It’s early morning here in Portugal, and the view in front of me is just as unbelievable as it was when I first arrived. A lush tropical garden with vivid pink and red flowers greet me as I step out onto the deck. The pool is shimmering like a sapphire beneath the morning sun, calm and inviting. I start my day with yoga on the deck to the soundtrack of a myriad of birds and the gentle constant cooing of the doves. It’s a time for me to enjoy the peace and listen to the wind whispering through the palms before everyone else in the villa starts to stir. It’s a time for me to recharge my batteries and soak up the inspiration thriving around me.
It’s been a couple of years since I’ve had the opportunity to travel. It was a much-needed vacation, after the last two years, but it was also an opportunity for me as a writer to fill the creative well. Seeing unfamiliar places and writing in a new space always brings a fresh energy, a new perspective and puts me in the mindset to take time for myself.
I always write when I travel. Sometimes it takes a couple of days for me to get back into a routine, but during that time I am observing, absorbing, and engaging my senses. What does this new place look like, smell like, taste like, sound like? What stories are imprinted in this space? What stories can be pulled from it?
You don’t have to travel halfway around the world for a change of scene. You can be a tourist in your own town, explore your own city, province, or state. Take your writing space to a local park, beach, or lake. Take time to absorb the space around you. The idea is to change your point of view by taking yourself out of a familiar space and putting yourself in a unique environment. This is especially helpful if you’re feeling stuck. Give yourself the space and time to just be in the moment and see what you can discover about yourself and your work.
Sometimes the opposite can happen when we go to a new space. We can become distracted instead of focussed, but that’s okay. It’s simply our curiosity taking over, inviting us to see and experience as much as we can. Curiosity about a new point of view is the same curiosity that fuels our writing.
Time is different when you travel or work in a new space – sometimes it stands still, sometimes it flies by like the blur of a locomotive, but all that matters is getting on board. The magic of writing is you can always take the new space with you – you can make the moments live forever on the page.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.