I really didn’t need a Harvard psychologist to convince me of the fact that the only predictable thing, in life, is its unpredictability. However, as I watched Dan Gilbert’s Ted Talk, The Psychology of your Future Self the other night, I got to thinking of just how much everything about me has changed over the last decade. My interests have altered enormously, as have many (if not most) of my opinions. On everything.
Stay on the road long enough and you will also question everything. Everything your parents ever told you, teachers ever taught you, media outlets ever stated. You’ll learn that there’s no such thing as a ‘universal truth’, that everything depends on which side you ask. You’ll realize that one country’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter, that history books are written by the winners and that there are two sides to every story. It’ll finally dawn on you that, collectively, humans on this planet believe in approximately 3,000 religions, none of them better than others. Pick one, or pick none, it’s all up to you. Like it or not, you will experience the absolute best and worst of humans, best and worst of the societies we have created on earth. Eventually, you may stop feeling like you are part of one particular corner but of the whole, instead.
Although life, in general, has a way of altering everyone to some degree (call it personal growth if you will), there’s something about a travelling life which seems to speed up the process. The sheer amount of exposure to different beliefs, ways of thinking, religions, lifestyles, social classes, and political issues, will do that to a person. The constant questioning and requestioning of one’s own morals, ideas, likes and opinions are, at least for me, one of long-term travel’s most endearing aspects. I love being challenged, surprised and shocked. I love it when an experience proves me wrong, or right, or throws another curve ball which I had never even considered. It shows me how little I know, and makes me feel grateful for having that insight in the first place.
Primarily though, travel alters your perspective of yourself. Living a life with such a high degree of unpredictability affects you immensely. My life has no safety net, no constant, nothing I can grasp with both hands and rely on, and nothing I could ever take as a given. Not even myself. So instead of thinking ‘This is who I am, this is my life and this is what I like’ I now think “This is who I am, this is my life and this is what I like…today.”
So as much as I enjoyed Gilbert’s talk, I couldn’t relate to it fully. I’m not quite sure just how many people live under the impression that ‘they are who they will be’ but I know I’m not one of them.
Could I have envisaged where I’d be now, 10 years ago? Not on your life! Could I possibly envisage where I’ll be in 10 years time? aha!
My progression from woefully inexperienced tour guide to holy-s***-maybe-I’m-good-at-this tour guide, to independent traveller and, most recently, travel guide writer, is maybe not the most shocking metamorphosis known to man. But I still never envisaged it. It still caught me by surprise.
The reason I’m sharing all this with you today is because I’ve recently received an incredible job offer from one of the leading online travel companies. As opposed to all my previous clients, who wanted articles to post on their website, this one has requested articles be posted on my own website instead. I admit, I was taken aback and had to take about a week to decide.
When I first started my travel website I was adamant that no ‘work’ would ever get in the way of my ramblings. I very much wanted to keep the two sides of my life separate. But after much discussion with Chris and those close to me, who understood my conundrum, I’ve had a rethink. See how that happens?
So my dearest followers, you are going to see some random, destination-specific guides published on Laura’s Travel Tales, from now on. Although I’ll obviously be paid to write them, trust that the content of the guides will still be very much me, my experiences and my personal recommendations. These are all things I will not compromise on. I will only ever share what I believe is worth sharing.
The project is called ‘Hipmunk City Love’ and I shall include this name in the title, so you’ll know exactly which ‘part’ of my travel life you’ll be reading about. I will also include a link to my new ‘travel guide’ page on this site, for easier reference should you want to refer to it at a later stage.
I’m really quite excited at the prospect of delving into the more tourist-oriented part of my travels. Yes, I love rambling about political and social issues but sometimes, I also love sharing tips on the amazing food we’ve feasted on, or incredible places we’ve stayed. I have such a backlog of ‘eat your way through this city/country’ guides which I’ve shared with friends…it’s about time they got a proper home! 😉 Sometimes, I may also post a do-this-eat-that-and-go-see-this guide, just for the heck of it. Because, at the end of the day, it is something which I really, really enjoy. And I don’t always need to be paid to do something I enjoy 😀
I sincerely hope you also find the guides useful, interesting and fun to read, and I thank you in advance for supporting my ongoing ‘evolution’. It’s a very exciting prospect and quite an incredible opportunity to really delve into the world of travel guide writing. This is how I put food on the table and support myself, financially, and the long-term prospects are quite significant.
Oh…and rest assure that my own travel tales, of course, will always continue to flow 😉
Travel safe and prosper