An explanation, thoughts, and a general yearning for something new.
I started my blog “Where My Carry-On Takes Me” during the chilly last weeks of 2015. I was a sophomore in high school, leaving everything I knew behind to travel the world. Though I had left the United States once before, on a trip to Japan which was actually the catalyst for my families decision to full-time travel, I had a limited grasp of what the world would be like outside of America. Aside from insight from my parents, or conversations about my mom’s Russian upbringing, everything I knew about the world came from a hardcover textbook of an AP history class. Or the media, which is quite possibly worse.
I remember boarding the airplane to Mexico, and thinking this is my life now. But it wasn’t until the hot tarmac of Cancun international airport came into view that this realization actually set in. We took a bus to Merida, the cultural capital of the Yucatan, that night. For hours I watched out my window, as tears blurred the scenery into a sea of foggy green. Depressing, yes. Unfair to my parents, yes. Something I never shared on the internet, also yes…
This is a photo of the girls and I outside our first apartment in Merida.
Eventually, I got over my annoying and selfish teen angst, but that’s not the point. What I am trying to show here is the fatal flaw of travel blogging. Since the beginning, every travel blog I’ve ever read has shown a perfect image of traveling. One that lacks flaws, mistakes, hardships, frustration, or tears. First, because no one wants to read about someone else’s problems, and second because social media has forced us all to put our best face forward. This mentality is the groundwork on which I built my own travel blog. At first, I loved putting together posts and talking about the coolest places I visited. Then, writing turned into a way of making money, as I sold my articles to other blogs. Though I thought it was cool to see my words published, over time they began to feel less and less like my words.
The more cliche “Why you should travel to Thailand” and “Top 10” articles I wrote, the more not just blogging, but writing began to feel like a chore. Because, the truth is, I’m quite disenchanted with the whole idea of travel blogging.
Perfectionism is just one element. Then there’s this constant demand to be selling yourself and these destinations like fresh meat at the market. I want to inspire people to travel, don’t get me wrong. Get out there. Live your most authentic and beautiful life, because you only have one! But I genuinely hope you do so because you personally feel drawn to the idea, not because of pretty pictures and upbeat word choice.
Lastly, I feel that as a person I’ve changed a lot in the past years. If 2015 was a spool of thread, the last two years have woven that thread into the colorful embroidery of a Mayan women’s dress. Travel has become less of a glamorous concept worth bragging about social media, and more my simple existence on this Earth. I’ve noticed that in the last two years I’ve labeled myself many times as a “traveler”, and I feel that this word has taken ownership of my entire life. The fact alone that I am traveling doesn’t define me. I have interests that are more than just traveling the world, and I love having conversations with people that don’t involve traveling at all. Because when I wake up in the morning I think about how I am living, not how I am traveling.
I titled my new blog “Happy World Wanderer” because this isn’t going to be a travel blog, or at least it’s not going to be only a travel blog. What I know for sure is it is going to be an organic space that better reflects who I am. And I’m excited to figure it out.
If you made it to the end of this post, thanks for reading and welcome!
Posted 11.12.17, in Montenegro