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Travellust & the Writer – A Love Story

Life Stuff, Travel, Writing

Travellust & the Writer

That Was Then

I grew up in a small suburb, well outside of Chicago, IL. If we went into the city, it was almost always to visit my Aunt Barb, my grandmother’s sister, and all the cousins out there. There would be occasional school field trips to the Field Museum or Adler Planetarium, but mostly I stayed in my little suburb. Most of the sites in Chicago I didn’t see until I was an adult and able to travel on my own.

I tried to find a pic of me in Chicago, but couldn’t. So here’s TreeTop Park in Ft. Lauderdale 🙂

As far as travel outside of the Chicago area, most of that was for family as well. I can remember a number of trips to Indiana to visit my grandmother when she lived there, as well as a long drive to Connecticut when she was there also. And, for a long time, we’ve had family in Tennessee, so there were also the occasional trips there. The only non-family vacations I remember was a trip to the Wisconsin Dells when I was thirteen and typical moody teenager. (This was also, incidentally, the trip where I holed up in my room at the cabin and read The Stand, cover to cover. Like I said, moody.)

I’m not telling you all this for sympathy, but to explain one of the reasons I devoured books as a kid. As they are for so many people, they were an escape from a very not-interesting life. I visited London, England, and Derry, Maine. I rode the Orient Express and hid in an attic to escape the Holocaust. I solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and the Bobbsey Twins. As I got older and read more, I sweated in the Congo and helped build Hadrian’s Wall.

Books always showed me the world that I felt I would never see.

This Is Now

I’m significantly older now, of course. I’m settled in a home with my spouse. We’ve lived in this place since 2008. This is the longest I’ve lived in one dwelling my entire adult life.

Vals, Italy

I’ve traveled more — I’ve gotten a little taste of the world that I so desired when I was younger. I’ve been to almost two dozen states, one Caribbean island, and ten countries in Europe (don’t be too impressed; some of them were just drive-throughs!). And the things I’ve gotten to see have been incredibly cool.

The beauty of the world and its people have lived up to my expectations.

I know I’ve been incredibly lucky to have had these experiences. My teenage self would never have thought we’d be able to really go to London, to the Italian Alps, to Amsterdam. But we did, my teenage self and I. And it’s been glorious, seeing things that I’d only ever seen in magazines, or the encyclopedia, or, later, on the Internet.

Experience Greed and This Writer

But it isn’t enough.

Me at Westminster Abbey, London, UK

This year, especially, I’ve been jonesing to travel. I want to see the rest of Italy. I want to go back to London, and I want to see other places in England. I want to hang out in a real pub in Ireland and I want to see the Scottish moors. I want to visit New Zealand and Australia. There are so many places I still want to go. So many experiences I still want to have.

It might make me greedy, but that’s okay. Because I think experiences are all we can ever really have from this world. And time is always running short.

My plan for 2018 is to travel more, particularly overseas. This means that you’re going to see a lot more from me product-wise over the rest of this year and next, from books to classes. I hope that’s okay with you. It also means you’ll be seeing more travel postings from me. More pictures of things I see.

The Quarantine House in Curacao. I’m working on a whole blog post about this place!

I want more experiences to inform my writing and my life. I want to understand other cultures, as much as I can, and live in their spaces, even if only for a little while. I want to see more of our world and I want to be able to share it.


How about you? Do you travel? Where is your favorite place that you’ve visited and why is it your favorite?

 

All images are courtesy of Arjen Jansen.

My Current Life: Crashing, Burning, and Horses

Life Stuff

Crashing and burning

I had a super productive early year. From January to April, I worked hard on a few projects that I wanted to get done. I made a lot of headway. None of those projects were writing, but I felt they were really worthwhile.

In April, I did a lot of traveling. In a span of 3 weeks, I had 3 conventions in 3 different states. Two of those were working gigs — I taught at them — the final one I was an attendee. Obviously, when I got home, I needed some time to get back on track, but I struggled. A lot.

I’m still struggling. There are a bunch of things that happened in between. A death in the family, logistics in dealing with a death from last year, family medical stuff, and a sick kitty. None of these are excuses not to get my work one, but they all contributed to my mental landscape.

And I have to face it. When I feel overwhelmed and bogged down, I become avoidant. I procrastinate, put things off, find any excuse not to do what needs to be done. I don’t think I’m alone in this behavior, either. But being in good company doesn’t really fix things, does it?

Getting back on the horse

I’m starting to come out of that funk just now. I can’t say I’m completely back on track, because I’d definitely not. But I have re-evaluated my track and have started aiming my car in that general direction. I’m not quite back in the race, but I expect that will happen soon.

I started my move toward getting out of the crash and burn phase by going back to my therapist. He’s amazing and I had stopped going in February, just because my life had gotten really chaotic and I didn’t really have the extra time to get out there. Then I was just out of the habit. This had been the first time  hadn’t seen him in more than a 3 week stretch in probably 5 years. So that was number one.

Number two was evaluating what I wanted to do. Did I want to stay on the path I was on? Did I want to diverge altogether? So I did some thinking and have made some changes based on that. Might that change again in the future? Sure. Pivoting is important. Being able to shift your direction based on changes in life or your own personal goals is an important part of living life.

As I said, I’m getting back on track, so plan to get the blog going on its regular schedule again. Thanks to the folks who reached out to check on me. It’s nice to know when you’re missed 😉

 

 

 

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Responsibility Means Saying No

Life Stuff

What I’m Listening To: “Smalltown Boy” by Bronksi Beat on World Shut Your Mouth

Something Cool: Con season is coming up!

One of the podcasts I’ve been listening to while I travel is the backlist of Beyond the To Do List. It’s all about creating a more productive life. I was on Episode 21, which featured Christin Taylor. It’s a good podcast ep, particularly for Millennials (of which I am not), and something she said struck me as really interesting.

Christin and her husband were at a marriage retreat, and they each took a quiz which highlighted their strengths and weaknesses. She was really surprised when one of her husband’s strengths came out as responsibility and that was not one of her own strengths from the test. She felt like she was the one always committing to things and he was the one always saying no, so she she felt like she was the more responsible.

I found this really interesting. Like a lot of people, I sometimes have trouble saying ‘no.’ I’ve done a lot better in the last several years, but especially before that, I was terrible at it. It never occurred to me that saying yes all the time didn’t make me responsible or highlight that I was responsible. It actually made me a bit irresponsible, because I’d agree to do too many things and I’d do none of them well because I was spread so thin.

I’ve always considered myself to be a responsible person, even from a very young age, so this is a bit of a paradigm shift for me. But it’s one I want to make, because I see the validity in it being more responsible to limit what your name is attached to so you can do those things well, versus attaching your name to *everything* and all of them done in a mediocre way.

How about you? Have you ever thought about responsibility in this way? Or does this kinda blow your mind the way it did mine? Let me know in the comments!