Out on my own again
It's been a while since, and it took me just a bit of time to feel like my old self.
Hello, I’m a Emily, and this is a newsletter about how we seek and tell stories to make sense of a rapidly changing world and our place in it.
Greetings from Sabah 👋,
In the days leading up to my trip—my first proper field reporting assignment since the pandemic—I was disconcerted to find that after everything I had done to make it happen (the preliminary research, the pitches, the grant application, etc.) I wasn’t absolutely raring to get going in the days leading up to it. Was that a creeping dread I felt? How strange! The leaving is usually exciting for me. I love the planning, the packing, the sheer anticipation of landing in a different place, of being able to see again with new eyes. What was going on?
I’d half forgotten that I’m always a little nervous on reporting trips, half afraid that my desk research will have led me astray somehow and I won’t find the shape of a good, or necessary, story. As someone who experiences a little social anxiety, I also worry about keeping up a journalistic rapport on immersive reporting trips, where I am spending all day or living with my sources or subjects. Had the trip purely been for travel’s sake, I likely would have been more relaxed.
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