Confessions of a retired Backpacker



So young and a blonde too!

I did something stupid last night!

The issue that lead me to venture into my past and dig up a frightening truth was to find something worth writing about. My motive was to write an inspiring maybe even amusing piece. The bright idea of finding inspiration in my travel diaries so that you, my dear reader might share in some of my younger adventures left me a little flat.



Flipping through the diaries covered in layers of dust and reeking of mould was bad enough. Yet what I discovered was, my writing sucked.

The pages told the story, exerts of a backpackers life on a shoe string budget. I lived and worked whilst travelling overseas, making my base in London. When I finished reading them, I could not help but wish I had put more effort into each entry. In most cases I sounded like a sarcastic, self-centered, cocktail sipping, twenty-something know it all (as above).

I felt frustrated thinking of the places I have seen, a golden opportunity to practice my descriptive writing and journaling, whilst abroad. When would I ever get the chance to visit Cairo in my life time again? My strongest memory was finally visiting the pyramids at Giza, sitting at the edge of that sprawling city I remember I felt so humbled with life and all its history.


Most of what I had written was utter rubbish, humourous in some parts, but simply not engaging at all. I guess that was not my intention at the time, my dreams of becoming a writer only surfaced after my travels. I imagined what the older, much wiser me would see, walking through the streets of Cairo, hearing the prayer chants and soaking that unique way of life into my pen.

But! Boy what a life that girl had, London, Paris and New York a life with no responsibilities other than worrying about how I could afford my next big trip or pay off my credit card debt from the last one.

What is it about old age, you discover you still have so much to learn? Yet thinking back I enjoyed writing about my adventures at the time even though I was clueless to the fact my writing was less than average. I do believe it is a journey of learning and maybe the diaries are what brought me to where I am today.

I guess I should have been thankful I started that first diary all those years ago, it has led me to a thought process, to following your dreams. I am working on my picture book Sugar if you wish to join Sugar on her journey and meet some lovable characters like Wilf the work dog please SUBSCRIBE (top right) today. You will receive the June Newsletter (hopefully up tonight). See Wilf rendered as I experiment in medium and ideas for the story board process.


Please share with me how your writing journey began or how your dreams are taking shape. I love reading about your experiences.

About Minuscule Moments

Everybody has a DREAM. Today is the first day of the rest of my writing life. Its a lonely world out there when you are learning the craft. This year, as the same as last year, I want to finish my first children's picture book. I have learn't many wonderful lessons on this journey. You are never too old to learn.
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40 Responses to Confessions of a retired Backpacker

  1. Not long ago I brought my journals down from the attic. I hadn’t planned to store anything for 7 yrs but then we’ve never lived at one address for seven yrs before. First, I couldn’t believe there were so many. The writing is more than rough and I’ve barely broke the surface.

  2. You looked like a film star! Wow. What a life.
    My journal began at 2am the morning of my daughter’s fifteenth birthday. I thought I was dying (from cancer) and so I wrote a letter to my husband & children in a journal that I had for 4 years and never opened. It did have a pretty cover, that’s why I bought it.
    I did not die but my daughter died six days later, in a car accident.
    From that day on the journal holds precious memories, most are just notes and mementos that tells stories.
    Who cares if it is badly written. It’s ours!

    • My diary has helped me through some tough times and yes it is mine alone to remind me where I came from. Hoping to share some good memories with you on your writing journey Patricia. You are an inspiration for many.

    • I’m so sorry about the loss of your precious daughter, Patricia. I pray that your writing helps you…. Blessings – Barbara Drewry

  3. Nancy H C Ward says:

    I began writing poetry early in life, then fiction in my high-school an young adult years.Wrote columns for the college paper and after my journalism degree, columns for small Catholic publications. Journaling became my habit as my children grew up. And I published articles and interviews in Catholic magazines. Started a writing and editing business which lasted 15 years. Now I am writing a series of books on joy and concentrating on getting them published. My blog was developed to share some of my ideas and get feedback. The resources of the Catholic Writers Guild helped me a lot and I started a local group for critique and support. That’s where I am. I just write because that is my gift and wait on the Lord to open a publishing door.

    • Hi Nancy wow you have been busy. It will happen as they say never give up just keep writing good content. Thank you for sharing your world and let us know when your work gets published.

