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My Travels

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.

-- jbwarren
Destination Arrival
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
15 Paris, France -
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

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My Traveling Posts

Looking south at the Atlantic, toward the Cape of Good Hope

Beauty on Cape Town’s Table Mountain

Beauty on Cape Town’s Table Mountain. Cape Town is a pretty place. It has blueblue waters. Charming restaurants and shops line the quayside. Seals sunbathe in the harbour. And once during our stay we saw a pair of Right Whales playing in the water beside the ferry dock. But the sight that had the greatest impact on me was something witnessed at the top of Table Mountain on my first day in Cape Town.
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Planning A South African Holiday

By January it felt like I’d been living in a monochromatic tunnel for months. The fall in the Netherlands this year had been wet, cold, grey and seemed to stretch on and on and on like an old grey Silly Putty egg in the hands of a bored child. I’d built so many fires in the sitting room fireplace that by December I had to order second behemoth crate of firewood, then I burned through half of that as well. I crave
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My first view of Pena Palacee

Pena Princess

I was convinced that the castles, palaces and baronial homes were beautiful buildings to look at and admire, like a piece of art, but too big, draughty, gloomy and impersonal to ever want to live inside. Until now. Until I visited Portugal’s Pena Palace.
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