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Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen a tonne of memes about how introverts have been training for this isolation/quarantine/social distancing for our entire lives.

And yes, it’s funny, because I’m certainly a homebody and I enjoy my own company, and in many ways I have been training for this lockdown…

BUT, I’m not loving this forced isolation. It’s hard.

Introversion doesn’t really mean hating people or all social activity, and so, this post is for everyone who is an introvert and is actually finding all this isolation stuff tougher than we expected.

Isolation is not introversion

Do you know the psychological definition of introversion and extroversion? It’s not about whether or not you like people or enjoy spending time with them. …


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Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

I was recently reading the copywriting sub on reddit, and someone posted:

“I’ve learned through lessons that the best traits of a copywriter is fervent curiosity and just reading a lot. I know ads is what you should read, but only ads?

What exactly are the mentors referring to when they say “you should be reading everyday”? The subject you’re writing about? Random articles?”

A couple of people answered ‘everything’, which is absolutely true, but I wanted to expand out a little more. Because ‘everything’ is a little too broad to be helpful. Here’s my (newly-fleshed-out) answer:

What to read about

Read about the subject you’re writing about. Read about other topics in the same industry. Read about things in completely different industries. If you read about one thing, you’ll know about one thing. If you read about lots, you’re exposing yourself to so much more. …


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Photo by Free-Photos on Pixabay

Almost every fantasy novel or series contains tropes — they exist for a reason. But if you want to make your novel stand out, there are a variety of ways to avoid falling into the same writing traps and cliches and come up with something original.

If you use an existing myth, use it properly.

Changing a single letter in a name doesn’t make it new. I’m looking at you, recent book I started. I dealt with the ‘Vorse’ mythology, and the existence of ‘Valkrees’. But when the god ‘Obin’ was mentioned, I threw the book aside.

Don’t ask your readers to suspend their disbelief when it comes to lazy world building. …


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Photo by Katarina Šikuljak on Unsplash

I’m technically a Millennial. At 35, I thought I was too old, but apparently not — depending on which of the many cut-off points you choose.

And yet I don’t fit into the categories that millennials are lumped into.

I don’t eat avocado toast. I don’t actually like avocados at all.

I don’t drink craft beer. Or any beer. I prefer fruity drinks.

I’m not on Snapchat and I have no idea what’s up with those filters.

I have never (to my knowledge) received a ‘participation trophy’.

On the other hand, I do tick some of the millennial boxes…

I love emojis — they add much-needed tone to written communications (though I keep them to social rather than professional correspondence). …


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Photo by author ©Natalie Howells

As travellers become more and more interested in sustainable and responsible travel, we start to question the types of experience we invest in. We start to reconsider time-honoured trips and look at how they affect the environment — not just the physical, but also the local and cultural.

Having recently returned from my first safari, I was excited to see that sustainable and responsible practices are indeed possible, and there are safari companies out there working hard to avoid the theme park experience that over-popular adventures have created in some areas.

Conservancies in Kenya

My experience was made by the places I experienced, and a lot of work has gone into those places to make them what they are today. I was lucky to stay — without realising — in a number of conservancies. …


And how you can improve yours

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

I have not been blessed with an over abundance of willpower. I make up for it with a greater than average weight of self recrimination. If there’s one thing those personality traits don’t need, it’s a New Year resolution.

Why, at the darkest, coldest, most miserable time of year, do we feel it the right time to resolve to do better? Eat less, drink less, exercise more, work harder…

After the excesses of the festive period, I can understand the almost puritanical desire to repent, to make amends for the indulgences. But the contrast is too great. …


Alternative goals for authentic travel

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Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash

I wrote recently about being sick of bucket lists and how unoriginal they are, how they’re often focused on the very same travel destinations. So, instead of just complaining about something that’s already out there, I thought I’d come up with some alternative travel goals. Forget “if you can’t beat it, join it”, this is more “if you don’t like it, improve it”.

These goals are designed not to put a strain on areas that are struggling with over-tourism, to avoid exploitation of animals and cultures, and to perhaps add something more experiential to the ubiquitous bucket list.

Tour your hometown/city/country

Ok, so this isn’t a new or exciting option, on the surface. But how much of your home have you visited or planned to visit, compared to the rest of the world? …


Advice on navigating the thrills and spills of both

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Over the course of my career, I’ve worked in-house and I’ve worked with, and for, agencies. Right now, I’m happily ensconced at a PPC and SEO agency in Bristol, enjoying agency life. Before that, I spent 18 months at a FTSE100 company. Jump back again and I ran my own business, with a couple of retained agency relationships as my main sources of income. And before that, I was the marketing department at a healthcare IT company.

It’s fair to say I’ve seen both sides of the coin. And I’ve experienced different sizes of business from both sides, too.

So what have I learned? And what advice can I give employees and employers? …


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Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

In the last few years, I have travelled to Hong Kong, Latvia, Hungary, Oman, Portugal and Qatar — all alone. Years before, I also spent 10 weeks travelling alone in Australia.

One of the question people ask me when I talk about traveling alone is always, “don’t you ever get lonely”?

For a long time, the answer was no. I travel alone as much as I do because I enjoy being independent, having no one but myself to think about, and being alone with my thoughts. I’m very much an introvert, and spending time alone refreshes and recharges me.

But then came a trip where I did feel lonely — being unaccustomed to the feeling, it took a couple of days to shake it off. And I finally understood what people were nervous about on my behalf. …


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Photo by Webkims on Pixabay

Is anyone else sick of the bucket list?

Now, I may be being a little hypocritical here. I’m a few months away from completing a personal travel quest — and surely a quest is way more pretentious than a bucket list.

But there’s something about the bucket list that I think we’re over-inflating.

It’s just so overused

I used to work as an editor at the world’s biggest travel company. For a long time, the term “bucket list” was banned from any and all copy our teams of copywriters produced. Why? Because of the root of the term — things you want to do before you “kick the bucket”. …

About

Natalie Howells

Traveller, writer, knitter, boardgame geek, sesquipedalian nightmare.

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