The seeing comes before the writing

June 15, 2012 in Career,Life,Philosophy,Travel

I always seem to be going on “my last big trip.” Nice was supposed to be six months of French and fun. Australia was a chance for international work experience. And then, well, Southeast Asia was so close and cheap that I couldn’t pass it up. My parents have deemed this my “gap summer,’ a not-so-subtle reminder that grown-ups are not meant to cavort around France, sail through Croatia and road trip across the USA.

Regarde le ciel look at the sky graffiti in Paris, France

I remember going out with my two best high school friends right after our college graduations: one was teaching middle school science in inner-city Boston, one was getting her masters in social work, and I was working in public relations. Nothing’s changed, we joked—they’re still helping people and I’m still worried about image.

The reality is I have friends who are changing the world while I am simply seeing it. I have friends who are entrepreneurs and inventors, teachers and social workers, nurses and doctors. I am savoring a pain au chocolat in Paris, lying on the beach in Croatia, peering at graffiti from behind a viewfinder.

Flowers and blue skies in Zagreb, Croatia

My lifestyle—which some deem inspirational, others presume spoiled—is the ultimate expression of today’s exalted narcissism. In a world where every person is a brand, every Facebook page and online dating profile an advertisement: all I do is pitch myself as an influencer. And in a world where travel is easier (and more complicated) than ever, I spend my days researching flights online, separating my liquids for security, checking in to airports.

Am I making a difference, I wonder? I like to think that this blog, this public airing of my thoughts, my experiences, my triumphs and failures will serve as some sort of record of my life—that my little slice of the internet will always be around to remind my great-grandchildren that yes, I did something. I like to think that I’ve inspired people to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do: a month in Costa Rica, a move to Australia. But what if that doing is simply an end in itself?

Paint splatters on a building in the Marais, Paris, France

I joked with an artist recently about the creative need to be self-involved: however, it’s true. We can burrow into a world in which everything is an inspiration for us, in which all we need to do is create. We hope that others find inspiration in our stories, in our work—but the creation, that’s the essential bit to us.

So I suppose I’ll keep seeing, keep my eyes open to the little bits that others might rush by on their way to change the world: the flower blooming, the graffiti heart, the last rays of sunshine. It might not change much, but at least it’ll keep me creating.

  • LostInCheeseland

    Everyone makes their mark in a different way! You might have changed the world for a reader who mustered the courage to travel or leave the country first the time. Those little differences matter and in the end, our lives should be about enjoying ourselves and that’s exactly what you’re doing. 

  • AliciaC

    You’ve made your mark on me! By opening my thoughts to traveling alone now that I’m divorced. I appreciate your posts and am inspired!

  • Expertly said. Just keep on doing what you love and the hell w/the rest

  • Briel79

    I think you make a difference for sure! You make people excited about travel and open up their eyes about all of the wonderful things that there are to see in the world. As long as you are happy you should keep on doing what you love! 

  • Life is about doing what makes you happy…and so as long as traveling makes you happy, I think you’re right where you’re supposed to be! 🙂 Don’t worry about what other people thing–you’re clearly good at what you do and you’re celebrating your own successes along the way. 

  • I had a similar feeling when I was working for that tv show in Singapore — I was just trying to sell some other companies’ image and felt like a corporate mouthpiece. So I quit and went traveling for the rest of the year! I’ll echo what everyone else has said: never feel bad about something that makes you happy.

  • I keep saying I’m going to slow down on the traveling but then a new opportunity comes up and I can never say no.

  • What you’re doing does make a difference! Effective travel writing not only has the power to inspire people, but also transform them into open-minded global citizens. And even if all it does is put a smile on someone’s face, that’s something to be proud of. 

  • Riana Autumn

    Made a difference for me! I’m travelling through Europe by myself right now, partially because of you! I’m also a writer and travel enthusiast so when it came to female solo-travel, you were definitely one of my inspirations. From making the decision to skip the expensive and potentially unsafe nights out drinking to instead wake up early and hit the city, to knowing I have no excuse for not carrying a purse while travelling, your blog – and I guess your travelling life – has really inspired me! I see travel differently and I see a different life for myself. Thank you! 

