Lessons I learned as a college grad and travel blogger
After two years of traveling and writing on a travel blog, I am proud to announce that this week I published my very first book at 23 years old
When I first launched my travel blog in August 2018, I was writing anywhere between one and two articles online per week.
Many of these were travel articles, many were self-help and personal development articles. Then I added in writing for Medium about five months later.
I had just graduated from college and I was uncertain of how to break into the world of writing and blogging — I was even more uncertain about how to navigate the adult world of life after college.
With these things in mind, I set out and simply began writing every day, every week, every month, for two years.
In short: I put in an outrageous amount of hours honing my craft, my ability to articulate myself on paper, my vocabulary and word implementation.
And today as a result I have my first book: Everywhere But Home: Life Overseas as Told by a Travel Blogger — A Memoir for College Graduates.
It’s a combination of travel, self-discovery, and a makeshift roadmap for college graduates.
In particular, I talk about the importance of putting in the leg-work behind your passion. There are far too many college graduates who simply resign to the reality of a 9–5 lifestyle and leave their passions behind them.
I tackle this exact issue in my book. Coincidentally, “putting in the leg work” was also the only way that this book could have become a reality.
I have a kinesiology degree, not writing or journalism. I knew that if I really wanted to get somewhere in the world of writing, I would have to do it on my own, and for a long while before I could even hope to make a single dollar.
I did not necessarily know it at the time, but when first I launched my blog, I had unwittingly began writing my book that was fated to launch two years down the road.
Though this is not a traditional novel, it is a compilation of travel writing that, when read together, forms a cohesive narrative. This happened organically by maintaining a consistent writing schedule and routine these past two years.
By writing regularly, I was able to formulate a narrative organically by simply recounting the events and experiences in my life as candidly as possible.
Plus, by making a habit of writing, I improved as a writer every single week.
This cannot be overstated: once your writing becomes a habit, you will see dramatic, exponential improvements in your writing no matter what skill level you are at currently.
(Really, this happens with nearly any skill you practice with consistency over a long period of time. Never underestimate the power of compounding).
Now, two years and nearly 100 published articles later, all my consistency has come to fruition.
It was not always easy to continue writing and writing, because much of my early articles and blogs would not be read by anyone other than two or three people I knew personally.
I would sit down to write for hours, hit publish, and refresh my blog stats in the hope that I could reach double-digit readers. Things continued like this for months.
I kept writing. Then gradually my blog became more and more popular.
Readers were coming to the blog because they would see I had already written 20–30 high-quality articles about worthwhile topics.
By seeing a full website full of writing done over a consistent period of time, people could appreciate that I was someone who had proven I was dedicated to writing.
If I had just decided to write a book from the very beginning, I honestly do not think it would have turned out as finely tuned as this one.
By spending these two years truly invested in the craft of writing — rather than aiming for an end goal — I was able to focus on the journey instead of the destination.
I delved into the moments immediately before me and this is what afforded room for long-term success. Publishing a book would not have been possible had I skipped over the months of having zero readership, or the many lonely and quiet hours of writing into the void that is the internet.
This is a message that college fails to teach us: you can do great, great things with whatever it is you are passionate about — it just takes work, and most of this work will go unnoticed.
The behind the scenes work that I have put in over time is what allowed for my bigger project of this book to take center stage when the time was right.
All this I could not have known beforehand of course. I did not set out to publish a book, I simply had set out to become a better writer. And that’s exactly what happened.
The book was only a consequence of me becoming a better, more disciplined writer, as well as a more passionate one. My ability to remain consistent on my travel blog and across Medium led to a full-length book only two years removed from college.
It is far easier for me now to recount these straightforward lessons after the fact. There were so many occasions where I did not want to write, I did not want to continue, I felt discouraged by the lack of readers — and yet by pushing through those times, I was able to better realize an end goal that I did not even know I was aiming for.
If you’ve just graduated from college, there is no issue with finding a job that pays well and keeps you busy from 9 to 5, five days a week. (Something’s always gotta pay the bills).
But to use that as an excuse to forget about your passions? That is inexcusable.
To achieve what you want, put in the work. This much is obvious to many, but few act it out in their own lives.
In this journey I have learned that it is impossible to tell what will happen if you put in time and effort into one single thing over and over and over again.
And the best part: you can do this for the rest of your life.
I’m only two years in and I have a book. What could you have in two, five, ten years after focusing on a single skill or task for that long?
The ceiling is limited only by the amount of work you do (or do not) put in.
Happy travels, fellow world-breakers.