Wow. Today is Feb. 25, 2017 (ed. note: this piece got pushed a week b/c I wanted to publish my Iceland essay, ‘Travel in the Age of Trump‘). Exactly one year since I was left alone and heartbroken in the Hong Kong airport. I won’t lie, it was a painful anniversary for me, personally. I’ve been writing the story of my subsequent travels in Nepal for more than six months now—much, much longer than I spent in the country, in real time.
In that time, I’ve seen the audience on thisisyouth explode— and I can’t thank you all enough for that. It’s a huge motivation for myself to keep writing when I know there are people reading it.
To be honest, if I hadn’t taken the step of publishing these entries, I would have given up on the story long ago.
For the past few months, I’ve been in a deep rut with writing. The passion and energy that fueled the start of the project has flagged. Where once I was writing weeks ahead of my posting schedule, now, as some of you have noticed, I sometimes miss days or even weeks. This coming and going of creative energy is totally natural on a long project such as this—any writer will tell you that.
It’s the ability to power through, and keep writing even when you don’t feel like it that separates the successful from the dreamers.
Because I’ve powered through, presented my work to an audience, and stayed accountable, I find myself in an odd position. It’s now been six months since I started posting these entries, and we’ve finally gotten to the trekking portion. This is what I wanted to write about initially. I never anticipated spending dozens of chapters on my relationship, in Kathmandu, and playing chess with the Malaysian. But stories tend to take on a life of their own, and each of those episodes is important in some way.
As I’ve written more and more of the trekking portion, the wider shape of the story, the experience, and the lesson are becoming clear to me. That’s deeply satisfying. That said, I am looking forward to being done telling this tale. It’s a good one, no doubt, but I’d like to move on with my life—and that’s hard to do when you are diving back into the past, daily.
But if it were easy, everyone would do it, right?
I’ve gotten emails from complete strangers telling me I’ve inspired them; I’ve had people who I haven’t spoken to in years message me to tell me they’re reading; I’ve gotten work off the strength of this project. In a lot of ways, it was easier when I didn’t think anyone was reading. But, as I said at the beginning of the post: if I didn’t have the audience, I’m sure I would have never made it this far.
My manuscript now exceeds 60,000 words. By the time I am am finished, I suspect it will surpass 80,000. I find myself in the somewhat unexpected position of having actually written a book. A first draft of one, anyways.
Guess I gotta sell it now.
Anyways. Just wanted to check in outside of the story, give you guys and gals a quick note from the author. Life’s been tumultuous, but every day I wake up happy that I started this journey with you. I look forward to seeing what sorts of other interesting places we can take our relationship!