You don’t have to travel out your door for magic to enter your bones and change the way you see the world, but it’s easier to do if you’ve got a wandering soul. I love to travel and would do more if time and resources allowed. That’s not technically true—if resources allowed, I’d find the time.
Getting a new perspective, quite literally by changing what we see, is just one of the things that makes travel a creative endeavor. Minds open. Art happens. And, sometimes a lit bit of something wonderful touches us and stays in our hearts and our minds forever. If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.
Good storytelling grabs me and scuttles me away to a different time, place, world that is not mine, but one where I love vacationing for a while. Great storytelling is like travel. It opens the mind, the heart, and leaves me moved in some elemental way. In Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “It’s a dangerous business…going out your door. You step onto the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
This summer I’ll be swept off to Scotland and I can’t wait.
Part of this trip is research for a series of novels I’m writing that are set in Scotland. They will be connected by setting and by Clan affiliation. I’ll be on the Isle of Skye, paying special attention to Clan Donald and Clan Macleod. I love research, especially the hands-on kind, so this will be an adventure for me. My daughter will also be in Scotland for most of the summer on an archeological dig on the Ness of Brodgar on Orkney. Had she not traveled to Orkney with us in 2009, she may not have even known about the excavation, much less have the opportunity to be a part of it.
See, travel is magic.
When we stayed on Orkney in 2009, we noticed that one of the farms across the Ness from us had tape marking off sections of land, some of which had clearly been dug by archeological experts. Being an inquisitive type (feel free to read: busybody) I asked the farmer what was going on. Apparently the farmer, who was more than happy to talk to us, had hired someone new to plow his field that spring. The gentleman he hired brought out equipment that dug deeper than usual and struck what is now being excavated—a huge Neolithic Temple complex on the Ness.
How cool is that? The farmer wasn’t so thrilled then, but I bet he is now when he rents his house to tourists at greatly increased prices. We all got caught up in the story and now, six years later, our daughter gets to be part of history. Pure, unadulterated magic. And I get to write about it. Here’s a link to a National Geographic article about the dig, if you’re interested.
You don’t have to travel far for inspiration to crash into you and open your eyes to something wonderful. A song on the radio I couldn’t get out of my head was the igniting force behind my novel, Second Chances. A documentary on ancient Viking swords spurred the storyline in the third Warrior Chronicles book, Defending Destiny. Here’s a link to that documentary. Exceptionally cool stuff and the sword maker is from Wisconsin. Double dose of awesome there. A trip to our local Renaissance Faire with some costuming friends was the impetus for a scene in my Shute Pond novella, Midday Masquerade. And on my morning walk past a swampy marsh, I thought of a short murder mystery where I could off one of our town officials who is currently giving us grief—on paper folks, but it’ll still be satisfying. (Please feel free to imagine me grinning. I am.)
Going on adventures, large and small, near or far, sparks creativity, rekindles the spirit and lifts emotion like little else I’ve found. I’d love to hear about your adventures. Do they help get your creative juices flowing? Do you have a fantasy or dream adventure you’d like to take? If finances were no obstacle, where would you go, and what would you hope to experience?
We’re spoiled here in southeastern Wisconsin. We have numerous state and county parks. We have the world’s largest Celtic Festival and the world’s largest Music Festival at our lovely lakefront in Milwaukee. There’s music in the park most nights during the week and myriad ethnic festivals, block parties and street dances. Our Renaissance Faire is no more than ten minutes from my house. There is always an adventure waiting to happen in the summer, so finding one is easy.
I hope that whatever your dream adventure is, you’re able to experience it. I hope that the experience exceeds your expectations. I hope that you find a bit of magic in every story you read and every tale you tell. For me, that’s living the dream.
I’m giving away an e-book of your choice. Simply share an adventure you’ve taken or dream of taking. Mary will select the winner and I’ll forward your choice in the format you chose via e-mail. The covers are on the bottom, and if I’ve done my job correctly, there are links so you can read the blurbs.
I can’t wait to read your comments. Maybe I can even weave a few into a story.
Happy Summer…Let the Adventures Begin!