Last Updated on January 30, 2016 by Natasha Amar
I know, I know I’m a little late to the end-of-year party but after many a disappointing process of trial-and-error I’m willing to admit that I’m no good with resolutions, like most people. It makes complete sense because we’re literally given the chance to start over and make a change every single new day of our lives and yet somehow we make resolutions after wasting 365 whole days expecting that these will magically work. Somehow. So my ‘Welcome 2016’ post this year is going to be different from last year’s post- I’m not going to make any resolutions, instead I’m going to shamelessly admit all the things I realized I was terrible at as a result of failing to keep the promises I made to myself in the beginning of 2015. Some people say that acknowledging your shortcomings is a big step towards self-improvement. I don’t know about that but it sure is way easier to do than making a bunch of resolutions that you know you probably won’t fulfill anyway. So here are the things I’m ready to admit in 2016.
1. I’m a Creative. Through and through.
One of my biggest realizations in 2015 has been that I’m a 100% creative as opposed to the part-creative part-business person that I need to be to catapult the success of my blog. It was in 2015 that I realized that most successful blogs require business-like thinking with solid marketing and promotion strategies in place. Of course, it’s about the content but it’s also equally or maybe even more about marketing that content- something I’m not very good at. I admit I need to change this but considering how much I hate multi-tasking and love writing (in its purest, most unadulterated, ‘pour-your-heart-out’ and ‘it-doesn’t-matter-who-reads-it’ form), it looks like a long, slow and pretty much torturous process.
2. I Detest Being Always (Digitally) Social
There, I said it and I don’t care if it makes anyone question my skills as a blogger.
I have huge respect for bloggers and social media influencers who relentlessly post on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube at regular intervals every single day and work non-stop in building and maintaining their following on these platforms. But it’s not something I can do constantly and without exception, and just maybe, it has to do with my real-life personality of an introvert who needs some time without conversation and engagement. I’ve been told more than once that I need to appear more ‘chirpy’, ‘cheerful’ and ‘extroverted’ on social media just because I’m a blogger but those are not words anyone would use to describe me in real life, so I can’t fake being someone I’m not. Constantly updating Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram is something I find exhausting and unrealistic-considering I’m not a machine.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t post regular updates on my channels or use scheduling tools- of course I do. But I’ve always tried to ensure my social media persona is as true to who I am in real life- so you’ll never see a happy picture of me on my page on a day that I’m actually feeling like shit. And you definitely won’t see a picture of every cup of coffee, bowl of fresh fruits or ice-cream sundae that I’ll have because that’s not something I share in real-life even with friends.
In other words, if I don’t have something worthwhile to say or share, I won’t say anything.
3. I listen to my heart 99% of the time.
You know what they say about keeping the perfect balance between the heart and the mind and how it leads to better decisions? I’m pretty much incapable of asking my heart to shut up, even when my mind puts up a really strong fight. I’m not saying I completely hate this personality trait- it’s what led me to take huge risks career wise and make some bold moves which have eventually paid off. It’s also why I always speak my mind on my blog and never tone it down because who wants to be practical when you can be raw, honest and fierce?!
But, while this has worked out well so far, there’s no way of knowing it will always work and no way of knowing that things would not have worked out better if I had taken more practical decisions once in a while. This is also one of the reasons why I identify myself as a creative (because that’s all heart) and not so much as a business-minded person.
4. I’m not as brave as I’m supposed to be or sometimes seem.
A travel blogger who quit a secure job so she could set off on adventures whenever she pleases while paying for travel through freelance jobs doing what she loves- it all seems so ideal and inspiring. It sounds like the ultimate dream.
The truth is I’m not as fearless as it can sometimes seem, when it comes to both travel and an unconventional career. I routinely have sleepless nights filled with self-doubt where I lie awake in bed thinking about the articles I could write, those that I really want to write but cannot because of other better-paying projects, the magazine editors that did not respond to my queries and pitches, the things I need to do to grow my blog and audience, the next trip I want to take but cannot afford, the invoices that I have been following up on for months, and the hours I simply don’t seem to have to better my skills in writing, photography and video. With so many things running through my head, I’m often overwhelmed to the point where I simply need a time-out and it can often feel like I have no idea what the hell I’m doing.
