Travel can play a great part in freeing the mind to think creatively. I’ve visited lots of places and thought, “This would make a great place for a story.” But somehow when I arrived home, I had difficulty remembering where some of the beautiful pictures were taken but I remembered the people. Every person you meet has something unique to offer in some story down the road. It’s entirely possible our imagination is firmly rooted and driven by our personal experiences. I think that’s true. Between my husband’s and my work, we managed to travel to 9 foreign countries and all but three states in the US. Each place we visited had something that engendered memories.
I grew up in South Carolina and spent over 10 years in Charleston. I count myself lucky to have spent so many years in a city steeped in history where almost every building and home has some historical significance. Movie makers love the city and who wouldn’t? Seeing the tall homes with their side porches on streets lined with palmettos and live oaks, the muted sunlight filtering down through the sea mist and humidity is something to remember. Charleston is known as the “Holy City” for its skyline of steeples and has been voted “the most well- mannered and civil city” many times. Every year I return there I find something that surprises me.
When we moved from S.C to Texas and attended our first church service, we were surprised at the casual dress. Church attire on the east coast at the time was much more formal. A comfortable laid back state, Texas is also rife with contradictions. With a difficult past in constant need of retelling, it has real characters. There are many small towns where residents have lived their entire lives. Nothing is simply scenery, but all are overlaid with memories of love, losses, tragedies, and stories, plus the truth of history. Authors who write westerns say that they are still learning the history of this state.
Every state in the US is different because of different ethnicities. Every country is culturally, and politically different. Every visitor learns something even if they visit just a short time. In order to fully understand the world, we need to broaden our experiences. Whether you travel the world or just your own country you find that people think, act, and do things differently in other places. Travel is enlightening to the human soul. What becomes possible is a kind of revelation and writers need that from time to time.