2015 in review, and some travel resolutions

 

Compared with the previous years, 2015 was a very poor one in terms of travel! No new country added on the list, few spectacular places visited and only 2 destinations outside Germany, both places that I know very well, covered: London and Israel. My blogging had ups and downs, with a long writing break between end of August and end of October.

However, many interesting things happened into my not so travelling life: I extensively went almost every week-ends in small green paradises around Berlin, discovering oasis of quietness and some great food too. I got my first full time job in Germany after many years of freelancing and unsuccessfully applying for various positions. And the most important of all my achievements sofar, baby boy D., born three months ago, my best excuse ever to slow down a bit more and rather focus on taking care of the new life. Last but not least, I added Instagram at my online brandig portfolio – #Ilanaontheroad – which I enjoy to experiment a lot with, especially during the time when waiting to be released from hospital.

But little by little, everything is back on the track and it is about time for a basic wishes’ planning. As for now, I still have some travel stories to tell from the last year and this will keep the blog busy till the new adventure is ready. I have a couple of travel and writing books that I need to read, preparing to finally start writing my own serious writing projects.  Technically speaking, my blog needs a serious relift and I will have to find the easiest and best technical way to make it look a little bit better.

Baby boy D. is also ready to travel, with his first long trip already done to Potsdam. We are ready to start discoverig the world together,  one little wonder at once. After so many years spent travelling across Europe, I know that it is about time to pay more attention to travel stories from outside my comfort zone. But as I have on my agenda the need to dramatically improve my Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, most probably I will have to include at least three classical European destinations too.

As usual, I am very cautious with making plans, but I am trying at least to make some wishes and only hope that it’s all for good!

Till the next post, keep in touch with many good travel news! And a phantastic travel year to all my readers!

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Happy ending of the writer’s block (or whatever you want to call it)

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Quite a long time without writing…

When you willingly decided to have a life organised around written words, every writing adventure shapes the days of your life. Your so-called free time is in fact dedicated to gathering impressions and images of the new articles and the busy active time is made up of polishing over and over again your words. Sometimes, you might even dream about your next topic. And this is not always the easiest task in the world.

The last 12 months were for me very busy, especially in terms of travel and writing, with a lot of new projects in the making and professional challenges, all connected to the same big professional loves: travel and writing. But having a blog means much more: networking, marketing, a lot of PR and many social activities that helps you give a face to your punctilious work.

There is something I always tried to avoid in my intensive writing life: getting overwhelmed by the writing tasks and ending up not enjoying the very simple act of staying in the front of the white page. Turning myself into a writing robot, an efficient one but not a very happy one though.

At the end of December and the beginning of January I spent a gorgeous time in my favourite place in the big world: the sunny bubbling Israel. (Lots of travel stories coming up in the next days and weeks, I promise…) When you are more than a traveller and a tourist, the feelings are different and the mood changes. You are not longer an expat, a foreigner, but you feel at home, and your life finally does not need a translation.

These are intensive experiences, worth trying them once in a while, but when you are back to your other normality, you need time to select and process all the information, feelings and decisions. Putting them down on paper does not help that much so the best is to just take a little break, read a book, focus on other writings and wait quietly when ready enough for the next travel and writing adventure.

This moment has finally come now, after more than a month of quietness and the blog is back to the real travel and writing life. For the next weeks, it will be mostly focus on the last year travels, while I am getting ready to plan the next legs of my European journeys and much more diversified content.

The writer’s block is finally over, the blog is back!

Happy travels everyone and keep in touch with good travel news!

Ilana

On holiday with the travel writer

The title of this post can be as well ‘the life with a travel writer’. If you one or assume being one of those curious beings always hunting new and interesting angles to discover the everyday reality, and you love what you are doing and you would love to spend the rest of your life passionately doing it, you maybe know better what I mean. As everything really valuable in life, it is not easy, but not impossible either.

Especially if your life partner does not have nothing to do with writing or like travel as long as it guarantees the shortest way to a simple and quiet location where to spend the rest of the stay without any rush. In other words, someone that does not necessarily understand or have the need to run for hours from a place to another for taking photos and notes intensively and spending the rest of the time talking with people about places and locations and histories. Aiming for your big slice of quietness is more normal than you think and most probably, the majority of people on holiday are looking exactly for this, unless they book a very adventurous stay. 

The travel writer in you may cope with serious dramatic moments right now, realizing how hard could it be to be accompanied during your travels by a lovely he or she during your travels. Or maybe, how impossible would it be to have a normal family life at all. What would you have to chose when faced with the choice between giving up your passion for writing or the love for your partner? 

The simplest – and sometimes stupidest – final decision can be an ‘either…or’ but there it is also plenty of space left for negotiation. This is what adult life is all about. And this means also considering all the possible opportunities that the other half can offer you, purposively or not. 

