When the traveling bug bites you, you should expect an expensive doctor’s bill. The only cure is more traveling—and revisiting places too. (Paris, London, and Edinburgh: I’m not done with you yet!)
I am home when I travel. It doesn’t matter if I am unable to speak the native tongue of the country I visit. I know that when I travel, I write. When I am writing, I am home. I can let loose, scream and be free, and soak in the culture around me. Seeing the world gives me a springboard for new settings, characters, and ideas.
During the summer of 2011, the reality of having a November deadline for my young adult novel, hits me hard. The novel is a portion of my graduate school thesis and I graduate in December. No more messing around. I knew the only way to get the freedom to write my novel is to travel and see the world. For this writing trip, the world means Paris, London, and Edinburgh.
Flying miles high above the Atlantic Ocean, my character, Harriet Olivia Marie Halfpenny is born and becomes my travel companion for the rest of this writing journey. Harriet’s story has been in my head for a long while just itching to burst free and skip along on my notebook pages, but she needs inspiration to grow, and visiting new countries is a great way to get there.
We land in Paris and have only two nights there before we jump on the train to England.
Of course, two nights isn’t enough to stay in Paris. But Harriet and I are on a mission. She wants her story to be written over La Seine. She questions what it means to be adopted as we picnic in the yard of the Eiffel Tower. At Musée du Louvre, Harriet wonders if she will ever visit Colombia, the country where she was born.
While in England, I can’t miss the Roald Dahl Museum. If I did, what kind of children’s writer would I be? Plus, Harriet has some family issues to figure out and the Roald Dahl Museum is the home of the chair the famous writer wrote his stories in. Visitors are invited to sit in this chair. Harriet and I see this as the right place to tackle those family issues.
London is an obvious stop on my writing trip because J.K. Rowling is my absolute favorite author. She inspires me to write more than any other writer. I sign myself up for the Harry Potter walking tour that ends at King’s Cross Platform 9 ¾. As the tour ends, Harriet and I meet, as pen meets page.
The final stop on my writing trip is Edinburgh. I’m visiting Edinburgh because some of my friends who are actors have performances in the annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I know in the back of my head JK Rowling lived in Edinburgh during the time she wrote the Harry Potter series, but that didn’t register when I originally picked Edinburgh as my travel destination. It clicks when I research things to do in Edinburgh and read that The Elephant House is “made famous as the place of inspiration to writers such as J.K. Rowling, who sat writing much of her early novels in the back room overlooking Edinburgh Castle.” Naturally, some of Harriet’s story has to be written in the back room with this very same backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
Upon further research of Edinburgh, I find that it is home and inspiration to some writers (like Robert Louis Stevenson). Edinburgh even houses The Writers’ Museum, which pays homage to Scottish writers. Harriet and I find a corner in The Writers’ Museum and write about the unsettling feeling of not knowing her birthmother’s identity and how any woman passing in the street could be her mother. How could she ever really know?
This is only the beginning of when I went on a writing trip across Europe and came back with a manuscript written. As I recall these travels, my heart aches to return to these places because I feel at home there and writing comes more freely. I can’t travel all the time, so I want to ask you, reader, to get out there and travel, live, write! Go on a writer’s path, visit new places and revisit old ones, and people watch. People watching and traveling go hand in hand. Seeing people in different countries helps with realizing we all have complex and vivid lives filled with happiness, sorrow, accomplishments, and mistakes. Wonderful mistakes. It’s a writer’s heaven.
Get bitten by that travel bug. Comment below about your experiences on your own writer’s path. What will your travels bring?
About the Author: Kimberly A. Meyer is an elementary school teacher and aspiring published author. She is currently working on finding a publisher to publish her manuscript that she wrote while in Paris, London, and Edinburgh. Find her on Facebook.