Direction, Clarity and Purpose

It’s two months ago today that my Pop died, and I’ve spent those two months feeling very lost – wandering, waiting, and wondering when something would grab my attention or give me some direction. Just today I feel like I have finally found some clarity, purpose and direction for my next five months of travels..

Venezuela is calling me again, this time to find a nice, quiet, beach side location to write. And write, and write and write. For many years I’ve had the idea of writing a book about my experiences, and until now it has remained an idea. Over the years a number of people have said I should write a book, and although I am flattered by those suggestions, I’ve still done nothing more than say thank you.

Well this year it seems that the universe has collaborated with many unrelated people, and everywhere I turn, someone is telling me I should write a book. About me, my experiences and my life. And as egotistical as that sounds, I’ve decided that’s what I need to do.

This decision hasn’t been easy, as I guess important decisions never are. And I feel as if I’ve had to be metaphorically smacked in the head a few times for the idea of writing about myself to really sink in and take hold. There are still some moments where I panic and get overwhelmed with the enourmity of the task, or when I feel absurd thinking that other people might be interested in my story.

And then there are fleeting moments when I think that maybe, just maybe, something I have to say will help someone else, and that is the straw I’m grasping at to initiate this project. Of course, there will be lots of funny – possibly even hilarious – stories, and many interesting tales and travel anecdotes, and some history that until now, only a few close friends have known about. My aim is to be as raw and honest as I can, and to tell all without glossing over or covering up the bruised bits.

One excuse I’d had until two months ago was that I didn’t want to publish anything while my Pop was alive, for fear of embarrassing or upsetting him. Now that he’s gone, I don’t have that crutch, and I actually think he would want me to write, even if only for the supposed therapeutic benefits I would possibly gain from doing so.

Since Pop died I have been emotionally exhausted – partly from the obvious grief, and partly because I’ve been searching to find much needed meaning in what I’m doing here in South America. In three months of travels this year so far, I’ve been to only four countries and revisited two (soon to be three) of them, which is highly unusual for me. More commonly, I travel faster, and I don’t re-visit countries in the same trip.

However, right from the beginning, my trip this year was different from other years, and it continues to be so. The purpose of it was to be warm all year long (Melbourne is too cold for me for nine months of the year), to learn Spanish, and to write. After Pop’s death I wanted to be with friends, and I had returned to Brazil for that reason. As things have turned out, my time in North-Eastern Brazil has not gone as planned, and I’m not doing any o the things I wanted to on this trip, and that has forced me to become very clear about what I want to do next.

The last time I was this emotionally shaken up was from another death – that of my friend Lee in 2009. Lee’s death started my serious journey of self discovery, and of trying to find the direction, clarity and purpose of my life. I certainly don’t think I’ve got it all sorted out yet, but I do feel like my internal compass is swinging a little less wildly for now, and Venezuela is my ‘north pole’ magnet.

My reason for writing is not fame and glory. The idea of that actually makes me shudder. I don’t consider what I’ve done and who I am to be particularly special in any way, I’m just me. It isn’t until other people exclaim long enough and loud enough that I have stories, experience and learnings worth telling, that I’m beginning to listen.

If I can get it written, and if it gets published, and if people buy it, great. I don’t want the money for me, I can travel cheaply with my own little money. If all these if’s come about, I will use the money to help more people. I meet so many wonderful people in my travels, and I wish I was as rich as some people think I am. This book – or two or three – are my chance of finally being able to help more people in more ways than I am currently able to.

So, this post is to hold me accountable. I need to know someone is expecting something from me in order to work at my best, and I’m also very good at procrastinating when it comes to important tasks. Therefore, I’m rationalising that if other people know I’m meant to be writing (more than anything else) in July and August, I might actually do it.

