I’m a slut for travel. Or as Khaulah* sometimes says, her voice heavily laced in her own particular brand of teasing, a travelista. Not because I can easily afford travel and all its associated expenses but because I can’t afford not to make myself afford it. Writing and traveling are such essential parts of my life that even with the rush of financial panic that sometimes overwhelms everything else, the truth is, whenever the red vanishes from the cheeks of my beleaguered bank account, my first instinct is always to grab her and take her someplace far from the familiar where we can indulge in mango sticky rice or paella together. Each in our different ways, of course.
Even though, just last month, I was in a panic about my lack of writer funds – aka money to pay for my almond butter addiction and rent—I just randomly bought a plane ticket to South Africa. It was a great deal (travelpirates.com can both save and ruin you) and cheaper than my last plane ticket to Europe (where I’ll have a 12-hour layover). Things aren’t much different this month from last, but between MasterCard, my faith in the universe, and my occasional reckless disregard for certain realities, I think it’ll all work out. Besides, I travel cheaply. Since I have a book due right after I get back, I’ll be writing for most of the trip but that’s why it’ll be traveling – for research, for experience, for joy – instead of a vacation.
Writing-wise, if nothing else, the broke girl panic attack last month put me on a slightly new course where my career is concerned. I’ve altered my publishing strategies a bit—decided to do a new erotic romance series for my straight girl alter-ego, will delve into the murky waters of marketing and paid publicity, and have determined to stop being such a lazy ass. The pyramids weren’t built in a day (or even a month) so I’m still just feeling into the ripples of these new decisions and hope to have something concrete to show for them in the next few months. <– Ignore the plethora of mixed metaphors there.
But back to the more fun stuff: I’ve never been to the African continent before and hope to soak up every ounce of fabulousness I run into there. The food, the people, the atmosphere, the inspiration. My latest book, Rise of the Rain Queen, is set in the south eastern part of Africa, but it’s a place I’ve only seen through the eyes of Google maps, travel photographs, and well-researched books. It was only my imagination that took me across the Serengeti, lay me at the feet of Mount Kilimanjaro, and had me flying across the savannas with lions, gazelles, and queenly young women. I am over-the-moon excited to finally be in this place that I’ve written and dreamed about. Imagine…stepping into your desktop wallpaper, and getting to write about it while the breeze of the place still moves across your skin. I can’t wait.
**Fiona is a writer with an allergy to schedules and plan-making. Her latest book, Rise of the Rain Queen, is available now.