Tag Archives: Travel

In Mon – Is That a Real Place?

More fun prompts over at BeKindRewrite this week. This take on one probably isn’t that original, but I enjoyed writing it and definitely feel I could work more with these characters. Have a look, leave your thoughts, and/or stop over to Steph’s site to use the prompts yourself.

Getaway

The bar was quiet and our host was friendly, setting down drinks then hovering behind Alice. “So what brings you to this corner of the globe?”

“Walking,” I replied, hoping he’d leave us alone. “We’ve heard there are fantastic trails up into the mountains.”

“Sure thing,” he said, pulling over a chair, “We’ve got a load of maps and guides you could take a look at in the Snug.”

“Great.” I picked up the menu and tried to leave the conversation at that.

“I also know a few more secluded trails if you’d like a personal touch. There are places I can show you where you won’t see another person for hours.”

“Except you,” Alice muttered.

Our host laughed. “Well, of course.” He pulled his chair in. “But I can be unobtrusive when I want to be.”

Unlike now, I thought. I caught Alice’s eye and she smiled, reading my mind.

“Do you remember on our honeymoon?” I asked her, excluding him as much as I could from the conversation.

“The Lover’s Island!” she laughed, then she turned to him. “We booked a private island getaway for a day. Then a bunch of Italians turned up with a picnic.”

Now that she’d included him, I tried to hammer home the privacy point. “I paid good money to get some alone time with my wife.”

“Ha, yes,” he said, “Well you’ll definitely find that here.” But I could tell he didn’t really get it. Instead he began to explain the flora and fauna we might chance to see if we took him up on his offer. Alice and I continued briefly our reminiscences, then gave up and read the menus while he droned on.

“… And the mandrakes are spectacular. Although not at this time of year, obviously.”

“Obviously,” I said, trying to sound like I knew what he was talking about.

“Mandrakes are real?” Alice said. “I thought JK Rowling made them up!”

“No, they are quite real. Nice cheap hallucinogen, if you like that sort of thing.”

“Now we’ve never been offered those before!” Alice laughed. “Someone tried to sell us Speed in New York once, and we smoked weed in Timbuktu.”

“That’s a real place?” asked our host, finally standing up.

“Yes, believe it or not. It’s a city in Mali.” He was looking at me blankly. “In Africa,” I added.

“Not like the movies, then?” he asked. “Not quite so many skyscrapers and yellow cabs.”

“What?” I think Alice and I spoke at once.

“New York. You must have seen the movies – all skycrapers, yellow cabs and Americans with loads of money. I assume it’s a bit different if it’s in Afrcia.”

I probably just stared at him. For all I know, my mouth was hanging open.

Eventually Alice spoke. “You’re kidding, right?”

The man sighed. “Did you pass the train station when you drove into town?”

“Sure, but it was all boarded up.”

“Exactly. When I was a kid, I always said as soon as I left school, I’d travel the world and see places. Then the day before my eighteenth birthday, they closed the station. I guess some things just aren’t meant to be.”

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Friday Fiction – Another World

If you’ve ever travelled alone, you might know what I mean when I call it the most affirming thing I’ve ever done. Some of my happiest memories are of traveling with Jon (and now Sebastian), but there is something special about not knowing anyone when you arrive in a new place.
Back in 2006, I spent 10 days trekking in the rainforests of Brazil and in 2012, I went to Nepal and Tibet for three weeks. In comparison with the gap year experiences of many, they were small and unadventurous trips, but I learnt more about myself in those weeks than I think I ever have in the safety of home and company.
When I saw Bjorn’s photo for the Friday Fictioneers, it reminded me of one of the farms we stayed at in Brazil. Far from anywhere, our hosts heated their water by running pipes past the fire, so showers were an exercise in scalding and freezing by turns. There was no electricity, so we ate by candle and torchlight, having arrived at dusk, then we went outside and sat around talking into the night. This is the story of that night.

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Another World
Our hosts knew better than to stay up past sunset, and retired as soon as we were fed, but we were used to bulbs and switches; night was a novelty. Bottoms accustomed to furniture settled onto the ground and eyes that had never known darkness marveled at the stars. Friendships, days old but forged by miles, glowed in the chill air.
A week later, we would walk through the markets of Copacabana and play tourists on the Sugar Loaf cable cars, but Brazil for me will always be Don McLean and a starry night in a farm with no name.

Bridge

One of the safer-looking bridges we crossed!

 

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Friday Fiction – Washed Up

This week’s Friday fictioneers picture comes from Janet Webb. As usual, our cruise is piloted by Rochelle.

