Travel – In Your Imagination

J. L. Harland • July 6th, 2020

Some people have dubbed 2020 as the year that didn’t happen. Certainly, it has been the most extraordinary year. First a new virus sweeping the world and then the hottest and driest early summer any of us have experienced. It’s no wonder we crave escape after being locked up for weeks. So, with no holidays in the horizon we thought we could look at fantasising about holidays and perhaps stimulating some writing ideas too.

Five Steps to Holidays

1. Planning. We might not be able to go on holiday, but we can dream. Make your bucket list and write down why you want to visit those places. Choose one and researching online find out as much as you can about the place. Imagine yourself being able to go. What plans do you need to make? Do you need visas, inoculations? Is your passport up to date? Now imagine that you are about to go away, and you’ve forgotten something important. What have you forgotten and what can you do about it? Write a short scene showing how you, or one of your characters, deals with this.

2. The Journey. Although many people hate travelling due to fear of flying or travel sickness or because they perceive it as boring, travel provides endless opportunities for people watching. If you travel alone it also gives you an opportunity to engage with other people and learn their stories. The last time you travelled was there someone you remember? A fellow traveller? Someone sitting at the airport? Someone you spoke to? Can you write some notes or make a character sketch of that person?

3. Arrival. First impressions are important. Often negative. Journeys from airports or docks before travel to city centres, for example, often lead through some of the less salubrious parts of a city. You see things that the brochures don’t show such as graffiti and dirty streets. Can you recall visiting a place where your first impressions were negative. Why? Did you change your mind during the holiday? Write about your first impressions of a place you visited and what happened during that holiday.

4. Food. One of the wonderful things about different places is the variety of food on offer. Even in the UK there are regional differences. Names of dishes can vary too. Do you have a photograph of a favourite dish you always eat when in a certain place? Have you tried to recreate it at home? Did it work? Somehow the flavour of food is enhanced by the ambience and the company you keep. The recipe might work but it won’t taste the same. Try writing a short story or a poem using a recipe format and see what happens.

5. Culture. Different places have different cultures. The adage, ‘when in Rome’ holds true. The culture of the places you have visited may be very strange to you. Think about some of the customs you have witnessed in other cultures and compare to your own way of living. Think of some of the strange customs in your own culture. How would you explain those to someone from another place - or planet? Choose one thing you think of as part of your culture, research its origins, and write a short explanatory paragraph.

We hope you enjoyed your holiday planning with us. Let’s hope that next year we can all do our travelling in person, without fear of catching the dreaded virus.

Keep safe. Keep writing.