Follow my blog with Bloglovin Rita Wanderlust: Facing Disappointment

Friday, July 15, 2016

Facing Disappointment

As some of my friends (a.k.a. informal editors/brutal slashers of hope) know, I decided to expose myself to the ruthlessness of judgment from a complete stranger by entering a travel writing contest.  I’m not really sure why I did it.  I know my writing is by no means up to par with the talent of so many others.  But the opportunity looked extremely tempting and I can honestly say, I don’t remember the last time I was so excited about the possibility of something.  Needless to say, I did not win and I’m finding it hard not to be a bit bitter.  Though, I read the winning pieces and it’s really not surprising that they won and I did not.  They are beautifully and, at times, hilariously written.  Two of them made me want to visit the location they were written about.  One was about Scotland, and if you know me, you know that it doesn’t take a lot to make me want to go there.  These are some very talented ladies and I will openly admit that I am jealous.  Not that other people get to go to Australia and I don’t, but that I’m nowhere near as talented as they are.  I received some really good feedback about my piece from my friends who read it so, at least, I have that bit of warmth to get me through the defeat.
Here are the winning stories:
Beware of Bears (this one actually reminded me quite a bit of Jenny Lawson style writing)
Careening Into the Isle of Skye (oh Scottish men.  I can’t wait to go to Scotland next year)

I call this one Contrast.
In the name of travel writing practice, I’m going to try to access the dusty corners of my memory and dig out some interesting tidbits about some old trips I’ve taken.  I’m sure that there at least some trips that I can make sound fairly epic…or at least mildly entertaining.  I started a new page on World Nomads called Rita in Wanderland.  Go check it out by clicking on the Wanderland tab at the top of this blog. Even if no one is reading, I’m going to keep writing in the hopes that, at some point, I’ll be good enough to garner at least a miniscule amount of attention.  Maybe even good enough to be shipped off to a different country to write about it.  A girl can dream.

In the meantime, you can read my first story about a tiny portion of my trip to Israel (a.k.a. My Heart’s Home or the story that DIDN’T win me a trip to Australia in 2016):

"The water was rising. The ceilings and walls were getting closer, closer, and closer until we were hunched over, slogging through knee-deep water. I was especially grateful, at this moment, that had I never suffered from claustrophobia. Though, after a while of being 130 feet below ground, I started to wonder how I got here. I was in a stone tunnel that was dug out over 2,000 years ago by hand! Thankfully, my anxiety started to subside as the awe of the situation sunk in. I was in the CIty of David, underneath Jerusalem, walking through Hezekiah’s Tunnel.  

I was 23 years old and had never shown much interest in history, yet here I was, maneuvering my five foot eight frame through an unilluminated, wet tunnel five feet high and two feet wide.  All at once, I couldn’t imagine anywhere else I wanted to be. As I felt my way forward using the tiny flashlights some of us were provided, and the stone walls, that eventually rose to at least standing height, I felt transported. I imagined the people from 2,000 years ago digging this tunnel, all the work that went into it, and the history of it made me dizzy. Or it might have been that I was packed into a narrow, underground tunnel with at least 75 strangers around me. I later learned that the purpose for this tunnel was to divert water from the nearby Gihon Spring into the Pool of Siloam in case of an attack on the city.  It was genius, really. I fell more in love with Jerusalem than I ever thought possible. I wanted to devour every single bit of information. Unfortunately, there was only so much that I was able to absorb in the three days I spent there.  

Prior to this trip, I never had the slightest desire to go to Israel, but, being a budding nomad, when the opportunity to go presented itself, I had no choice but to pack my bags. I wasn’t going to miss my chance to travel.  What I gained, though, ended up being so much more valuable than a stamp in my passport. Walking the streets of Jerusalem, being in the City of David, going through those tunnels, even sitting on an old brick wall on a Saturday morning with a warm cup of tea looking out at this phenomenal city, I felt connected to it in a way I never felt before. This was where I wanted to be, this place felt more like home than any house I ever had, any city I ever lived in. This was where my heart found its home."

But to the wonderful winning and honorable mention stories: congrats!  You earned it and hopefully I’ll be on that list someday.  And to my helpful friends: thank you for being the bearers of helpful criticism and honest opinions.