Freelance writing while travelling

I left New Zealand, where I’m from, in 2016 to travel around Europe, and was encouraged to keep a record of my experiences. I first tried with journals, but ended up with several, heavy books full of hastily penned scrawls, barely legible when I returned to them to relive my experiences.

I’ll also be the first to admit that I majorly suffer from writer’s block. I love writing, but it drives me insane how easily I get distracted when I know there’s something I need to commit to paper. It took a lot of effort to reboot my inspiration weeks after coming down from the high of travelling.

The best solution was usually getting out of my flat and going into a cafe. The change in scenery fuelled me, and despite the myriad of environmental stimuli to distract me, I somehow got more work done. I know a lot of students will agree that it’s hard to work at home, where there’s constant food and no one to judge you for taking long, procrastinative breaks. So how could I keep that flow going while I was on the go, moving from place to place?

The world of the digital nomad

It made so much more sense to travel with a laptop. What better way to be inspired than by new cities waiting to be explored? While my writer’s block didn’t disappear completely, it was significantly lessened. I now find it much easier to speedily type up my thoughts, later fleshing them out into potential blog posts. I started a website, freelance writing en route to my next destinations. Notes made and photos taken on my phone during the day form the base for my articles when they sync up to my laptop.

Bad posture

It’s an improvement on the ol’ journal, although it does come with its own issues. I bundle my laptop up in a squishy case, cumbersome to carry when I’ve got other travel bags to contend with, in an attempt to prevent it from being damaged.

When public transport is tight and I’m squished into a corner, my posture tends to deteriorate. Right now, I’m sat typing at a crowded cafe bar, that’s far too high to comfortably rest my arms, I feel tension building up in my shoulders, and my neck is getting sore. Ironically, a lap isn’t the best place to rest a laptop — the heat emitted by these devices, if near your abdomen, has been linked with skin and fertility issues, among other problems. Yet, now I’m used to having a digital tool with which to write, it’d be too hard to return to old school journals, and they wouldn’t be much better for my posture if rested on my lap!

Prioritising ergonomics

Thank goodness for beautifully designed Silesian cases! I have to say, I’m convinced that I should switch to using a tablet while travelling — they’re much lighter and more compact than a laptop, not to mention the fact Silesian’s cases make them so easy to transport. They even unfold into a work station built to enhance good posture. Comfortable, practical, and better for your health! Where do I sign up?

Tiahli Martyn

I am a 23 year old student from Auckland, New Zealand, with a thirst to discover new places, and experience as much as possible out of life! That sounds cheesy, I know, but I feel it is reflected a lot in what I have spent the past few years doing, on exchange in Spain and travelling for a year, and now living in the U.K. since September 2017. In my free time I’m usually listening to and playing music, exploring, trying to stay fit and missing my dog.