~ Happy 1st Birthday The Journey of Joe ~

So today marks one year since I set up my website (which just reminded me i’ll be getting billed soon.. great!) It has been dedicated to all my travel and travel related writing. What is most surprising to me is how I’ve managed to stick with it for this long. Usually I start projects but then give up after a short while. I’m so bad for getting bored and moving onto something new, which makes me proud of myself for continuing with this!

Don’t get me wrong there are times where I do feel like putting it on the shelf. For example, I can spend a lot of time on a post for it to only reach 5 views. That can be very disheartening and makes me question why I’m even bothering to put the effort in. However, when I look at my stats page and see the views rise and rise. When I see people from all over the world reading my work it really motivates me to continue. There are people from the USA to Sweden to Kenya to Ecuador to Japan to even Kyrgyzstan.  My ultimate goal is to receive at least one view from every country in the world! (55/196 to go)

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I’m very lucky to have been able to travel quite frequently during this year. I suppose you must travel to run a travel blog. My inspiration has not run out yet and I’ve still got a few destinations planned this year. This makes me excited about the future content. I feel that my writing has improved a lot over the past year. I’m writing in a style and about things I’m a lot more comfortable with.

Finally, a big thank you to the people that actually read my stuff, you keep me going! Hopefully I’m still doing this on the websites 2nd birthday!

Ciao!

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Poetics & Travel | The Journey of Joe

A very meta title for this post I know. I wanted to write this piece because it’s nearly been a year since I set up this site for all my travel & travel related articles. In this past year approximately 1000 people; from the UK to Kenya to Ecuador to Indonesia, all over the world, have visited the site to have a look at what I’ve got to say. Although I’ve written about many places I’ve traveled to, I’ve still, not caught up with all the stories I want to tell. I’m going to blame this on university, work and the distractions of daily life, alas I’m proud of my little blog and proud of myself for sticking to it! I guess this is a post about my writing journey and what used to influence me compared to what does now. I feel like I’ve matured a lot in regards to my writing in a short space of time. I’m more well read. I’ve had more experiences and this has all contributed to me developing as a writer. When I started this blog I was adamant that all I wanted to be was a travel writer. I was only going to write about travel. Luckily for someone my age I had been to a lot of places already so I had a lot of material to work with. My first few articles are very ‘travel writery’ in the sense that they’re run- of-the-mill stories that you will have read a hundred different times. They’re very Travel Writing 101, telling you where the best place to buy churros is, or that you’re best travelling to places in the winter months because it is cheaper. Informative, yes, but not very exciting or edgy.

The massive change in my approach to writing came from moving to Stockholm. Now, I was not only visiting a country but living there and as a result I was completely immersed in the culture and everyday life. I felt I could no longer write about ‘The Best Sights in Stockholm’ or ‘The Best Coffee Shop in Stockholm’ because I was no longer a tourist. These things had blended into the background after a couple of months. The inspiration instead came from everyday life; the people, personal growth, the university and events. Stockholm made me question and come to terms with my place in the world. I never thought I could be called ‘immigrant’ or ‘foreigner’ because living in the political climate of the west the “others” are labelled the ‘foreigner’ or ‘immigrant’. It made me think about travel in a completely new context; certain people can’t just travel anywhere they want – why is this? How come the ‘world’ isn’t for everyone? Stockholm is a creative hotspot so I was in the right place to develop as a writer. I used to go around the museums and attend events by myself and afterwards I would write about my experiences, primarily through poetry. This helped me rediscover a craft I had repressed because of judgement. I used to believe the general consensus was that poetry was lame and only to be used when writing about flowers or relationships. Stockholm made me realize that this was not true. It allowed me to explore more dynamic and diverse themes and questions. My poetry as a result became a lot more political and socially challenging and I discovered other poets that had been doing the same for decades.

I’ve brought this knowledge back to the UK and I have found my creative calling in poetry. I’ve used these skills to put a creative spin on travel writing. Instead of just telling readers where the best food or hotels are. I want to tell a story from that place and really try to take you to that environment with me. I think that’s successful travel writing. To conclude, it’s been a great year for the blog. I’m excited and proud of how much my writing has developed and the range of articles I’m experimenting with. From travel-poetry to existential-travel writing. Thank you to readers who have stuck with me from the beginning and I do hope you still enjoy reading what I have to say!

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Goodbye!
Hej Då!
Adios!

 

Adios Mis Amigos! | Mexico, Belize, Guatemala Trip

I’m currently sat waiting on the sofa; bags fully packed, checking my watch constantly as I’m counting down the minutes for my train to London Gatwick airport! I’m ready for the trip of a lifetime to Central America.

I’m going to be inactive on here until I get back – I’m sure I’ll have lots to talk about once I return anyway! I’ve never been on a trip like this before, not even done long haul. I think it’s going to be something like I’ve never experienced before. I’m ready to feel like a proper adventurer.

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Here is a breakdown of the trip. It is 16 days in total. We start in Mexico before making our way through Belize and then to Guatemala. We stay in various hotels along the way – as well as a couple of nights in the jungle and a homestay (I’m looking forward to the homestay the most!). Along the way we’ll get up to a multitude of activities as well!

Sorry to make you all jealous, but the life of a travel writer is a hard one. I’ll see you all soon!

Joe

 

Introductions

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Hello! My name is Joe and welcome to my site thejourneyofjoe.com

I am taking advantage of my first post to tell you a bit about myself and my writing. Getting the basics out of the way – I’m 19 years old (one month away from 20!). I am currently an undergraduate at York St. John University where I study on the Creative Writing degree. I’m hoping to enter the travel writing industry as my two biggest passions are writing and travel. Infusing these two in a career is something that sounds perfect!

Books are a big hobby of mine – being a literature student it’s hard to get away from them. I love reading! Two of my favourite authors are Haruki Murakami and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I’m a big fan of global literature. It allows you to learn so much about the history and culture of other countries. Like any other booklover I could spend all day in my local Waterstones!

Travel is my biggest passion of course. I left college not knowing what I wanted to do and so I decided to take a gap year. My friends had all gone to university and I felt a bit lonely being a year behind everyone. It did me good though because I found a field that I am really interested in. This came from my gap year. I did a lot of travelling in Europe with my partner and saw so many places I know I wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise. It definitely gave me the travel bug, now I go a little stir crazy if I’m stuck at home for so long!

My favourite destination at the moment is Trebinje in Bosnia & Herzegovina. It’s been my favourite country for as long as I can remember and I’m not really sure why. The psychic believer part of me is convinced I was from there in a past life! I love places off the beaten track and it was a really nice break away from the over-crowded Dubrovnik just fifteen minutes away. One of my ‘wish list’ destinations is Nicaragua. I’m becoming more and more intrigued with Central America – luckily I’m visiting the area in a couple of months!

I am also going to be studying at Stockholm University from August to January. My university has a really good study abroad programme, which I have been lucky enough to have been accepted on. I’m very excited to study and live in such a beautiful country. I’m also excited for all the writing inspiration it’s going to give me!

I set up thejourneyofjoe.com for my writing. I want to use it as a platform to post my articles for the travel writing community to engage with. I want to network with other blogs and gain experience by interacting with other people’s style of writing. Most importantly I want to share my stories with an eager audience!

I hope you enjoy my adventures – I can’t wait to see where I end up next!