I’ve also decided today that my remaining three months after Venezuela will be spent only in South America. Initially I wanted to see all of Latin America (South and Central) and more of the Caribbean, but now that thought makes me weary. So, unusually again, I’ve decided to slow down and visit Central America and more of the Caribbean next year. And possibly also Canada and the States to revisit friends.

That’s my plan at this stage anyway. For now, I have one week left in Brazil and then I’m heading back to Venezuela to find my Caribbean Coastal Writing Paradise. I’ve said it now, and am determined to keep my word. Feel free to drop me a line every now and again to ask how much I’ve written that day. I need the accountability.

Oh, and here’s a cool map I found you can create online, to visualise all the countries you’ve been to. I’m at 49 and don’t yet know what country will be number 50.. perhaps Peru, because I’m told the food there is the best in Latin America..

Belinda Jane’s Travel Map

Belinda Jane has been to: United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Botswana, Canada, Switzerland, People’s Republic of China, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Morocco, Malta, Mexico, Malaysia, New Caledonia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Sweden, Singapore, Slovenia, Slovakia, Thailand, United States, Venezuela, Vietnam, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Get your own travel map from Matador Network.


  1. Dear Belinda,
    What a fabulous idea! For many reasons! You will have a great deal to share….you have been so open to people, places, experiences. Do it! But my thought is do it for yourself in the first instance and not necessarily to help other people. And don’t feel you have to have it published if you don’t feel ready at the end of it. It will make you feel vulnerable and exposed and you will need to feel ready for that.
    Love to hear how it goes and lots of love to you!
    Joc xx

    1. Thanks Joc,
      It is primarily for myself, and the thought it may help others is just a motivating factor at this stage. I’m not yet thinking about where it goes, or if it gets published, for exactly the reasons you mentioned. For now I just need the push to start writing and then I’ll see what happens.
      Thanks for your support!
      Bel xo

  2. My lovely friend Belinda – you are such an inspiration! I will take up the charge to hold you accountable, and ask you do the same for me. The novel is still in my where it does no one any good. When the universe calls you to slow and contemplate, that’s a good thing. Hope to see you again one of these days.


    1. Hi Kimberly,
      It is an honour to be called an inspiration, and I only hope that that continues to remain true! Slowing down and contemplating seems appropriate now, so I’ll try to heed the call. I am sure we will meet again – as always, the question is just a matter of where..!

  3. Hi Belinda
    I think you may be on the right track….I have found memoir writing very therapeutic since I lost Jim earlier this year. I attend a class every Friday morning with about a dozen other ladies. The tutor, Fin Ross has worked s a journalist on several newspapers and also writes mysteries but it is surprising what she manages to get from us….I really think she should have been a psychologist and I am amazed at how honest the ladies are when they recount some of their worst moments. They also keep me on my toes as what they write is first class. Good luck I know you will stick with it….this family is pretty good at not giving up.

    1. Thanks so much Lorna,
      Your encouragement is much welcomed and appreciated. Best wishes also for your memoir writing, the class sounds very interesting.
      I hope I can uphold your family beliefs about not giving up.. 🙂

  4. Hi Belinda, great to hear from you and I am loving your blog. You have such an interesting life and at times I jealous but at my age I’m too old to drop everything to travel. Looking forward to your book bring published. Take care. Terrie

    1. Hi Terrie,
      Thank you for your kind words, you have always been very interesting to me too! Perhaps I can help you feel like you’re also travelling, through my stories and perhaps a book 😉 we will see.
      Best wishes, Belinda

  5. I think your idea to finally write a book is fantastic. You have a way with words that enables me to feel that I am in the place/situation that you are wirting about.
    Also the place you propose to write it from sounds idealic. I hope you find it soon.
    Thanks for asking us to keep you accountable…I am sure the end product will be amazing.

    1. Hi Cherralyn,
      Thanks for your comment. I am pleased you feel involved when reading my words, and I just hope I can get the writting done and perhaps create a book from it.. I am still searching for the desired beach, and will let you know when I find it!

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