The Travel Dispatch

The Birth of a Blog

An Honest Account of How I Impulsively Fell Into Writing

July 2, 2014

I’ve never given blogs much thought.

Mainly because, well…I never read one in my life.

Not until a chance encounter that – minus the happily ever after – could’ve been stolen from a straight-to-DVD-released romcom starring Katherine Heigl and Ryan Reynolds.

As is almost always the case, it happened at a bar in New York City sometime between 2am and my ninth margarita. Tequila’s not my thing but its reputation as an upper appealed to me that evening because, well, as is almost always the case, it’d been one of those days. My roommate sat on the bar stool next to mine listening to me complain as someone once again spilled their drink down my back. Thanks to patrons leaning over us at the over-packed bar, this was a habitual disturbance. With a yell already curled around my tongue, I turned to confront the latest offender.

Twenty minutes later we were playing tonsil-hockey in the backseat of a taxi.

The cab dropped us off at Random Man’s West Village apartment. Four flights of stairs, a detour to his fridge for a couple beers, and another two flights of stairs later, we laid down on the cool concrete deck spanning his roof. “So Kris,” he asked, “what is it you do?”

I stared at the starless city sky, contemplating how best to answer his question.

…Well let’s see, I like to think I do a lot of things….I read good books…watch truly terrible TV…run 7 days out of the year yet still call myself a runner…cook terribly disgusting meals while pretending I’m the next iron chef…play geography quiz games online…make up music videos in my head while listening to my iPod…and occasionally I go home with complete strangers…

“I meant what do you do for a living?”

Sh*t, did I say those things out loud?

“Yes. You did.”

Double sh*t.

He chuckled before asking for a second time what I do for work.

It was a simple question that demanded a simple answer. I opened my mouth to tell him about the job I’d held the past three years, abruptly snapping it closed when I remembered the catalyst for the night’s tequila binge. Earlier that day I had impulsively quit my job. Random Man shuffled closer to me, awaiting a response I didn’t know how to give. Then it happened. My lips parted to speak, but instead of the intended sarcastic comment I’d crafted to deflect his question, out popped a 45 minute sob story about my recent struggles at work. I barely took a breath between buzzword phrases like outgrowing my position, bored and unchallenged, and needing job growth. 

The embarrassment took immediate effect after finally shutting up. Taking the ensuing silence as my cue to leave, I pulled myself into a sitting position. As I moved to stand, Random Man put his hand on my arm. “Since you no longer do anything, I guess the next question is what do you want to do?”

There it was. The question every 27 year old going through a quarter-life crisis avoids. What did I want to do? How about I have no f*cking clue. I went to express as much out loud. But, once again, word vomit wasn’t having it and something else entirely came out.

“Travel. I want to work in travel.”

When my words sailed up to reach my own ears, I was both surprised and not surprised at myself. On the one hand, I’d been so focused on my current career trajectory that working in travel never entered my mind, yet on the other hand my personal life revolved around where I was traveling too next. I’d been drunk and loose-lipped before, rambling to friends and family about my pipe dream to travel full-time and forge a career out of it. How many times had I complained ugh why can’t I just find a job that let’s me travel 24/7 to my roommate during moments of frustration over the last few years? Should I have been taking these thoughts more seriously?

I once again took to Random Man for his advice. His solution was simple, “Start a travel blog.”

My brain rejected the notion straightaway. For one, is that even a real job? And two, how many blogs about travel are already out there? It seemed as if everyone and their mother was writing about vagabonding or taking a year break.

Why would anyone care about my story? I mean, did I even have a story? I hadn’t even started traveling yet. I just got out of a job. I didn’t even have the money to travel. Besides, say I did go spend a few years traveling, aren’t thousands of sites by writers who have done exactly the same thing? Saving up and then spending a few years travelling is nothing new. People do it all the time. There’s even a group of three 20-something year old women who did just that and became famous in the travel writing world for it. What makes me so different from them? What gives me the gall and authority to write a blog about this?

Random Man disagreed with every valid point I made, arguing, “No, not everyone just up and leaves to spend a few years traveling. Besides, there’s only one you. You could do the same exact thing all those other travel writers have done, but your experience would still be different because of who you are. You have your own voice so stop making up excuses and just give blogging a try.”

Some might have called it fate or even likened it to divine intervention, but I knew it was just the booze making him my unofficial cheerleader. I left his apartment in the early morning hours, pushing all the things he said out of my head.

Yet I find myself here, a week later, writing down this story. It’s the first thing I’ve written in my life outside the odd high school book report and surprise, surprise – you’re reading it on my brand new travel blog.

I am creating this blog because I do love to travel and there is nothing more satisfying to me than spinning a non-fictional yarn about my latest travel ventures. So why not try penning these oral tales to paper?

Maybe the blog will inspire people to explore their own backyard. Or maybe it will motivate them to travel to places they never thought they’d be able to. Maybe it’ll be something mildly entertaining to read while people are bored at work. Or maybe it’ll suck and no one will care. Maybe it’ll be a way for my family and friends to keep tabs on me and make sure I’m not completely losing it. Or, more realistically, maybe they’ll realize I actually am losing it. And maybe, just maybe, it will eventually turn into a way for me to make a living.

The possibilities are endless!

UPDATE: Wow! Has it really been three years since I wrote this? How time flies! It’s so surreal rereading this piece. Shortly after I wrote The Birth of a Blog, the company I had quit ended up offering me a new promotion to keep me on. I stayed at that position for almost 4 years, always managing to keep up with the travel blog on the side. Now, I’m 4 weeks away from realizing the dream I expressed to Random Man all those years ago. I’m moving onto the road full time as a freelance travel writer. If it weren’t for this night (and of course tequila) none of this would be happening to me right now. It’s so crazy to see how far this lil ole blog of mine has taken me.