Uneven Tenor in 2016

Happy New Year to my wonderful readers!

It’s past time to break the radio silence I’ve been maintaining for the past several weeks and get caught up on all things Uneven Tenor.

The classic Chinese junk I sailed around Hong Kong Island on. A definite highlight of my trip to Hong Kong!

The classic Chinese junk I sailed around Hong Kong Island on. A definite highlight of my trip to Hong Kong!

End of 2015 recap:

If you weren’t following along on Facebook, here’s what happened after I left Beijing:

  • Ryan and I visited Xi’an, saw the Terracotta Warriors, and climbed Huashan Mountain.
  • Ryan went back to Beijing and I continued south through Wuhan, Yangshuo, and Hong Kong and Macau.  I have stories to share from all those places, but which do I post on the blog and which do I save for the book?  Any opinions?
  • I wrote about my tips for surviving travel in China.
  • I’ve been splitting my time between Colorado and New Mexico for the holidays before Ryan and I move into our newly rented apartment in Fort Collins in mid-January.

And that’s where things get complicated:  I don’t know how to fit Uneven Tenor into 2016.

These are the remaining destinations:

  • Trip 1: Gibraltar, Spain, Andorra, South of France, Matterhorn, and Italy.  Minimum trip length = two months.
  • Trip 2: India, Southeast Asia, Malaysia.  Minimum trip length = two months.
  • Trip 3: Russia and Georgia.  Minimum trip length = one month.

And these are the 2016 complications:

  • I need a job for the next few months at least; I need the money and some career legitimacy on my resume.
  • We’re moving to a yet-to-be-determined location in the US or Canada at the end of July.
  • I’m not going to abandon my fiancée immediately after moving to a new place.

So here are the questions I need to ask:

  • How long can I take to complete Uneven Tenor before the traveling I did in 2014 becomes irrelevant and I lose  the opportunity to write a book?
  • Am I willing to make the trips significantly shorter by sacrificing either the amount of time spent in each place, or by omitting some places entirely?
  • How much longer can I keep this up without causing irreparable damage to my relationships and/or my career?

So, there you have it.  That’s how I’m starting off 2016, with some pretty heavy questions.

Do you all have any input? Any perspective on the expiration dates of travel writing material, or how much I really need to worry about the time between earning my M.S. degree and putting it to use?

Anyways, on a lighter note…

  • I’m working on a post about the amazing (and weird) foods I ate in China, and a Best Moments of 2015 post in the same vein of the 2014 year end summary.
  • I’m editing photos and videos so I can share them on Facebook.
  • I’m working on getting some articles published in hard copy and online periodicals.
  • And, best of all, I’m starting to write the book!  I actually started work on it in Beijing, but had to hit the pause button to finish my China travels and enjoy the holidays.  But the progress I’ve made so far is really exciting, and I can’t wait to continue!

So that’s where things stand right now.  Definitely pay attention to Facebook because I’ll have some great photos and videos going through there, like a video of the bird market in Hong Kong, and photos of some beautiful Chinese landscapes.

Thanks to you all for your support, encouragement and comments throughout the Uneven Tenor project.  Despite all the questions I posed above, don’t worry about the fate of the project.  If there’s just one thing I’m certain about, it’s that I will ultimately complete Uneven Tenor and write a book. 

But right now I’m just happy to be home for awhile!


Snowshoeing in my “back yard” at home in the Colorado mountains.

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  1. If you’re willing to take my advice, here it is:
    If you go ahead with your travels, you’ll never be sorry. If your fiancee truly loves you, you won’t be jeopardizing your relationship, and he’ll be waiting for you no matter what. Don’t worry about a career – do what you love, now, while you’re young and can do it, because when you’re older and maybe married and maybe have children, and maybe can no longer walk or hike, etc… and your career is over, you might not be able to go on any adventures. Life is short and only a vapor. Work enough to get the money you need and then go….

    • Thanks for your input, Ani. Working enough to get money for travel, then going on a long trip, is exactly how I’ve been doing things for the past twelve years, and I have zero regrets. I think I need to spend some time thinking about my career goals. For example, what exactly *are* my career goals? I don’t even know–I’ve been too busy traveling!

  2. The one piece of advice I have is *not* to reduce the time in each place. The depth and texture of your travel writing depends, I think, on your having enough time to settle (lightly) in; I’m also not sure you’d enjoy it as much if you didn’t. You don’t want this to become a chore!

    And you’re writing a book, not a news article, so you do have some time. I’d say if it’s going to take more than about five years, think about publishing two volumes … otherwise, you’re good.

    • Thanks for your comment, Laura. Five years is kind of the cap I was envisioning, too. I don’t know if I’ll have a big enough market to plan for a two-volume book, but if I write one book that’s wildly popular (I can dream!) then I can continue the project with all the dozens of RH places I’m not visiting this time around. I hate to think of spending less time in places, too. Traveling fast *is* a chore compared to how I usually do it!

  3. I have read more travel and adventure memoirs in the last year than most people do in a lifetime and I can safely say, your travel stories will still have relevance regardless of how long it takes to complete the project. Bill Bryson and Cheryl Strayed never even finished the trails they set out to do and they wrote best sellers. Roz Savage had to postpone her row across the Pacific for a full year because she missed her window due to an overanxious reader. Rita Golden Gelman’s book was a collection of experiences that spanned over a decade. The stories aren’t and shouldn’t be about the timeline; they should be about the experiences and your experiences will still be inspirational and exciting even if you complete them one, two, or even ten years down the line. My advice, just keep writing. Get it down while it’s still fresh and it blossom into something readers will be dying to get their hands on.

    • Thanks, Anne! That’s really reassuring to hear. And I keep really detailed journals whenever I travel, so everything is “freshly” in print until I can figure out how to put it all together.

  4. It is great that you have such a strong adventurous spirit and that you have so many wonderful plans. I also travel as much as I can but I always try to stay a bit longer at the countries I visit. It is important for me to really feel the atmosphere! That also gives more time to think and muse to write. Consider spending more time at each place!

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