While I was back in Canada for the holidays, a number of friends asked why I’d stopped blogging. The simple answer would be that life got in the way, that I wanted to focus on writing fiction which already soaked up most of my free time. Of course, answers like this are never that simple. Admittedly, part of me disliked the possibility of classmates, instructors, or potential freelance clients reading my blog and using it to judge my writing abilities. While I try to avoid posts that are utterly illegible, I wouldn’t call my itinerant ramblings an ideal sample of my work. On top of that, I realized that a successful blog requires a ridiculous amount of time and self-promotion. I regularly feel guilty publishing my blog posts on my own Facebook profile, so how could I ever expect to expand my reach beyond a contained circle of family and friends? However, the truth is that I miss blogging. Nobody expects Pulitzer-quality craftsmanship on packing strategies for backpackers, and I don’t know 3/4 of the people who read my blog posts. As for the time issue, that’s a poor excuse for anything. The amount of time I waste getting sucked into click-baited videos and articles each day would be more than enough to write a post of my own. More than anything, I came to the conclusion that I’d lost a bit of my identity in the past year. I became so focused on school and supplementing my studies with as much work as I could handle, that I slowly loosened my grip on the other important things in my life.
Right before Christmas, I attended a salsa event, something that was once an essential part of my weekly — almost daily — routine. Dance-Write-Travel: the perfect triad. But this time, I had to force myself to go. And if it wasn’t for the community of friends I knew would be there, I would have stayed in. At the event, one of these dancers approached me. She joined salsa teams after I did but has far surpassed me in terms of talent since then. She remarked that she’d always liked watching me dance because she admired how passionate I was about it, and how she wished she could attach the same level of excitement to it that I did. This comment came as a surprise, and when I stepped back onto the dance floor after that, I noticed that elated feeling returning. That incredible love for something, a passion that gets under your skin and leaves you buzzing, grinning. I went home that night wondering: when was the last time I did something that made me this happy? Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy writing a lot, and while there’s a darn good chance that I’m slogging my way down a dead-end career path, I’m loving every minute of it. But school is still school, work is still work, and neither should be everything. So in 2015, I promise myself to make room for some of those other passions again. You’ll hear more from me here on the blog, but it might have a bit of a different angle. Although I’m in South America with a backpack for a month right now, my travel style has been shifting, which is the result of changing priorities and reasons for wandering. But I’ll leave that story for another post. Chau from Buenos Aires, Ellen