As I’ve grown up a pen and paper has been the natural extension to my hand. One of my earliest memories was writing letters to my family and friends in something which now resembles an alien dialect of squiggles and curls. My Mum kept so many of my letters – from the alien dialect, to my formation of letters for the first time and beyond until now, with journals piled high in my closet or postcards from abroad. The Internet seemed to be a natural progression where I set up a Yahoo Geocities account before moving to LiveJournal, and now graduating to WordPress where I’ve begun to tap into my love of combining travel with writing. Looking back at my goals for Bitten by the Travel Bug for 2011 I feel saddened that I haven’t ticked more off my list, but there has been a big monster standing in my doorway to progress, a monster which I am yet to overcome.
Last year I attended my first travel blogging conference almost by mistake. I can’t say I’m much a fan of crowds of people, unless I’m getting lost in one in a capital city, and was freaked out by having so many people around me, when I only knew one. The people there were full of optimism and energy, and it was contagious despite being sick the entirety of the conference. I was moved and inspired by the talks and the knowledge I learnt and best of all I learnt new skills and found out tidbits of information which tantalised me to dip further into this ‘travel blogging’ world; but despite all this positivity there was one piece which shattered my happy-lah-lah experience and instilled in me a seed of doubt.
I knew I was the youngest in my group of friends but I didn’t know that I was the youngest at the conference until people bought it up. I don’t have a baby face so my age isn’t obvious but when they found out that I was twenty the reactions were mixed. Most thought it was great that someone who was on the brink of adulthood was learning from the get go how to write effective narratives, how to manage PR and seek opportunities, and I found that most people were very accommodating and willing to share there knowledge. But with the good always comes the bad.
My comfort blanket had galavanted away to test the culinary delights of the city and I was chatting with a group of people whom I’d only engaged with over Twitter. After talking about the usual where we’re from, what we write about and where we’ve been the topic had moved onto where we worked. After sharing that I was still studying whilst working the next question was, logically, my age.
“Uh.. twenty. But I turn twenty-one in April.”
The people smiled and made more comments about how it was a good start to my Journalism career to learn about blogging, to practice my writing and I actually thought. “Yes! They approve!” and began to get nice warm fuzzies, but the moment was lost soon when one person uttered one sentence which no one else paid notice too, but has haunted me each time I’ve sat down to write anything for the last ten-months.
“You’re too young to be a travel blogger.”
If someone remarks that I’m too young, is it rude for me to then retort “Well you’re too old to be a travel blogger!” (I didn’t actually do this but I’m sure was thinking it!) The beauty of our group of writers is that we can be any age and still have something to share. I’ve talked to travel bloggers who range in age from 18 to 88 and I think that’s what makes our group such an interesting one. The cohort of information spans generations of knowledge and the young teach the old and vice versa. But despite all my passionate feelings about our community I am still haunted with the negativity that one person passed on.
I’ve slowly begun to get re-synced into blogging. First it was a picture here or there, then a post but in my mind I keep questioning myself – am I good enough? I suppose the old saying “practice makes perfect” needs to be remembered in this instance. So with that in my mind I will keep perservering, slowly at first but I hope from now on to be full steam ahead.
I encourage everyone “to shoot for the moon because even if you miss you’ll land amongst the stars.” (Les Brown)
Now it’s over to you: