It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about writing. In fact, I’ve been feeling quite guilty about it. There were so many blog entry ideas but work piled up – for which I am grateful – and I had to get it all done before the trip to India to see my Nani and explore South India with my cousin. And then – of course, what was I thinking? – I found myself wanting to spend more time seeing these places and visiting new friends and family members. I just never made time to write in my blog.

I got back to Dubai in time to spend a week catching up with more work – grateful, again – and to set out on a last-minute plan to spend Christmas and New Year’s in Umbria. (After a quick weekend trip to Oman to do a travel story.) I’ve been living out of suitcases for more than a month now. I’m not complaining, really. Other than AlItalia losing my bag for six days and the indignity of wearing the same clothing for nearly a week, it’s been an amazing time of experiences from Delhi to Dubai to Musandam to Montepulciano.

It’s New Year’s Eve, a time I usually love because of the idea of new beginnings, fresh starts. Probably stupidly romantic of me. But I’ve always been that way. There are dinner reservations at a Drinkingwine, a restaurant that’s a favorite of the American woman who owns the farmhouse where I’m staying. I’m looking forward to a delicious meal in a homey setting, copious red wine and good cheer.

2010 was a year: good, bad, infuriating, heartbreaking, joyous. I suppose all years are like that. It seems, for me, that this year the rollercoaster was crazier: the ascent upwards faster, the descent scarier. But ultimately I believe I’m ending up in a better place than I was when I started back in January.

I left a secure, well-paying job to go work for myself. It needed to be done. As my friend J.M. says, sometimes the universe just pushes you in a certain direction. In the last few months I’ve worked with some great editors at the International Herald Tribune, TIME magazine and other publications. I am grateful to old friends and new – M.L. and L.R.O., among others – who recommended me to editors they know and gave me a vital pipeline to work. It was amazing to see some of my stories be listed on the top of Google or Yahoo news lists, and know that people around the world had found my work interesting enough to read.

Freelancing has not been easy. I feel like I should work 24/7 – and that doesn’t even factor in my normal Asian tendency for over-achiever-ness. But I am stretching myself in ways new, whether it’s accepting assignments that’s taken me away from traditional journalism or developing the social marketing skills that seem to be so important for anyone in the media.

I still don’t know how much I should tweet/blog/FB versus just focus on the craft of writing. Or just spend time reading the long-form narrative that I admire so much? There’s only so much you can do in one day, right? At what point do you water everything down by trying to do too much?

So I’m still figuring it out. But, along the way, I have a wonderful family who doesn’t even bat an eye when, after returning from two weeks in Delhi and Kochi, I say I’ll be working on a story in Oman this weekend and, by the way, am headed to Italy for a last-minute trip. They just say, we love you. Take care of your work and send us an e-mail when you get there. Thank you, Mom & Dad, Roseann, Aashish and Nikhil.

I’m looking forward t0 2011. I suspect new avenues will be revealed and I hope I can make the most of all opportunities life throws my way. I hope you have had a wonderful holiday and that the new year brings you joy and beauty. Thank you for reading my blog and being my friend.

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