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September 23, 2021

What does it mean to be a Writer?

 

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Writing a book was never my dream, but maybe it was my destiny.

I am not a writer but I have written a book.

So does that now mean that I am a writer?

In the crazy world where believing anything is possible, following the signs, taking the leap of faith, and then transcribing years’ worth of stories from my head into my laptop, sounds like I might be a writer.

Let’s piece this together.

For a couple of years now, I would ask myself, “Why am I traveling the world?” Just for all the fun and wildness or is there more to this?

Most of my travel tales stay in my head. Most of the experiences I have been lucky to encounter are all mine, ready to be recalled from the archive—my mind—when I need a moment of reflection. They are a gentle reminder of how wonderful this planet is. Of how life is truly a gift if we are lucky to have explored it as I have.

But unless someone has traveled to the same place, no one wants to hear your travel tales. They can’t relate to what you have experienced. The experiences you are trying to explain make little sense, or that was what I told myself. The key to my travel stories and words are locked away as memories.

As you return from each trip, your family, friends, and work colleagues ask “So, how was it?”

You ponder on how to respond.

You want to give them the key to unlock your mind and let them in. You want to give them a tour of the ripple effect that has occurred deep inside you as your mind slowly adjusts from all the adventures, experiences, and insights discovered on your latest holiday.

I dated someone when I first embarked on a four-month trip to South America. He never truly understood my need to explore and be curious. Ultimately, the relationship ended. He would refer to a trip that changed me so deeply as a “holiday.” Holidays are relaxing; travelling to South America is not relaxing. It is wild, passionate, and alive. It is everything I crave from life. Holidays are nice; my travel trips are epic.

Each trip feeds my curiosity and brings hope. It fills my imagination with possibility and wonder. It opens my mind to a new level and fills my soul so deeply with a fire that burns bright. It fills me with a passion fed with exotic smells, local tastes—some of which you will never encounter again. It fills me with encounters that are so wild they can make you halt at any moment and giggle as your mind goes back to that place, locked away in your travel memory archive.

For years, people would ask me, “Why don’t you blog about your travels?”

I would shrug and think to myself, “No one actually cares about my breakfast croissant or how I just made the Bologna to Rimini train.” Who cares that I sat and ate an arancini ball with the locals in Bari? I never had the time, and well, I wasn’t a writer—at least, that was what I told myself.

My narrative playing on repeat, “You are not a writer. People like you don’t write. Writers write.”

I worked in Information Technology as a business analyst, predictable after receiving a degree in Computer Science. My destiny was mapped out for me. It was less about spelling and grammar, and more about excel spreadsheets and helping large organisations work out solutions for their problems or improve processes. It was a technical role, one that provided the funds to allow me to travel and explore—free as a bird.

But it was nothing romantic or dreamy like being a writer, a secret power only the special ones possess.

I get it. Writing could be an escape from your day job. But not for me. I don’t think I had written since high school. Even then, I can’t recall actually writing anything meaningful—or anything really. I never even journaled in life or during my travels. I wasn’t a keeper of words on a notebook, I never saw the point of capturing my travels in word form. Photos yes, but not words.

I am a scribbler. I make notes—lots of them. I make lists, post-it notes, notebooks, plans, destinations, movies to watch, books to read. But nothing of substance.

So how did I become a creative—someone who might write a book?

It was the year 2020, and we suddenly found ourselves with time—lots of time. It seemed too good an opportunity not to sit back and ponder on what would happen if I wrote the words that were in my mind. From traveling to 90 countries, I believed my words, once shared, could inspire someone else to be brave and bold. To step out of their comfort zone to a world full of awesomeness.

I have an active imagination. I let my mind wander and daydream.

I love to recall previous trips during my regular runs or when I am cycling out in nature. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I now became a cyclist. Nature feeds the creative soul.

I smile, giggle, and ponder on what I did on various days in a random country. Sometimes recently, and other times in the past while recalling from my memory archive. Some memories are easy to recall, others take time—like you are dragging them up from the pit of your day-to-day life.

I like to look through my photos and videos. Memories are little gems that we should regularly bring out and gleam, and make them shiny again. We must allow ourselves to feel all the emotions that come with them, or else, what was the point? We bury so much and don’t even realise the impact it has on our lives and possibly others, too.

These memories, some hidden so deep in my subconscious, have reprogrammed me. They have brought great joy and a worldwide perspective to my life. They delivered humbling experiences. They have thrilled, frustrated, and bewildered me.

They are my evidence that we can do hard things. They provided hope and optimism in gloomy times. They are all mine.

That is until 2020 when I heard the whisper, “Be a writer—write a book.”

My response was, “Am I a writer?” But only we stop ourselves from achieving what we were put on earth to achieve and become.

Did I become a writer in 2021? Yes. I wrote a book that is soon to be published. Am I a writer? The answer to that is for another article, as I first have to grapple with my imposter syndrome.

 

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