You might have noticed that my blogs have taken on a bit of a theme recently. Over the past few months I’d started to feel a bit stuck. I wanted to use my background in my writing and to me that meant working for professional services businesses.
After all, I’d spent a big chunk of my life as a solicitor. Surely those were the people I should be helping? The lawyers, accountants and financial advisers that I’d lived among for all those years. I understood them and the way their minds worked.
And yet, I wasn’t as excited about it as I used to be. I still have some fantastic clients who work in those industries, but I realised that it was the people that made it enjoyable and not just the subject.
So, I thought about who my favourite people are and what I really love doing. After a wonderful and random conversation with a photographer and a jewellery designer the truth was out. I love to travel and those are the businesses I want to write for. But why? What is it about exploring the world that excites me so much?
Travel teaches you about people
Turn on the news and you’ll hear about a world where people mistrust each other. Opinion becomes polarised. Anyone who disagrees with you must be a moron. The problem with that is the reaction it causes. When you dismiss someone with an opposing view you increase their determination to make themselves heard.
Travelling gives you the opportunity to talk to people whose lives are different from yours. I’ve talked to Texans obsessed with the royal family, TEA party activists and American Pogues fans in a single state. Differences of opinion may remain, but at least you can find out why they think that way. I’ve had insights into the American healthcare system and Thai dentistry that I would never have got at home. And no, before you ask, I didn’t need medical treatment in either country.
Meeting other travelling people
When I meet other travelling people, flashbulbs start to pop. My own enthusiasm is reflected back at me and I can feel as if I’ve found a new friend, even when it’s someone I’ve just met.
Have you ever seen somewhere you know on TV and got excited? That’s me whenever I meet another person who’s been to the same place as me. That point of reference spins off into other adventures. More places for the bucket list.
I’ve travelled alone and it’s liberating. I know that a lot of people think that they couldn’t possibly face it, but it’s easier than you think. The hardest part was eating an evening meal alone. Go into a café for a solitary lunch and no-one bats an eyelid, but sitting in a restaurant for dinner feels strange.
I started taking a notebook with me. Waiters treat you really well if they think you might be a critic.
Only a fraction of my travels have been solo adventures. Sometimes half the thrill of those holidays is being able to say “I went to Argentina on my own”.
But mostly I’m grateful for the shared experiences. The opportunity to say “remember when…” to my family. Like the time my husband and I felt as if we were cheating by going into an Irish pub on our first night in Bangkok. By the second night we’d realised that was the best choice; the air was cleaner in there than anywhere else in the city.
So, I’m going to start sharing some of my travel adventures along with the usual stuff. Leave me a comment if you’d like to tell me a story of your own.
If you’d like to find out about having your own solo adventure, you can read my ‘Urban Fox’ article on the subject here.