Topic: How travel consistently inspires ideas for you.
I don’t know how many times I’ve seen something or experienced something while travelling that made me stop and pocket an idea for a future story. More accurately, my mind would stop and take note.
Sometimes it’s a place…
Like this time I was at the Mezquita in Cordoba, Spain, and literally spent the whole time there taking photos of the incredible interior because I knew I had to use it as inspiration for the setting of a future series. I just knew. In my gut. The whole place spoke to me. I felt like the dorkiest tourist, taking ‘happy snaps’ of every single thing… but that wasn’t the reason! I wish I could have worn a sign that said ‘I’m a writer; everything I do is in the name of research’.
Sometimes it’s a moment…
When I was in Mongolia, our tour group emerged from the wild and isolated Steppes into ‘civilisation’ in order to witness the Naadam Festival, an incredible spectacle that celebrates and presents ‘the three games of men’. In Mongolia that is Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery. Driving around in our seatbelt-less Russian vans, we were a little lost. I mean… it’s not like here where there are signs everywhere and people to direct you. There isn’t some grand stadium where the events are held. No, the first event – horse racing, which consisted of tiny, tiny children racing bareback across the plains – was out in the middle of nowhere.
There was no one in sight. But then we spotted it: a single vehicle parked in all its loneliness in the creeping fog that blanketed the plains. So we drove up to it and were excited when we realised it was, in fact, a police car! Huzzah! Surely, this kind officer would direct us to where we needed to go.
How wrong we were. The first thing we saw was a large boot dangling out of the passenger window. Asleep? Dead? Murdered in the night by a faceless fiend? Who knows!? One of our guides, Tsenkhee, approached the car and spoke with the – clearly alive, phew – man. When Tsenkhee returned he explained that the policeman had absolutely no idea and absolutely no interest in helping us find our way.
All at once it hit me – like the dramatic opening to a movie at the cinema, with a screen so large it utterly dominates your entire vision. What hit me? The opening to another story I want to eventually write. This one was very different to what I write now, it wasn’t fantasy when it came to me but I would love to rework it somehow.
The point is… travel opens doors for writers because of one simple fact: we experience things out of our ‘norm’. This has a very powerful effect – it amazes us, shocks us, confuses us, humours us… and these are key ingredients to writing. You need to be amazed, shocked, confused and humoured by what you write. Travelling makes me feel alive and so does my writing. One feeds into the other. Travelling inspires new ideas and writing inspires me to look at the world and see endless possibilities. Endless ideas. Endless chances to learn and experience something new.
All I can say is this: travel, my friends, travel.
RELIC, Bronwyn Eley’s debut fantasy novel, is slated for release September 12.
About the author
Bronwyn joined the military right out of high school, where she learnt (among other things) to disassemble and reassemble a rifle blindfolded. After that she spent a lot of her time travelling around the world. Her favourite places (so far) are Scotland, Mongolia, Iceland and Ireland.
Bronwyn finally found her natural habitat when she landed her first job in the publishing industry. While she has always been a writer, it was only when surrounding herself with books that she realised her life’s dream was to become an author. Relic is her first novel.
Bronwyn lives in Sydney and spends her time eating chocolate, reading and practising her martial arts.
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