I am so delighted to be sharing this post with you. If you can believe it there is another Canadian knitting blogger out there who’s backpacking through South East Asia! Susanne, of Wooly Ventures, blogs about knitting and travelling and aims to inspire backpackers all over the world to pick up their needles. Amazing, I know; just imagine how excited we were to find one another!
I wish we could say we stumbled across eachother while knitting on the beach in Phuket, but truth be told it was on a virtual corner. We each had one big question for the other and we thought we’de share the answer through guest posts. Susanne asked me how to go about yarnbombing, and I asked her how she stays motivated to knit while travelling. I must say her tips apply to all knitters (backpacking or not) looking to up their productivity and knitspiration!
When you think of a backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Perhaps it’s monks in their orange robes, temples, delicious street food, full moon parties, and beautiful beaches. Almost certainly, knitting is not something one would normally associate with this type of trip.
However, 7 months ago, I decided to make room in my backpack for a few knitting projects. I wanted to keep up with my knitting as much as I could, and had a bit of a rough time with it at the start. I mean, when it’s +30 degrees Celsius outside and you’re sipping a cool coconut water at the beach, warm and wooly socks aren’t exactly the first thing on your mind. But the more I forced myself to take out my knitting, even when I didn’t always feel like it, the more it started to feel normal. I soon started to enjoy challenging the preconceived notion that knitting is better suited for colder climates.
Here are my top 5 tips for staying inspired when knitting on the road in Southeast Asia
1. Small projects and lightweight yarn
This may be something that I could still learn from, as my latest yarn purchase was a heavy worsted weight wool and a chunkier milk fibre cotton blend in Malaysia. The easier transportable your projects are, the likelier you’ll be to bring it with you even on a quick day trip hiking. Also, you’re less likely to garner wide eyes and staring when you whip out a heavy wool sweater project as compared to a nice small pair of socks (although stares are almost a certainty whatever your project is).
2. Don’t be afraid to knit in public!
This is something that took a bit more time getting used to. Because I’ve seen next to no one else knitting while on the road, I would always feel a bit self-conscious every time I took out my projects and started knitting. The comments I would get, if any, were mostly along the lines of “Oh you knit? So does my mother/grandmother.” Soon enough, I learned to brush those comments aside and focus on what really mattered: knitting.
3. Schedule in some low key days.
Contrary to what many others think, travelling is not always a “vacation”. You are often so busy planning your next stop and hopping from place to place or filling your days with sightseeing that you arrive back to your hostel exhausted with little to no energy for anything other than a cold beer with friends. Hard life, I know. 😉 But knitting? Forget it. My remedy to this problem is to every so often schedule myself a “knit and coffee” day which I use to explore the best coffee shops wherever I’m staying and also get some knitting and blogging in at the same time.
4. Take the bus as often as possible.
Long hours on the bus equals a lot of distraction free knitting time, especially if there is no wifi involved. Not only this, but the bus is also a much cheaper option than flying, so it’s a win win situation if you are a budget backpacker (like me) and trying to save some extra cash. Hey, every little bit helps!
5. Stay accountable by participating in Knit-A-Long’s (KAL’s) and other community maker challenges.
There is a huge community of creative makers out there on the internet. I’ve only just begun to realize that this has been one of the best ways to keep myself motivated while traveling. By signing up for Instagram challenges such as the #initiateknitdesign challenge hosted by Aroha Knits, or for different KAL’s where you post your progress, you are that much likelier to follow through with a project, in part from the support and encouragement of other knitters in the online community. I’ll be honest with you – none of my close friends and family are as crazy about knitting as I am. Which is why it can be enormously helpful in finding an amazing community of people just as crazy about knitting to keep you motivated even when you’re a long way from home.
Do you take your knitting projects with you when you travel? How do you stay inspired to get stuff done?