There has been some online disappoval of my travel write-ups. Not the write-ups per se, or their content, but more that I write them at all. Possibly even that I travel full stop, though maybe I am taking that a little far. The view expressed was that my travel write-ups sat uncomfortably in a time when many people are struggling with the bare necessities. It wasn't said quite like that but that was the general thrust. Personally I take the view that if I dislike what I am reading I stop reading it, but if one person feels strongly enough to mention it, however bluntly, then there are likely others who will feel the same. Maybe I should not be rising to the bait but here goes.
Let me start by saying that I am not tone deaf. I appreciate that I am exceptionally lucky to be able to travel as I do, and that many people cannot and probably will never be able to. Is that a reason not to write about it, for fear that I could come across as ostentatious? I'm not a particularly showy person, but I do have a good job that allows me to travel and pursue other interests. That said it's some way from a free ride - I take it very seriously and I work pretty hard. I lost it once, wasn't my fault, and was unemployed for over two years. Travel simply stopped. When I got another job, at the same company as it happens, I started going on holiday again. Sounds fair to me. Do other people work harder than I do in more difficult jobs for less money? You bet they do. Is that fair? Maybe not. Is that a fact of life? Yes. Can I do anything about it? Not really. Am I going to preface every single post about a trip I've been on by apologising for having been able to go on it? Absolutely not.
This is just what it is. I can't be paralysed by the circumstances of other people and the times we live in. Maybe that is the definition of tone deaf? For most of my working life there has been some catastrophe or other that makes peoples lives hard, it is just constant. The fallout from Brexit, high inflation and high interest rates are just the latest ones. Is it worse than it has ever been? Old people will say no and with good reason, young people will say yes, also with good reason. I'm somewhere in between. It wears you down, how can it not? But I appreciate I'm one of the lucky ones, I've generally always had options. But to forgoe those options because I'm worried about what people might think of me? Inequality is inescapable and in my view it's getting worse. I will be at the ballot box as soon it opens in order to try and reduce inequality by getting rid of those who think that living in a tent is a lifestyle choice, but I am not going to be stymied by it. That's not me. I write what I want to write about, and nobody dictates to me what that is. I feel very strongly about this.
I'm not contracted, not paid, not conflicted in any way. Total freedom to write about what I want. Blogging is a dying medium, very few people read them and the stats back that up. So what? Have you seen me try and change with the times? No you have not. Within this slowly diminishing format it is the travel posts that gain the least response and the fewest views - I am well aware that they have the least capacity to resonate but have you seen me give up writing them because of that? No you have not. Any ideas why that is? If anyone thinks it's because I'm trying to show off they are very much mistaken. My writing isn't in a crowing style, like some gormless influencer being paid to promote the so-called high life; I write because I want to. That's all it is. I enjoy planning my trips, I enjoy going on them, I enjoy going through the photos I've taken, I enjoy looking at historic eBird lists, and I enjoy reliving them by writing them up. I hope that other people may find them useful, informative or interesting, but I don't expect it or demand it. The key words are "I" and "enjoy".
Sometimes - more often that not - I don't write at all. Mostly this is because writing is mood-related in ways that even after all this time I am unable to fully fathom. I just don't feel like it, it's not enjoyable, and so I don't do it (witness February to June this year). Periodically this changes and you cannot hold me back, which is a period I am in right now. And this is when I encounter the second impediment to writing: my life is on the whole exceptionally dull. I work as a middle manager for a multi-national firm. As mentioned above I've worked for this same company for close to 25 years now, my whole adult life more or less. I get up in the morning, spend the day in an office in London, and come home again. Often I just go straight to bed. My day, such that it was, has contained nothing of interest whatsoever, but I don't go and write a blog post about it to try and demonstrate solidarity. I just get up the next day and do the same thing again. This same job that has for years funded my lifestyle is also extremely restrictive.