Monday, October 23, 2017

A Writer Takes a Blogging Break To Travel and Explore

Ever since I turned twenty and boarded that PanAm flight to London by myself to explore England for three weeks, I've always wanted to travel. After my husband died, I took the boys on a sixteen-day tour of Italy and fell in love all over again with Europe.

Life requires energy and in the end is too big to miss. Writers have always come this way ... the romantic streets of Paris ... expatriates who craved something else―at least for a time―to get as far away from where they grew up as possible.

I've blogged about a writer needing a break and heard others say the same in the Women's Writing Circle. In that spirit, I am devoting the next three weeks to travel and decompressing so I will not be blogging after today until Nov. 13.

To the many who read my blog (over 6,000 views a month from all around the world), and who take the time to comment and tell me how much they enjoy this "place to share our stories," I promise that after I return from Morocco, located on the northern tip of Africa, I will blog again.
I travel internationally because the world waits .... And if I don't do it now, I never will.

Traveling to Nepal, Russia, China, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, England, the Czech Republic, and Brazil as I've done in recent years means seeing what's on the other side. It's a matter of curiosity. As Natalie Goldberg says in Writing Down the Bones:
“This is your life. You are responsible for it. You will not live forever. Don't wait.”
And this:
“I write because I am alone and move through the world alone. No one will know what has passed through me ... I write because there are stories that people have forgotten to tell, because I am a woman trying to stand up in my life ... I write out of hurt and how to make hurt okay; how to make myself strong and come home, and it may be the only real home I'll ever have.”
Travel affords opportunities to write stories, to explore the inner life, to gain perspective .... It offers a valuable lesson. I've learned no matter where you go, we're all alike, we all want the same things: family, enough money to afford a decent place to live, community and relationships. The world in all its brilliant diversity is―not surprisingly―one of similarities, commonalities, of oneness.

I think of the little Nepalese boy with a kite cobbled together out of trash (candy wrappers and tissue paper); the young woman in Hong Kong fluently speaking Mandarin and English as she took us to Lantau Island to climb the steps to the Great Buddha; the Russian teacher who graciously offered us a tour of St. Petersburg and reminisced how much she had loved her visit to Philadelphia ...

It takes effort to pack, to plan the right itinerary, make arrangements for the dog and a pet sitter who will be staying at my house, get to the airport, sleep in another bed, sometimes without the "comforts" of home ― such is the adventure of travel ... moving out of the comfort zone, as anyone who travels the world knows.

I look forward to bringing back memories of medinas with tiny alleyways and historic mosques ... maybe, if I'm lucky, an Egyptian cobra dancing in a basket ... learning to make couscous (this trip features cooking  ... just call me Anthony Bourdain) ... the Atlas Mountains, the Sahara spread out below, riding a camel ... touching the spiritual within, away from the Episcopal chapel tucked behind cornfields where I attend church regularly.

So, see you in mid-November unless you follow me on Facebook or Instagram. I have my passport, my camera, my lightweight summer clothes ready to pack as I leave at the end of this week ... most of all, an eagerness to see a new part of the world, and then come back here to write all about it.

How about you? Do you have a travel experience to share that helped shape your work or your perspective?

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