My latest, a story about Zagreb's coolest neighborhood for The New York Times

Different train of thought

Few of you would have noticed I’ve decreased my blogging activities in recent months. I say few because I don’t do much for you and in return you don’t stop by my blog no more. Figures.

I haven’t been a good neighbor, in the lingo of a social media guru I heard speak at a writers’ conference last spring. In fact, I nominate myself for the award of the world’s worst blogger and even worse twitterer.

Every now and then I feel a sudden burst of solidarity toward my fellow travel bloggers. When it strikes I manically read a dozen blogs, splattering the interweb with comments, left and right. During that same bout of social media guilt, I frantically participate in Travel Tuesdays, Follow Fridays and start new, although mostly uninspired hashtags.

Typically all that dissipates within a week, two at best. Then I’m back to my passive social media self, hiding away from the noise.

In the process, I’ve become a cyber exile. I now find myself in self-imposed exile on a few fronts – from my actual (not virtual) home country and, as of late, from the social media wave that I was riding high and happily for a while.

Some days I feel like I’m missing one hell of a party. The thing is: I turned down the invite. I know the tricks of the trade and if not all, I know where to go get them. But I chose to remain on the fringes, watching the show from the shadows.

In the meantime, as I let my blog and twitter feed gather proverbial dust, I’ve been doing what I do best and for living – traveling. I’m just back from two months in Europe. A handful of assignments took me to Portugal first in early October. From there, I set out on a journey around my former homeland, Yugoslavia.

The six-week trip involved six countries, 23 long-distance bus and train rides, 18 border crossings and some 80 coffee encounters with sundry characters.

During that entire time, I turned out 12 tweets and zero posts.

This experience-rich journey could have easily led to 100+ tweets and a slew of blog posts. Yet I chose not to spend my precious time on the road reducing complex thoughts into 140 characters or holing up in hotel rooms to produce blog posts. The journey itself took precedence over instant write-ification.

Now that I’ve been back for a few days, I am slowly coming around, waking up to the (online) world. Here and there I want to share a thought, a memory, a view out the back window of the slow train from Serbia to Montenegro….

As the old café carriage attached to the rear end of the train, much unchanged since 1980s, chugged through darkening canyons for 14 long hours, I wasn’t composing tweets. I was on an entirely different train of thought.

Blog Comments

Interesting read. I’ve just begun my life as both a nomad and a blogger. I can relate to the bursts of activity on the web, but for me it never feels like I have a clue of what the online world is about. Those tricks you speak of, I don’t think I know a single one. I’m hoping that my writing will carry it through on its own merits, but sometimes it feels like I write for the wind.

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