Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Photo: Me & hubby in front of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
I travel a lot. Love it. Approximately forty countries so far and climbing. Travelling makes me feel a part of the world and not just of New Zealand. There's nothing like travelling to stop you whining about your own country. It puts many of your own petty issues into perspective.
It is also a great source of inspiration for storytelling. A story needs a setting and, at least for me, it becomes monotonous to always use your own city or country. For some, this is their comfort zone and their inspiration - to describe their homeland in all its colour and nuances. But I prefer to take my characters out into the world. They usually start off at home in New Zealand then take off for one of the countries I have visited. I seldom use settings I haven't seen with my own eyes but it can happen and then the research is exhausting. Get a detail wrong and someone will know - after all someone lives there. It's a very tough call to describe a city or rural setting if you haven't touched the surfaces, smelled the aromas, heard the sounds of the place.
When I travel, I, of course, take photos to cover the visual aspect, but then also make copious notes of the impressions of the place on the other senses. You think you will remember when you get back home but our visual sense is the strongest and it can dominate and blur the memory of the others. Take notes, keep a diary, record your impressions - whatever works for you - but don't rely on memory. That is my humble advice.
It's a national holiday in New Zealand so I'm off out into a brilliantly sunny day to make the most of this weather.
Posted by Suzanne at 11:53 AM