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

Extremes of travel writing

Posted by anja | August 17, 2010 | Ex-blog, travel musings

I arrived back from Croatia on July 28. I took two days off, to settle back in after a six-week absence from home. Since then, I haven’t had a day off. Every single morning, I sit at my desk, turn on the computer and work on the Croatia guidebook that now occupies 90% of my time. Every day I’m reminded of how dazzling my home country is, how diverse in its natural and cultural attractions. Yet after this marathon, I dream of all that is not Croatia, all that is not research and all that is not writing.

Those are the ins and outs of being a travel writer. That ‘wow, you have the best job in the world!’ comment is something I hear on a regular basis. But no matter how much I try to explain to people that my existence is not as glamorous as it seems, they simply don’t believe me. So I tell them about the extremes my life is comprised of. Such as the following case scenario:

From mid-June through late July, I spent my time exploring Croatia’s buzzing cities, medieval hilltop towns and sun-kissed islands. It involved a lot of rushing around, bus rides, ferry jaunts, early starts and late nights. Throughout the five weeks of research, I was on the constant move, never stopping, soaking up as much as possible, gathering all the info I can collect. Until I returned to New York. What awaited me on the other end was write-up time: long days at the computer, with only meals and an occasional phone call to disrupt my writing routine. And this will go into early September, without days off, until I submit the manuscript. The two extremes…

Sometimes I long for a life that’s in-between. I don’t need to be buzzing on movement 24/7. I also don’t need to be glued to the computer screen day in and day out. I see New York’s summer fading in front of my eyes, I hear friends talk about their days on the beach, parties in the park… and I must admit I feel a pinch of envy. Envy for a regular life, where there are actually such luxuries as days off, weekends… Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful for the work that comes my way, especially in these dire economic times. And I’m happy I’m able to support myself wholly with travel writing. But sometimes, like in this moment, I dream of life that’s more routine. Just like everyone else’s…

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