Friday, May 25, 2012

Canada Bound and Neil Gaiman

Tonight I am on my way back to Toronto.  I am so excited and already really feeling a little bit overwhelmed but I am mostly very excited.  I haven't seen my mother in almost eight months, which is the longest we've ever gone without seeing each other and has only happened one other time (when I was going to school in Vancouver).

I do not like being away from my family and though the extra time to myself I have in LA may be helping me to get writing done, in a perfect world I would be living in Toronto, getting paid to write what I love, and enough so that I could live comfortably with Tom, and whoever else should come along.  That could still happen.  But for now, it's still a dream.

Neil Gaiman had something fabulous to say about dreams recently, when he addressed the University of the Arts in Philidelphia.  I suggest that you watch this video of his speech.  If you're an artist of any kind, perhaps not even producing but with art in your spirit, then this is for you.  It's nineteen minutes of your life, but well spent when you consider some of the other, more wasteful things you've done with nineteen minutes of your time.  When I'm sad and wish my family were nearer, when I have my "I'm not going fast enough" moments about my novel writing, Gaiman reminds me to use it.  It's something I prescribed to long ago.  For this is how we, as Gaiman puts it, "make good art."

As a side note, I love the bit in here about how he lied about his writing credentials to get his first job in journalism.  I wish I would have had the balls to do something like that when I was starting out!

And speaking about "not going fast enough" with my novel.  I'm eight chapters away from finishing the rewrites of Book One.  When I get back from Toronto I plan to be done them in no more than two weeks.  Then it's off to be read, by people, for the first time all the way through.  I'm both excited an terrified.  For now though, I love this book I'm writing and I just hope I can do right by it.  Maybe one day you'll get to read it and hopefully you'll think I have done.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Now this is what I'm talking about...

I'm sure you all have seen this video before.  I went on a sharing spree with it about a year ago but I thought this was a great time to share it once more.  Imagine we all woke up every morning and did this?
I'm really yearning to get back into my novel, but I've been rushing around trying to get all my New Zealand stories done and dealing with a bit of jet lag....but I will be getting back in at least for one chapter before I'm off to see my family in Toronto next Friday!!!  *jumps for joy*  I am so excited to see everyone!

Then when I get back they'll be just eight chapters of this draft left to do!!  In the words of dear Jessica in the above video "I can do anything good!"

Happy Friday!

Friday, May 11, 2012

At Aukland airport...

I've travelled all around the world and I'm only 30.  There are a lot of places I get to visit because I am lucky enough to have a job (now as a freelancer) that sometimes takes me places.  I love seeing the world.  I love experiencing other places, the people that live there, their culture, their landscape and the food they eat (this is always a big part for me!).  I am immensely grateful for every trip I take and have taken, but (and this might make me different than most) what's one of the best parts of travel for me? Perhaps the best?

Coming home.

I chose this photo because for me, home isn't really a place.  I don't need to use the cliche for you to get it.   And don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't enjoy being away and that I'm wishing I could come home the whole time... it's that travel makes me feel so absolutely grateful for the love my life is filled with.  

When I'm travelling solo, Tom and I often miss each other so much it can almost feel a bit painful at times, but you know it's worth it — not just for the experience whilst travelling but because the reunions are so sweet.

I can compare it to being away from all my family in Toronto too.  I miss my Mom, my Dad, my sisters, my in-laws, my niece, my aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents and friends so much sometimes I could burst.  But I promise you that because of it I put my love for them into everything I do.

Now the thing is, most of us don't have to travel away from our partners very often and if so it's usually never more than a night or two, let alone two weeks or more.  Most of us live so close to our family we can get in a car and drive to them at a moment's notice.  When that happens it can sometimes be easier to take the special people in our lives for granted, to assume that they'll just always be there.  So how about today or tomorrow, right now and always, we just think about that for a second?  

In the words of one of my all-time favourites, Alicia Keys, in a song where she also refers to my theme song for this year: "Live.  Love life.  Give love."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Punched in the taste buds

I'm in New Zealand!!  I made it to Queenstown last night after an adventure sea kayaking through the Abel Tasman (this picture was taken at low tide).....

hanging with a local sperm whale and a pod of dusky dolphins in Kaikoura.....

checking out some of the redevelopment projects in Christchurch like Restart....
 cruising through the Marlborough Sounds and a green shell mussel farm...
and what I'd been waiting for.....
(This picture was put on steroids with the help of Instagram but I think it really says something about what it felt like to be there).

My visit to Marlborough.  I've been in love with the sauvignon blancs from this region for far too long and though this pic is of vines growing gruner veltliner (which I developed quite the crush on in Vienna a few years back) every wine I tried here in Marlborough punched my taste buds with flavour.

I can't begin to say how grateful I am for this trip, that I get to write about it (stay tuned for articles and blogs published to Travelweek both in print and online, and am knocking off something on my bucket list.

The thing is I'm not even done yet!  Tomorrow I take a helicopter ride through places in Queenstown and do a bit of rafting (yikes!) and on Thursday it's off to the spa before I head home, so stay tuned....

Yes, I am supremely lucky.  Why yes, I am.