Why Traveling is Good for the Author’s Soul

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Last week I mentioned I’d be going on a road-trip. I did, and now I’m back, refreshed and ready to dive back into my WIP. I wasn’t convinced I loved my characters or could pull off the complicated premise of my WIP until I got away from the PC and spent a few days trekking through Norway. Travel is certainly good for the author’s soul!

I love travelling, seeing new places and experiencing different cultures. I need to travel and get seriously angsty if I don’t get away from home at least twice a year, preferably heading out of the country for a change of scenery.

There’s something remarkably introspective and contemplative about being in transit. I’ve always felt it but can’t quite explain why I find being between places so inspiring. Perhaps it’s the feeling of going somewhere, of moving forward into the unknown that reboots my creativity, or perhaps it’s simply the result of being ‘lost’ in the in-between places – in an airport between destinations, on the road between towns. There’s magic there, ready to be mined and morphed into art.

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The Finnish-Norwegian border

This past week, we spent an arduous twenty or so hours on the road – with an over night stop – heading north on narrow roads that took us through the Sami region of Finnish Lapland to the Norwegian border hundreds of kilometres into the Arctic Circle. Watching the scenery change from Finnish forest to sparse Lapland scrub and then to snow capped mountains, was worth sitting in a car for so many hours.

Northern Norway took my breath away. This wasn’t my first time in the Lofoten Islands, but I definitely appreciated the remoteness of the towns and the severity of the landscape a lot more this time round. There’s just something so surreal about seeing glacier topped mountains rising out of the sea, of climbing to the top of a mountain and gazing out across turquoise fjords as the land breaks up into an arctic archipelago.

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Wide angle view of Narvik from above

Scenery aside, being in Norway this time also afforded me some writerly food for thought. I learned so much about people not least of all by eavesdropping on conversations in the hotel breakfast room, and observing travelers on the road. There’s an entirely different world out there to the one I experience in my little Helsinki bubble and I’m so grateful I got to live a few moments of that ‘other’ world.

As far as inspiration goes, not actually sitting down at the PC to write every day was a good thing because it gave me plenty of time to think¬†about my story, to work out possible plot points, to create scenes and run through dialogue, to fantasize about my characters and their developmental trajectory. It’s easy to forget how important just thinking is with a daily word count goal hanging over your head. And thinking I did in spades, which means I know what’s happening next and have a whole bunch of scenes worked out in my head just waiting for my to type them out.

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Me and Lego enjoying the Arctic sunshine in Trondenes

Travelling is certainly revitalizing and therapeutic, and an absolute necessity for me as a writer.

Do you find travelling inspirational? Where would be your ideal holiday spot? 

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