Since April last year, I have moved three homes, travelled 17 destinations (and counting) and have had numerous once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Amidst all of this, I have lost a number of assignments, missed birthdays and have delayed work on my website. Sometimes, I wish I were in one place, with steady Internet to make up for the losses. That continues to be wishful thinking.

When I talk to people, they are usually in awe of this on-the-road life that I am living. Sure, it’s thrilling and envious but I spend more time trying to add numbers so that I can support myself the following month. The practicalities of this life doesn’t appeal to all those who are usually assuming how glamorous the life of a travel writer may be. Let’s be honest, my life is NOT glamorous. It is extremely challenging and every day there are hours that I spend motivating myself, because there isn’t a salary which comes at the end of the month and there definitely isn’t outsourcing that Wi-Fi bill to anyone!

Sometimes I wish I could just sit and stare.
Sometimes I wish I could just sit and stare.

Searching for a decent workplace

One of my mandatory struggle remains to find a good place from where I can work. I am not someone used to working while I am travelling but that thin line between my professional and personal life has slowly faded away over the last few months. So, no matter where I am just now, my most important question is ‘do you have free Wi-Fi here?’ (And I know fellow travellers are smiling just now.) And if they do then, I actively spend the next few minutes setting up my camp: starting my laptop, replying to mails, connecting on Social Media or drafting a quick post for the website. It is tough to come across a healthy combination of a quiet workstation, sans the stare of people (because I am working in a place where they’re socialising) and a well-connected Wi-Fi. And trust me, I’ve learnt to be grateful for being blessed only by the basics.

The search for a workstation.
The search for a suitable workstation.

Missing assignments and deadlines

Over the years, I have learnt to tame my tendencies of procrastination. And then I go ahead and become a travel writer! With a knack of travelling to those off-beat places without connectivity, I try to make my submissions before the deadline. But in situations when I’ve had work coming in which requires an immediate response, it’s gone while I’m wandering in the mountains. And since I hate missing opportunities, it takes me a lot of time to recover from that heartbreak.

Disengaged relationships

Life is too short not to be there for those dear ones who need you. While travelling, I have missed birthdays, special occasions, celebratory news and life-changing moments of family and close friends. We all know how important it is to stay connected and be a part of these celebrations (or even heart breaks.) And somehow, I hate myself for not being there. Even though I may have witnessed a surreal sunrise, it doesn’t make up for missing my mother’s birthday.

This spectacular view doesn't come easy. Neither does missing the birthday of my loved ones.
This spectacular view doesn’t come easy. Neither does missing epic moments with loved ones.

No room for single-tasking

I’m not a half-hearted worker. I like to invest in every task with my best efforts. Sometimes, when I have very limited resources, I take the quick way out and finish what I started. It doesn’t mean I write a shoddy article, but sometimes, when I want to spend more time with it and I am unable to do so. Being a natural single-tasker, I find it tough to let go of experiences without doing complete justice to it.

Nothing last forever

As a traveller, I’ve inculcated the one principle: nothing lasts forever. Farewells have become a part of my life; whether it is leaving that happy place, bidding goodbye to people who I’ve fallen in love with, that comforting figure in my bank account or to that moment I’ve wanted to etch in my heart. And often I am scared that this detachment will get the better of me.

I still find it hard to let go.
I still find it hard to let go.

This is the life I have chosen for myself and I have absolutely no regrets. I suppose the grass is always greener on the other side, but it’s always as hard to cut.

Amrita Das

I have been a travel and culture independent journalist. My bylines have appeared in many publications worldwide including National Geographic Traveller India, Lonely Planet Magazine India, The Indian Express and World Travel Magazine. A fellow of Media Ambassadors India-Germany 2019 program by Robert Bosch Stiftung and Centre for Media Competence, University of Tübingen. Currently, I am the photo editor for RoundGlass Sustain, a wildlife and conservation e-publication. I live in India.

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27 thoughts on “The Envious Life of a Travel Writer”

  1. I see a post like this, from many people, from time to time, about how difficult it is on the road, missing things, and people, important events, and so on. But there’s one thing that they all say, at the end of the post: if they had the option to make a different choice, they’d select the same as previous, and do it all over again.

    When I do my travels, I know it’s going to be hard as well. In fact, the psychological barrier will be much greater than the physical ones. But, you know what? I so can’t wait to hit them for a six!

