On a year of travel, finding myself and starting again (again)

When I first started blogging in 2012 I remember reading that it was a very bad habit to write an “I am back” blog post: “No one notices when you are gone and even if they did, you would be better off just writing interesting content when you come back without announcing it” (or something along those lines).

But you see the problem is…

I am Back

I am back from almost a year of travel (more about that later).

I am back writing on this blog (I cannot believe that I did not make time to do this during the above-mentioned year of travel – but more about my excuses later).

I am back to myself in a way I haven’t been in a very, very long time.

And the internet was right: No one even noticed that I was gone.

Including me.

A Year of Travel

I want to do a little experiment and need you to be really honest.

Do you sometimes find yourself sitting at your desk dreaming of escaping to a remote island?

What do you dream of doing on that remote island? Do you imagine grabbing a surf board for a sunrise session? Or doing yoga on the beach at sunset? Do you imagine zipping through rice paddies on a scooter with the eternal summer air blowing through your hair, eating colorful breakfast bowls from coconuts and washing your dinner down with an ice cold Bintang’s every evening?

Thanks Instagram for ruining everyone’s lives. And Bali.

Now imagine doing that everyday. For months. But you don’t surf or do yoga really, you have to wear a helmet on the scooter (for safety reasons) and it’s hot, you end up paying $6 for what is effectively a smoothie in a bowl and drinking beer everyday makes you fat.

Now don’t get me wrong (because I know the internet loves to hate): Having the opportunity to travel long-term is a privilege. I am fully aware that the vast majority of people in the world will never travel – let alone for a year. I have no regrets about the trip we took BUT I want to say this:

  1. Your life is not in anyway incomplete if you cannot afford to do a long trip right now/ ever.
  2. Long-term travel is not as glamorous as Instagram would have you believe. (Also I don’t have that much time to play with my food).
  3. Not all those who wander are lost BUT if you are lost, a year of travel isn’t going to change that.

Finding Being Myself

So let me go right ahead and immediately contradict myself:

This year of travel has changed me completely.

And not at all.

Like a lot of people I know, I spent a lot of time dreaming of traveling indefinitely. (It is worth mentioning that the sample of people I know might be skewed by the fact that many of them are accountants).

I even convinced myself that I wanted to be a travel blogger. So off I went to Bali. I wore the sun hat and stared longing into the ocean, spent close to an hour laying food out on a day bed and got into a scorching bath filled with petals – all in the name of Instagram.

But somewhere along the line I put enough time and distance between myself and what I thought I should be doing to realize what I really love – about myself, about my life, about the time and the world I get to live in. And being a watered-down, copycat version of some much prettier Instagrammer was just not going to cut it.

I was (and still am) at my happiest when I am connected to a fast internet connection (YAS to fibre in Cape Town), drinking strong coffee and slaying shit. I am a Business Bear and I don’t care.

Starting Again (Again)

When I first started blogging in 2012 I knew nothing about blogging. I knew nothing about SEO or click-bait. I knew nothing about monetization strategies, or content marketing or Adwords. All I knew was that I loved writing and that I wanted to share that with people.

So here I am – starting this blog again (again). Let’s hope that – unlike the diet I have started every Monday for the past five years – this sticks. I have archived the old posts (because some of them still get good traffic from search and I haven’t quite figured out all those redirects yet).

But this is bigger than a pretty new blog design and a new focused content strategy.

And now I want to get all philosophical and shit.

Life is short. I am sure I have said this before. Regardless – that’s stating the obvious. Don’t waste it dreaming someone else’s dreams. Figure out who you are – not what you do, or what you own, or what others think of you. And never stop starting again (again).

If you got all the way to the bottom of this post you must be a fan. So please show this post some love by sharing it with someone who needs a bit of inspiration and let me know what you plan on starting again (again) in the comments below.