I opened my email this morning in Mexico to a blog article written by a self-described ‘award-winning’ travel writer whining about how ‘good writing’ was largely absent in travel blogs. 

Next, I read a piece by a personal finance writer challenging professional travel bloggers to publish their financials and provide ‘real numbers’ for how they budget for their future, because at a certain point “they’ll have to resume a ‘normal’ life, right?.”

I’d bristled reading both and my prickly reactions prompted me to stop and think about why.  

Was it the not-so-subtle tone of superiority that had me so deeply annoyed? Or, perhaps that they had attacked the fundamental goal (and challenge) of every freelance writer—to produce quality work and financial independence—that had left me feeling so cranky? 


Comedian George Carlin once quipped: “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”

Is it human nature to assume we’ve nailed it —how to drive, how to write, how to budget—and that everyone else has it wrong?

Or only bullies with an Internet pulpit and a way with words?

If you knew me you’d know that I strive to be all Zen and accepting and above such pettiness.

Obviously, I’m not. 

Maybe I’m just a snarky, mediocre writer with a large dose of natural contrariness who is unwilling to publish my tax returns for a nosy finance blogger. 

I hadn’t realized that my inbox could unleash these things in me, could produce such emotional turbulence. But while I sat there stewing, wondering why I felt so irritable, the anger slowly subsided, replaced by a fierce resolve. 

I found myself thinking of things I wanted to do, new ideas and thoughts roared up from my subconscious, unlocking an unexpected urge to create something real and original. 

“You okay?” my husband asked, instinctively sensing my internal discord.  

“Yes” I said.

“Do you want to go out for breakfast?” he persisted, his eyes sympathetic, like he knew better.  

“Thank you, but no.” I said, rising to give him a kiss, grateful for his love. “I have things to do.” 

I closed the laptop, packed a camera and journal into a bag and dressed for the day. Stepping out into the Mexican sunshine, I set off down the cobblestone street toward the plaza and the lake beyond; the day suddenly ripe with potential. 

Is it just me? Or can your inbox leave an imprint that stays with you? Share a comment below, on my Facebook page, or tag me on twitter to continue the conversation. I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

[photo texture background by SkeletalMess

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Ellen Barone is an American writer and wanderer. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".