The travelling writer

I’m currently on a train to The Hague, though I am on my way to Rotterdam, which means I will change before the train arrives at its destination. This is not important, of course.

What is important is that I have not taken the time to write for this site in too long. I’m not short of things to write about. I am short of the drive to do so. There is always a reason to put it off. Work is chief amongst them.

But it is not an excuse I want to allow any longer. Whether it is my secondary job (which is actually my main job in terms of time invested) or whether it is my freelance writing. Neither should keep me from doing the writing I really want to do. This has never changed. But I let that work and the general lethargy that has held me in its grip stop me from pursuing my writing.

My mom said to me last year that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I always have been able to do just that. And it never cost me undue effort either, which is strange. That doesn’t mean it has always been easy. Far from it. But it was never a case of having to overcome an internal obstacle.

I just go and do the things I want to do. I go travelling. I get the jobs that I want. I start freelance writing. I get the apartment that I want.

It makes me wonder why I can’t sit down and write the book that I want. What’s the difference? Is there a difference? Is it not simply a question of my mindset, the attitude with which I approach this particular project?

Or is it a matter of timing?

Perhaps not. But it does seem to be a matter of circumstances.

For instance, as I am travelling today, I have already written a lot more than my usual daily quota of paid work. Actually, twice as many words than I would ordinarily write. I have little else to do on my trip, though I could simply read a book. In fact, I have done some reading in between as well. So, this feels like a very productive day already in every aspect.

Sitting at home with all the creature comforts that I can afford, writing seems to have less urgency. I manage to get the writing done that I assigned to myself, but no more.

If I were travelling every day, I would write every day like I have done today. Isn’t that strange?

Can I really just blame the comfort of my home? And the many distractions I so easily succumb to? Why is it so much easier to write sitting on some rumbling train?

I’m not sure I know the answer. Though I do know that I feel never more my true self than when I am travelling. I can get lost in a book, in the landscape, in thought. Or I can just write, glance outside occasionally and feel free from everything else.

Perhaps it is the absence of every-day chores as well as comforts that free me up to concentrate on what I truly want and enjoy. It’s not that I feel overly bogged down by daily life and obligations, but they are somewhat of a burden, whether we are always aware of it or not.

I’ve always known that I could travel for the rest of my life.

I love my home. I love Hamburg. I love my job as well. And everything that is connected to these three things. But the truth is that I have been a traveller since I first left home almost 16 years ago. Nothing has changed that. And if I am most myself when I am travelling, it seems less of a surprise that writing, which is also essential to me, is so much easier when I am on the road.

It’s hardly a coincidence that my last blog was also written as I was travelling on a train.