  • LOVE it. That’s the way I am too. 

    Red Hot Chili Peppers in Holland with a best friend? I couldn’t say no to that (I leave sat)..

  • camorose

    Thanks for the kind words Lindsey! Can’t wait to catch up in real life 🙂

  • Senoritahall

    Reading your post made me feel like I was reading about my life last year. I took the year off from working and used that time to travel and see the world. It was truly an amazing year. Though I absolutely loved my experience and was impacted in my experiences like I have never been before, I did miss teaching and the security that came with my job. Fortunately, as a teacher, there are enough breaks in the year that I feel spoiled and blessed at the same time that I can keep working and travel during my time off.

    Keep on traveling and enjoying that lifestyle as long as you can!! I look forward to seeing more posts on your travels. You can see my posts on my travels here:

    http://www.ladyonaroof.com/

  • camorose

    One of my favorite quotes is “Do your best, and then to hell with it.” Thanks for reminding me of it!

  • camorose

    Aww thanks for this comment, and all the sweet comments and “likes” that you give–always much appreciated 🙂

  • camorose

    Thanks so much for the kind words and for all of your supportive and positive comments along the way–always so much appreciated!

  • camorose

    Can definitely relate–felt that way much of the time working in PR! Such a love-hate relationship with working in marketing/PR–love it if I believe in the company, but hate it if I feel like I’m not contributing anything to the world. Thanks for the kind words lovely!

  • camorose

    That’s exactly how I felt about my summer plans! I’m ready for a bit of a break, but I just had so many awesome opportunities to travel–and with friends! Couldn’t say no.

  • camorose

    Wow–that’s so well-said! Haven’t thought about all of those effects, very inspiring!

  • camorose

    Oh my gosh that it is SO amazing to hear–I particularly like that you’re carrying a purse 🙂 So glad that you’re traveling and enjoying Europe, have the most amazing trip!

  • camorose

    Ha! So fun! Not being able to say no to friends is pretty much why I’m in Croatia now and doing a USA road trip this summer–can’t pass up these opportunities when they arise!

  • camorose

    I’m definitely getting ready for a break from traveling–but until then, absolutely need to enjoy this lifestyle 🙂

  • Tell me about it…spur of the moment trips are the best

  • You have the mind of an artist. I felt the same way about my own value, I was living vicariously through people in real life as I experienced their lifestyle and journey (what I call “Ego tripping”). But what about my own path?

    I realised that it reflected my passion for Documentaries. Learning what other people go through made me find myself. Its what you’re doing on this blog, detailing your experience and finding that we’re all connected by similar thoughts, hopes and dreams.

    The “changing the world” is an interesting one isn’t it, a search for immortality maybe? All these thoughts lead back to a sense of selfishness when it should really be the opposite. Keep Calm and Carry On. Haha

  • camorose

    That’s a really great point–and yes, I suppose it all really is a bit of a search for immortality. Great insight, thanks for sharing!

  • “I always seem to be going on ‘my last big trip.'”

    I don’t think there will ever be a “last” big trip for me, or for you. The travel bug is here to stay 🙂

  • eriksmithdotcom

    Everyone needs a creative outlet. The truly self-centered stop having the ability to anaalize themselves the way you just have. Keep doing what makes you happy.

  • camorose

    I think I’ll always be traveling–but I’m definitely looking forward to setting up a home base soon 🙂

  • camorose

    That’s a lovely point–thanks for sharing 🙂

  • I think you are making your impact by teaching people about travel.  You are also an entrepreneur because you are running this website and hopefully making some money from it.  Keep doing what you enjoy and don’t worry about not having a traditional career…They are not that much fun anyways.

  • camorose

    Thanks for your support–much appreciated 🙂

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