My kind of inspirational woman of the year!

Hello you guys and girls, I am so sorry for my 6 months absence. There are no excuses for me to be off for that long, but the good news is that I am back!

Truth to be told, I was not feeling very motivated anymore for many reasons that I will explain below. However what is vital are the reasons that got me back to my pen again: I was particularly inspired by a young lady called Soumy Risk who has motivated me to get back on the writing horse again, to persevere despite the obstacles whether they are called a “blockage” or an “accident”.

Here is her story: Soumy was 18 when she and her brother got into a fatal car accident which left her not only brotherless but paralyzed from lower waist down. She lived her adult life in a wheelchair but didn’t let it define her.

This year she decided to participate in the Beirut Marathon and although the idea scared her to death, she went through with it: it was an unfamiliar territory for her, way out of her comfort zone but she was highly motivated to succeed. The training was hard but she trained intensely. I am sure that the idea of quitting crossed her mind a zillion times but she persevered: she not only finished the 42.195 Km marathon but she still scored 3rd and finished her journey on the podium with a medal.

 I used to do exercises at home but never did something as big as participating in a sport event. When I decided to join I was very hesitant because it was something totally new to me: it was not a sport I used to do before my accident so I didn’t know what to expect.

With the encouragement of my neighbor/friend Mona and the support of Sybelle who got me the access to her gym with a personal trainer and of course the support of my family and friends, I took this plunge with high motivation. It was very hard at the beginning with my gym sessions and the hand-bike training. It was exciting, challenging and very stressful knowing that I had few months to train since I had to wait for an available hand-bike.

The awareness I wanted to bring was the following: it is very important to learn that the word disabled cannot be used anymore: we are not disabled we are differently abled, we can do everything, we just do it differently but we do it surely” – Soumy Risk.

As for me, I tried to get back to writing with her as my inspiration: Soumy is a  person with a physical disability just like I was a writer with a blockage disability. Yet the big difference between us is that she didn’t give up or allow this to define her.

In May I had to go to Lebanon to pass my Dutch integration exam, it was stressful times for a few months which perhaps caused a blockage that I couldn’t get rid off….

While I succumbed to the intellectual obstruction and stopped writing altogether , Soumy fought back: she intensely trained and never stopped even when it got very hard.  She wasn’t able to use her legs to run the Beirut Marathon,  yet she still used her hands to race. Her being different didn’t stop her from pursuing  and achieving a new challenge. Her being true to herself, the real self that is not bond to any part of our imperfect bodies, led her to the podium and gave her a medal. Talk about a Wonder Woman!

Inspired by Soumy’s truth, I decided to write this article today to clarify the real reasons that got me to stop writing.  Excuse my crude honesty, but I believe that my disappointment with the travel blogging industry has been the true blockage for my writing. It was caused by 4 important  factors:

1- I’ve noticed that the travel blogging industry has become more and more the platform for want-to-be-models with the most perfect bodies, hair and outfits- kudos for that of course- but which leaves a very small margin for the everyday traveler with the “imperfect bodies”, average looks or casual comfortable travel clothing like myself and many others.

2- It came to my attention that there is this new obsession within travelers – I confess that I am guilty of that myself sometimes- who have been choosing their next destinations relying mostly on the most Instagrammable places in order to increase their likes and followers. This is in fact, is causing major backlash on the travel industry: it is making the huge vast Earth narrower by the second, and the travel blogging industry a repetitive parrot.

3- The sponsored travels I believe have made the whole travel bloggers recommendations for best airlines, countries, tours, hotels and restaurants a little bit less credible: how often would you give a bad review for a vacation you have been paid for? Hence the loss of credibility.

4- The travel blogging and travel industry are concentrating too much on SEO, google analytics, on follow/unfollow tactics and whatever will get them a better traffic, or more followers, leaving behind the most essential which is content. Content is becoming less relevant in travel blogs which perhaps is caused by the that people want to read less and less these days?

Woop, woop! I can’t believe that I was able to finish that article and I have Soumy to thank for that. I hope you know that you have touched at least one person: me! The journey which led you to handbike the Beirut Marathon has awakened the writer in me and for that I am very thankful. Your perseverance has infected me, getting out of your comfort zone journey has encouraged me, your survivor spirit has humbled me, your courage has affected me, your truth has enlightened me.

Therefore I promise you Soumy and my fellow readers to persevere being a travel blogger no matter how frustrating and contentless this field has become, to keep writing despite the lack of readers, to keep travelling to less Instagrammable places, to stay authentic and truthful no matter the challenges.

Now you tell me, did Soumy story inspire you too?