Why I Blog: Introducing Alex in Wanderland

By Alexandra Baackes

A few years ago, I took a travel writing class at NYU. As an exercise, the professor told us to spend fifteen minutes writing a response to this question: Why do you write? At the time, I spent fourteen minutes starting into space and one minute scribbling down the following: I want to make people laugh and I want them to like me. Pretty profound stuff, right? Well, I’ve had a little more time to contemplate the question.

I can vividly remember the first travel blog I ever found. I was living out the quintessential suburban high school experience – SAT prep classes, cheerleading practice, prowling the local mall and planning the kind of after prom party that strikes fear into the hearts of parents everywhere. Yet I wanted something big, something a little different – I had a restless spirit. I just didn’t know how to articulate it into those words yet.

Climbing Rinjani

Scuba Diving

Hot Air Ballooning

My parents were pretty adventurous, but they were extremely dedicated to their careers. Our family trips most commonly involved visiting family in Florida or Illinois. I had been abroad a few times – I had gone to band camp in Canada (don’t let the cheerleading thing fool you into thinking I was cool), tagged along on my parents’ weekend work trip to the Bahamas, and even taken a family trip to Spain to visit my cousin who was studying abroad. My parents used to call me The Bulldozer for my knack at getting things to go my way. My crowning moment earning that nickname came when I convinced them to hand over their credit cards and allow me, at age thirteen, to plan, book, and lead a family trip to Belize based on a page I had torn out of a Conde Naste Traveler magazine at the orthodontists’ office. Let’s just say they were going through a rough time. Basically, I had a well-established case of wanderlust.

I wish I could remember what I was searching for when I came upon the site that would change my web-browsing forever, that first travel blog, ThirteenMonths.com (sadly now defunct.) I remember bounding into my mom’s room with my laptop, shoving in front of her, and breathlessly pointing, “See! Look what these people did!” At the time, I only knew travel as something you did on the week or two of the year that you weren’t at your desk. The idea that these people could take thirteen months — three hundred and ninety five days! – and dedicate them to exploring the world was simply astounding to me.

Jeepney Riding

Butterfly Fish

Guidebook Reading

Today, more than seven years and somewhere around seven hundred thousand travel blogs later, I have become my own version of those bloggers. In fact, I’ve now been on the road for more than twenty seven months. I’ve found ways to earn income that weren’t dependent on location. I’ve found methods for living with less. I’ve white water rafted in Indonesia, partied at a remote island rave in Honduras, sailed from Greece to Turkey, had a motorcycle stolen in Laos, learned underwater videography in the Cayman Islands, had my heart broken in Thailand, and blogged about every step along the way.

I respect and understand those who choose other paths – to raise a family, to pursue a career, to live simple and stationary. But I think what I was struggling to find the words for all those years was simply that I am looking to live a life dedicated to adventure. Finding that first travel blog gave me a glimpse into the hearts, minds and lives of others who were looking to do the same. That, in turn, set in motion a series of events that allowed me to make it happen.

So that is why I blog — maybe someday, someone somewhere will stumble upon it, and there they will find an answer to a question they didn’t even know yet to ask.

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20 Responses to “Why I Blog: Introducing Alex in Wanderland” Subscribe

  1. Lance | Trips By Lance November 15, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Very nice. Love reading about someone discovering the life they want while in high school and following those dreams.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted..Green Card Woes (Or Being Stuck in Customs)

  2. Gaelyn November 15, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    Way to go Alex. Keep following those dreams.
    Gaelyn recently posted..Foto Friday Fun 33

  3. Rashad Pharaon November 16, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    Sailing from Greece to Turkey must have been so beautiful. Congrats on living your dreams!

  4. Corinne November 18, 2013 at 2:41 am #

    Great enthusiasm! I, too, let my teenage daughters plan trips. I did not hand them the credit card, though. Now they both travel on their own as much as possible….when we’re not traveling together. Love it!

  5. Alex November 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    Thanks for having me, Michael!

  6. Hogga November 18, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    yay to living your dreams!
    Hogga recently posted..Seeing Montreal with Le St. Martin

  7. Amanda thePanda November 18, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Good for you Alex! The interweb seems flooded with travel blogs these days, yours is one I love to follow though!
    Amanda thePanda recently posted..Sunday Snapshot: A Desert Sunset

  8. Sky November 18, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    I love this post so much, Alex! You seven years ago reminds me a lot of myself right now. I still remember the first travel blog I found (Nomadic Matt followed by Twenty-Something Travel, Neverending Footsteps, and you) and that first time I went “…wow. This is what I want from MY life.”

  9. Charli | Wanderlusters November 19, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    So often it’s the people who inspire us that ultimately push us onto the path on which we find ourselves. Great piece Alex. I love that you followed you dream of travel. Much like you I wasn’t such a profound writer when I sat down to write my first blog a little over 11 months ago. It’s been quite a journey but I’ve found it so therapeutic, and to think I was the kid who avoided essay and language subjects at school!

    Cheers to you Alex! I hope you have many more adventures to share in Wanderland.
    Charli | Wanderlusters recently posted..Discovering The Real Night Sky

  10. Stephen November 20, 2013 at 12:09 am #

    Awesome sauce! I loved this post! Keep the travels, and writing going!
    Stephen recently posted..Facing My Biggest Fear and Becoming A Diver

  11. Melissa November 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    I’m so glad to have discovered your travel blog via Go, See, Write! I love your writing style, your photos, and your blog name.
    Melissa recently posted..Ghosts of Bologna

  12. Nikhil Chandra November 25, 2013 at 1:50 am #

    Traveling is good! Keep traveling and keep writing :-) All the best!
    Nikhil Chandra recently posted..Street Photography: McLeodganj n Smoke

  13. Flora November 28, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    Great stuff Alex! Looking forward to reading more :)
    Flora recently posted..The Pueblo of Morado K’asa and its 200 Residents

  14. Ivana December 2, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    Lovely :) Many other great trips to you, Alex!!
    Ivana recently posted..Visiting Wat Tha Ton: a Magnificent Buddhist Temple in North Thailand

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