Ever landed yourself in hot water when you go travelling?
My name is Mike (aka. “Mikeachim” on social media), and I’m an Archaeology student turned professional writer and storytelling consultant.
I’m also a travelling disaster.
I’ve missed countless flights, got lost climbing umpteen hills and crossing countless fields, and looked stupid in front of more people than you would believe. That’s my thing, and I’ve come to see why it’s the ticket to good stories and memorable travel experiences.
That’s my excuse, anyway.
Welcome To Fevered Mutterings
It’s about (mainly) European travel, about how I make a living as an online writer, and about how to tell a good story.
Let’s look at each of those in turn.
I grew up in Cyprus, so my heart is in the Mediterranean, and I suspect it’ll never leave.
Right now, the rest of me is in England – and embarking on a quest to visit and write about every city in the UK. I’ll probably be using the train network (here’s how to keep your tickets cheap in this country) and I hope lots of things will go wrong, because that’s how good stories happen.
The rest of the time, I like sleeping outside in a sack. It’s all very British really.
Becoming A Professional Writer
I started writing professionally in 2009. Since 2012 it’s been my main source of income.
You’ll hear a lot in the media about how tough it is to make money as a writer in digital media these days. I take a different view (and so does this guy). Nevertheless, it’s hard. It’s the toughest, scariest job I’ve ever done, and I’ve made plenty of mistakes – which is the fastest way to learn that I know of.
How To Tell A Good Story
Firstly, I’d suggest you check out my free storytelling course. (I’m not kidding. 100% free.)
And then have a look at this page.
Storytelling consultancy (I know, I know – sounds weird to me too) is now a big part of how I make a living, and I’ve spoken at conferences in The Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Canada on the subject.
Once Upon A Time…
I was born in Germany (in a British RAF hospital), grew up in Cyprus, and moved to England just as I hit my teens. (Memory: sat at an newly-landed Boeing 747 window at Heathrow, looking out at the rain – and I turn to my parents and say, “Why have we come here? It’s raining.” They never gave me a good answer to this question. That’s parents for you.)
In Cyprus I discovered National Geographic magazine, hoarding copies like a curly-haired Gollum. I obsessed over them, loving the writing, mesmerized at how adults (adults!) could make the world sound so amazingly fun! The pictures were terrific – but the writing was what blew my mind. At some point, I wondered how much fun it might be to become a professional writer, telling stories for a living. If people actually did that for living.
Was that even allowed?
Skip forward. My family has moved to the UK, and I’m not sure what I want to do with my life. I leave school, drift through a number of tedious jobs for very little money – and at some point I’m leafing through an old copy of one of those National Geographics. Something in me says I need an adventure to get me out the rut I’m in.
A few weeks later, I spot an advert in an outdoors magazine for a walking expedition through the Austrian South Tyrol – and off I go.
I come home changed. A change that leads to retaking exams, going to University as an archaeology student and learning to write with precision and clarity, and then to a series of office jobs in York while I experiment with my own writing as a side income.
Cut to early 2012. I’m an office-monkey by day, and thanks to a blossoming fascination with the wider world, I’m a travel blogger by night. My work has been read out as part of the Travel Bloggers Exchange Community Keynote, my blog posts have been linked to by the likes of Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker, and I’m selling decent amounts of my writing work – but somehow I’m still holding myself back.
I still don’t feel like a real writer. I still don’t feel like I’m allowed.
It’s working out nicely so far.
Now it’s your turn. Say hello here! Or drop me an e-mail at:
hunter.sowden AT gmail.com
Oh, go on. I promise you’ll get a reply.
Onsite Income disclosure: I make a wee bit from advertising, and I make a wee bit from people who click Amazon affiliate links and end up buying something (which costs them nothing extra, while I get a tiny percentage). If there’s a link to something on Amazon in this blog, it’ll probably be an affiliate link. I’ll probably use the money to buy something really English like a new teapot or a nice warm pair of socks.