“I don’t know how I feel. I feel ex-sadded,” Petra said on the way to the airport. It was a go-day. We were leaving Kinmen, and ex-sadded, a portmanteau of excited and sad was probably the best way to put it.
Excited to go someplace new.
Sad to leave a good place behind.
I really like that place that we were leaving, and this past time there was something really special. I really like the old houses, the traditional villages, the countryside, the beaches, the people — the story of Kinmen. There are no big ticket tourist sites and really nothing for attraction-seeking travelers to do, but the place is real. It’s for travelers who travel to learn about something… or just to talk to people…or to be left alone and talk to yourself.
My family went through some challenges as well — getting there was a real journey and finding a place to stay was tough — which oddly adds a little something to the experience. If life was easy people wouldn’t need each other.
We came into Kinmen, set ourselves up, lived well (enough), learned something, left a little life behind, and then split. We topped off the cycle there, now we’re heading out to start it all over again somewhere else.
I write these words with kind of an uneasy feeling. I did not complete my project on Kinmen. I made progress — set things up in case my film pitch to BBC gets accepted — but I didn’t box up what I intended to ship out. I know the reason, but I hate to admit it:
I had to put more time into processing content than collecting content.
There are two sides to what I call monetizing the experience:
- Going out, collecting data, impressions, and experiences worth sharing.
- Processing and sharing those experiences via an array of different formats on an array of different mediums.
It’s basically a strategy to go out into the world, learn a little something, live a little something, and make money too.
When I arrived on Kinmen I had just come off a few big projects that I hadn’t yet fully processed: I still had a book to finish, I had a short film about Korea to put together, I had many long overdue articles, which all fell on top of the continuous requirement to publish a certain amount of content each day just to stay afloat.
If you collect more content than you process then you put yourself in a deep hole and you go broke.
If you focus too much on processing content then you’re not going to be out having the experiences and collecting the data worth processing.
The key to adequately monetizing the experience is having both sides in equal portions.
I came into Kinmen top-heavy — I had more of a need to process and publish content than collect new content, and my project suffered because of it.
But this just gives me a reason to return.