- Start as a child with a love of reading. This involves hiding under the blankets reading of far away places that creates a desire for travel: I imagined I was Anne Frank in her Amsterdam attic and Heidi on the mountains of Switzerland. Naturally, I was the hero between the covers of every book I read.
- Add, listening to far away, static-crackling voices in languages I didnt understand on my brothers crystal radio, and dream of exploring those lives, and there you have it! The germ of an idea, the yeast of a dream, began bubbling below the surface of my conciseness. The first, most basic ingredients for my developing recipe were lined up on the bench of my mind.
- Cover, and leave that bowl of imagination to infiltrate through lifes ups and downs, keep reading, keep dreaming until life and circumstances add more ingredients. These extra components are where your individuality, situation, and conditions, add to the recipe and finally, the end result! (NOTE: Unlike many recipes, this one is totally tailored to individual circumstances.)
My extra ingredients included: the deaths of a 20-year old son, and my husband, recovery from alcoholism, and too many birthdays. In my late forties, I still didnt know what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Perhaps I could play catch-up with the traditional Kiwi penchant for travel. Apart from six weeks in the USA and four in Australia, my travels had been confined to the length and breadth of New Zealand. That germ of an idea, like all living things, divides and multiplies as it sits on the bench of my mind.
I put a sign on my notice board, AGING DISGRACEFULLY. Alongside it a list forms, Italy; Scotland; Ireland; Alaska; Zimbabwe, Turkey. As my bank balance grows, I measure it in chunks: enough for the plane ticket, then in multiples of an amount equal to a days expense as a frugal backpacker.
Finally, right on target, I buy an around the world air-ticket – my gift to myself for my fiftieth birthday I go through customs and suddenly Im a traveller focusing on my trip, dropping off my day-to-day life like an unwanted cloak. Already Im living in the present: my old life left on the other side door.
I find my seat, stow my gear, put the seatbelt on and read the safety instructions as we taxi to the runway. The planes energy travels through my buttocks and on through the rest of my body until its quivering in my fingers, toes and scalp. It feels like Im on a horse thats straining at the bit. Lets go, lets go each quiver says. I agree. Lets get out of here.
Now, choose more ingredients so you too can reinvent yourself my choices were: Travel solo
Travel for a year
Make no plans or bookings
Enjoy yourself so much that you cry when you get home in 12-months after all you will know there is so much more you want to see and do.
Two years hard work and saving
Take a short writing course
Have an article about canoeing down the Zambesi published
Sell more travel stories; add the dollars to the travel fund
Buy another international airline ticket
Travel for a year in different countries
Dont cry as you arrive home; you now know its possible to do it again
Publish a book about your travels
Repeat the above as many times as you want to travel; keep writing every day; keep publishing travel stories; accept invitations to visit countries; teach others how to write great travel stories; keep adding to list of dream destinations, and ensure AGING DISGRACEFULLY is on notice board as my (your) constant goal.
This recipe is never finished yet you can cook it, eat it, and share it daily. The flavours and textures change frequently depending if you have used the high heat of Thailand or the coolness of a northern hemisphere winter, and, of course, your choice of spices.
So, if you want to run away from home or reinvent yourself, pick your ingredients from the lists above, add your own, use your imagination, mix well, and as they say the worlds your oyster.
©Heather Hapeta 2010
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Heather Hapeta lives in Christchurch, New Zealand. She got her first passport in her forties and has made up for lost time ever since. Shes had a colourful life, has reinvented herself a few times. Following her childhood dream of being a writer, she published many hundred travel related pieces in world wide magazines, newspapers, and in-flight magazines. She also tutors travel writing oh and she blogs! Follow her on Twitter @kiwitravwriter. Or check out her blog Kiwi Travel Writer.