You know how eating healthy and working out fucking sucks in the moment but six excruciating months later it was all worth it? I feel that way about 2016.
Travel wise, it was a dope year. I got to return to London, a city I fell in love with as a kid. I road tripped through Slovenia, Tasmania, and New Zealand, surprised my boyfriend with a romantic anniversary trip to Antigua and Barbuda, and explored more of my own country (and its craft beers!) I’m ending this year in Cuba where I will be reunited with my best friend whom I haven’t seen in person in five and a half years (thank the big G for Whatsapp voice messages). So it’s been a good year for me and my passport.
But other parts of my life have been a bit rocky. I moved out of an apartment I had lived in for almost a decade, really the only home I’ve known as an adult. I moved into a house in Brooklyn, which is wonderful, but the transition from solo Upper East Side living to communal Brooklyn living wasn’t exactly smooth (I’m getting used to every Chris Brown remix lulling me to sleep, though #downtownbrooklyn). I also left my primary job that I have held since graduating from college. A job where my employer felt more like a dear Aunt. A job that paid incredibly well and allowed for seemingly unlimited time off to travel. But I had to leave it because it had become toxic. Because I was depressed, unmotivated, and felt trapped. My co-creator of the Top Knot episodes also began grad school this year, which rightfully put a halt to our production. I felt emotionally homeless, financially frazzled, and artistically malnourished. So, I’ve had to take the past few months to re-establish my footing. I now work 7 part-time jobs (count em, bitch! SEVEN) and while I’m working twice as hard to make half the amount of money I used to, my emotional health is infinitely stronger. My roommate said I’m “lighter” and based on my bagel and beer intake, I’m gonna say she didn’t mean it in the physical sense. The truth is, I feel lighter. I breathe easier. And now that I’ve got a grip on shit (kind of lol not for long #lifeisruff) I want to share some Top Knot Travel 2017 plans.
What Will Change
While my co-creator, Molly, is working her ass off in grad school (NYU film, she’s a genius duh), she won’t be able to travel with me. She will, however, stay on as a consultant/producer. She is my work wife, and truly the only person I trust to not make me look like an asshole. Top Knot was born between the two of us, and I’m psyched she’ll be slowly transferring to a role that allows her to continue to pursue her own creative projects while still holding my hand because she’s also kind of my mom.
We’ve got a new producer! Kate. Kate is a badass. Kate is one of the smartest producers I have ever met. She’s ballsy, she’s brazen, she’s fucking BRILLIANT.
Our episodes are going to change a bit:
For starters, we will transitioning from full length 18-20 minute episodes into smaller segments (think 4-6 minutes). These segments will be less narrative “first I went here and did this” and have more carved out storytelling. Think more action shots where I’m interacting with people and less blah blah from me.
As well, we are going to stay domestic for awhile. This is because 1) I’m making less money and truly can’t afford international travel for producers and camera ops and 2) There’s a lot of really interesting shit happening in this country and I want to put a spotlight on it.
And finally, we are going to get a bit more political. With the recent election (omg what the fuck happened), this country is divided like the goddamn Koreas. Our segments are going to focus on different people, situations, religions, and traditions throughout this country. How is your neighbor living such a drastically different life from you? How can we be more inclusive, more tolerant, more fucking WOKE to this country’s diversity, struggles, and achievements?
What Won’t Change
Don’t fucking worry. These segments will still have:
Humor! It’s a given - put me in a situation that is foreign to me and I’ll be cracking jokes the whole time. I don’t take myself too seriously and I’m not trying to be some intense journalist or TV host.
An aversion to sensationalism! Seriously I fucking can’t with it. I want to tell stories, to explore and engage with people in order to challenge the minds of my viewers and readers , not overhype some freckle of a topic to promote fear or disgust in my audience.
Swearing! I literally don’t know how to convey feelings without colorful language. I understand that sponsors don’t like it, but the great news is…
Still no sponsors! Look, I understand other bloggers use them, and I’m not denying the incredible (INCREDIBLE) amount of work that goes into securing those sponsorships. But here’s the thing: to me, it feels disingenuous. I pride myself on being a budget traveler. I love that I am able to say “This shit was a waste of fucking money.” I don’t want to have to pretend to like something, or amplify positives while omitting the negatives of an experience, solely because a company is endorsing me. Think of me as the Bernie Sanders of travel writing.
The top knot! I literally have no other hairstyle. I might add a scrunchie sometimes though. Scrunchies really take an outfit from day to night ya know what I mean?
Happy New Year, guys. Be safe!