    You, along with so many other travel bloggers, inspire me!
    Keep it up, girl! :)

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Stephen. I’m sure most of us would choose this nomadic life with all the hardships. I mean, if there is a price to pay, then I’d rather pay these that I am familiar with :) Happy RTW travels!

  2. A beautiful post. As an older traveler – with two grandchildren to boot – it is just the kind of special moments that you rue missing that hold me back. I cherish those moments with all my heart, but I can’t tell you how many times I have wished I had been born a couple of decades later. I would have likely chosen the same pasture :-) Good luck with your travels.

    1. Thank you Madhu, I truly appreciate it. I’m sure it would’ve been exciting to have you along this pasture but I cannot tell you how grateful and inspired I am by the older travellers’ community. It seems to me as if you are the flag bearers of this shift in society :)

  3. I can relate to a few things and can only say you are doing wonderful…Yes, the sacrifices have been there which you have dealt with but then just keep doing n keep inspiring.

  4. Very interesting article Amrita. I can relate to most of the aspects here. But still, we get to be the labelled as the “cool” people. So yeah, let’s bask :D We won’t have it any other way!

    1. We really won’t have it any other way. It’s the trade-off we’ve chosen, the ‘cool’ people! :D

  5. Even after all these years of a nomadic life, I identify with so much of what you’ve written. One thing is for sure though – you come to accept these challenges as part of the tradeoff, grateful to yourself for the choices you’ve made.

    And on detachment – I’ve found that it does get the better of you, and that’s not such a bad thing. It’s life.

    A wonderfully written article, Amrita. Keep going!

    1. I guess some things don’t change and some, change beyond our own imagination. I find it disturbing that the detachment may get the better of me. Having said that, I’m making decisions that I didn’t know I would-even 2 years ago. So, may be it’s not such a bad thing after all ;)

      Thanks Shivya!

  6. Agree with everything here. For me, another task is sorting, managing and editing my raw images. It takes hours…We carry our own internet dongle, but often, because of the nature of places we visit, it doesn’t work :)

    1. Absolutely! Transferring images is another task. Luckily I don’t own a DSLR, else I’d have new found reasons for more of the delayed work! I still haven’t got a convincing enough choice for the Internet. So I rely on Wi-Fi or my phone’s connection, when necessary.

      Thanks for stopping by, Param.

  7. I can relate to your post, especially about the part of missing family events. I lived abroad for many years and that was the hardest part. I still travel but I’m grateful I have a home base in my country now to host my friends and family.

    1. So glad you struck a balance. I feel it’ll be a while till I find mine. Thanks for stopping by :)

  8. I couldn’t help smiling through and through [and not just at the mention of free Wi-Fi ;) ]. I have had those moments too but there’s comfort in knowing that it wasn’t [& will not always] just be me.

    Because people like us know that we wouldn’t want to have it any other way…

  9. How I think we all sail in same boat :) My work station has happend on island in Lakshadweep and sometime going 30km just to find a wifi spot. I can relate to you.But the motivation to see “new life” and writing about “new things” motivates us :)

  10. hey, Amrita your blog is really inspiring, i travel a lot but the only problem is i have to balance between my profession and my thirst for wanderlust, because you know you need money to support yourself. I am planning to become a full time traveler but i don’t know where to start, any advice you can give., i ll be really thankful to you.

  11. Hey there…I’m not an active travel blogger but I have been writing while on the road for about a year now. I related so much to everything you said – the title was deceiving and I was relieved to see that we were on the same page. I especially related to the struggle to normalize work schedules while on the road, in transit and on opposite timezones. Not to mention meeting with clients and retaining their trust at a distance. Friends think that we’re just detached or disinterested, because when we actually are at our base it’s always a game of catch-up…you never really know what’s happening in anyone’s lives. And yet people think it’s such a breeze. I’m not complaining…I’m just saying it all comes at a cost – career, social life….sanity, at times! haha thanks for the great post.

    1. I second every word of that. It is a game of catch up eventually. It puts our social life at great risk, unfortunately. And yet, none of us are complaining but just stating the story of our lives :) Glad you liked it.

  12. Sigh. What an on point article. Off late, I have been procrastinating many a things and it is not even funny as to how much I am behind building the numbers that pay my bill. Alas, I guess, every decision has its own ups and downs. I think the trick is to keep walking. So keep going Amrita :)

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