In the Beginning…

Some people have a fixed idea of their calling from a young age. I never did. I ambled through life, fell upon a career in the civil service, made great friends, met my husband, and holidayed frequently – all endless fun. But there was something missing. To fill the void I took up numerous courses including French, art, law, pottery, personnel management, even sign language.

In April 1999, my husband and I made a decision that was to change my life irrevocably. We decided to take a year out and travel the world. We spent months organising, pouring over travel books to arrange a route, organising flights, selling our house, settling finances, arranging career breaks.

Finally, on 26th October that year, two days before we were due to embark, we held a leaving party. Friends and family gathered to celebrate, offering generous gifts of toiletries, mosquito nets, books (most of which would never fit into our already overloaded backpacks). It was on this night that a work colleague and fellow travel enthusiast handed me a leather bound journal to record our daily events. Little did I know, this journal was to become our most treasured travel companion.

I wanted to savour every moment of our trip and took copious. Photos that we still have displayed across the walls of our home years later, photos that recall memories of feeding alligators in the swamplands of Louisiana, cookery courses in Chang Mai, snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef.

The beautiful black journal filled, we moved on to plain exercise books, reminiscent of old school days, each covered with pictures cut out from leaflets, brochures, tickets, magazines we had picked up along the way that depicted our journey; all of which became bruised and battered in our rucksacks.

Almost a year later, we returned home (much to the surprise of our parents who thought we had gone forever) and the routine of daily life took over. A combination of returning to work, moving into a new home, and later a baby arriving meant the travel diaries were lodged onto a bookshelf, left to gather dust.

One summer afternoon, after I laid my little one for to rest, I was tidying up the lounge and glanced absently at the bookshelf. Something caught my attention and I reached up and grabbed one of the journals, leaving it to fall open naturally. Once I started reading, I was hooked. The photos drew on memories, but in the diary I could smell spices in Kuala Lumpur, hear the street music of Bangkok, feel the thick heat that pervades the wonderfully clean Singapore, see the red earth of Australia. Before I realised, two hours had passed.

Realising the power of words, my love affair with writing began. I enrolled in yet another course, this time creative writing, and started writing articles for newspapers and magazines. Then, an avid reader for most of my life, I discovered writing fiction. And I’ve never looked back.

20 thoughts on “In the Beginning…

  1. I often go back to my old websites and musings and find myself inspired all over again. Recently, people have inspired me, and you have being a huge inspiration to me. These are exciting times for you…I’m so happy to know you, and almost as excited for you!

    • Thanks Bernadette for being my first ever comment, and for your kind words. You are very right when you say it’s interesting how different things inspire different people. Look forward to hearing more about your inspirations.

  2. What a wonderful story about your journey into writing. You have done a lot of things! I know about the void that writing fills and once you start, you can never stop. Congratulations on the book, I can’t wait to read it!

  3. Wonderful Post Jane, and what a fantastic web site and blog. I have you marked and will be visiting regularly. Keep up the good work.

  4. Jane, I am THRILLED to see your blog and read your incredible journey into writing. How inspiring and romantic to have a leather-bound journal that has memos and photos from a world traveling jaunt. 😀

    I’ll be back darlin’. 😉

  5. High five to you! This is an exceptional web site, you should be very proud. You tell wonderful stories and I enjoyed hearing how you discovered your love of fiction. I can’t wait to read your book! I’m so excited and happy for you.

  6. Hi Jane, love the website, and the story of your writing journey. We all come to it in different ways and at various stages in life but yes, once the writing grabs you there is no turning back. I hope you put a Twitter button on your blog at some point, so that we can share your posts with our Tweeps. All the best. Trish.

  7. Wow, Jane. That was awesome to read about. Thanks for sharing. One reads about people doing that, but to really know someone who did sell and travel. Very cool! Here I’ve been on vacation for two weeks and all I’ve done is sit at home and went to one movie. Lol! Of course, this pesky cold has something to say about that.
    I like the site. Will you be doing newsletters or anything? I used to simply follow or subscribe to people & their blogs, but it got too hard to go digging for everything. Now I make sure that everything that can goes directly to my e-mail. That way everything comes to me and I can choose to read or not, depending upon time constraints. If you are already doing something like this, I would love to keep up w/ your writing that way.
    Look forward to getting to know you better in the coming year, new friend. *big waves*


  8. Nice and, again, nice to meet you. What is it about 1990s? Like you, I’ve read and written all my life. I’m the son of a journalist father and English teacher mother so I guess it was destined but it was, for me, also in the lates 90s when I decided to make writing more than just a passionate hobby.

    Looking forward to reading your book.

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