Latest Newsletter: Halfway Through a Double Marathon

By Dave Fox

redhill-singapore-balcony-viewIf you try to run a double-marathon, and you only make it halfway, you haven’t failed.

Hey, that was kind of profound, wasn’t it?

(Actually, no. It was not. Because there’s no such thing as “kind of profound.”)

In any case, that thought came to me on a late-night walk the other night. It was a pep talk I needed to give myself. I’ve been stressier than usual lately.

If you visit on a regular basis (because you find it an excellent place to procrastinate) you might have noticed I’ve been AWOL. I am terribly sorry for this, and hope you have temporarily found other places on the Internet to fill your procrastinational needs.

Kattina and I moved two months ago to a different neighborhood in Singapore. Our new apartment is approximately seven square inches larger than your shower; however, it has a balcony the size of Delaware, and on days when the air is not full of storm clouds or pollutants, we have a pretty epic view of Malaysian and Indonesian islands. (And shipping container cranes.)


The new Globejotting sunny-day office.

So life is good, but extreme downsizing is stressful. Add into the mix trying to finish the rough draft of my new Saigon book and produce a new three-hour travel writing video workshop by the end of May, and you’ll understand why I’ve been a slacker as of late as far as fresh website content goes.

A Quivering Mess!

A few weeks ago, shortly after we moved, Kattina found me one evening in our new bedroom, sobbing convulsively in the fetal position. This is because our new bedroom is too small for me to stretch out while sobbing convulsively.

“What’s wrong?” Kattina asked me.

“I can’t do it!” I whimpered.

“Sure you can,” she said. “You just have to stick your feet out the window.”

“No,” I said. “I mean, I can’t get everything done in time.”

Photo: Mikhail Kryshen / flickr

Photo: Mikhail Kryshen / flickr

I was trying to complete two mammoth projects before the end of this month, and was coming to the realization that accomplishing that feat, along with a bunch of other deadlines and teaching commitments, would require going without sleep for 37 days in a row. I realized I needed to put one project on hold.

Choosing between the two felt a bit like picking a favorite child. In the end, I went with the project that would yield a finished product more quickly. (There are good reasons we do not have children.)

This does not mean I have abandoned my Saigon book! No! That baby is just a little slow. I was still doing research as recently as last week (I was in Vietnam for a wedding) and will dive recklessly back into my writing in August.

But yes! Along with the lame and groveling announcement that my manuscript is behind schedule (manuscripts usually are) comes the exciting news that I have just given birth to an enthralling, new, three-hour video workshop on how to write and publish phenomenal travel tales. And to start filling the online classroom, for one week only, I’m putting it on sale at a ridiculous price.

Interested: Follow this link for more details!

Summer Travels

You might be wondering, “Why all the urgency with getting stuff done by the end of May?” That’s ‘cuz I’m about to hit the road for a summer writing spree in my old stomping grounds.

I’m married to a teacher who works like a madwoman most of the year. She is rewarded for her hard work with a couple of months off every summer. When Kattina came to me a couple of months ago and said, “Hey, wanna spend the summer in Europe,” I responded by shrieking, “Can’t you see I’m busy trying to get my foot out the window?!”

I explained to my super-awesome wife that as a freelance writer, I can’t afford to just take a two-month summer holiday.

norway-oslo-vigeland-sinnataggen2-gjotIntense marital negotiations ensued (okay, I buckled after about seven seconds) in which we agreed I would take my work on the road for the summer.

So on June 8, we’re flying to Germany where we’ll be hanging out with Kattina’s relatives. From there, we head into France, the Benelux countries, Denmark, and Norway – hopefully with a foray in July up to Svalbard, one of the northernmost islands on Planet Earth with a tourism infrastructure.

(I live one degree north of the equator. My coldest weather of the year, strangely, could happen in mid-summer.)

Through the magic of the Internet, I’ll be fully accessible to my online writing students (and still available for one-on-one coaching sessions), but I’ll also be cranking out lots of new stories for Globejotting and some other publications I write for.

I guided Rick Steves’ European tours for 16 years. I’m excited to be heading back to Europe for what will be my first non-tour-guiding, extended (eight weeks) trip around the continent since 1989.

So after a sleepy spring, is about to perk up. In the meantime, here are links to a few other stories I’ve written recently for the Straits Times in Singapore:

  • bobby-the-sea-turtle-copyright-dave-fox-globejottingLessons On Marine Life – My editor wrote one of the best sub-heads ever for this one: “Dave Fox befriends a rescued sea turtle and learns about the sex lives of fishes on Gaya Island in Sabah.”
  • Jamming in the Jungle: If you like world music and you’ll be in Southeast Asia this summer, Borneo’s Rainforest World Music Festival is worth the airfare!
  • The Slow Lane in Laos: Laos is a land where life moves slowly — and to fully enjoy it, you should too.

What’s Your Unfinished Marathon?

I brought up the double marathon analogy  at the beginning of this article because I realize I’m not alone. We all take on big projects sometimes that, for one reason or another, we need to put on hold. The problem many of us face is, once we do this, we never get back to them.

Part of the reason I’m writing now about my book delay is to ensure that it really is only a slight delay. With 900 newsletter subscribers (and 10,000 monthly website visitors) holding me accountable, I’m more likely to follow through. (Nag me! Please!)

So how about you? Have you ever put a big project on hold “temporarily?” Is it time to start thinking about getting back to it? Let this article serve as a nudge, a reminder, a suggestion that maybe now is the time for you to plunge back in.

What’s your unfinished project? Tell me about it! If you could use some encouragement, cajoling, or nagging to get back to it, I’m here to help. (Seriously, drop me an e-mail! I want to hear your unfinished project story!)


Published on Friday, May 30, 2014

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