When we began Deafinitely Wanderlust, we were fueled with motivation for first couple of months. Our cheeks often hurt from smiling when we discussed exciting ideas for travel and blog. We were truly enthusiastic about our “baby.” Throughout our journey together, we learned more about our skills and weaknesses, compliment each other and communicate about our thoughts and feelings. We often laughed and felt guilty when many readers assumed that we’re a couple, but we’re actually not (we apologize if it breaks your heart!). When we accomplished something, we celebrated together, “let’s get boba!” Lilo said. She knew I love boba and couldn’t live without it (I’m even drinking boba milk tea at this moment), and she also has her love: coffee.
Of course, our sky did not always consist rainbows and butterflies. We can’t always have butterflies fluttering beautifully around us with a rainbow in the background too, haha, because we also have a fair share of frustrations. Without frustrations, we won’t be able to grow. You may laugh, but sometimes we had disagreements over ridiculous mundane things, such as over damn fonts for our blog. “I don’t like that font, it’s too thick for the title,” I said. Lilo half-jokily responded, “I don’t like skinny; I’d like some meat.” “That’s what she said,” I joked back. Even though Lilo and I are alike in several ways, we do have different tastes as well. However, we would find solutions by compromising, to meet both our satisfaction. Even though, there were few times where Lilo and I wanted to strangle each other’s neck, I love the fact that we understood each other completely and don’t let little things ruin our friendship.
Regardless of couple of frustrations, we remained enthusiastic about our blog…until everything went downhill at the end of summer;
we had a major burnout.
There were some times where we had the availability to write couple of posts but for some reasons, we couldn’t type one damn line. We stare at the screen; our minds gone blank. We watched the clock ticked by, and we just couldn’t. It’s like something was mysteriously holding us back too.
For the past couple of weeks, I was reading different travel posts at my desk. Their posts often left me in awe and feeling the damn fernweh (an ache for distant places; a crave for travel). Some already posted about their 2015 accomplishments and their goals for 2016. As I read their posts, mixed feelings built up in my chest: happy, discontent, frustrated and hopeful. Several thoughts ran through my head, from Why in the world did we stopped blogging? to Hopefully we will travel more this year! I also happen to come across posts about insecurities and burnouts. Despite that I know it can happen to a lot of us, the negative feelings I had gradually subsided as I read their posts. Some got back on their feet and become stronger, more passionate and motivated. In order to get up on our feet and climb up the mountains again, we must recognize what could be the reasons that may cause our burnout.
So, what were the reasons that caused our burnout?
Comparing to others. This screams insecurities, doesn’t it? If we tell you that we never compared ourselves to other bloggers, we would be lying. Even though we have the support from our readers, we still have some insecurities as bloggers. We often stress for great quality posts and became picky about what considers worth posting for our blog, Instagram and other social media accounts. “Oh my god, she said it better.” “Look, he is a great storyteller, I don’t have that skills…” “My grammar isn’t really that great…” You get the ideas. We wanted to look good and make readers love us. Heck, I’m even holding back myself to not delete few old posts that seem worthless. Comparing ourselves to others is, no doubt, a huge waste of time. It strips our joy, not only as travel bloggers but as ourselves. We must learn to embrace our individuality, our uniqueness. Just be authentic.
Insufficient travel experiences. Although we started to travel more since summer 2014, we feel that we’re not “experienced” enough to be a travel blogger, as ridiculous it may sound to you. Once again, we admit that it is because we compared ourselves to other travelers. Damn you, insecurities. We saw how many travelers had gone on their journey longer and so much more than us. Despite that we’re aware that it doesn’t define being a traveler or travel blogger, we still couldn’t help feeling that we didn’t deserve to called ourselves a “travel blogger.” Jealously, to be honest, also plays a role here. We became jealous how much the others can travel which only cause more resentments toward ourselves. Therefore, we must loosen our expectations and stop competing with others. It’s exhausting. We need to enjoy our own lives and take our time to travel (including our own backyard) and live in the moment.
Quarter-life Crisis. “At this age, you’re supposed to have a career. You’re supposed to settle down.” It’s not only an expectation within from ourselves and our loved ones, but it is also a societal and cultural expectations. Apparently at our age, we’re supposed to acquired Master’s degree by now, have a stable career, get marry and prepare for a family. As much we believe in ourselves and say that we’d take our time and settle down when we feel ready, the pressure persists, as if it’s clinging itself on our shoulders. It is because we, as humans, naturally want to belong and contribute to our society as well. The feeling of being lost and unsure which road to take – often asking ourselves if we are really meant to have a particular career that we have in mind, especially the one which we studied for. Having a career (or second career) as a travel blogger is going to be difficult and doesn’t meet the societal expectation because to many, it is “unrealistic.” It will be a long road ahead, indeed, but possible.
Because, Life. While being inactive, we prioritized many other things in our lives. Sometimes when we work on our blog at home or at cafe, our loved ones felt that we aren’t spending enough time with them. Even though we attempted to balance, it sometimes caused tension within our relationship with them. Furthermore, many other commitments ultimately took most of our times which resulted that blogging was no longer on one of our top priorities. We kept on postponing our blog, and then we gradually no longer have the energy and motivation for our blog. Balancing with our life and blogging is definitely difficult for us, but we need to find that balance if we want to pursue our goals for our blog.
Depression. With the inability to concentrate, having fatigue and loss of interest, we just didn’t have a lot of energy to type. It’s not something to just tell ourselves, “just move on.” Depression is so much more than just feeling sad or blues. It’s that constant lingering feelings that also cling on our backs, unable to have the energy to type a post. Regardless of depression, we often remain being optimistic about our life, knowing that we’re capable to make it through.
Unsupportive loved ones. When we first started, we believed that we would have a lot of support from our loved ones. Well, shit, we were wrong. “Blogging is not a job. You need a REAL JOB.” “You’re traveling? Again? Why? Because of the stupid blog?” “You’re taking photos for the blog, huh.” “You need to relax on this blog, it’s not that important anyways,” etc. Several tones range from monotone to cynical. This, perhaps, is the ultimate reason. We attempt to ignore about it, but it still hurts to know the fact that we really don’t have enough support from our loved ones. Jealously, obviously, plays a major role in most of their responses. Sometimes we’d tell them that it’s possible to travel, it is just mostly about priority and saving. We also tell them that we just wanted to show that Deaf and Hard of Hearing are capable to travel, and many of them showed a lack of responses, wearing a poker face. As much we tried not to let them, they were dragging us down, and we need to get back up on our feet again. We shouldn’t let their actions be an obstacle to our dream.
Okay, insecurities, it’s time to break up. You were clinging, not only on our hands, but on our minds. You have deprived us in many ways: our enthusiasm. Our passion. Our time. Our happiness. Our self-worth. Our confidence. Most importantly, ourselves. However, we don’t regret hold your hands and still won’t regret holding your hands shortly again in the future. We have learned a lot from you and grown more. We will find the balance in our life and try harder to stick to our goals.
No matter how many times more in the future, we’ll become stronger each and every time.