On Pivoting, Honesty, and the Relentless Pursuit of Perfection
It looks a little sparse around here, I know. Believe me, it's worth it.
I started Chouf Chouf as a resource for the "different" traveler; people like me and my future husband. We like digging in deep and exploring the cities we visit as if we lived there — we ride the metro, we eat at the local hotspots and we seek out experiences that affirm the unique identities of the places they reside within. We wander the suburbs, we take thousands of photos, and we hunt for architecture + design. We create playlists of local artists, we study airport maps, and we memorize helpful phrases — and we wanted to share all of this with all of you, in a tightly-edited format. We would capture clicks, monetize via advertising and product placement, and track analytics — all in an attempt to create the next great travel site.
Je voudrais recommencer, s'il vous plaît.
I WOULD LIKE TO START OVER, PLEASE.
We're starting over. About a week ago, I looked over my posting spreadsheet after a glass or three of rosé. It had become... work. Work is what I do all the time, and I love it — but travel cannot be work for me. I had posts written / scheduled / drafted, illustrations half-finished... It was becoming something less than what it was before. It was now an obligation; its claws resting at my neck every night before I went to bed.
Travel is a necessity for us — to escape, and to learn. The escape is always the motivator, but we end up growing closer and learning so much about the world / people / our businesses / ourselves along the way — and to make that a job, well... It would destroy the very thing we love most from the roots up.
I've also struggled with a relentless pursuit of perfection my entire life. That term comes courtesy of the worst therapist I've ever had, but I guess I should thank her for the succinct explanation. Time and time again, I end up not finishing things because I am terrified that they will arrive at the finish line less-than. It's been a very steep learning curve, but I can thank my design practice for helping me get over it — if the concrete guy screws up, he screws up and everyone has to live with it as-is. I had breakfast with my dear friend Leandra a few days ago, and she said something that made everything snap into clarity. "You make everything perfect, but you make it so much harder for yourself along the way."
So this is a pivot, I guess.
I struggle with how to document my trips. I have had so many different travel journals along the way, and all of them didn't quite stick. So, instead, we're going to test this out. I'll be posting our days in journal format, with photos and links as necessary — no formal write-ups, no illustrations, no to-do lists. Just photos, text and (more than likely) a drawing here and there. I'm relieving myself of the burden of perfection, too — so you'll see the fuck-ups and mistakes along the way. This isn't going to be some polished #travelblogger production, for sure.
I think it'll be much more interesting, and much more fun for all of us. And if it ends up being incredibly popular, great — but if it's just a venue for me to gaze back fondly upon our travels, that's perfectly fine too.
As part of this new plan, I've moved all of my old posts to the Archives — didn't want to toss all of that work! Also, the navigation is different. I'll be organizing posts there based on location, which will be added as we travel there — and we'll keep an Essentials page up for travel stuff we find along the way that we love. Current trip line-up: LA / Montréal / Mexico City / Puebla / San Rafael, Veracruz / Paris / London — can't wait!