Travel Books That Will Inspire You to See the World

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During one’s downtime in which they are not traveling, what better way to keep their exploratory passion alive than to read some of the most intriguing books on the subject? The following are just some of many travel books to read that will keep your travel bug alive and have you yearning to visit every possible corner of the world.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

In the years following World War II, Jack Kerouac and his friends traveled across the United States in search of all that life has to offer. Narrated by “Sal Paradise,” who serves as Kerouac himself, readers follow these men from New York to Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles where they encounter various forms of art and some of life’s troubles. You begin to notice the characters, particularly Sal, grow and gain more confidence. This piece of literature is sure to inspire even the most introverted individual to travel cross-country.

Love With a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche

Don’t let the fact that this is somewhat of a romance novel deter you from reading. As a well known travel blogger, DeRoche details her fear of the ocean and and the incredible feat of overcoming that fear to sail across the Pacific with her boyfriend. Her vivid writing paints a picture in readers’ minds and evokes a moving feeling; something that, again, is sure to get even the laziest person up off the couch and out in the world.

The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto

For individuals especially keen on New York City, Russell Shorto’s book details the history of its foundation through Dutch settlers and their conflicts with the British and eventual losing of the city. These settlers have left such an impact that most of the city’s culture still emanates that today, in addition to many street and neighborhood names. After reading this story, it will be difficult not to have a newfound appreciation for New York City culture.

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

A book on vagabonding by none other than the king of vagabonding himself, Rolf Potts has spent over 10 years hitchhiking and exploring areas all over the world. His book contains some of the best insight imaginable, crucial travel tips and information, and several inspiring encounters; a work that should be considered an absolute must-read for those new to the world of traveling. Potts delves deeper into the philosophy of traveling as well, explaining why traveling for extended periods of time is an enriching experience.

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Why Writers Should Ditch Their Smartphones (Occasionally)

Originally posted on LeonardRaymundo.com

Smartphone addiction is a real and prevalent issue among many people today, myself included. In fact, of the 56% of Americans who own smartphones, many report feeling panicked and anxious when misplacing their mobile devices. This desperation to be connected at all times can be especially troubling for writers despite the vastness of the internet, and the overwhelming amount of information available at our fingertips.

It’s easy to get lost in your phone or tablet when browsing the web, reading online articles, and indulging in the endless world of social media. For many people, “taking a break” means surfing the internet and reading funny or interesting articles rather than checking their emails. However, you are still on your smartphone (or tablet) while doing this. Occupying your mind via technology at all times can be detrimental to your creative process, and thus your creative writing.

Today, it’s much easier to pick up your phone and go through the many applications you’ve downloaded when you become bored. By doing this, you are effectively preventing your mind from wandering, which is an essential activity for creative writers. A majority of writers credit their stories and ideas simply from their imaginations; something that can only be done when the mind is able to wander and reflect on the day, and the interactions that occurred throughout.

Have you noticed unique or eclectic ideas coming to mind more often while you are driving or in the shower? While you may not exactly be bored in these situations, your brain is receiving little stimulation, and thus begins to wander and reflect. Shoving your face into a smartphone when you are overcome with boredom does stimulate your brain, but in a way that prevents creative thought. A great way to conquer this is by forcing yourself to simply be bored. This may seem, well, boring, but make your smartphone technology unaccessible for a certain period of time, and get back to your roots of boredom. This can force you to think of a more creative outcome rather than simply grabbing the nearest mobile device or tablet.

What did you do as a child when you were bored before smart technology existed? Many people might answer playing outside, or just letting their mind wander in relaxing locations. Little did we know it, but these actions sparked our imaginations and creativity, and, depending on how long you’ve been writing, we may have written these experiences down in journals.

If you’re truly motivated to get some writing done, but know that your addiction is bad, there is software that can help you. Here are some apps that do this best, allowing you to free your mind and expand your creativity. Boredom is a small price to pay for productivity.
Pay attention to times in which you become bored while writing. If you aren’t inspired during a certain scene or piece of dialogue, there’s a good possibility your writers will feel that lack of inspiration. It’s times like this where most people will immediately feel compelled to grab their phones and spend hours on social media. Instead, study that specific scene and find out what it is that is lacking. It may be just one sentence throwing off the entire conversation. The more you analyze and think about your writing, the happier you’ll be with it through editing; something texting and checking emails cannot do.