    • Nancy – I just looked up the Catholic Writers Guild, with which I was not familiar. I see they are hosting a writers’ retreat in Lansing, Michigan in October. Have you attended one of these before? It sounds like you are very busy with your writing. That’s wonderful! I would love to read your books about joy! 🙂 Blessings – Barbara Drewry 🙂 PTL

  4. Don’t disparage your young self, for she’s taught you so much. If you had a mint condition Model-T you wouldn’t criticize the air conditioning and stereo that it lacked. Instead, you’d appreciate the opportunity to part the curtains and glimpse the past first-hand. That self-absorbed, globe trotting young woman has matured into someone I’m proud to know and whose writing is inspirational even when that wasn’t her intention. What an extraordinary post this turned out to be.

  5. I agree with Patricia, you look like a movie star! I thought it was a clever stock photo until you clarified. I didn’t write with much intention until recently, so I don’t have much of anything to look back on. Anyway, your writing brought you to where you are today!

    • Kathleen I wish I still had that tight skin on my face, yet with age comes the wisdom and experience to write about our journey and your writing lifts me up every time I visit your place.

  6. We would not be who we are now without the paths we’ve taken. (that just came to me), I’m so glad you did keep journals of where you were because you can superimpose them with who you are now. And if nothing else our past writings show our growth and all our changes.

    I won a contest in 5th grade and knew then I needed to write. I wrote poems for friends when I was in high school. I wrote a column when I returned to school 25 years later than everyone I knew. While my husband was in the military I wrote friends tons of letters as well as writing my husband every time he went on the field. I have all our exchanges.

    I wrote journals for years which I also kept. And in 1994 poetry started materializing and hasn’t stopped. I wrote Bible Studies and had 42 published. Wrote articles and had them published and wrote my first book, Real Love: Guaranteed to Last which launched in February. And now I am working on two books. One about my sister’s story of domestic violence and a poetry compilation. My next book will be on grief.

    Zechariah 4:10 says not to despise the humble beginnings. If you were accomplished when you were traveling around, we tribewriters would never have met you. That would be sad.

    • Anne too true I will treasure them and pass them down to my kids eventually. Humble beginnings indeed the journey has been wonderful, especially meeting inspirational people like you.

  7. Audrey Chin says:

    You couldn’t write but you did look like a movie star. Now you can write and do art and you still look pretty darned good … so I’d say overall it adds up to a plus.
    I wouldn’t diss those old journals. They might be the seeds of a coming of age novel You never know…

  8. Journaling can be a great way to clarify our swirling thoughts and put things in perspective. It is out of this space that we can get into purposeful action.

    As you look back these many years, what take-aways do you really see?


    • Hi Shakti thanks for dropping by. I am blessed to have lived two lives, one of the carefree traveller and then just when I thought I would never marry or have children I went on a blind date and met my husband I still smile and say I feel like I had two lives and now feel happy to be a mother. I will continue to journal as my children love to read about themselves as did I when my father left a book of wisdom for his nine children.

  9. While my early musings are rough-they are a part of me, perhaps a more younger version, but none the less, who I am. However, I always learn something new when I revisit. I appreciate what I was too blind to appreciate before.
    PS- I love your wolf. You captured it well.

  10. Kath, it is always special to me when my blogger friends reveal a part of themselves and their past life. Sounds like you had an interesting journey to say the least! Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Jennifer since starting this blog and meeting people like you, my world has changed. I now wonder what you are up to with your day, and many other new friends as well. I feel I have bonded with so many wonderful, creative and special people. The internet is a spectacular way to connect with humanity and listen to stories from all over the world and I am very thankful.

  11. I cringe each time I take a brave peek at my old diaries and journals. They sound like somone full of angst and written while self-righteously bellowing from a soapbox. I guess our writing voices just needed some tweaking. Experience, maturity, humility and old age do indeed add depth to the voice of youth. It’s amazing to look back sometimes and see where we were and where we are today. I’m so glad your journey has brought you where you are now. Just as I am sure you needed to be where you were before. You are an inspiration Kath. Sharon

    • Sharon it is funny you should say that one of my talented song writing nephews made the comment that to be a good writer, don’t you need age and experience to ensure your writing has depth? I think it helps but I told him there are some young, very good writers out there. I guess in the end its your passion and commitment that sets you on the path of a writer. Having said that I am noticing many of the people who are leaving comments, most of them are writers and have kept some form of diary or journal.

  12. nannus says:

    There is a German proverb “Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen” (No master has fallen from the sky yet). You are not born as a perfect master, you become one through a step by step learning process in which the later stages are only possible by building on the earlier ones. As the learning psychologist say, you need about 10000 hours of practice to become a master in anything. The writing improves and we learn to live. What you wrote in those days was a necessary step in learning how to write better.

