Over many years of trial and error (actually more a case of trial, error, another error, a bit more trial, error etcetera) I have learnt that I work best in short sprints, with a brief break between, followed by another sprint. This usually takes the form of 30 minutes work, then a 5-10 minute break. It doesn’t matter what the 30 minutes work actually is, it might be social media management, it might be novella editing, or it could even be physical, loaded mobility and movement work, handstand practice, or similar.
This is a good habit. One I know works and, therefore, one that a part of my twisty and untrustworthy mind tries its hardest to sabotage.
The mind is like this. It always thinks it knows best.
I am writing this in just such a 30-minute slot. It is an experiment for the coming weeks; I want to start adding to this blog again and, perhaps, also posting the pieces on another site I own but have yet to build, as well as pondering cross-posting to Medium.
Can I write a decent blog piece in 30 minutes, then edit and post it in another 30 minutes? I suppose much of this will depend upon what the words are about and how well I’ve thought them out.
Earlier I had another 30 minutes of planning, not for this piece alone, but a list of posts that have been bothering me like a swarm of mosquitoes, whining in my ears every time I know I’m procrastinating and could be doing so much more.
I want to talk of travel. Of places. Of food. Of people and culture. Of new-to-me nature. Of beaches, mountains, jungles, stifling heat, thunderous storms, and heavy snow.
I also want to update you as to my own whereabouts, as well as discussing much that has happened since my last post here.
I want to tell of forthcoming plans, of words I have crafted and will be selling soon, of all the things I have seen, from the tiniest insect to stupendous mountain views.
I want to work out how best to shout about these things on social media. Having increasingly been paid for precisely this over the last year or so, I have a good idea of what works*, what doesn’t, what entices, and what irritates. Yet, above all, I also know that as long as the words are good, as long as the accompanying photo or two is of decent quality, then people will eventually want to read it. When it comes to such quality, the key is to create each piece carefully, but then stockpile them — a repository of wealth that rewards the consistent writer. Like exercise; if you want to do the box splits, keep working at it daily to see results. Keep posting to bring in the readers, keep sharing, keep writing. Then write some more.
I have just had to take an extra five-minute break slightly early, simply because it is now mosquito o’clock. The real, not metaphorical, types this time. Cue reapplication of repellent.
I am on a cicada-loud, whale shark-encircled, tropical island and will remain here for a short time yet before plane 1 takes me to Northern Thailand, then a few days before plane 2 takes me to Bangkok, then planes 3 and 4 take me to Charles de Gaulle. I have, over the past year since I left the UK, travelled on 19 separate flights (I think, that was a hasty addition in my head). Before this, I had travelled on 12 in my whole life. (Again, I think, and half of those were in the preceding 12 months.)
Then a long European summer beckons, with an epic road trip in a camper-van/RV, visiting relatives and friends, gathering wild food along the way, showing off the glories of Scotland, panning for gold, exploring the Emerald Isle, before heading back to France for a month of weddings and exploration. I cannot help but wonder (and there will be more discussion of this sad state of affairs in the near future) how my rights as a traveller will be curtailed in the near future.
There is the possibility this might be the last European summer I will be able to exercise my rights as a citizen of the EU, until perhaps Scotland achieves her independence, I become a citizen of another European country (Bonsoir France ! Je t’aime, pour des raisons qui deviedront claires), or the UK re-enters the EU, tail between idiotic back legs. I have, on all my travels in the last year, yet to meet either a Brexit supporter or someone who voted for That Man stateside. Maybe I have, but they have been too ashamed to admit it, or perhaps exceptional actors, yet I doubt both of these. Brexit is one of the key topics other Europeans are keen to discuss where’er our paths cross, nearly always accompanied with a pitying shake of the head and a quiet air of disbelief. (An aside: I have only met one person who didn’t think Scottish independence was the best thing for the nation and not only possible, but highly likely. She was English.)
I also would like to (finally) discuss some of the nuts and bolts of travel and adventure. This will include kit discussion (everyone’s favourite, apparently) and it will include my recommendations and tips (here’s a brief one for now — those other bloggers saying a first aid kit [FAK] is not necessary, that it is just as easy to go to a pharmacy or 24hr store if you need something — yeah, they’re talking nonsense. you really should not listen to them and, in my opinion, if anyone tells you that, then perhaps view the rest of their advice/site with a touch of trepidation and healthy scepticism. You need a FAK and you need to know how to use every bit of it, even if it’s just a basic kit. More on this soon).
I would also like to talk about personal things, where I am in my life, as it were, how I have arrived at this point. Who am I? Am I real? Is anyone listening to me? One thing I have been toying with is a User Guide to Alex. Sounds weird, perhaps, but I sometimes realise that I’m maybe not like a lot of other people you’ve met. This has led to confusion and hurt on occasion, so I do wonder if I should craft a sticky post for anyone who seeks to try and understand me (why they’d want to do this, I don’t know). It could include things I don’t necessarily buy into 100%, such as the fact I’m Taurean, I was born in the year of the Snake, and that I’m an INFJ (Advocate). It will feature practical advice and quite realistically a whole host of nonsense.
My 30 minutes are shortly to end, so I shall leave this here. It seems a good place to finish, so I can have something to load and share.
Hello, it’s me. How are you?
*Note: this post is not the best example of such internet witchery. I haven’t even specified a keyword and the WordPress plugins are having kittens.