I’ve been having a lot of fun wandering around Europe over the past couple of months with nothing but my gnome and my camera. I’ve revisited some of my favorite places and seen a long list of new ones. My love for travel now is more impassioned than ever, but what I didn’t expect from my journey was this wealth of inspiration that would fuel my writing.
I started this travel blog sometime in February of this year. I spent almost as much time trying to come up with writing ideas as I did writing. And since I was also working, that barely left me any time to actually produce something.
When I went to Belgium in May, I realized that suddenly, I could barely keep up with my writing ideas. Every experience, every meal, every conversation was a source of inspiration. I also realized, that no matter how busy you are, when you really want to do something, you make time for it. I would spend entire train rides writing one or two posts. I would stay up to write, even when we had an early morning the next day. I would squeeze 700 words into the 20 minutes it took my friend to shower before we went out to dinner. I found the time, because I had all these ideas itching to come out.
When I arrived in Prague, where I decided I would settle, I did what you’re supposed to do. I went on half a dozen job interviews. And to my dismay, I kept the getting the job. The first night I had an offer letter sitting in my inbox, I spent eight solid hours writing. And it was then that I realized, I really wasn’t interested in working; I wanted to keep writing. Especially now that I had a flood of inspiration outside my doorstep.
So I put all my job offers on hold, under the pretext that I don’t have a working visa yet. And I kept writing. For the past month, I peek out from under my eye mask every day at 10 or 11 in the morning, like the Holly Golightly of Central Europe. I crank up my laptop either in my apartment or in some coffee shop around the corner and I spend all day working on whatever I want. I stay up until the wee hours making edits and rewriting. I’m not making any money, but I don’t care, because I’m making so much more. And I’ve never been happier.
At some point, my travel blog posts started to take a backseat to another personal writing project. A short story slowly turned into a novella and that novella has quickly turned into a novel. Because try as you might, you can’t take the ambition out of the girl. And if the past couple of months of travel has taught me anything, it’s that you should always follow your passion, even if that takes you somewhere unplanned.
At the end of the month, I’ll be moving out of this cozy little apartment that has become my home. It has witnessed all my dedication, all my hard work, all my frustrations, and all my tiny literary triumphs. I feel like a caveman scrawling paragraphs and dialogue on the walls of this place. And as those things happen, my context has bled into my writing. All my scenes come to life with the backdrop of the purple Prague sunset outside my window. My most biting lines come when I’m trying to drown out the obnoxious 10-minute bells of the church behind my apartment.
I’m not a very superstitious person, but a little part of me worries that when I move out of here, my brilliant story will lose its luster. So I’m spending some time splattering the walls of this apartment with it; that’s all what I want to do right now. Because to quote one of my dear friends, “You’ve already spent a month and half doing whatever the fuck you want, why stop now?” And right now, writing this sounds a hell of a lot more interesting than teaching English to Czech businessmen.
I still have plenty of travel tales and tips to impart, and they’re all waiting in line for me to finish. I’ll be back soon enough to tell you all about how to enjoy Paris like a local and where to get your groceries in Prague. But until then, I’ll leave you with this: The rush of travel is exhilarating and exciting, but sometimes the best inspiration comes when you hit pause and stay in one place.