By plane, train, boat, or bicycle - I love to travel. Travelling is a lot like writing. For me, getting to the destination can be as important as being there. And for me, being right inside the story with no end in sight is as good as typing ‘The End.’ It’s a very good thing that I like the process because novels can take a long time to write. And traveling, the way I’ve been doing it, takes even longer.
My travelling began in earnest in1998 and hasn’t stopped since. Our family moved from Bragg Creek, Alberta, population less than one thousand, to England. It was amazing. People lived in houses that were older than my country. We lived half an hour from Heathrow Airport and from there I could get anywhere in Europe in just a few hours.
I bought stacks of travel books. My favourites were the white DK guides. The travel information wasn’t always great, and I quickly learned to ignore their hotel and restaurant recommendations, but I loved those books! Even now, looking at those white perfect bound covers with their tidy black trim and text brings me right back to the cities I’ve visited: London, Amsterdam, Paris, Prague, Barcelona, Brugge, Brussels, Boom, Dubai, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Geneva, Neuchatel, Triere, Bremen, Vienna, Salzburg, Rome, Venice, Verona, Florence, Naples, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Cairo, Oslo, Dublin, Edinburgh, Dubrovnik... I could go on.
I spent hours planning those trips, curled up on the sofa reading, underlining and making notes. I researched, planned, and generated lists and schedules. I asked for opinions in the beginning but was always secretly relieved when I didn’t get a response. It meant I was free to plan whatever I wanted.
In the beginning my lists were big and confused with Post-It notes everywhere because I want to do everything and see everything. But you can’t do everything, can you? You have to be selective. You have to decide what’s really important. You have to decide what sights and experiences you need and which ones you can live without. It’s a lot like writing the first draft of a novel.
When I write a first draft it’s… chaotic. I like to imagine that reading a first draft of my novels would be a lot like being a telepath. You might think hearing people’s thoughts would be amazing but the truth is that you will always get a cleaner, more focused insight if you only hear certain thoughts. When I write, I have a painfully hard time deciding whose thoughts are important enough to hear and who should be ignored because when I write I fall a little bit in love with all of my characters. Even the baddies.
Just like my writing and reading, all my travel research and planning has become electronic. Those pretty DK travel books have been replaced with iPhones, iPads, digital cameras, flip videos and GPS.
And don’t forget…. For me, traveling and writing go well together; I do my best writing when I’m traveling. As I write this I’m in an airplane flying from Amsterdam to Montreal to visit my daughter.
Whether you are visiting family in another city or traveling inside the pages of a novel like Alex in The Realm, I hope you are enjoying your journey.
|1||Reykjavik, Iceland||July 2, 2012|
|2||The Hague, The Netherlands||April 1, 2002|
|3||Prague, Czech Republic||May 10, 2009|
|4||Brussels, Belgium||April 23, 2009|
|5||Salzberg, Austria||May 10, 2010|
|6||Holetown, Barbados||November 10, 2008|
|7||Cairo, Egypt||April 15, 2000|
|8||Muscat, Oman||February 10, 2011|
|9||Aira, Japan||September 18, 2009|
|10||London, England||April 23, 2009|
|11||Calgary, Canada||February 3, 2012|
|12||Montreal, Canada||June 21, 2012|
|13||Doha, Qatar||May 25, 2008|
|14||Munich, Germany||October 15, 2010|
|16||Biarritz, France||May 29, 2012|
|17||New York, USA||February 10, 2012|
|18||Denver, USA||June 15, 2010|
|19||Fayetteville, USA||June 21, 2010|
|20||St. Augustine, USA||-|
|21||Barcelona, Spain||August 29, 2011|
|22||Oslo, Norway||July 2, 2008|
|23||Vancouver, Canada||July 8, 2008|
|24||Haliburton, Canada||September 23, 2012|
|25||Lisbon, Portugal||November 22, 2012|
|26||Cape Town, South Africa||January 19, 2013|
|27||Rio de Janeiro, Brasil||March 17, 2013|
|28||Singapore, singapore||October 10, 2013|
|29||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||June 27, 2014|
|30||Cabo San Lucas, Mexico||July 13, 2014|