I have always respected travel as a teacher. It expands your world, allows you to see how others live, and certainly inspires my writing.
But my last trip was not about new horizons. It was about memories and good friends and fun. I started by meeting my sister in the Bay Area, where we visited friends from our ever-more-distant youth. These are the people I still turn to when I need reassurance or just someone to talk to. Thank goodness for email, Facebook, and other communication vehicles that allow me to stay close to them.
Then it was off to Disneyland. We visited most years while growing up, but it has been six very long years since my last visit. Despite being older, heavier, and more realistic, we rode almost every ride and enjoyed the heck out of three days in what is still for me the Happiest Place on Earth. The works of Disney are a reminder that many people still crave that fairy tale ending, and that quality work lasts: lessons that I take to heart in my writing, even thought there are icky things like deaths in them. (After all, what happened to all the mothers in Disney stories?)
From there it was back to my family’s new home in San Antonio, Texas. The feel of a blazing sun on my skin was exhilarating for the first ten minutes. Global warming is real, folks, and it’s being proved in Texas, where they’ve just finished three months of 100+ degree days. The air conditioning and pools can only ameliorate so much, and are rapidly depleting earth’s resources to do it. But it was still wonderful to catch up with family and meet new friends.
So, what does this mean for my writing? It means I’m reconnected with what matters in my life: friends, family, and fun. Which is also what matters in a story. I can approach my current writing with a fresh eye, with those feelings flowing through me, and ensure my writing will make an emotional connection with readers.
It’s also made me think about setting a Vivien Brandt novel in Disneyland or San Antonio. Or both. 🙂
Travel is never a waste.