Hello writers/readers and happy 2020! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that the new year is off to a great start for you!
As you know, I got married in November of 2019. What you may not have known is that my new husband and I took an extended and spectacular honeymoon to New Zealand for the bulk of the month of December!
When I would tell people how long I was going to be off work (December 6 – January 1), they would get a bit wide-eyed. A long time, right? Well, when I used to envision a honeymoon for myself, I always went back to the Victorian era version of it in which people (okay the really rich people) were actually gone for an entire cycle of the moon – hence the word honeymoon. I am neither a Victorian era heiress or married to a Victorian trust fund first-born son (though my husband IS a first-born son lol, so I’m partly there 😉). But, I was very lucky to have enough vacation time built up and to work for an organization that allowed me to live this dream last year.
As you know, when I go on vacation, I use it as a time to reconnect with nature, to forge new connections with new places and to practice my skills being an observant person. All of this contributes to improving my writing and allows me to refill that spring of creativity, which, to be honest, has been a bit low for me since completing my latest book last spring.
I really can’t think of a better place to connect with nature and to find that source of creativity than New Zealand. The landscape is right out of a movie (I mean it IS where they filmed the Lord of the Rings movies), the people are incredibly kind and the connection to the Maori people, who were the original people to discover the islands, is inspiring. Everywhere we went, we were treated to interesting myths and legends!
Here are some of the things I learned, saw and experienced while in New Zealand:
- The Maori people hunted greenstone which they called Pounamu. They sought out this stone and used it for everyday things and weapons as well as jewelry. They passed these pieces down through the generations and believed that they grew in power (mana) over time.
- The Legend of Lake Wakatipu. There is a lengthy story about a beautiful princess who was kidnapped by a giant. The young warrior who loved her went after her and stole her back from the giant who kidnapped her. Later, he returned to defeat the giant so no one would be threatened by him again. The giant was burned in his sleep and left a deep impression in the earth. The heat from the fire melted the snow which flowed into the indentation and created the lake. All that is left of this giant is his heart which resides at the bottom of the lake and is now responsible for the tides and movement of the water. You can read a more thorough telling of the legend here.
- Being in New Zealand felt like dropping into the Jurassic period. The plants were huge and there were so many unfamiliar flowers.
- The environment wasn’t hot and humid like Hawaii. It was more temperate. The sun was warm several days, but there was always a chilly breeze beneath the surface of that warmth which both drove me crazy and was sort of poetry.
- As we traveled across the North and South islands, I was really struck by how quickly the landscape changed and imagined characters journeying across the land on a quest and what they would face along the way.
- The gentle lap of the ocean. The icy fingers of water grasping at the sand.
- At one point, we were only 3 hours away from Antarctica! (by plane I assume) And, it didn’t get dark until 10:30 pm or later. Just wild to think about.
- Flying in a 10-seater plane over Milford Sound and across the island back to Queenstown.
So with all of these new experiences and stories swirling in my head, did I get any nuggets out of the inspiration? Absolutely! I have several new characters beginning to germinate in my mind. I’m not sure what direction they will go or what sort of stories they bring, but I do feel like my well has been replenished and I’m ready for whatever is next.
There’s nothing like vacation and experiencing a new place to jumpstart creativity and to get you thinking about things in a new way. Where have you gone recently or where are you headed for some of your own creative renewal? Please share!