    Personally, I don’t see myself as a writer. I am more a thinker and I started writing only recently, to share some of my thoughts. Since I started blogging last year in November, I think my writing has improved a bit, but sometimes I am struggling to put my insights into a form that others might understand.

    • You are a writer and you have your own style and I agree that practice is the only way to reach great heights with any new skill. By the way my son loves that website Scratch I have you to thank for that.

  13. I second everyone who said you look like a movie star in that first picture – you look so relaxed & laid-back and totally the chic traveller!

    It was so lovely to hear all about your backpacking days! Someone once told me, the perennial dilemma is “when you’re young, you have all the time in the world to travel but little money & when you’re older, you have the money but no time!” So it’s wonderful that you managed to globetrot when you were young!

    Re old journals: It’s so cathartic to read what our younger selves wrote isn’t it? I got my writing start when I was five years old and started “publishing” my very own newsletter with crayons & construction paper! Obviously it was a hit – I found my two (only!) loyal readers in Mom & Dad! 😀 Hired my brother to be a regular “contributor” too – because I thought the newsletter lacked a male perspective! It’s so funny to look back on those cheesy newsletters now – it’s a snapshot of what 5 / 6/ 7 year old me was preoccupied with back then! 😀

    • Hi Sarah thanks it definitely made me who I am today. Broadened my mind and heart and I laughed at the perennial dilemma, it is so true. Wow a newsletter how gorgeous, I would love to hear more on your blog about that story.

  14. There is something so very noble about wolves. Much like humans in how they survive–live in a pack, hunt as a pack, out-stamina prey. Not that I want to be at the prey-end of their activity. I wrote a story with a long scene about wolves. Sometimes, the research is the most fun in writing.

    • Thanks Jacqui two people have called my working dog a wolf, back to the drawing board lol.

      • How about ‘from the wolf family’. That would include dogs and wolves. I spent a lot of time researching, trying to find that moment when wolves decided to align with humans and become dogs. It’s probably like humanity’s missing link–doesn’t exist.

        • Jacqui I love wolves their is a photographer who takes amazing wolf photos Brandenburg or something like that. he took the photo of a wolf half hidden behind a tree. It is one of my all time favourites.

  15. What a fascinating post — and all the great comments — to come back to. You’ve hit an area of interest with your readers, that’s for sure! Great advice, that you must not disparage the young Kath that taught you so much. And someday, Granny Kath will have even more experience to draw from. I know you’ll be glad you kept all that writing, and will find inspiration in it — if not now, then later.

    I don’t remember not writing. Even before I learned to read, I “wrote” poems and songs by saying them over and over to myself, so I could remember the wording. I am a natural mimic, so it took a long time for me to find my own voice. But this also made surrounding myself with writing I admire the most natural way for me to learn to write. I believe that finding ways to say things in a way that children can understand has made me a better writer.

    • Susan Thanks writing is in the blood me thinks and granny Kath feels like she is already here and I am only 48. I love your poetic writing style Susan, you have a gift to share with the little ones.

  16. G. Olivo says:

    I think you’re being far too harsh on yourself. The time you spent in Europe was probably not the time for writing. It was as you say “a life with no responsibilities”. And you’re lucky to have experienced that too, as a lot of people never will. And it’s not really about the past, but the present and maybe future, and ensuring you’re doing exactly what it is you love to do, which you are, you’re writing again, and that should put a smile on your face 🙂

    “What is it about old age, you discover you still have so much to learn?” Wisdom maybe? Lol

    • Thanks I can laugh at myself and wisdom comes as I age and grow thankfully. Yes I am happy because I am where I am suppose to be. But I also learned a good lesson going back and reading my stuff and realising I have come a long way and I will never stop learning. Thanks for stopping by appreciate your words of wisdom.

  17. Desi Clown says:

    Can I say that you look VERY beautiful without it sounding weird? :p
    Guess you’ve always had skill with the camera, the Sphinx looks nice! And you’re so lucky! You saw and lived in so many fabulous places, absorbed such diverse experiences and cultures around you without having too much to worry about responsibilities. I don’t know many who have this luxury. Showing the world that you too were once sarcastic and self-centered only makes you more approachable. 🙂

    • Desi thanks, looked might be the right word there as this photo is twenty years old. I came from a very low income family. I worked two jobs to pay for my trips overseas. They were not just given to me. Now my kids will have to do the same. Their friends get to go OS often and we do not have that sort of budget, so I tell them how I did it all those years ago. If you want something bad enough you work hard to make it happen.

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