23 September 2009


On Tuesday, I guest-blogged about travel and its affect on my writing, but it got me thinking about the type of travel that might be detrimental to my writing. The "bad" travel, so to speak.

Yes, even a traveling addict like me can take an uninspiring trip.

In fact, I've taken many that didn't get the creative juices flowing--a few barely inspired me to brush my teeth.

Travels for the day job have deposited me in such unlikely destination as Hartford, Conn., and Shanghai. But the destination isn't what makes these trips bad. It's the fact that it didn't matter what where I was. I went from airport, to taxi, to hotel, to conference room, to taxi, to airport. My schedule in Shanghai was such that if not for the faces and accents of the folks working at the JW, I wouldn't have known where I was.

For a gypsy like me, these trips are heart-breaking. I get all the headaches of travel--waiting in taxi queues that stretch around the block, disrobing for airport security and wondering if it's the bubonic plague that gives the hotel air such unique odor--without the joie de vivre of exploration.

And these trips rarely move my muse to begin whispering plot points in my ear. Instead, he (don't know why, but I think of "him" not "her" when I think of my muse--but that's another blog) usually grouses about the 5 a.m. wake-up call and reminds that terrorists love to target hotels.

And, yes, that low-level paranoia has found its way into at least one of my characters--to very interesting, dark-souled results--but I'm not going to beginning planning corporate travel just to dirty-up my characters. But the thought does lead to the question of the week: What uninspiring trip has found its way into your book? And would you go again?


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Keena,
I get odd thoughts like that while traveling as well. Legionaire's Disease concern back in the 70s/80s, which translates into all kinds of exotic disease worry today, first heightened my awareness to the dangers of travel. Many places you go to and you are told not to drink the water. That's nuts that we can't even drink the most readily available beverage.

I don't like to think about bedding standards in hotels either. I know the sheets get changed, but that spread or blanket - I'm not sure they ever get washed.

I've become quite a travel grump in my middle age! Can't help it.

Jeffe Kennedy said...

Work travel just drains me...I'm so with you. But I do keep notes on the cities I visit, for interesting settings in future books.

Sylvie said...

Talking about bad trips reminds me of last year's trip home to Az from PA...got the flu the first night out and was holed up in a hotel room with my hubby sharing the bathroom! Second day we drove but couldn't eat, etc...went to the doctors as soon as we hit town, before even going home or unpacking.


Unknown said...

KEENA--we stopped international travel four years ago--and we still had a couple of places we would have like to visit. But the hassle of flying is just too much for our level of patience.9/11 took much of the fun and joy out of flying--before, family members could walk to the gate with you or meet you right at the gate--no more--travelers are separated from visitors. I could go on and on--the last straw was the Frankfort airport. To get through security, we went through three complete checks--my luggage was searched three times--just lucky that way--and I mean everything came out--you know what happens to carefully packed items once they're removed. All this while surrounded by machinge-gun-carrying guards. Most guarded airport in the world. Celia

Keena Kincaid said...

Maggie, I'm glad to know I'm not alone with the odd thoughts of death and plague. Fortunately, I've never been struck down by the flu or worse while traveling. Sorry to hear of your woes, Sylvie. I can't imagine anything worse than being sick on the road.

Have you been to Tokyo, Jeffe? I went on business a few years back, and would love to take a holiday there.

International travel is a pain, Celia, but I can't imagine never going back to Europe, even though security at Frankfort Airport is vicious and tedious. I had one woman about take my head off for forgetting to put my lip balm in my plastic baggie. A few years ago I flew into Frankfort in advance of the World Cup. Geez...talk about high alert. Even the airport employees looked intimidated.

Jeffe Kennedy said...

I haven't. My only out of country trips, besides Canada and Mexico, are to Scotland and the Dominican Republic. Disadvantage of day job w/US Agency as client: only US states and territories.

Keena Kincaid said...

Well, if you can only travel to one country outside the U.S. Scotland is it. It's one of those places that is 'home.' The air is just different there.