’s a good thing. Hopefully, over time, you will agree with me.