I’d love to write for a living, on my own, and get paid to do so but that’s not at all how the world works. In this moment I am closer to thirty than I am twenty-five and I am clinging to the hope that I’ll be able to make something of myself. In the last year or so I’ve had the constant worry if I picked the right major and whether having a creative mind will get me anywhere. Then it hits me that, yes, I picked an English major knowing that I may not get paid handsomely for what I have to say but god damn I love writing.
I am a travel writer. Or at least I hope to be. Beautiful, mysterious, old places thrill me and send something through my bones that makes me want to write about and expose the magnificence offered in the world. Of course there’s pain and suffering but society, people, need to see a glimmer of wonder and hope. Everyone needs to experience travel, even if through words or pictures on a screen. I want the world to feel through my writing what it’s like to stand in the shadows of Notre Dame, to swim in the salt of the Mediterranean Sea, glance at the rolling hills of the Tuscan country side, and find amazement outside of ordinary lives. Living in the United States has given me the great experience of a cultural melting pot, but I crave more.
Writers like David Farley make me check plane fares and pray that travel funds fall into my lap. He wrote about a coastal town in central Vietnam – Hoi An – and the adventure in finding the secret of a special noodle dish native to the village. It wasn’t so much the dish that made me fall for this piece, but more the description of the natives and dialogue between Farley and the locals he talked to. I wanted to venture my way to Hoi An immediately and the photos I found later made me think this magical place was Asia’s equivalent to Venice but with pearly white beaches.
Within the last few years I’ve started reading more pieces of travel writing than fiction. Before my senior year of high school I truly believed I wanted to write fiction like Poe and Rowling and Chbosky. I still find myself enthralled within works of fantasy and fictitious characters, and I admire authors who brought stories to life in such ways but there’s something about stepping into a plane, car, or train that sends me into peaceful orbit. The anxiety and excitement of that new destination, exposing it through words, is what gives my life a meaning I’ve never felt before.
This might all sound cheesy and overdone but when I experienced my first trip abroad my mind exploded. Even bogged down by jet lag I felt a sense of belonging, or maybe that was the heat of an Italian summer sun, but whatever it was felt great. Whenever I’m presented with a new place I take a moment on the way from the airport to the hotel to sit and watch everything go by, see what makes this place different from the rest. No place is ever the same which makes them like new worlds to write about. I want the unknown world to abduct me into its abundance of mesmerizing beauty and let me go just long enough to make others aware of its existence.