Who knew there were so many things to consider when blogging on the road. What do I write? How in-depth do I go? How much hindsight do I need? How much of an effort do I make to find wifi? These questions and more swirl around my head, contaminating my mind, frustrating me.
Arriving in Mumbai almost four weeks ago was a definite sensory overload. For me it was mainly the heat and the noise. Coming from tourist-haven Barcelona, I felt like I was prepared for the amount of people, but the incessant honking combined with the heat was headache material. I was probably adding to the sensory overload by trying to figure out how I would filter through all the mental and photographic images, the encounters and experiences.
It took a while but I finally came to the point where I was able to side-step the over-stimulation I was causing myself. I gradually realized that it’s near impossible to take everything in and live every experience while simultaneously coming up with story ideas. At what point does my lived experience become part of a story?
What helps, unsurprisingly, is jotting things down in a notebook. The trick is to have this notebook with you almost always because, and take this from me, you’ll often think of a great idea that you will never again remember if you don’t write it down straight away.This side of things takes practice. Although I consider myself a writer I’ve always struggled with keeping diaries. I can’t do the day-to-day musings, preferably written poetically and possibly ‘for my eyes only’. A big reason for that is probably because no-one will be reading it and so I half don’t see the point.
But there is a point. The point is to remember. A diary reminds people of their experiences and my notebook does the same. I might jot down a word or a sentence or elaborate on a point I want to make, but the overriding idea is that I can come back to it later when at some point I’m inspired to do so.
I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to figure this out.
Backpacking is tough. I might be stating the obvious here but there’s a lot of moving around with heavy backpacks and if you’re me -a camera bag and a non-travel friendly laptop. Backpacking is about overnight travel. It about putting your belongings down in your new digs and feeling like you’ve just run a marathon and could sleep for days. Then there’s the added self-imposed blogging pressure; a niggling feeling of needing to maintain consistency.
Then you remember you’re in India. After you’ve booted up your breaking computer, converted your unreadable photo files and touched them up a bit, you realise the internet has stopped playing along and opening a single webpage can kill your soul. Don’t forget that there’s 1 socket, 2 people and 500 things to charge.
So I ask you to excuse me while I travel, while I navigate around the idea of blogging on the road in a third world country. I may be experienced at being an ex-pat but this ‘backpacking’ is a whole other ball game.