How writing a travel blog helped my anxiety
I wanted to start a travel blog, but there was always something stopping me. Looking back I realise it was just my own brain.
I started my first blog when I was 22 and going through an ACL reconstruction. It was a pun-filled, poorly written stumble through my surgery and rehabilitation that I awkwardly titled One Two Knee. It got no likes on Facebook, because I never had the guts to share a post, and it doesn’t exist anymore, because the thought of somebody reading it makes me cringe.
Fast forward a few years and I was contemplating doing something drastic. I was going to quit my job, travel the world and start a travel blog. Yet while the idea of leaving everything I knew behind and travelling the world had me basically salivating, the idea of starting another blog roused up my anxiety big time.
I was quitting my job to pursue full time anxiety.
In the end I made it a reality, but it was an unnecessary mental struggle. Just posting a blog post on social media would make me feel physically ill. I didn’t want to show my friends. I was worried they’d all think it was stupid or that they’d un-friend me then move houses so I could never be seen with them in public again. My brain was a radio tuned into self-doubt FM. And I hated myself for it. There are people dealing with war, starvation, disease and death…and my brains worrying about … blogging?
But worried I was. Why would anybody want to read about what I have to say? Is it grossly self-indulgent to expect people to read about my travels? There are as many travel blogs out there as grains of sand. I have nothing of value to add.
Ultimately I was scared that I would fail.
And I did.
I failed to create a travel blog that gets thousands of views a day. I get less than 20 likes on all my Facebook posts, and all the likes I get are people I already know…and at least one of them is my fiancé Jarrad…and another is my mum…and sometimes I consider making one of them my own.
Occasionally I get a comment that mocks my writing and makes me want to curl into a little ball, but I try to stay positive: you don’t have to make your bed if you never leave it!
But in failing I also succeeded. I taught myself that it’s okay to not know what you’re doing, and it’s okay to try anyway. Imagine if we never attempted anything we weren’t already good at. We’d all still be crawling around on the ground scared of standing up and stumbling. We’d be in nappies out of fear of missing the toilet bowl.
Writing and promoting my travel blog has become part of my therapy. My sessions with a psychologist have helped me realise that much of my anxiety stems from desperately not wanting to appear incompetent. It’s not a fear of making a fool of myself. I’m okay with general red cheek moments like falling over in public or snorting like a pig while laughing. It’s about other people perceiving that I’m incapable of doing something.
I fear driving my car not because I fear for my own safety, but because I don’t want somebody else to witness me stalling. They’ll know I’m actually a really crap manual driver! I hate asking for help because it shows other people I don’t know what I’m doing. I fear publishing a blog post because I’m scared other people will judge me to be a bad writer.
Putting myself out there is really hard for me. I’ve turned failure into something to really dread. Yet now I’m able to look at my blog and see my first few failed web-designs, parade of crappy logos and dribble of average writing not as failures, but the path to where I am now… slightly less of a failure.
Ultimately my blog has taught me to be less scared of failure. If you don’t fail sometimes, then you’re never going to succeed.