Next week, I won’t be able to respond to the Friday Fictioneers prompt, but those who enjoy my writing will find a second story prompted by this week’s photo. I hope you’ll nip back to read it.

wasp-nestWashed Up

Washed up. That’s what he’d called them. Washed up.

Not shiny and clean. But like a body on a beach: the flotsam of life. That’s what her husband, Tom, had meant when she told him her plans. It’s too late to travel the world, Janine. We’re washed up.

Janine squeezed sand between her toes and watched the sun setting far out to sea. She took a sip on her pina colada and smiled.

If she was washed up, she was a pebble. Yes, buffeted by the waves, and the sand, and the journey, but only to make her more beautiful.

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Friday Fiction – Sunset in Departures

I’m swapping my posts this week. Today’s is my Friday Fiction, tomorrow I hope to post a response to this week’s InMon prompts. In honour of the impending celebration of Valentine’s Day, and of my husband who is flying out on business tonight, this one’s a rare thing for me – a love story. No prior drafts this week – I neglected to keep the changes, but in any event they were pretty minor. I’d love to read your comments – good or bad.

Thanks, as always to our pilot, Rochelle, and this week’s guest photographer, Rich.

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Sunset in Departures (Genre: Romance)

He warms me like the sun. Until he leaves. And as I watch him go, it sinks out of sight leaving only a reflected glow. The sun will rise again tomorrow. I will be warm and he will return.

But, for now, there is no sun. Only the reflected rays of happiness: a photograph, a card, a bunch of flowers.

So it has been, every time. Except today. Because today there is another reminder. A reflection so strong it is no moon, no distant star. A new sun, equally bright.

He warms me like the sun. Until his father returns.

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Travels with their pens

Somehow, it’s Monday again. And Little Miss Muse seems to have taken the day off to batten down the hatches against the impending storm. We are far enough North and inland that Sandy shouldn’t mean more than high winds and torrential rain here; my thoughts are with those up and down the East coast USA who are in its path. I suspect LMM is rather more concerned about another imminent arrival – Baby’s due date is tomorrow, and even if he’s held up, he’ll be here within the next couple of weeks. Hubby didn’t look thrilled when I suggested we name the baby as the hurricane though…

Anyway, as a consequence of LMM’s vacation, I have nothing useful to say about writing and no successes (or even failures) to report on my own writing. So instead, I’d like to tell you about two inspirational writer friends of mine who have taken trips this month in furtherance of their writing plans.

Claire Larson is planning to write about her family history, which involves some nasty events which happened in Paraguay several decades ago. I only heard about that a few weeks ago when she announced that she was heading down to South America on a research trip, which involved meeting some rather unsavoury characters, being smuggled across borders and all the time negotiating the corruption and other risks of travelling in that part of the world. To help a local family (including the man who saved Claire’s father’s life) to make their way out of poverty, Claire and her family have returned the proud owners of a pregnant cow, and half a farm in Paraguay. Presumably the cow is staying there, and hasn’t been freighted back to Canada!

Claire’s back in Toronto now, and even just the story of her trip – let alone the events she was researching – makes for exciting reading. The extent of my research tends to be a laptop or a library, so my hat is firmly off to her for going the extra (thousand) mile(s).  I can’t wait to read her novel!

On the subject of long-distance travel, another writing friend is back from Scotland this morning. Not quite the same level of danger, but certainly an epic journey with its own trials and tribulations to overcome. The gentlemen of the Wayfarer’s Quest walked a gruelling 500 miles across the Highlands of Scotland during October, most of it in costume as adventurers from times gone by.

They met with some serious obstacles on the way, both in the planning – when a number of team members had to drop out for health and other reasons – and in the execution. Just a few days into the trip, Wayfarer Dan came down with a severe case of food poisoning. The Doctor’s advice of bed rest and then “no strenuous activity for a few weeks” nearly put paid to the Quest, but these boys don’t back down easily, and they managed to fit in the full distance in spite of a shortened time schedule and reduced health.

This time, the main aim of the game was not writing, but fundraising. The Wayfarers have raised over $15,000 for cancer charities, and are still looking for ways to increase that figure. And one of those, is potentially going to be a book about the trip. Again, it makes me feel like I should do more to write more! You can read about the trip and how to contribute to the Wayfarers’ cause at http://www.wayfarerquest.com/ The blog has some fantastic photos too, and I’m sure there will be more to come now that the boys are back in Toronto (Just need to drop off a Timmies voucher first to help them get over the jet lag!)

 

How far have you been in pursuit of a story? Where would you like to go to finalise that last detail or even a huge plot point? And what’s stopping you?!

 

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