Travel as a Source for Inspiration

     What inspires you to write, what urges you to put your thoughts transformed in sentences to paper? What makes you want to quickly find a pen in your bag, and write down something that you think would  later become the beginning of your future novel? Whether it’s something deeply personal as an experience that you’d like to share, or a totally invented story that just came to your head and you want to dig deeper into it,  it’s inspired by something. In fact, it can be inspired by anything that happened with you or around you, or with someone you know well, or barely met just once, and although there are infinite sources of inspiration that you may find in the day to day life, sometimes it’s not enough. No matter how dedicated and motivated you seem to be for writing, it still needs a sparkle. You yourself need a change of your routine, a change of your comfartable, well-adjusted, known by heart ambiance, and environment. Sometimes you simply need a different view from your window.

In other words, you need to travel and the more possibilities you have for leaving your home behind for a little while, the better. Whether it’s a weekend trip to countryside, not far from your city, or a weeklong adventure in a new country, go for it! Isn’t an anticipation of a new journey ahead one of the best things in life?

Although I’m not a big fan of airports , still, I think those no places are the best to observe all the different people and their behaviours, from how they talk, their gestures,  or what they wear, or how do they drink their beer waiting for a flight to be announced. I love that feeling of knowing, that for a tiny period of time, our lives interact and although we’ll possibly never meet again, and remain strangers, there, at the airport, we had a short glimpse into each others lives and I can make up their stories. A new love affair? A new job offer or a meeting that may possibly turn their existence upside down?

Travel has not to be a luxury. In an ideal world, I think, travel has to be something of an obligatory, something of an ordinary thing to do for writers. Travel has to have no excuses. Whenever I travel, and I come back, I’m a different person. I'm changed. The images of the new places, encounters, people, smells, tastes, stay with me, the new  impressions are stored in the chest, somewhere deep in the back of my memory,  waiting for the right time to open and be told  into a new story, into a character, into a plot. Hotel rooms, streets, restaurants and cafes, museums, shops, all the mixture of cultures, identitities, backgrounds, different cuisines make a colorful palette, that may be later used in the writing.

 I guess, it’s because of my love for travel, that  in my  debut novel - Friday Evening, Eight O'Clock  the characters are traveling too, changing their comfort zones and places  to the ones that are unfamiliar, scary, unknown, both phisically and spiritualy.  Travel helps them to re-discover themseves.

I’m often asked, if there is anything autobiographical in my book and the answer is, either it would be a totally different book, or it would never exist at all if, back in 1994  I didn’t go to study to Paris, but that’s a different story to tell.  

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  • Alissa Johnson Writing

    I can definitely relate to this! Whether it's travel, climbing, mountain biking or something, I know it all feeds my writing!