I’ll be leaving for India in about a week, and I must say that I’m a bit nervous. I’ll be there for three weeks. I’ve done almost no travel domestically (forget internationally). The idea of 20+ hours on a plane is not cool, and I’m definitely not looking forward to 110+ degree (F) heat.
And yet… I’m excited about it.
Two years ago if you had asked me where I wanted to go, I’d have given you a funny look. This is primarily because I’ve never had any interest in going places. With the arrival of the internet, everything I want or need can be accessible in a few clicks. I don’t need to go to Europe… I can read about it. There’s great pictures. I don’t even need to leave the road between my work and my house. I’m not interested in being surrounded by people, I like my comfortable leisures.
For every camping trip you take, you get bugs. For every theme park you visit, you have lines. I just don’t care enough to be so horribly inconvenienced. At least, that would have been my answer two years ago.
So what’s changed?
As I dig deeper into my writing journey, I’ve learned that reading about these things online is like reading the cliff notes of a book. You ever read a book, and then read the digest version of it? How much gets left out? How much of the emotion, the color, etc? Even if you are reading the best plot synopsis, you still miss out on an expression. A glance. A chance remark. A tone. So much is lost. Sure you can pass the test on the subject later…
But you can’t say what it felt like.
That’s why I want to go now. As I write, I realize how much of life I’ve missed by being content to live in my bubble. It’s a writer’s obligation to keep open eyes and open ears. While we aren’t trying to recreate life on page, the details are what help us make what we do create authentic as well as interesting, and provide those little slivers that people will see and relate to… Because it’s what really happens. And those slivers aren’t things you see on wikipedia.
So I challenge you as an author: Keep your eyes and ears open. Listen to the conversations at the airport or in the restaurant. Go places and experience things… And then revel in the feelings you get… so you can put them down on paper for the next great story you write. I know I will.
And in the meantime, anybody have any suggestions for things to do while I’m in India?