Growing Pains of Learning

I recently signed up for MatadorU in an attempt to improve my writing and photography skills. For those who don’t know, MatadorU is an educational community that offers online courses in travel writing, photography and videography. They are a part of the Matador Network, the world’s largest independent travel publisher. According to their website and multiple reviews I’ve read, students who have signed up for their courses have taken advantage of their network and have actually gotten paid gigs.

I’m currently signed up for three of the five courses they offer: Fundamentals of Travel Writing, Advanced Travel Writing and Advanced Travel Photography. How it works is you read a chapter and at the end, you have an assignment based on the lessons within the chapter. You work at your own pace and your work isn’t graded, however, it is critiqued. The people critiquing your work are their published editors as well as your peers.

For my first assignment, I had to write a short introductory autobiography. I’ve always felt that I am a talented writer and was feeling confident submitting my first assignment. I was full of excitement when I received an email notifying me that an editor left me feedback just a few hours after submitting my work. I couldn’t wait to see the praise on my first assignment. I logged into my account, and after a couple of clicks, got served a sweet slice of humble pie. Not what I expected. It stung a little bit but the feedback was very constructive and helpful. I did some revisions and resubmitted which was met with more criticism. By now my ego has suffered a crushing blow and I’m already thinking that maybe I’m delusional for thinking of becoming a travel writer.

As a child it’s OK to be bad at things, its part of learning. But as we get older, we’re expected to be good at everything, and all of a sudden, being bad at something is a tough pill to swallow. Especially if you’ve convinced yourself otherwise. Right now, I feel like one of those contestants on American Idol that thinks they can sing, only to get reality checked and humiliated on national TV.

Feedback is a part of growth and the criticism constantly being given to me will only elevate my writing. I am grateful that people are willing to help me on my journey. I just have to keep remembering that. That being said, I’m not ready to quit and I will continue to work on this assignment until I get it right. After that I will move on to the next one, then the one after that, until I get to where I want to be. 

One Year Later…

It’s been just over a year since my motorcycle accident. The road to recovery has been long and  very frustrating at times. Getting over the physical limitations and mental roadblocks was and still is challenging. I am not 100% yet, but I still have about six months to fully recover as my orthopaedic surgeon informed me that it takes about a year to a year and a half for a fractured femur to fully recover.

Since it’s been a year, settling my accident benefits is a possibility, which means I can put an end to this chapter in my life. The thing about ending one chapter is that I must start another, which is both scary and exciting at the same time. I have to admit that the thing I’m most uncertain about is what I’m going to do for work. Since I am not 100% I can’t go back to construction because of the physicality of the job, which I actually enjoyed. I guess it’s back to the drawing board.

So here I am trying to figure out what I’m going to do with my life. I recently took up photography and I think I’m going to run with it for awhile and see what happens.

My future isn’t full of uncertainty as I have a lot of things I am looking forward to. I am actually moving to London, UK to be with my girlfriend and to start a new life, something I have grown accustomed to. I have already done it twice, the first time in Banff, Alberta and the second time in Vancouver, BC. I actually just got back from Europe last Saturday and applied for my UK Visa the day after (read my blog post about applying for my UK Visa here). Although I’ve done it before, starting a new life again feels different this time. Maybe it’s because it’s a new country, or because I’m older or maybe it’s because I know I am finally going to be with my girlfriend after being long distance for the majority of our short relationship, I haven’t figured it out yet. Regardless of what the reason is, the feeling is good. I am excited and very much looking forward to it.