I always envy those writers who live in scenic places: trekking mountains, taking hikes in state parks, watching sunrise and sunsets while sailboats skim the ocean, and able to explore places I may never get to visit in my lifetime. It makes me think how much I took for granted during every vacation I took. I missed the opportunity to look up at the stars on my first cruise. I regret not paying attention to the sweet sounds of seagulls and boats at the dock on my last visits to Maine. I wish I took the time to feel the heat of a live volcano when I got married in Hawaii. I wasn’t the writer I am now when I stepped foot onto those places, and I am remorseful because I don’t know the next time I’ll get the opportunity to see them again.
It saddens me that I failed to appreciate the little Caribbean island of Trinidad I left behind years ago; a place filled with rich heritage and culture. But I was too young to understand how fortunate I was to be in such a place, and do my best to rejuvenate the memories I have and share my experiences there. It is my paradise lost, and it brings me great joy now to write about all aspects of the island and how it influenced my life.
If you are one of the fortunate few who can take the time to explore the surroundings where you reside, or during one of the many vacations you plan, take a few moments to inhale everything you see. Bring a notebook and pen with you to write how you feel in that moment. Sketch a few things that capture your attention. And snap as many pictures as you can so you can save them and write about it later. Whether you have 360 degree views from a mountain top, or are in the middle of a crowded festival, don’t let the moment pass by without writing about it.
If you have never been able to travel far, go around town and step into a place you wouldn’t normally enter. Meet new people if you are sociable. Start an interesting conversation if they are willing to share their stories. You’ll be amazed what you can learn by getting to know a stranger. If talking is not your style, then sit at an outdoor café and observe the people walking by or driving through the streets. Who are the ones that make eye contact or smile at you? Make them a character in a story or a poem. Have fun with it.
Adventure doesn’t just mean travelling. Take up a different hobby. If you are usually the artistic type, break out of your mold and try a sport. Try fencing or go fishing with a friend. See if you are cut out for gardening by planting a few herbs and flowers. Even if you fail at any of them, you could have a funny story to write about.
Are you one of those people who orders the same meal every time at your favorite restaurant? Be a little daring with your choice during your next visit. Go to a local food festival and try a sample of dishes you usually would not cook yourself. Recall the smells and textures of the food, the tastes and sensations on your palette, and create an interesting review like a food critic would.
Sometimes we miss those opportunities to be adventurous when life gets hectic. Every minute is spent on just trying to make it through the day. Do your best to make some time to write about any of the above, even if it is just five minutes scribbling notes on a piece of paper or on an electronic device. Imprint those moments when you can, because you may not get a second chance to feel them again.
Written by: Donna J. Sanders
Donna is a freelance writer and blogger in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of Ataraxia – a poetry collection about the struggles we face, the state of the world and how to see beauty in the simplest things, and Cardboard Signs – poems to bring awareness about homelessness, mental illness, self-esteem and the injustices many face.
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Photo Credit: © Donna J. Sanders