Travel in the Springtime

This spring, my husband and I embarked on the longest road trip either of us had ever been on. We drove from Greenville, SC to Austin, TX to attend SXSW and exhibit at Renegade Craft Fair. The events that brought us 1,100 miles each way were exciting all on their own, but I have to be honest, the drive and all of the pitstops were quite memorable as well. 

Every time we travel long distances like this, it does good things for my brain. After the playlists get old, and the scenery gets monotonous, that's when my mind starts working. During our long drive west (and back), I developed about 5 new jewelry product concepts, fleshed out 2 new novel ideas, and decided on some major business changes I wanted to implement for my craft biz, Once Again Sam. I owe so much of my inspiration to being utterly bored! 

Seeing new things is also quite inspirational for me. We stopped in New Orleans, made a run out to San Antonio for a day trip, and saw as much of Austin as we could manage in the better part of a week we were there. Here's a little glimpse of some of the sights that have stuck with me long after our return home. 

< Click photo below to view album >


If I Were A Hitchhiker

If I ever found myself on the side of a highway with my thumb in the air, I’d like to think I wouldn’t have a destination in mind. I’d like to think I’d go anywhere by way of any route, and that the freedom of the road and whomever was at the wheel would take me somewhere beautiful.

I have never hitched a ride in my life, and thanks to my mom’s words of warning, I’ve never gotten into a car with a stranger. Maybe that’s why the idea of hitchhiking is so interesting to me! I do, however, regularly get into the car with my husband and set off on a drive to nowhere in particular, camera at the ready. We drive aimlessly through the countryside, just for the pleasure of it. When we do these random drives, we always always always find beautiful things in unexpected places, and it’s a joy to photograph these sights because I know it’s my only chance to capture them, we’d never be able to find our way back even if we tried. Dilapidated farm houses, unusual wildlife, amazing cloud formations, abandoned towns...these are all things you can’t plan on discovering, you can’t set out looking for them, you have to come upon them purely by chance.

I experienced a cross country roadtrip vicariously through Nick and Celia’s journey. Although my main characters had no specific route planned for their trip, I got to spend a lot of time looking at maps and deciding where to have their story unfold. I was able to tie in some of my own travel experiences with the story early on in the book, but as Nick and Celia drove on, I got to write about places I’ve never been before, and that was an enjoyable challenge.

Now that the novel is complete and published, I daydream about doing a Nick and Celia road trip and following along with the book to visit all the places they passed through, though I’d prefer not to have to beg, borrow, or steal along the way. 

Photos Are Ideas

As much as I enjoyed writing Celia on the Run, I have to admit I had just as much fun putting together the photo album inspired by the book. If you haven't taken a peek yet, the album can be found here The majority of those photos are ones I took at some time or another, long before I ever wrote the novel. Many photos are from previous travels, some were taken just around the corner, but somehow they all worked together perfectly to give a pictorial telling of Nick and Celia's cross country journey. The first photo in the Celia on the Run photo album was taken back in 2003 in Arizona when I was with my parents on what turned out to be our last family vacation together. I remember snapping the photo from the backseat of the rental car, never dreaming that particular photo would become part of the inspiration for my first published novel. I just love to take pictures, anywhere, everywhere, and I suppose I'm now realizing that a lot of the ideas I get for art and writing come from my own photos, even if years go by in between the time the picture was snapped and when it becomes part of something more. Inspiration takes time!

Recently, my husband and I did a little aimless driving for fun, and as always, I took my camera and had a great time shooting all the random things we came across. Who knows, maybe these images will inspire another book years down the road? You just never know! These recent photos are of Gilreath's Mill, a rundown, rusty, gem-of-a-find in the middle of the woods near Taylors, South Carolina. Check back here in ten years to see if I ever incorporated this decrepit non-landmark into a work of fiction!

Gilreaths Mill-1

Gilreaths Mill-2

Gilreaths Mill-3