For instance, as long as from the early stages of the relationship, almost all couples are happy to hear good news about how they will be allowed to keep their own freedom, why not use your own space for one or two hours the day of solo exploration of the city. It might mean to wake up early in the morning, before breakfast time, to see how the city wakes up. (One of my favourite activities, solo or not). Does your partner want to rest in the afternoon, why not using the time for a museum that is interesting only for you? Is your scribbling every 5 minutes considered annoying and a sign of excessive focus on yourself? What about training the memory to keep in mind as many details as possible? Or explaining clearly why this is important for you and how your success and happy writing results is not only your ‘business’, but concern at a great extent both of you? 

Communication is always important and the travel writer should spend a lot of time explaining what he or she is doing, why, telling stories about places and events. It can be a good exercise before starting to write your article and it can help to better organize your information. Try to enjoy together a city tour or a spa, or a good smoothie at a new restaurant and both will have their share of happiness. Take together a walk in the woods and take together pictures of genuine locations. 

As someone who used to work for years as an apparently happy corporate, without proper holidays and breaks and peaceful weekends, I’ve learned how important is to keep some space for yourself and those dear to you outside the e-mails and emergency conference calls in the middle of the weekend. Living alone is not an option and successful life means also permanent adaptation to other people needs. Finding the golden measure for a good family life is not easy at the first, second and third sights, but as long as the both sides want to make things good and better, there it is always more hope that everything will be fine. Or at least both of you know that you are working to make things better. 

Happy writing week everyone!

A day in the life of the travel writer

When I try to introduce my latest business as a travel blogger, I am received with envy and enthusiasm: oh, you are one of those people who are always on the road and even sometimes get paid (not the case here) for discovering fancy places, tasting exceptional meals and sleeping in gorgeous hotels? And what are you doing the whole day? Taking pictures that you post on Pinterest or on Twitter? What a cool life do you have?

I recognize that I love a lot my life, especially after I decided that the only person that it is worth to work for it’s only me. As I am a special case of multi-tasking: sometimes I pin, tweet, or write 2 words while listening to some podcast, simply because I can, the life in the social media realm suits me very well. Writing and taking pictures are also part of my old passions that fuelled my early dreams of a career, in my early teenage years. Plus, sometimes I can do good PR tricks as I did some constant work in this domain for a couple of years. I have a lot of interests that I am sharing between my different blogs and social media profile and I am more than happy with this. Thanks to my academic background I am able to access a lot of historical and sociological information that, I hope, gives a different spin to my posts. 

But the only thing I am not allowed to say about this life is that it is easy and the rewards are instant. Behind every trip it is a lot of work and documentation, photo editing and selection. As I do not have the whole time in the world to do it, I need to set up the right schedule in order to get the best of my travel experience. Plus, don’t forget that I am trying to be as informative as possible and thus, my posts are not exercises of self-admiration but are aimed to offer information for anyone interested to see a new place, not necessarily one featured in the big travel magazines. I am permanently hunting new topics, sending mails in order to get the access to new locations and trying to get in touch with the right people for advice, inspiration and guidance. I need to introduce each month new products and new features on the blogs, to improve the quality and the technical appearance of all my social media products. From time to time, I also need a new camera and a better computer meaning that I should be able to get new reliable sources of income. 

I spend at least 40 hours the week with writing, reading, reviewing, updating and editing, as well as preparing and planning new posts. There it is a lot to learn, mainly in terms of social media and proper SEO and every single steps ahead is the result of intensive work, work and work. 

Life is not easy, but at least I try to make it pleasant. Since I am back in the writing business I am happier than ever and will never regret the decision to get out of the corporate life. There are many travel bloggers and freelance writers saying almost the same so it must be a certain true in this determination.

Going Indie for: 100 Places to See in Germany

ImageWhat you can do early in the morning when you wake up smelling the summer in Berlin?

You plan some more travels and think about the projects that you always wanted to do.

For instance, since I moved in Germany, I always wanted to see as much as possible from the country in order to understand more about the culture and the history. A couple of hours later I launched on Indiegogo 100 Places to See in Germany (and write about them). It lasts 44 days and I am really determined to get the funding and sponsorships and finish it till the end of the year. And, just in case that will not get the funding, I still want to do it, because it is worth the words and the efforts! Before the project is starting officially, I plan to see at least 2-3 places using my own resources and time!

I count on the support of my readers and followers and friends and future friends! I promise you a good book with many pictures and many surprises for all those taking their time and some money to help me go forward!

See you soon and keep in touch!

Practical tips for travel writers

I am sure and sad that, at least for the moment, this blog isn’t at all what it should be a successful travel blog, as I cannot find too much time for the time being to record my gorgeous trips from all over the world. However, my readers should believe me that I have this in my mind at least once the day and I am trying to read and write as much as I can in order to win some free time to do it – sooner or later.

Till then, I will share some nice and interesting ideas and links about travel and the career of travel writers in general.

First, there are some 25 tips that the participants at the Getaway Travel Blog Conference discussed lately. It is about being honest, a good and engaged travel writer. I said to myself that I should hurry up to become one of those nice bloggers invited to conferences from all over the world.

But, as a travel writer you might need to cope with many bureaucratic aspects of your travel, here are a couple of interesting advices about what you should do for meeting the high-end visa requirements.

Happy writing day and hope to be back soon!