End of the Road

Reasons why I’m ending this blog:

1. I’m tired. I’m bored. Have you noticed how infrequently I’ve been posting? It’s like torture trying to get myself to write a post—I’ll start one, write a few hundred words, check my FB, check my Twitter feed, get a glass of water, leave the tab open for days without looking at it again.

I kept telling myself it was laziness, that I just needed to reinvigorate myself, maybe change up my approach. Post more pictures! Write more vignettes! More character sketches, more writing exercises, stranger and more experimental posts!

Then I realized…

2. I don’t really care about travel blogging.

This was a hard one to admit cause travel blogging did so much for me in the beginning. It helped me get my voice back; I’d been barren for so long, unable to write for so long, and blogging helped me build back my confidence. And more than that, it put me in touch with a community of other readers and writers.

There’s great people who write great blogs, but I realized that I no longer read any of them. I still travel and I still write, but I realized I’m not interested in participating in the travel conversation anymore.


3. I’m writing different stuff now.

I’m focusing on writing longer pieces, fully consuming pieces that I dive into, that come up around me, that unravel and expand the deeper I go.

Which is great but not terribly conducive to the immediacy of blogging. I’ve discovered something about my writing too—that I don’t know what the hell I’m saying or what a piece is really about until six months after I’ve written it. (A couple months ago I saw a tweet from Susan Orlean where she said that in the course of writing every piece, she comes to a place where she doesn’t know what the piece is about or why she’s writing it.) Which means I need to sloooooow down; which means I need to write things and then let them sit; I need to let them reveal to me what they’re trying to say instead of imposing my own ideas and structure. I need to let them live a little.

I’ve also been focusing a lot more on listening, on not talking so goddamn much. I’m reading more; I’m taking more notes; I’m trying to turn off the mental chatter and just notice. That takes a lot of energy but I think it’s important not just for writing but for survival. In any event, I’m feeling less and less of a need to share my thoughts and insights on every little thing. Largely because I don’t know what my thoughts and insights are until months or even years later.

Thus I don’t have a lot of energy of blogging. Thus I’m mildly to extremely embarrassed by half the shit I’ve blogged. Thus the amount of time I spend blogging is equal to the amount of time I don’t spend listening, and I don’t spend really writing the stuff I’m excited about writing. Thus…

4. I’ve outgrown my own blog.

It happens right? I outgrew the zine I wrote for four years as a teenager. I outgrew a pretty good life in the Bay. I’ve even outgrown the name of my blog, since I’m now 30 and no longer a “girl” by any stretch.

It seems like kinda a waste to give it up now, right? Now that I’ve built something, have some followers. But the idea of ending this blog struck one day and I couldn’t shake it out. I kept thinking, you know, I should do a few more posts. I should write about my return trip to Phnom Penh, I should write about turning 30 in a foreign country, I should write about my upcoming trip back to the Bay, I should I should I should. But I didn’t want to. I’ve got three half-written posts in my Dashboard and I can’t get it together to finish any of them. I’ve got four half-written essays open on my desktop right now—on West Oakland, my own swim team, one of my favorite old drinking buddies who passed away—and all I wanna do is curl up inside those pieces, get lost in them.

So. It’s been a bit over three years of Lonely Girl Travels. We’ve gone to something like fifteen countries together. You’ve been with me as I’ve become an expat, chased a big-ass dream, watched that dream blow up, scurried off to another country and built another life. You’ve been with me as I’ve built my clips and traversed my late 20s and found my voice again. You’ve supported me and given me the space to do all that. You can’t really give a big enough “thank you” for that, but I’m gonna try: Thank You.

I’ll be tweeting here, tumbling here, and publishing all over the goddamn internet. See you guys around.

16 Responses to “End of the Road”

  1. 1 Zoë December 9, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Sad to see your blog go, since I’ve loved reading your writing over the past few months. I really understand what you’re saying, though, about needing a lot of time to immerse yourself in a piece and figure out what you’re trying to say and what it’s trying to say. This is one of the things that has bothered me about travel blogging (and maybe blogging in general?) right from the start. If a piece is immediate in the way that blogging class for, has it had time to grow, time to breathe, time to become? I know that, at least for me, the answer is a definite no. And yet I still blog. In some ways, I really admire your choice to do something different with your writing.

  2. 2 Kirstin December 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    😦 😦 😦 😦 😦

  3. 3 triciatierney December 9, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Having just discovered you in the last few months, sorry to see you go. I never thought of yours as a ‘travel blog’ but rather, a fine writer’s blog that happened to be written from Hanoi.
    I came to blogging reluctantly – found the whole notion kind of embarrassing. Now, I like the discipline – the commitment to put something out there on a regular basis. I find the whole cyber-writerly community fascinating and inspiring and am sorry to see you go.
    You obviously have high standards for yourself – and it shows – your stuff is compelling – no matter the subject. I don’t tumble or twit – but do hope to discover your work — maybe even in a book (!) again soon. Best of luck.

  4. 4 mollyapple December 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    I feel you.
    Good luck!

  5. 5 Lesley December 9, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    I’m sorry to see you go, but completely understand. Looking forward to reading you elsewhere.

  6. 6 Nick December 10, 2012 at 4:44 am

    I’m sad to hear this – I’ve always been a big fan of your writing – but I definitely get it. Big-ups for having the courage to take another plunge, of a different sort.

    I’m curious as to what you’ll do with the blog, though–maintain it in stasis, or let it die once the hosting/domain runs out?

    Best of luck, and I’m sure I’ll see you and your writing around.

  7. 7 Pascale, de Montréal December 10, 2012 at 6:00 am

    You will be missed!
    I love the way you write and the way you think.
    Take care. You’re great.

  8. 8 freedman121 December 10, 2012 at 8:54 am

    I too only found your blog a few months ago – I’ve enjoyed reading your writing but I completely understand the idea of outgrowing the blog. I hope you keep the blog open in the future though. I’d love to be able to come back and read – there are a ton of posts I’ve never read, after all. Best of luck in your future travels, adventures and writing!

  9. 9 anonymous coward December 10, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I am happy for you, to see you move on and grow and have new adventures and do things you want. Best wishes and best of luck. I wish for you happiness and contentment. Thank you for all you have given to this blog. I have learned a great deal reading it.

  10. 10 expatlingo December 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I look forward to reading more of what you write anywhere you write it! Good luck.

  11. 11 David December 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    It’s been a pleasure to read, but, if it feels like torture, is not a sadness to see you leave.

  12. 12 Valerie {all mussed up} December 10, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    You are very brave and very honest. Thank you for that.

  13. 13 Sarah Shaw December 11, 2012 at 5:52 am

    I’m also sad to see you go since I’ve been reading your work for the past year. Because your blog focuses on travel narrative writing, differing from the majority of travel blogs out there, I continually find inspiration in your writing. I’ll keep reading your stuff on Vela and elsewhere. Good luck!

  14. 14 aaron quinn December 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    love you ton. you are more amazing then you know. i’ve been there since day one and will alway be there.
    your brother

  15. 15 10TimesOne December 14, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Right on, Lauren. Blogging’s for chumps. And it’s not like we won’t hear those sweet words anymore. It’s graduation day!

  1. 1 What is underneath it all? | Really?? Yes. Really. Trackback on December 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm
Comments are currently closed.

Lauren Quinn is a writer and traveler currently living in Hanoi. Lonely Girl Travels was a blog of her sola travels and expat living from 2009 to 2012. She resides elsewhere on the internet now.

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