I admit it, I was hardly the most positive person back in the day.
When I had the chance to open up the long-shut digital annals of my Facebook account, I was shocked and horrified by what I saw. The person sitting behind that ancient machine was not me. It was an insecure and somewhat dysfunctional teenager, ridden with angst and general hatred for a world it couldn’t understand or break into. I could say I hate that creature, but really I just feel sorry for it. Sorry, because that creature, no matter how much I try to distance myself from it, was me at one point.
But looking back at the teen angst and Parkway Drive and ridiculous hair, I begin to realise something spectacular… I’ve come a long way. I now have a fairly “normal” hair cut and don’t quite hate life as much. In general, I’ve become more confident in myself than I ever thought I would be, I’ve travelled across the world when I was sure Adelaide was all there was and I’ve written more words than I would have thought humanly possible at one point.
Of course, before this sounds too much like a self-congratulatory cover letter, I’ve still got a long way to go. I mean, we all do. It’s the Electric Holy Road, baby. There’s always something that we’d like to change about ourselves, or get better at. There’s always something we’re aiming for. And that’s great, really. To be constantly moving forward towards a better “me” is something I put a lot of effort into.
But the thing I’m most impressed with is how my brief time abroad (and it seems really fucking brief now that I’ve returned) has allowed me to see things in a much more positive light. Instead of seeing doom and gloom in the form of high cement walls and tight rooms, I now see the beauty in the little things: the rays of light, the forgotten dolls and toys hiding in tall grass, the crackling abstraction of bricks on a massive building. When you take a step away from the every day for a while, your eyes become opened to the magic within every day.
My latest few posts, written from my overly-comfy room in the Adelaide Hills, have been focused on this phenomenon as I’m sure long-time readers will have seen. Sorry to harp on about it, but it’s really an amazing thing. To have your whole outlook on the outside world changed is something you can’t just brush aside, it’s something you want to share with everyone.
So what is nutrition for the soul?
Writing Every Day
Sure, in the last few weeks I’ve been a bit lax in this department, but last year, at the height of my novel writing game, my daily goal was 500 words of unedited and free-flowing prose. It didn’t matter what sort of quality it was, or if I went over my goal, it just had to be done. It became a healthy habit, a creative addiction, and something that I would suggest that every writer take up. It’s been said many a-time by many a-writer, but it really is the best thing for a writer to keep up.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Again, busy and anxious months have sort of knocked me off the habit, but meditation is a really important part of my regime. Even if you can just take 5 minutes out of your day, find a place to sit comfortably and just be mindful. Absorb your surroundings, let thoughts enter and leave your head freely without lingering on anything except your own breathing and the feeling in your extremities. When you can feel your rapid eye movements and nervous thoughts calming and flowing into a single, powerful stream, that’s when you can slowly count out and return to your busy day.
I’m so incredibly thankful that I live in such a naturally beautiful part of the world. I hardly need to walk 5 minutes to become lost in tall gum tree forests or deep green undergrowth. Now the leaves are changing colour, nature is becoming even more powerful. Spending time getting lost and lonely among tall trees and winding roads is a sure-fire way to reconnect with your “self”, a self apart from the tonnes of bullshit and baggage that we accrue over our lifetimes.
Of course, travel is a huge one. Electric Holy Road could not exist as a blog if I hadn’t taken the plunge and gone on exchange. It’s unhealthy to get stuck in one place, unhealthy to repeat the same thing around the same faces and the same locations for too long. If your itching to move, feel that pulse and take up any opportunity you can. It’s my belief that humans are nomadic and need play in our lives. Travel combines these two important elements of homo-sapien existence and makes us feel free, capable and in-charge of our own destiny. Don’t allow yourself to fester, as that is how depression sneaks in. Believe me, little teenage James knows that well enough.
Goodnight and Good Luck
Electric Holy Road began as a travel blog but quickly became (before I travelled, even) something much more. It was a place to project my voice, experiment with writing on a digital platform and generally give my hands and mind something to focus on.
Over it’s eight or so months of existence, I’ve taken you through the wilds of bourgeois Europe, through my mental-scape and hopefully along a path of inspiration and self-discovery. I like to think that somehow, somewhere, Electric Holy Road has inspired someone to take their own steps forward.
The Electric Holy Road is my idea of a path, a career-spirit-body-mind path through life. It’s a road that is entwined tightly with the digital world, the spiritual world and the mental world. It’s also just a cool sounding title inspired a lot by all those Merry Prankster types of the past.
I don’t see myself quitting writing here for a long time, but as I return to a more normal, everyday life, I anticipate that a lot of you who have come here to read about my journeys through Europe will begin to drop off. It’s my hope you won’t, but I do totally understand and I won’t hold any hard feelings for it. There’s just only so much you can write on the subject of a single experience before it begins to loose steam and spirit. I want to move onward from it before I do any damage to it. My trip was sacred and special to me… I can’t ruin that for the sake of likes and views!
I’ve been writing for free for so many years now, and it’s time I begin to make a career out of it, to really knuckle down and be counted. It’s time I demand my share, an honest payment for labour. Writing is all too often seen as a hobby over a career but it is my goal, as the world slowly shifts from one filled with physical labour to a more robot-filled world of creative exploration, that I can use my skills to find physical reward and validation for hard work.
What I’m saying here is that I’m taking a slightly different fork of the Electric Holy Road for the time being. I’m sure I’ll be travelling and writing about my experiences again sometime in the near future, but now I see this blog becoming more of a creative outlet than a documentary on my steps through mysterious lands. Who’s to say what that’ll mean? Who’s to say that I won’t be writing about Europe again tomorrow or the day after that?
I’ll always be travelling, in one way or another, and so this will always be a “travel blog”… just not a travel blog.
Until I find my feet on a physical road again, or on the tarmac of an airport, or on the spine of a speeding train, please feel free to follow my upcoming project for the South Australian Writer’s Centre, Operation Electric Forever! As a Digital Writer in Residence I’ll be presenting a digitally-infused story over a six-week period on Twitter and WordPress. Click the links to find out more. And though I’d like to say likes and shares don’t really matter, I can’t in this case without feeling like a hypocrite! Exposure is life for an artist (and often our only payment!)
So lots of love to you all, dear readers! Don’t forget about me… I won’t forget what all your views and love meant to me as I wrote across Europe. You gave me strength to keep going and an outlet to shout into when the dark was already full. Goodnight, Good Luck, and God(s?) bless the Electric Holy Road!