How this blog started
When I first started this blog in 2015, I was in my last semester of college and dreaming desperately of seeing the world. Or rather, I was dreaming of getting out. Out of school, out of New York, out of my life.
It’s not a surprise to anyone that I was unhappy back then. And if it is a surprise, you most likely only knew my life from the pictures I posted online. Pictures of bars and selfies and drinks I couldn’t afford.
I started FemaleHemingway after my friend Dylan introduced me to Travel Massive, and I met so many wonderful people whose job was travel blogging. It had never occurred to me that you could actually travel blog for a living, and the thought of being a traveling nomad was thrilling.
This blog became a manifestation journal: If I want it bad enough, it’ll happen.
And in some ways, that manifestation became reality. But it also didn’t, too.
A year later, I had gone on a solo trip to Montreal and a solo trip to the Hudson Valley and my life was completely in shambles. I’m not being dramatic, either. My life was a mess. I found myself crying myself to sleep six out of seven nights a week. I didn’t blog about those trips because it didn’t feel right to talk about them. They were fun trips that I couldn’t afford and I used them as a way to escape my life. It didn’t feel authentic to pretend. I had just turned twenty-three and I was exhausted.
Then, my friend Nick died. His death, in many ways, put me on the path that lead me to where I am now.
I have begun,
when I’m weary and can’t decide an answer to a bewildering question
to ask my dead friends for their opinion
and the answer is often immediate and clear.
Should I take the job? Move to the city? Should I try to conceive a child
in my middle age?
They stand in unison shaking their heads and smiling—whatever leads
to joy, they always answer,
-excerpt from My Dead Friends by Marie Howe
Most of you know of the batshit decision I made to completely pick up my life and move it to Switzerland. My dad had lived here since I was 16. After Nick died, my need for escape became insurmountable. So I asked my dad if he could bring me to Zurich.
I know, despite how genuinely broke I was, that I’m privileged to have had a dad who could buy me a ticket to Switzerland. Though to be fair, it was a 400 USD ticket on AirBerlin, a year before the airline went defunct, with a long layover in Frankfurt. I’ve never found a ticket that cheap from New York to Zurich again (trust me, I’ve searched).
The beginning of that trip was a series of right places, right times. I call it luck but I also call it fate.
You all know what happens from there.
It’s funny because back in 2016, I was adamant that I didn’t just move to Switzerland for “a guy.” I told everyone that I moved there “for me.” I only saw things in black and white when I was twenty-three. What I didn’t realize was that moving to Switzerland for love and moving there for me was very much the same thing. Also, I’m not sure that anyone can call Michael just “a guy.”
This blog became what I had always wanted, a real-life travel blog. I was seeing new countries and writing about them! Living the dream, writing literary tours, doing everything I said I wanted to do.
But, I wasn’t a traveling nomad. In fact, I didn’t really want to be one.
All I’ve ever needed to succeed has been stability, and I have it here. I did the impossible thing of moving to a brand new country and actually thriving. I was like a little seed, planted in a village just outside of Zurich, and it’s taken me the past few years to really grow.
In writing this, I can actually say that I’m happy. It’s not a lie like it was in 2015. I’m so bloody happy that even on bad days, my happiness shines through. It reaches my eyes.
I have a home and friends and new family, too. New York City is where I’m from but Switzerland is where I belong.
However, after I realized I’m not cut out to be a traveling nomad, I also realized I’m not a travel blogger, either.
My consistency in updating this blog has been sporadic at best. I think it’s mostly because I put myself in a box. You have to only write about travel, I would tell myself. I should have known better than to try and thrive in a box. That’s never worked out for me.
So, what’s next?
Since 2020, I haven’t been doing much traveling. Obviously. I’ve only traveled a few times, and now planning a trip comes with the added anxiety of a new COVID wave.
Instead, I’ve just been working on becoming the best version of myself. I go to therapy every other week and I’m learning how to love even the worst parts of me.
This blog was started with every intention to become a travel blog but now, I want something else.
I still want to write about travel, but I want to write about home too. Switzerland has so much to discover, and I want to show it to you. I don’t want to travel with the sole plan of writing a post, but I do want you to know about the places I’ve seen so maybe you can see them, too one day.
I want to continue my blogs about mental health and books and share my journey of recovering from body dysmorphia. I’ve gone back and forth between rebranding this blog all together with a new name, but the inspiration hasn’t hit me yet so I think FemaleHemingway is here to stay.
I’m just not entirely sure what FemaleHemingway means anymore. Back when it started, FemaleHemingway was an escape, a moniker I could call myself to show everyone how tough I was (god, Ernest would’ve been proud). But now, I’m not sure who FemaleHemingway is to twenty-eight-year-old me.
I guess we’ll find out together.
What I’m really trying to say is, I want 2022 to be the year I stop trying to fit this blog into a box.
I have a few trips planned that will (hopefully) happen and I want to share those with you. But I also want to share some of my favorite places in Switzerland, tell you about my favorite books, and talk honestly with you about mental health.
I hope you’ll stick around for the ride because I am SO excited for what might happen next.
I think you’ll be excited, too.