I’m back from my latest adventure! I would have mentioned it earlier, but in the interest of safety (I hear all the horror stories so I’m a tad paranoid) I never mention vacation on public forums until I’m home. This time, the warm Caribbean sea and a beautiful new cruise ship provided the break I needed from my hectic life as a 911 Operator and a Writer.
According to Forbes magazine, only 25% of Americans actually take their paid vacation time. I read this and thought, “Are they crazy? That can’t be right.” Because I can’t image giving my all at work without leisure time to look forward to. Everyone who knows me knows I caught the travel bug a long time ago and my life doesn’t feel complete unless I have a trip on the horizon.
If you are someone skipping rest and relaxation in your schedule, change it. Immediately. If you’re the creative type, not only does vacation and travel put you in a position to meet new people and experience new things, it gives your mind the opportunity to rejuvenate. Even if the arts aren’t your thing, there tons of reasons to get downtime on your calendar. Several studies link vacation to a variety of health benefits including: stress reduction, emotional stability, mood improvement, strengthening relationships, and providing inspiration.
To me, something magical happens when I leave all my worries at home and immerse myself into the here and now. No more planning for the work week ahead, no paying bills, no cleaning house, no wondering if I’ve forgotten anything. My mind lets go of the mundane and I’m able to just be. When this happens, it’s like a recharge to my creative batteries. I come back stronger and better than ever. And most importantly, I come back inspired.
This time, after the mountain of laundry was complete and I got back into my work routine it happened. The moment when a story hits you and demands to be written. Sure, I can piece together a great story anytime, but it’s different when a story smacks you in the face. Your fingers burn with anticipation and you want nothing more than to lock yourself away from the world and get busy. To write until the story finishes itself and it’s all on the page in front of you. Of course, this isn’t realistic in my world, so I settled for a great outline. I’m still itching to forget about everything else and stay in my writing cave.
No. My story is not about cruise ships, pirates, or the Caribbean. Even though travel opens you up to new experiences, new people, new perspectives, this idea isn’t a literal transition. A seed was planted before I left for vacation. After reading THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah, it made me realize how much the history books missed about World War II. I found myself searching out documentaries and other accounts of the world during that time. Of course, my writing centers around mystery/suspense/thriller genres, so I had no idea how this research furthered my writing, but I didn’t care. I’ve learned when interest grabs me to follow it even if it doesn’t make sense at the time. Having done that before my trip, then letting my mind rest while away paid off. Within days of arriving home, the outline for my mystery, LAID TO REST is complete and screaming for my attention.
Vacation is officially over and it’s time to get back to work. I can’t wait!