I recently returned from a trip to North Carolina, and every time I get the opportunity to travel outside of my home state I feel so inspired. Let me start by explaining that I live in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains, which is a cute way of saying that we get a lot of harsh weather coming off the mountains, without the beauty of said mountains. It’s windy here, most of the year, which creates some of the most beautiful sunsets. The view of which is never obstructed by pesky things like trees, or mountains, or much of anything green. I actually love it here, I’m just suffering from envy because it’s actually spring in North Carolina (note the green grass and blooming trees in the photo above) and although it’s supposed to be spring here, it’s really more like an extended winter. Winter around here is really like a guest who’s overstayed his welcome and no matter how much you try to hint that it may be time for him to mosey on his way to somewhere else, he just won’t budge.
Back to traveling. I started, what I hope to be a new tradition on this trip by buying a book from a local author. I bought Rosecrans Baldwin’s debut novel You Lost Me There from Letters Bookshop. If you’re in Durham, you should stop by, tell them I said hi. Of course, they’ll give you a strange look and ask who I am, mainly because I’m really shy and quietly bought a book from them before slinking out the door, but it’s the thought that counts. One day, I’ll be confident and start conversations with strangers and then when I tell people to stop by and tell the person hi, there will be a chance they’ll remember me. Until then, I’ll move onto what drew me to You Lost Me There.
When I entered Letters Bookshop and came up with my plan to buy a book by a local author, I scouted the store and was so excited when off in a corner, slightly behind the counter, I found a whole section dedicated to local authors. I landed on You Lost Me There because it’s about a neuroscientist who studies Alzheimer’s (you may remember my interest in Alzheimer’s from a story I wrote called “Be Here with Me” that comes out in print in June, you can click here for instructions on how to view it early). So this neuroscientist whose lifework revolves around memory recall and degenerative cognitive impairment stumbles upon note cards written by his late wife recounting their life together. And while he remembers their marriage as being relatively perfect, her account of their time together is quite different. He must reevaluate his memories when faced with the different way she perceived the same moments they shared. It’s like this book was written for me, so hopefully it won’t disappoint.
There were so many fun experiences I had on this trip. Like listening to the enormous songs of these birds to find out they were coming out of little birds about the size of a finch. Or the awesome carnivorous plants collection in the botanical gardens of the University of North Carolina.
There was also a trip to Duke University where I listened to an a capella group practicing in a small hallway next to the photography gallery in the Perkins Library (of course I went to the library). Went on a hike in Eno State Park where there was not one, but two torrential downpours where I could have jumped in the river and been just as dry. The rain was warm though, so it turned out to be a really great hike.
There is something about traveling, getting out of my regular routine and going somewhere new, that fills me with inspiration, new ideas, and replenishes my creativity. Are there any writing/reading-related activities that you like to do when you travel? Perhaps attending poetry slams or writing groups, visiting bookstores (I visited four different bookstores on this trip), etc. Do you feel inspired from traveling?