I heard a great line in a podcast interview with Malcolm Gladwell this week, although not sure if it’s his line or if he was quoting someone else. Something about the true challenge of a writer is creating space and time one needs to write. I also recently read the War of Art by Steven Pressfield, a sort of half time locker room coach talk to inspire writers, artists, musicians or anyone to get off their butts and fulfil their creative destiny, or at the very least, give it their best shot. Pressfield talks about Resistance as a powerful force utilizing cunning tricks to distract and prevent this from happening. I know exactly what Pressfield and Gladwell are referring to. I’m currently immersed in a heated battle for space and time, and an all out war against Resistance. The reason: I’m writing a novel, which I can now talk about since the first draft is complete and so it’s not something I’ll get to, eventually, one day, but something I have already got to. Now I just have to put in the many, many hours of editing with the optimistic hope that it becomes a story people actually want to read, or hear, in their lives. Of course travel is at the core of my story, along with adventure and humour and musings and sweeping gestures towards life, the universe, a little bit of everything. The result might be complete drivel, but it’s a story I needed to tell in my own peculiar way, and perhaps I will find a publisher interested in getting it out there in their own peculiar way too.
Some days it feels like resistance against Resistance is futile. My car gets a flat tire, boom, there goes the day. A kid is sick. Ka-pow! Errands, school. Resistance is alarmingly creative. My back twists, oof. Oh crap, I have to renew my car insurance. The other kid has a dentist appointment. Interested in a short contract? Do an interview? And on, and on, Life, sparring with that space-time challenge Gladwell was talking about. He’s got a new book out, Gladwell, the guy who puts the P in Prolific. Another concept worth mentioning here is Nassim Taleb’s Skin in the Game, which essentially says that anyone undertaking a great endeavour must take a personal or professional risk in order for the work to measure up. If we don't have a personal stake in a desired outcome, why would we care? It's too easy to fail, to pass the buck, to blame others, to procrastinate, to retreat. Trust me, writing a 500-page novel (don’t worry, that’s just the first draft) without a publisher, an advance, or any reason to believe the novel will be published at all is as big a creative risk as I can imagine. And so while I can proudly look back on my nine published and two self-published books from the last six years - including four certifiable bestsellers! - it’s simply not the time to rest on laurels, or chase adventures without meaning. We’re approaching 2020, which feels, rather serendipitously, like the perfect year to look back on all that I have done. To triple distil, like a fine vodka, whatever wisdom I’ve stumbled upon in my fifteen years chasing peak experiences on seven continents. Much like my original motivation to travel in the first place, my latest goal is to simply say: I did it. Only instead of hang gliding or sandboarding volcanoes, the accomplishment this time round involves creating Time and Space, overcoming Resistance, and with Skin in the Game, committing to a project I hope will inspire others. If Lady Luck smiles upon me once more, perhaps I’ll even be able write another story to inspire the world. It’s been fifteen years since I took an enormous leap without a safety net, heading out solo to backpack the world with a laptop. Let’s see where this one takes me. Without 2020 hindsight, it’s impossible to tell.
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After many years running a behemoth of a blog called Modern Gonzo, I've decided to a: publish a book or eight, and b: make my stories more digestible, relevant, and deserving of your battered attention.
Here you will find some of my adventures to over 100 countries, travel tips and advice, rantings, ravings, commentary, observations and ongoing adventures.