Even while traveling, I often shy away from adventures that would drag me way out of my comfort zone (you won’t see me bungy jumping off a cliff anytime soon), taking baby steps with micro adventures instead. But I’ve chosen to allow myself to respond to my fears because they are what make me who I am- my insecurities, vulnerabilities and failures.
5. I miss the times when travel was just about travel and not about blogging.
No confessions post would be complete without me admitting that I miss when my travels were about literally getting lost in some obscure town, disconnected from social media for weeks and without a mental to-do list of photo vantage points and storylines. Back then, I wrote for myself and even though my writing or stories weren’t half as good as they are now, there was something very fulfilling about writing at my own pace and without the need to sell my stories.
That being said, I’m very grateful for how things turned out for me as a travel writer and blogger. I do what I love and get paid for it (in terms of money and travel opportunities)- so there’s nothing I would change even if it means that my travels now involve more focus and a conscious effort to dig out quality stories.
6. I like travel but I won’t be anyone’s travel planner for free.
Everyone knows there’s a job such as travel planning where people actually get paid to plan itineraries and book hotels, tours, activities and car rentals, right? That price is what people pay for the convenience of having someone else do the research and taking the pressure off them, or just for being lazy. Seeing as how I have a full time job as a travel blogger, writer and digital influencer with a lot on my mind (see point 4), I don’t get how anyone can assume that I’m super excited to spend days planning their trip unless they’re paying me for my time and expertise, or taking me along all-expenses-paid (in which case I’m totally cool by the way). Of course, I don’t mind sharing recommendations for the places I’ve been to and I’ll be happy to let others in on secret spots I’ve found but people, please don’t ask me to design your entire trip for free.
7. I don’t even like travel planning that much.
Just like the average person who travels often, I get tired of excessively planning my trips and like to have a good degree of flexibility and spontaneity because not only is it easier to travel like that but it can bring you to some completely unexpected but amazing experiences. Travel planning, beyond a certain point, completely stresses me out. I like to plan my trips in a way that leave extra time to wander off somewhere on a whim and have plenty of days of doing very little.
8. Nothing pisses me off as much as someone telling me I can’t do something.
I really do believe I can do whatever I set my heart upon and I have a hard time agreeing with anyone who thinks otherwise. I might eventually realize that I’m not good at it but that’s something I’ll accept only after I’ve tried and tried (and failed) many times. Then, I’ll just find an alternative and teach myself how to rock that instead.
9. I’ve never committed to anything as much as I have to this blog.
That’s right and I feel zero guilt in stating this because this blog has brought me to unbelievable experiences that I wouldn’t have been offered otherwise and has never once let me down when I’ve put in the work and hours. All of the effort I’ve put into it has been completely worth it and the successes that follow only add to my self-confidence and skills. It’s unexpectedly become a huge part of who I am and I’m more deeply vested in its success than I’d first imagined I’d be.
10. I think selfishness is highly underrated.
I will openly admit that I’m unapologetically selfish and I don’t like to watch life pass me by while I’m busy fulfilling my duties and responsibilities to everyone else but myself. My travels, this blog and my new career have all shaped up as a result of prioritizing my own dreams and life goals and focusing on the core of what makes me happy as an individual. I can’t think of a single reason I’d want to change that. In other news, I’m chasing another selfish life goal by traveling to Iceland soon and hopefully getting to see the Northern Lights, but more on that in another post.
There you have it, these are the things I’ve learnt about myself in 2015 and just sharing them with you makes me feel more grounded and real. I spend all of my time working in the digital space where it’s easy to get affected by everything that doesn’t stand up to the images of perfection we’re constantly fed with. Admitting this stuff gives me room to accept the things that I cannot change about myself and direct my energies to improving others in a way that won’t affect the integrity of my voice and work.
I’m curious- if I had to ask you, what did you learn about yourself in 2015? And is there something you’d like to change?
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