Overcoming Self-Doubt When Writing

Many writers and artists of all types would agree that they are their own worst critics. It is a completely normal (though unhealthy) habit to doubt anything that you put a great amount of effort into, as you often strive for perfection. Though ‘perfect’ is fairly hard to come by, creating a piece of work that you take pride in and are excited to share with the world is not. The trick is to silence that voice in the back of your mind telling you that it’s not good enough.

Writing especially can drum up a cluster of emotions that may deter you from continuing. With how much people rely on social media for validation today, that introduces an entirely new facet of acceptance that many come to crave in order to merit their work as worthy. Constantly checking to see if your blog that you just published is receiving ‘likes’ or being commented on can create an unhealthy dependence that will only hurt your chances of improving as a writer.

A great way of finding a trustworthy source of reviewers is by taking part in a writing group, whether in person or a verified online community. Sharing your work with other writers that may have more experience than you can provide you with not only valuable feedback, but lessons learned and tips you can apply to future projects. Working alongside fellow writers is a great way to build confidence and offer helpful insight into your current writing strategies and techniques, but keep in mind that being open to critique is of utmost importance for yourself as a writer.

Another highly efficient way to silence that doubtful voice in your mind is to turn off notifications on platforms that you may be posting to (as pointed out by Terri Kue on Medium). Waiting for and expecting a certain number of ‘likes’ or comments on your post is a great way to set yourself up for disappointment, whether you’ve posted on Facebook, WordPress, or Instagram. Perhaps your audience hasn’t had a chance to read it yet, but the fact that your work hasn’t immediately gone viral can eat away at you and become nothing more than a source of stress.

Start working on your next piece immediately after posting your latest work. Get your mind off the fact that it is out there waiting to be read. The anxiousness that follows is never worth your time. Focus your attention elsewhere, particularly on another blog, story, or poem. Keep pushing forward with and explore different techniques or strategies. Paying attention to how well received your last work was will only prevent you from growing as a writer.

Becoming a great writer takes time. Impatience can hinder improvement, and doubting yourself throughout will belittle your confidence. Understand that there’s only one path to becoming a better writer, and that is simply by writing more. Seeking validation via social media is not an effective way to measure your talents. Silence that doubtful voice and know that as long as you are passionate about your craft, improvement will come.

Originally posted on LeonardRaymundo.com

Industries Set to Rule Social Media in 2018

Social media is an inevitable part of the future of marketing. Yet many brands still execute poorly when it comes to the multitude of platforms available, mostly due to a misunderstanding of its audience and purpose.

Like it has been said time and time again, social media is now an integral part of businesses among all sectors. 2.8 billion social media users were accounted for in 2017, of which roughly 95% were between the ages of 18 and 35; a statistic crucial to keep in mind for advertising companies.

However, a poorly executed or ill-conceived social media can actually do more harm than good. It’s important to understand where your audience consumes information, and be ready to do more than just sell your product. The following are just some of many industries that absolutely need to harness the powers of online networking, before they get left behind.

Hospitality

Chefs and restaurant owners alike are having to get more and more creative every day in order to better reach their target audiences. Like social media, hospitality businesses are complex and are often characterized by their constantly changing environments and need to adapt to the times. The increased use of technology has only made this more true.

It’s not uncommon to see diners taking photos of their meals before indulging; something chefs will most likely appreciate despite any judgemental looks they may receive from fellow patrons. Spreading awareness and influencing reviews is a great way to gain traction in the hospitality industry, and in no place can that be done better than a simple cell phone. Twitter followers, Instagram followers, Facebook likes and of course Yelp reviews, are sure to help these businesses promote themselves, as social media is the new word of mouth in this industry.

Big Pharma

Customer service in the pharmaceutical industry has always been cast in somewhat of a negative light. With that said, more pharmaceutical companies are beginning to utilize social media in order to reach and engage with their customers, other companies and healthcare professionals, and potential job candidates.

This opens the doors many opportunities to network and connect with others. Community pages that include blogs on specific drugs or treatments, and holding discussions is a great way to engage with customers more instead of simply providing them with the medication they require.

Finance

According to financial expert Amy McIlwain, a big reason why major financial companies have avoided using social media in the past was due to the fact that an enormous part of their clientele were baby boomers and senior citizens. But, with more elderly individuals joining Facebook today combined with the fact that younger individuals are beginning to understand the importance of personal finance, now is the time to harness the powers of the biggest social media platforms.

If you’re not connecting to your audience through social media, you are most likely losing opportunities you may not have had otherwise. But rather than thinking about using social media to promote your business, you should be thinking about the best channels to tell your story to your audience.

Originally posted on Leonard David Raymundo’s Medium