A few years ago, on one of our March trips from Colorado to Las Vegas for the WAC, later the MWC, basketball tournament, my husband and I took a side trip off I-70 in Utah at Thompson Springs. I had read there were petroglyphs in nearby Sego Canyon. It was true, and we spent an hour or so exploring the area and studying the art on the rock.
In 2008, on a drive to visit family in Illinois, another side excursion took us through the Kickapoo Indian Reservation in northern Kansas. Since one of my characters in my almost-ready-to-submit historical novel set in Illinois is an old Kickapoo man, I wanted to see where some of People finally settled after they were forced west of the Mississippi.
Our mini-sense of adventure on driving trips sometimes backfires. My guy likes to travel without making reservations for the night, which gives us more flexibility on how long we travel and where we stop. I like knowing where I'm going to sleep and that a bed will be waiting for me when I get there.
We were foiled twice, both times in the south of France, by following my guy's flexible plan. The first time, we drove half the night and traveled many kilometers off the beaten path to finally find a room...the last room in a hotel...the room with a broken toilet. I didn't care.
The second time it happened, we again found a hotel well off the autoroute, up on a hill, surrounded by woods, early in the morning. The one available room had been reserved but the travelers had not shown up. The kind proprietor let us have the beds. I had a crazy moment when I wanted to hug him and cry.
These are the little moments and small incidents that can lead us to story ideas, whether we write articles, host a travel blog, are putting together a memoir, or writing fiction. If we travel, keeping a journal is a great idea. I have a folder of all the letters I sent to my mother during the two years my husband and I lived in the South of France. I have a journal I kept during my solo trek to Norway at the age of 56, and I filled a lot of pages with some pretty crazy stuff during one of the driving trips we took in Europe.
Here are some of the ways travelers make good use of their travel stories:
Alexis Grant is The Traveling Writer. I first "met" her through the online blog book tour class moderated by Dani Greer. Since our first contact, Alexis has found an agent and they are working on her memoir of her solo backtrack travels across Africa.
Cara Lopez Lee blogs at Girls Trek Too! The Life of an Adventurous Woman. Cara will be a guest here in September. Her memoir about life in Alaska, They Only Eat Their Husbands, will be available from Ghost Road Press later this year.
Speaking of blog book tours, it looks like Dani is going to conduct her 100% totally free Blog Book Tour class again, starting July 5th. I took the course last year and loved it. Not only did I make a lot of new blogger friends, but I received very valuable information on blogging and blog design.
I have a couple of questions for you:
1. When you travel, do you journal or take notes or catalog your photos with the thought of using them in your blog posts, articles, or fiction?
2. Do you visit any great travel blogs you'd like to recommend, or have you recently read an awesome travel memoir?