Tim Boyle is a writer and explorer from Melbourne. Tim and I went to Highschool together, however only recently got in touch when we were both in London. Being able to follow his own travel blog is what drew me to his creativity, and made me get to know Tim a lot more than I previously had. The honesty and vulnerability in his writing is what makes people resonate with him. Tim's blog takes influence from his own personal experiences, struggles and journeys in life. He is an inspiring and emerging artist who I believe has a lot to offer the world and I am very excited to see his journey unfold.
Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a writer & explorer?
The journey began with my first memories of Dad reading books like The Hobbit and Narnia to me and my siblings as kids. He would read a few chapters and I’d stare into space and play out the story in my mind. I had read Lord of the Rings by the time I was 13 and I think now that these young experiences are what formed my compulsion in my twenties for travel and personal journeys, as well as literature, stories, and writing.
In my teens, I was nervous and shy and felt misunderstood and received much of my comfort from journaling. It was something I felt compelled to do. None of my friends journaled. I’d barely even heard that it was something people did, except that there were empty notebooks in some shops that apparently they might be used for. I bought one once, and haven’t stopped since. Sometimes I would write short fiction too and keep the stories secret, but I was always badly marked for an essay in high school so I assumed I couldn’t write the ‘proper’ way.
I finally did leave home to travel the trains and buses from Kolkata to St Petersburg in 10 months on my first big personal journey (like my heroes Frodo and Sam). I blogged about it, mostly so that I wouldn’t have to talk to people back home and give them all the same updates every week, and soon to my surprise, some people said that I wrote well.
"I was writing - copiously journaling and processing the last few years."
That trip was with my ex-wife and we had a great time away, but soon after coming back home strains started to develop and a few years later we separated. I had been light on the writing discipline after the trip, but as I became more lonely and heartbroken I began to write more again, and this time more short stories began to come from somewhere within. Life came to a point where I needed another personal journey and so flew to Europe with my bicycle and began cycling and writing. This second trip deserved a second blog, and which got a much bigger (albeit still very modest) following and gave me some confidence at having my stories read. I wrote ridiculous amounts. When I wasn’t cycling or reading, I was writing - copiously journaling and processing the last few years. Not talking to people or making friends, just me in my own little world. I had an idea for a long story of fiction and began writing that too.
So now my life is a strange and tasty soup of journeys and experiences; writing about them, and sometimes a piece of fiction blurps out of the surface like a bubble.
What do you love most about writing?
I find that I journal best when I know that writing is more about a way of seeing, rather than a way of writing as such. So, what I love most is it as therapy. Never do I feel worse about anything after having written about it. If I can think about an experience, a memory, a feeling, a belief, and in the right frame of mind, then I know that I can articulate it in a way that truly captures it (including the reader). It’s a way to understand what is behind things, the way we as humans operate, the metaphysics, the feelings, the intangibles, the things we live and die for once our bellies are fed and basic needs met.
Has writing and traveling allowed you to overcome fears? Or helped you to develop and grow personally?
It’s nigh impossible to travel and not grow, in my opinion, or at least be changed, and I think if we can move with the change that travel brings, then that will always bring growth. I’ve been lost on foot in the backcountry of Tibet, lost in dark alleys of Indian megacities, deliriously sick and hospitalized in Sri Lanka, foodless and hungry in China, the list goes on (mostly of me being lost). Writing while travelling has always been my way of keeping my mental health so that I can keep growing. I cant image personal journeys without writing actually.
Also, I think in coming through difficult experiences (traveling and at home) I’ve been able to shed many insecurities and fears, but there’ll always be some base ones that seem to be stuck to me and ill spend my life dealing with.
What led you to 6 months of traveling Europe and then moving to Tasmania, Australia?
I knew I needed a change after my separation. I needed to reinvent myself, to find out what it meant to be still in my twenties and dealing with the disillusionment of an impending divorce. I was also really tired of big, busy, pretentious Melbourne. It’s a special city, but suffocating, with its wealth and art wank and a million highly education unproductive opinions. The Europe cycle trip was primarily for thinking time. I didn’t want to keep working the kind of jobs I’d been doing the last few years, so I needed to make a plan to do something else. While I was away I applied at a few Universities, and due to a previous cycle trip in Tasmania a few years before, decided to move to the little southern island for more stillness to write with, and big wilderness areas for adventures. It just is a bonus to be able to study and not obsess about a career for a few years.
Are there any particular people who have inspired you along your journey? Are there any lessons or words they said to you that stand out?
So many! I worship dead authors, idolize living ones, and am in awe of the ones I know. They’re my most constant inspirations. Besides them, my Dad for being a big reader, and mum for being a nutty visual artist herself. When I finished high school a slightly older friend of mine sat me down and said to me, ‘you can do anything. The sky is the limit for you Timbo.’ While I try not to harbour delusions of grandeur, those words have always stuck with me (all of ten years!) and remind me that in trying something, you eliminate failure. But finally, there is my own child-Tim’s voice inside my head that ceaselessly tells me not to compromise being myself, and calls bullshit on all the bullshit out there - but most often it says things like ‘fuck off’ to the world when it tries to shape me unlike how I want to be – and it’s this voice I listen to most.
"‘fuck off’ to the world when it tries to shape me unlike how I want to be – and it’s this voice I listen to most."
Do you find you like to be surrounded by a community with the same passions or creative drive?
Definitely. But I never really had a creative community until recently (and never really really had it until moving to Hobart). I’m intimidated by other artists (‘real artists’) and always think they’re better than me (they are), but still find them a constant well of knowledge
I need to talk conceptually, creatively, dreamily with people in order to connect. Other open-minded people are best. Usually, most of my ideas come from conversations with other people, so I find I pick and choose my friends carefully (perhaps a bit too much) based on their character. These relationships are very special to me and I can go years without seeing them without any reduction in fondness.
Is there any advice you would offer someone who feels they would like to become a Writer or to travel?
You never regret traveling. Usually, the worst experiences are the best memories. And there is value in personal journeys for their own sake.
"Usually, the worst experiences are the best memories."
With writing, I think, you just do it and do it because you like to do it, that’s all. Don’t want to be a ‘writer’, or published, or to change the world. Just write about things you find fascinating (maybe start with what’s going on in your own life and mind) and if you do it honestly then it should be readable. Anybody can write.