Today is the one-year anniversary of Traveling Savage. It’s also my first weekday back in the States after a month in Argentina. The light doesn’t last long here, the snows are high, and I’ve managed to catch my first cold of the season – sounds like the perfect recipe for a little reflection and crystal ball-gazing.
I’d had years of quiet desperation. I was unfulfilled, stagnant, and successful in my corporate office job. This is one of the more sinister combinations of inner turmoil because, despite its presence, life still works and can be, in fact, comfortable. But somewhere along the road I’d left passion in the ashes.
Travel and writing. I realize, now, that I prevented myself from acknowledging these as my passions because I couldn’t see how they could be a legitimate career. So I spent weeks researching the possibilities. Countless Web sites and e-books provided the path to making a living off of a travel blog; this information sated my practical skepticism and I launched forward. Creating Traveling Savage was a rejection of those desperate years.
Since then, it has been a year of rehabilitation. My creative writing muscles atrophied in the long coma of office work, and the initial months of Traveling Savage represented my attempts to “move my legs,” to see if I could walk in this blog world, to see what I was capable of producing. And what about my voice? I knew I had something to say, I just didn’t know how it would sound. I scattered my words in the void and didn’t worry if anyone was reading them. As a beginning blogger, there’s a certain amount of delusion you’re okay with feeding yourself.
The more I wrote and read other travel blogs, the clearer my vision became. I realized that I valued cultural experiences and the personal growth that comes from traveling. I devised a travel plan that balanced my time abroad digging into cultures with time at home with my wife. While I waited for my departure date, I blogged about the philosophical side of travel and networked with the great travel blogging community.
And then I quit my job and spent a month in Argentina (more on this in future posts).
So what does the future hold? I’ve completed my first trip and stuck to all of my plans as outlined here, on this blog. Argentina provided me with ample time to ponder how I want to spend my time with this venture. After all, these travels of mine aren’t a vacation or a career break. They are a career build.
Given that, thoughts must ultimately turn to ways of making money. While I was originally seduced by the idea of selling massive amounts of advertising, writing for backlinks in article collectives, and creating link farms, I realized one sunny day in Salta that that type of work is neither what I want to do nor what I’m particularly good at. This doesn’t mean I won’t engage, to some degree, in these activities, just that given finite time and energy I will direct the bulk of my efforts elsewhere – to the craft of writing travel narratives.
I quit a lucrative job to do something I love. What kind of decision would I be making to throw myself into an unhappy grind for half of what I used to earn? A bad decision, that’s the kind.
The future Traveling Savage will be a lot like the old one, filled with thought-provoking essays on the nature of travel, sensory-laced travel narratives, and the occasional nuts-and-bolts logistical update and tip. In addition, you might see some experimental long-form essays as I use Traveling Savage as a portfolio of my work and as I spend more time writing for other outlets such as magazines. My ban on guest posts and sponsored posts will continue.
On the travel front, I’m continuing with my plans for one month at a time in destinations around the world. I’m currently in the process of choosing my next destination!
Is this a harder road toward financial sustainability? I don’t know; is there even a road here? Media outlets certainly are not short on publishable content. But if I’m going to give up financial stability to do something I love, then I’m going to do something I love. And you’ll hear it in my voice.
What do you think about my choices? Is there something you’d like to see more of on Traveling Savage? Less? Tell me in the comments!