Thursday 15 December 2011

Advent 2011: Door 15

Yesterday's hint was SING.  Today's hint is - write.  Am I a Lady Traveller because I write, or do I write because I'm a Lady Traveller?

I have had days and seasons when I really wanted to pack in this blog.  The effort - particularly when juggling multiple work projects or when (and the irony doesn't escape it) the actual travel left me too tired to face my computer - sometimes seemed to outweigh the reward.

But every time I planned to end it, I would find myself re-reading older entries.  Hours would pass as I relived my adventures.  I may never again find myself having spray-painting lessons from a 'professional' tagger / street artist, or jumping off a cliff into a Zimbabwean river, or taking the Shimabara Choo-choo, or seeing wild brumbies at dawn - but I can always read about it.

Worried you have nothing to say?  The hardest part is the blank page.  Start writing, even if it's drivel and the ideas usually follow.

And take inspiration from your fellow travel writers.  I've mentioned before (but it's worth mentioning again) a book that provided endless hours of comfort and inspiration on my travels.  So much so that I cried when I realised I'd left my first copy on a plane in Japan.  The book (I'm currently still on copy #2) is Unsuitable for Ladies, an anthology of travel writing by women, edited by Jane Robinson.

Unsuitable for Ladies introduced me to Lillias Campbell Davidson, whom I like to think of as a kind of guardian - or concierge - of this blog.  The words on the banner at the top of this page come from (where else) her Hints to Lady Travellers.  The full passage is:
Emancipated womanhood is a term too often of ridicule and reproach, and – alas! That it should be said – is not always undeservedly so.  Women may abuse the privileges too long withheld from them, in the first bewilderment of feeling a new power in their hands.  But none, perhaps is less open to abuse, and surely none is more excellent in itself and its results, than the power which has become the right of every woman who has the means to achieve it – of becoming her own unescorted and independent person, a lady traveller. 
To many the power thus obtained fails to bring with it the pleasure it would otherwise bestow; since lack of experience or ignorance of the comforts and conveniences to indispensable to the real enjoyment of travelling form an actual drawback to their thorough appreciation of its joys and benefits.  To such persons the experience of others may be a great help, and save them from many disagreeable bars to the full pleasure of their journeyings at home and abroad. 
And so I continue to write - so that my experience may be a great help to others, yes, but also because my experiences are a great source of comfort and inspiration to myself.

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