An uneasy traveller

I have a love hate relationship with travel. On the one hand, I love seeing new things and soaking up new places. I love the way travelling makes you think and feel differently, if only for a little while. But I also hate travelling. I hate the organisation, the packing, the remembering of a billion little things and knowing I’ll inevitably forget something, the rushing to airports worrying about traffic and the sitting around waiting for delayed flights. I’m writing this from the departure lounge of Melbourne airport (I’ve been down here for a medievalism conference), waiting for a delayed flight, and contemplating the preparations for my trip to the UK in a couple of days. I do believe it’s my particular curse to experience excitement as a form of dread. As my friend Charlotte said, it’s like the blue wire gets hooked up to the red wire.

Thing is, I haven’t done a research trip since 2001, when I went to Germany, Norway, and Russia to research for my Europa suite (ie. The Autumn Castle, Giants of the Frost, Rosa and the Veil of Gold). Then I had children, and they kind of cramp your travel style unless you’re super-bold (which I am not). But my mad love for Anglo-Saxon stuff has a hold on me, and we’re off to see Sutton Hoo with our very own eyes. Kids love ancient burial grounds that look like big empty fields! Honest! They’re mad keen for them! And they’ll totally love that Santa won’t come to Oxford and will leave their presents at home instead. Kids and delayed gratification are practically synonymous!

But I need this fuel for my creative fire (sorry, should have issued a wankery alert before that sentence). I’m both dying to be in England and also dying from the anxiety of going to England. Either way I die, so I may as well go and take this damned book seriously.

7 thoughts on “An uneasy traveller

  1. Sounds glam, Kim. Very exciting. Maybe you have watched too many episodes of ‘Lost’. No, really. I know you are talking about travel generally. Apart from being born overseas (Isle of Wight, England), I haven’t been anywhere o’seas. Wow. Wish I was going somewhere exciting this Christmas.Take a deep breath or five. Have a good flight. Trust it’s not Oceanic Flight 815. No, you’re heading the other way. But back in time to Anglo Saxon buried treasure. Joanna ;))

  2. Did you ever see Parenthood? You’re reminding me of Steve Martin on that rollercoaster.

    Don’t forget the wonderful power of memory. Your children, as adults, will be thankful for these trips no-one else gets. And they’ll see your excitement.

    Go on. Enjoy yourself. Scribble. Take notes. Ignore the rolling of eyes as you babble on like a nutter about Sutton Hoo.

    (And never mention that word again–starts with O, rhymes with blahblahnisation.)

  3. As a UK expat, and now Brisvegas resident, here’s wishing you a beautiful white christmas!

    Something everyone should experience once in a lifetime!

  4. Hi Kim,
    You will have a wonderful time, I know. The worst is almost over. When I went to Scotland and then to Wales, I prepared like crazy before. Studied Gaelic, studied Welsh, read historical fiction and histories and found natives so pleased that I had taken the time to learn about their country. Was even able to show off a bit of each language!
    Now I am boning up on history of Ancient Egypt in preparation for a trip to see the Pyramids next year! I don’t look forward to preparation for that trip: visas, vaccinations, and dread of scorpions!

    I can’t wait for your new book! Have safe trip!

  5. Stating the obvious: pack warm. It’s miserable outside! Apparently it rained all night last night pretty much across the country. I wouldn’t know, though, as I was holed up on the couch with a blanket and procession of cats, watching Face/Off.

    (If you don’t have gumboots for the kids already, hold out and buy them some from dirty Tescos when you get here. I don’t imagine finding ‘wellingtons’ in Brisbane mid summer likely).

  6. Hi Kim

    As I read this I remembered a dreamy three weeks I spent in Amsterdam about two years ago, staying with my daughter and her husband – they lived there then. Their apartment was on the Kaizersgracht, one of the main canals, and I spent hours exploring the little back streets and nooks and crannies of Amsterdam.

    Absolutely loved it. Amsterdam was the city of the Dutch East Indies Company in the 1600s and 1700s and some of the back streets were named after spices.

    We went for a three day trip to the southern Netherlands and found, amongst other gems, Loevenstein Castle, which also fired my imagination because it was a real, defensive castle for hundreds of years. There were worn stone steps and cygnets on the moat.

    The trip to the Netherlands fired my imagination for months and I wrote several short stories.

    Anyway, I’d better stop. Enjoy your trip! (After all the hassle of organising, packing and so on, I find the moment the plane lifts off and I can sit back in my seat, I’m right.)


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