Saturday, 7 April 2012

G is for Globetrotting

Welcome to letter G in my series "26 Things that Made Me a Writer".

Between February and June 2002 I dropped everything and headed off on a round-the-world jaunt. Quite brief by some standards, but I credit this sojourn as a top contributing factor in making me the writer I am today.

Why? Well, until this point, my life essentially lacked any purpose and direction. I had completed two years of university, but became disillusioned with what I was doing towards the end of this time and opted to take a year out to think things over. I worked two jobs from July 2001 to save up and then took off. I saw many sights - mangy dogs in Bangkok backstreets, ultra-clean Singapore trains, a giant clam in the Great Barrier Reef, I climbed up a glacier in New Zealand, was blessed by an elephant goddess in Bali and saw sailors swinging from trapezes in a gay club in Rio. Sorry about the lack of pictures - my scanned photos aren't in the right format.

In short, I saw more of life in four months than I had in the previous 21 years and came home full of inspiration. I enjoyed keeping a diary of my voyages and my first idea was to become a travel journalist or foreign correspondent, but this soon translated into more general reporting work and I started studying journalism in Glasgow in August 2003. My journalism background will be discussed more thoroughly in my "J" post (surprisingly enough), so if you're interested make sure you come back then.

It's an old cliche that people go travelling to "find themselves". Well, I don't know if I would go that far (I'm constantly trying to find myself through my writing and I'm not there yet) but it was certainly the moment that set the ball rolling for what I'm doing now, which came at a time when I had no idea about my future.

Have you been inspired by your travels?

24 comments:

Kyra Lennon said...

Travelling is one of the best inspirations there is! When you only ever see and experience the same things, you don't really learn very much. Sounds like your travel adventures were amazing!

Grammy said...

Yes, I have done quite a bit of traveling and it has been enriching. I know I would not be the same person without it. I have been writing, however, since I was a seventh grader. I wrote and performed in my first play with a couple of other seventh graders then. Never been published except for my blogs over the past four years. The writing is there, but not in book form. I enjoyed your post. More blogs to visit. Best regards to you. Ruby

Elise Fallson said...

I love to travel and consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to experience many different places. But the one that marked me the most was my trip to South Africa. That was an amazing trip.

Karen Walker said...

Hi Nick,
I've been "finding myself" thru my writing since 1978 - when I started keeping journals. Still on that journey - turning 63 this month. What I hear you saying is you followed your heart and your intuition and it paid off. All I can say is I wish I'd known to do that at your age.
Bravo!
Karen

Ciara said...

Yes, I LOVE to travel. I think backpacking through Europe inspired many stories.

Jennee Thompson said...

So much of me wishes that I had the finances just to get up and travel the world. There is a ache inside of me screaming to just do it...

I'm glad you got to experience that and that it made you a better writer!

Dawn Malone said...

Love to travel and it definitely helps my writing. I just got back from visiting an animal sanctuary in Utah last week. Lots of stories there. I've blogged about it a few times already for the A to Z Challenge.
Great post!

danneromero said...

nice post nick. and isn't it interesting that we must find ourselves within.. not somewhere.
thanks for following... and reading...
daphne

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

Lost and found... and sometimes lost again. It's the story of our lives, ain't it?

C.B. Wentworth said...

I spent most of my twenties traveling and I continue to travel as I work through my thirties. There is nothing quite as amazing as treading in an unfamiliar place. The beauty, wonder, and curiosity are just what a muse needs. The places I've been are a constant source of inspiration!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I can imagine how enlightening and exhilarating your travels must have been. There are so many incredible wonders in the world to see, but enlightenment and inspiration are there for the finding right in our own back yards, if we open our minds and hearts to it. (Says the old lady who's never left the U.S...)

Jay Noel said...

Wow. That's an incredible journey you've been on ever since. Hey - if I make a trip to Scotland, would you take me to see some of those amazing castles?

Mel said...

I agree that traveling (on its own) isn't where we find ourselves. Granted, it is definitely one of the best ways to get the ball rolling; I know it worked for me. More on that when we get to "T". Great post.

Sarah Pearson said...

I've always wanted to travel. Hopefully it's not too late :-)

mooderino said...

I've done a fair bit of travelling, but always nice to get home.

new follower,
mood
Moody Writing

Nick Wilford said...

Kyra - It certainly opens your mind to think about how other people live. Thanks for your comment!

Grammy - Oh yeah, I was writing plays in school too, but it wasn't til I went travelling that I started to focus towards what I'm doing now. Good luck getting published!

Elise - I would love to visit there. Only been to Tunisia on that continent (twice though!)

Karen - Thanks for your kind comment. I just wanted a break from everything and it was certainly refreshing.

Ciara - Nice to hear travelling inspired you too.

Jennee - It can be done fairly on the cheap if you don't mind bedding down in cramped dorm rooms!

Dawn - Sounds like a great experience. I will head over and have a look!

Danneromero - Good point. Yes, you're the same person everywhere, but every new experience adds something, I think.

Nick Wilford said...

Cathy - Well said!

C.B. - You're lucky to have travelled so much. You must have loads of inspiration!

Susan - Good point. I think the longer you write, the more you learn to be inspired by even seemingly trivial things.

Jay - With pleasure! I think we would have to start off with Edinburgh.

Mel - Yeah, it can definitely light a spark, but ultimately what you write comes from within. Look forward to your post! This was going to be T, but I came up with something else for that.

Sarah - Never too late. I met people travelling who were in their 70s. You're clearly a long way off that! ;)

Mood - Thanks for following. I think getting home is a highlight of any trip - hopefully you've recharged the batteries and are ready to get back into things.

Rhia Roberts said...

I did the same thing for 2 years in the 80s and it's changed me for life. You see some of what I learned on my blog.
Rhia from Five Minutes for Inspiration (about # 802 on A through Z Challenge list).

Sheila Siler said...

I haven't done as much world traveling as I would like, but we travel as much as we can. It's lovely! Thanks for stopping by my blog, pleased to meet you!

Cynthia said...

Yes, I do get inspired by my travels. When I'm in a different country or even just a different part of the country, I'm constantly reminded of how big our world is. Plus, I like learning about different cultures and trying new food.

Tim Riley said...

Hey Nick, fellow A-Zer. You definitely learn a lot about yourself while traveling. I think the main thing traveling taught me is to be more aware of my surroundings, and that certainly helps with writing.

Nick Wilford said...

Rhia - Two years is a long time. I'll head over to your blog!

Sheila - My travelling is in much shorter bursts now with a family, but we still get to a lot of places. We've got a Baltic cruise at the beginning of May and I'm really looking forward to St Petersburg and Copenhagen in particular. Nice to meet you too!

Cynthia - You're lucky there's such a diversity of places just in the US. (You are American, aren't you?!) Oh yes, food is a big part of the experience!

Tim - Very good point. Pleased to meet you, thanks for following!

Jo Schaffer said...

I loooove to travel. Last sumer I was in Scotland, and England. As often as I can get up and go I do. I always get so much out of it. Really had an awakening while in Costa Rica not long ago. Can't wait for my next trip.

Nick Wilford said...

Jo - I'm glad you enjoy travelling so much! South America is an amazing continent.