Up for a writing adventure?
When I was small, I loved opening the glass doors to my grandparents’ bookshelf. It was full of wonderful stories as well as my nan’s journals which documented their travels. One of my favourite things sitting on the shelf was my grandad’s atlas. It was so big, I could barely lift it but I would heave it over to the dining room table and climb into its pages.
I loved imagining sailing on a ship around the Pacific Ocean, digging up treasure on islands, exploring jungles, finding something that had never been discovered. In those days, I wasn’t worried about the practicalities of getting from one destination to another. I’d dart from Australia to Alaska in the time it took to take one sip of summer fruit squash.
How fun it was to close my eyes and point to random places, wondering who lived there, what languages they spoke, what stories they had to tell. It fuelled my imagination.
I was gifted a similar atlas for my birthday recently and it brought back so many memories of my childhood adventures. I took it carefully out of its presentation box and opened it up on my dining room table, a cup of tea for company rather than a beaker of squash.
Such a gift couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I might not be able to travel out of my country in person at the moment but all I have to do is turn to one of the pages in my beautiful atlas and I can be anywhere I wish to be.
When travelling, it’s comforting to have a route planned. You know where you’re headed, you’ll reduce the risk of issues and will most likely reach your destination successfully. But trips too tightly planned may miss out on the random opportunities new places offer, may miss too the unexpected discoveries that arise when wrong turns are made.
Likewise, over planning a piece of writing reduces spontaneity. Embrace the random today. Let your feelings guide what you should write. Listen out for surprises. Why not travel with me? Turn to a map, close your eyes and point to a random place. Let it inspire a piece of writing, a new character or something completely unexpected.
Where there are words, there are always adventures.