And then there's May - the beautiful month of blooming things and excitement for the freedom of months ahead. So how does one prepare for the STA World Traveler Intern in the final stretch?
Do a few trial runs to perfect packing skills. Finding or creating stories on the road that make for excellent viewing. Begin to understand balance between documentation and absorbent observation.
April and May have and will involve a series of trips, some to college campuses for enjoyment, others to weddings and such events. Making these trips not just exciting for me but interesting and complete to an onlooker will be incredible practice for a summer filled with the same motivation.
I will also try to work on lightening the load when it comes to my blog entries, making them more concise and easier to absorb quickly. I tend to ramble on the details or tangents that interest me, but I gotta make sure you all know what's going on at the time and not what happened two weeks ago!
Peruse travel guides to know what's out and about on the road. Flip page after page in assorted travel narratives that relate to the itinerary. DVR the travel goodies to get a different glimpse on the diverse cultures to be visited
I read travel narratives almost exclusively and find them completely satiating and thirst-quenching. Reading these takes on various cultures, I believe, gives me a better view on where I am than the average Joe that steps off the plane. It's also going to be essential to know what activities can be appreciated there, the lifestyles of the inhabitants, sensitivities to observe, and find out if the locale is suitable for a "Be Prepared" or "Wingin' It" mentality.
Also, I now feel like I have a stronger purpose watching my main man, Tony, do his thing around the world.
Hire a personal trainer. Acquire tips on exercising in boiling hot and very compact spaces. Publicize progress to encourage embarrassment for laziness and general slacking.
I've always been just above my ideal weight, which never seems to change even if I lift weights two hours a day, play soccer and do four different types of dance (in the same time period), or only have enough money to eat an egg for each meal. I have to be ready for those long days and adventure activities. The hot days are even hotter with that winter storage still insulating the core.
I got a personal trainer that doesn't scare me or make me feel awful about myself (an accomplishment, eh?), and I plan on learning ways a tired girl in 100°F weather can work out in an area the size of a Mini Cooper. Making my progress public may make all the difference between this attempt and previous ones, so even if you aren't following, just knowing that info is floating in the viral abyss is motivating enough.
Fine-tune the Fingers
Poll and question others for ideas on travel themes and interests. Build domain and travel niche to offer invaluable information to those seeking it. Write like a mad woman about the Big Journey, new moments, and anticipation for the WTI experience.
Since my return from the Big Journey, I've been a crazy woman trying to document the experiences from months prior. I'm very backed up, and this is because I try to write a chapter with each travel account. I've made it known that in the future, the blogs covering the Big J will be elaborated upon and converted into a book, and I gotta hold back my desires to make that happen now and learn to be concise for the trip ahead.
Once I pound those last eleven days out (I'm still on Day 189 out of 200-something), I'll have nothing distracting me from talking to others and developing advice, travel themes, creative ideas for the road and for documentation. Oh, my mind will soar. I also have to get it into my head that travel writing is interesting, BUT so is homebound writing (examples here).
Talk to Big Shots
Follow the advice of travel blogger "mentors". Seek out and embrace media opportunities for exposure. Gather a firm grasp in beliefs regarding travel, education, cultural exchange, etc.
Consuming and connecting with other travel bloggers, understanding the tricks of the trade, and taking advice from these muses will be essential to success on this journey. As I've learned in the last five months, marketing yourself and growing from your industry are almost more important than creating posts and your media.
Sleeping on various talking points and beliefs on travel, I'm becoming more excited about the media coverage coming my way and seeing them as moments to expand and illustrate my own thoughts on movement and self-improvement. I'll keep you all informed of the upcoming articles to be seen in the Indiana Daily Student and the Indianapolis Star.
Also set your DVRs to the CBS Weekend Morning News (Channel 8 WishTV) at 9:00am Sunday the 3rd of May. I'll be the one shaking in terror of the broadcast being sent out to families and others possibly not on my wavelength. Who knows...maybe I'll knock 'em dead.