Filling the Creative Well

I’m a big fan of Joanna Penn from the Creative Penn, and lately Books and Travel, and she often talks about filling the creative well. Joanna lives my best life – an escapee from the corporate IT world, now a full-time author who resides in Bath in the UK, she often goes on research trips to Europe, Asia and the US, and takes frequent days off to visit art galleries, museums and Gothic graveyards. Joanna says it’s important to do things that inspire you.

I’m inspired by travel. All my urban fantasy stories are set in places that I’ve been to or like to visit someday, and even my fantasy settings are informed in some way by places in the real world. Each installment of my Mythical Menagerie series is set in one of Europe’s great cities – so far London, Paris, Cardiff and Rome, with more coming – and even its prequel, Keeper of Exotic Animals, which is set in an undisclosed mountainous location, reminds a little of Alpine country.

My husband and I used to travel quite a lot before our little one arrived. Living in South Africa, overseas travel is an expensive luxury that most people can’t afford, but we decided from the start that it would be a priority for us, and so we set our Rands aside and we do without fancy cars, a grand house or designer clothes, and we take our lunch to work in Tupperware boxes and drink coffee from the office supply. But once a year, we get to go somewhere exciting.

When the baby arrived, all of that went out the window. I’m not brave enough to endure a 12-hour flight with a toddler, so for four years we stayed put, biding our time, scratching our itchy feet by watching the Travel Channel or reading books set in exotic locations. And writing them too, in my case.

But now my son is 3.5 years old, my 40th birthday is a couple of weeks away and it’s time to fill that creative well again.

In a few days’ time, we’re hopping on a plane that will take us to Zagreb. We’re hiring a campervan and doing a three-week tour of the Balkans; starting off in Slovenia, winding our way down the coast of Croatia, exploring the mountains of Montenegro and discovering the history of Bosnia & Herzegovina. It’s a part of the world that I know very little about, but I expect it will be an amazing experience.

Will I come back inspired with new ideas and new stories? Probably. But most importantly, I’ll have filled the creative well again, one that has been running on empty for quite some time now, and I couldn’t be more excited about that.

If you want to follow along on our travels, follow me on Instagram where I’ll share daily photos of our time in the Balkans, or read along on my blog, which I’ll start updating once we get home again.

Are you inspired by travel? What is your ultimate bucket list destination?

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