I’m planning a trip right now.
My day job is teaching at a college, which means I have summers off. This summer I’m traveling to Portugal, Spain, and France (coming from the East Coast of Canada). So, what the hell does that have to do with writing? Well, I haven’t traveled in Europe before, so I don’t really know what it feels like. It’s not so much about the details, it’s about the feeling. I have spent time in a jungle, so I know what a jungle feels like. When I write jungle I’m writing what I know, what I have felt. I don’t really get what it feels like to spend time in a place with the weight of history, with buildings that have seen empires rise and fall, that have watched the world change, that were built before the world I live in was even born.
Every time I travel, every time I explore someplace new, I add something to my palette, a new colour I can use to paint worlds with, a new set of feelings. I don’t know what they will be when I take this trip, but I know they will be there.
My ability to write is a mixture of my ideas, and my experiences. If I don’t have those experiences my writing is poorer, my understanding is poorer. I can still make it up as I go along, but something will be missing, it won’t quite ring true.
Now, that isn’t why I’m going to Portugal, Spain, and France. I’m going because I can, and damn am I looking forward to it!