I've been writing software for some 30 years now, since I got my first computer at age 10 and copied BASIC programs out of 3-2-1 Contact magazine so I could play games on my Apple II compatible. I graduated with an IT degree at the peak of the tech boom, worked for a Fortune 500 bank, a couple of growth companies, my own side projects, and most recently, I even co-founded a software startup. However, nothing quite prepared me for the stressful journey of finding my next endeavor on the job market of Boulder, Colorado. Here's my story and my advice for anyone else about to be put through the wringer...
My New Book, Spin the World Around, is available now on Amazon
At the end of my trip around the world through 24 countries, I found myself with a 750,000-word draft “travel book.” It was gargantuan. After months of editing, I realized I needed to split it into two books, and of course, continue editing. The first book was a guide for someone to travel deeply and cheaply entitled How to Spin the World Around. Now, I present a nonfiction narrative entitled Spin the World Around, in which the protagonist (me) essentially discovers the methodology of travel later outlined in the first book.
The experience of writing a memoir has been a time-consuming process, and it taught me about how we can play with time. Just the other day, I was cleaning out my garage and I found a journal in a filing cabinet. I opened it to an entry I had written when I was in high school, and it was about the desire to travel the world for adventure. “I’m not afraid of death,” was one of the lines written in the journal entry. I hadn’t read this entry probably in decades, but I’m sure it’s no coincidence that the same line written in my high school journal was later said during a key moment by a person I met years later in this book I’m about to release – about my world travel adventure. Be careful what you wish for; I’m glad that’s behind me. Then, I realize that this book I’m about to release actually ended about 3 years ago, and the protagonist was not only growing and changing over the course of the book, but once the book ended, I continued to grow and and change. I realize and accept that I am no longer the person I was in this book, just as a river is ever-changing and never the same moment to moment. That said, capturing the river in a given moment with a photograph or a story is a worthwhile creative endeavor. Learning to look back at our past selves with compassion is also worth it.
A certain amount of time was needed between the completion of the events and the manifesting of storyline omniscience. This allowed me to write a nonfiction narrative instead of just regurgitate a slew of chronological journal entries. Editing became key, as well as generating a story arc and developing a writing style. I worked with several editors and learned something from each of them. Before I even split to two books, I was encouraged to focus on action-based parts from the first editor. “More Action! Action! Action!” she’d write in the margins. The second editor was actually a writer who I paid up front through a proxy, but they never got back to me after they got paid. One guy offered to edit, but after reading the first chapter, he claimed to already know how it ended, so I knew I was in for another re-write. The editor I ended up crediting on the title page spent the most time with me and made the most impact on the writing style. The entire process helped make me a better writer… and editor. The good editors would generate writing assignments for more writing to be further edited. This process could go on for infinity, but eventually I needed to let it go. I encourage everyone to write their own memoir, if only to learn about oneself through creating it and become a better writer (and editor). In the mean time, I hope you enjoy my story and find my message valuable.
With that, I present to you – Spin the World Around. Available now.
...said the literary agent. Since committing myself to releasing a wanderlust guide about a trip through 24 countries on the cheap, I've been making my way though the system in place to maximize the experience. I went to the Writers' League of Texas conference last month and spoke with some agents with an intention to use a traditional publisher. Until book stores and traditional distribution are obsolete, there's something to be said about the format. Maybe it's like the record album, but I still love holding a former tree and reading from it.
So I'm focusing on this new entity called "Spin the World Around." It is the name of the memoir, but it's also a way of living.
What keeps the planet spinning? The force from the beginning. ~Daft Punk
All esoterics aside, I took some really cool pictures along the way, and I thought that sharing them would be a nice platform to illustrate the manifestation. My plan is to post a single high-res photograph each day until the book is released. With so many photos, I should have a platform by then. Here are the social network icons, without the names... Dig it!
Ok, well, so here's what i learned at the conference:
1. Twitter: you should be posting 4x per day and only 20% of your posts are about you.
2. Facebook: sadly, it helps to pay them to promote you
For the photo posting idea, here's a list (and my accounts for Spin the World Around):
1. Flikr lets you share high-resolution photos
2. Pintrest: photos pushed from Fliker whose locations can be added to a map
3. tumblr: similar to Flikr, but maybe not as high-res
4. instagram: has additional effects and a forced resolution, so postings are a separate work of art that can be re-posted to Flikr as such
5. imgr: for memes and funny pictures
6. Reddit to re-post photos
It's been about a year and a half since my adventure in Costa Rica with a Columbian Shaman and Ayahuasca. Once in a while, I get people contacting me on Facebook asking for advice for their upcoming journey. Here's my story.
Above is a full map of my trip around the world. Click on the word "Tripline" for details
Thankful for every friend I've met along the way. It has been bliss. every awkward moment; every physical injury; every look in the eyes; every touch; every deep conversation; every thought-provoking personal moment; every sight and adventure we shared; every platonic bond; every drive through the streets; every meal at home or in every restaurant; every sleeping space, no matter how luxiourous or spartan; every kiss; every hug; every handshake; every drink and smoke; every sunset, star gaze, or nature hike; every personal recital of moments of my life or the life of my friend; every language barrier; every time i helped someone improve their English; every end of the night or start of the day; every train, plane, or bus ride; every missed connection; everything lost or given away; every lesson; every smile; every consolation; ...and all that's to come...
So, when i was 6 months into my trip around the world, I was sitting in my friend's flat and decided to write a retrospective on where i'd been. It was quite the journey, and it was only 2/3 of the way finished! Here is my report!
The universe provides.
Check out my book!
Drinking from the Merlion
The adventure never ends. Singapore is a unique city in many ways, and my experience there definitely fit into that category. It's been a while since I've posted a blog entry. Basically, I decided to write a book when I get back that brings all these travels into a cohesive full story, so I'm now leaving things out of the blog and saving them for the book. I did a little bit of that in this story, but for the most part, most of what I have to say about my stay in Singapore can be found on my travel entry for this lovely city, which is also a country, as well as an island. It sits at the southern edge of Malaysia, and it is it's own little world. Check it out!
I visited a paradise called the Philippines as my second stop on my trip around the world. It was amazing! Two weeks on Palawan island and a great couple of days in Manila! Check out my story! It's all about the LOVE! This is an updated version of this blog, which, when originally published, got over 1,000 hits in just a day... but unfortunately, it offended enough people where I had to make some revisions. Fortunately, this version is way better anyway, and still fully from the heart, though I did leave part of it out so can save it for the book I will write at the end of my trip! Enjoy!
My guardian angel, according to my birth year
My third stop along the way around the world was Hong Kong, Special Administrative District of China. I had a really great 5 days there, and learned so much. I am so happy to share it with you!
Read all about it!
Copyright (c) 2015 Russell Eric Dobda