I learned a new way to look at things. I went to Poland a couple of years ago. This trip had been on my bucket list for years, and finally, it was time to go. My daughter and I stopped off in London for several days and then flew on to Krakow. I expected to like Poland, but I didn’t know I would love it.
My husband and I had lived in Germany many years ago. We spent every extra cent we had traveling throughout Europe. I loved it all and wept when we left. I have gone back several times since, but just didn’t get to Poland. It just wasn’t possible at the time.
London to Krakow, Poland
Our first layover, London, was great fun. We did a few tours (had to see the jewels), and saw a play, but all of this was simply the “green” show before the great event.
We flew into Krakow on a beautiful sunny day. The airport is very modern, but small, and is 15 miles outside of the city. As a result, I had scheduled a driver to pick us up; he regaled us with stories of the city as we drove into the Old Town to our hotel. We stayed a block away from Rynek Głowny (the Old Square). We walked, talked, and looked constantly. Only occasionally would we take a tour. We wanted to experience the essence of Krakow and the area in our own way. It must be the “air” which makes this place so special.
What is Important about Poland
This isn’t a travel log, so I am not going to regale you with the all of the wonderful minutia of our trip. My point is that we spent a large portion of our time just observing. We sat in outdoor cafes, eating and drinking, as we watched people. The Old Square itself seemed to have a festival every other day (or so it seemed). People overall were happy and very generous to us. They were exceptionally kind when listening and correcting my halting Polish. Life was slower. Kinder. Happier.
What can you learn from all of this?
Any travel, even as short as a day trip, can stimulate your mind. You see new things, or you see ordinary things in a different light. Sometimes you can go to places with hundreds of years with layers of history. Other times, you are in a shinny new setting on which you can place your own interpretation.
People are different, yet the same, the world over. Witness those differences and similarities. If you write fiction, you may want to capture their details in your notebook. Perhaps they will appear in your next novel. If you write non-fiction, you can add depth to your interpretations.
Food, customs, festivals–oh so many things to observe and capture!
How does this affect your writing?
Hopefully, your powers of observation are sharpened. You can train yourself to think more deeply about things, especially in an historical context–maybe those 800+ years of layered history will permeate your senses. Using exceptional observation, noting special thoughts, scheduling regular writing sessions, you can be a better writer. . .
What do you think? Does travel influence your writing?