Passion and profession should coincide, this is what I have always believed in. I have two big passions: writing and discovering new places. And I want to tell the world how I manage to bring them together… or how I at least try to do so. Today, I’ll be sharing the lessons I’ve learned as a traveling writer.
I was born into a traditional family of a doctor and housewife (who were the best parents one could imagine). My grandparents were a great part of my life, too, and my sweetest memories are connected to them.
One of my grandfathers knew 7 languages, all of which he learned during his travels. He used to tell me stories about different countries and their cultures. My other grandfather had many maps. World maps, maps of Armenia of today and Armenia of the past. I remember him teaching my brothers and I all about the world’s history.
And we used to camp with my parents. Frankly, I am most grateful to them for this, as camping as a child made me a strong woman. Our favorite destination was one of the wild beaches of Lake Sevan. The sound of morning waves still rings in my ears.
What comes to writing, I was always hopeless book lover. I always saw the author of each book as a leader who wanted to take me somewhere new. And, in turn, I always wanted to take people to my own world. After I graduated from University, I considered doing a career in IT… but deep in my heart I always knew that was not enough for me. My heart has always been in the highlands.
Eventually, some things made me take the risk and pursue my dream: exploring every corner of my country. I am from Armenia, a small country lost in the mountains of Caucasus. The land of Noah, home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world. It may seem that traveling in 29,743 square kilometers is not a huge deal for a “real” traveler… but I wanted to be in each and every city, town, and village, I wanted to climb all the peaks and swim in each lake.
I don’t want to talk about how difficult it is to travel as a woman, I want to share how I overcame many of my own difficulties. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned as a traveling writer.
- Finance: When it comes to traveling constantly, finance is one of the major issues you have to deal with. I do earn money with freelance writing and actually, my trips make a great material for me to write about. Working remotely is a useful solution for many professionals, and nowadays companies are more open to hiring world citizens, no matter where you are located. I’m lucky enough as Armenia has strong internet coverage and I can work from almost anywhere within the country.
- Cultural obstacles: In the beginning, I thought I won’t have this problem as long as I travel in my own country… but the local mindset can be totally different from town to town and from village to village. To overcome this difficulty, you just need to know as much as you can about the place you visit and the people who live there. What may seem normal in the capital city may even offense people living in a village. The important thing is to understand that you enter into another culture, and if you want to be accepted, you should accept it first.
- Getting tired: Currently, I’m not in a very active period of traveling, but I know what it means to miss being home. Like everything else, traveling has limits. I believe each of us needs to have somewhere to come back to when we need some peace. They say you leave a piece of you everywhere you go… so you need to recharge every now and then to be ready for more.
Though there are some other difficulties that I have faced while being a traveling writer, I also want to speak about the things that changed in and around me with my decision. Here they are…
- Self-confidence: This period of life made me believe that I’m capable of much more than I thought I was. It doesn’t only concern to physical abilities, it’s more about believing in yourself. When you are in the middle of nowhere all alone, you start to concentrate more on what you can do rather than what you can’t.
- Getting more sociable: I thought I was sociable until I found myself feeling awkward to ask complete strangers for help. It was tough in the beginning, but one day I understood that the trip has no meaning to me if I don’t get acquainted with the locals. Here in Armenia, people are hospitable and you may end up getting a tasty dinner, a free ride or even a room for the night.
- Stepping out of comfort zone: Traveling itself may seem like you step out of your comfort zone, but we always try to create one around us. It’s about a decision one should make. Go to different places, try something new every time and one day you’ll find yourself craving for more.
I know this is just the beginning of my adventure as a traveling writer and I want to encourage every woman out there to travel more, to find out more, to experience more. When you start discovering how big the world is, your troubles seem to get smaller and smaller.