A Secret Unlocked

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I came across this quote the other day, and it instantly resonated with me. Here was the secret to overcoming all the struggles and frustrations I’ve had with my writing over the years. For the longest time, I believed there was no point in attempting to write if I didn’t feel inspired. I would know if inspiration was paying me a visit because writing wouldn’t be an effort. The words would simply flow, and my fingers would fly over the keyboard.

This belief meant I wasted many years waiting for a creative spark that never came. Not being able to write like I once had was upsetting- writing is the one thing that’s always defined me, and losing that ability felt like I’d lost myself.

There is nothing better than when the words do come readily, because it’s clear then that you’ve tapped into some source of inspiration, and such creative energy is a wonderful feeling for any artist to experience. But I guess I needed to learn that writing isn’t always that easy. Yet, funnily enough, when I finally realised that, all of a sudden, writing didn’t seem to be so hard anymore.

I think, as a teen, I had a somewhat romanticised notion of the writing process. But as I’ve grown older, and learnt more about how the world works, I’ve realised that in order to experience success with my writing, it must be approached in the same way as anything that you might invest your love and time and energy into. Like with any relationship, or friendship, or career, you need to show a daily commitment and dedication. That’s the hard part.

Now that writing has become a habit, I am filled with an abundance of ideas. I see stories in everything. Inspiration, actually, is all around. Travelling is what brought on this realisation at first. But the everyday is equally as inspiring- the quiet moments, the simple things. When you write about your experiences, it doesn’t have to be perfect. The important thing is that you try.

Just write.

2 Months Until America

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Today is the 1st of March, which means the start of autumn for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere. Not that you’d know it here in Perth, with temperatures reaching a sweltering 38 degrees today. I am feeling absolutely drained, and the air is still very hot and sticky at 7.30pm. Ugh. Looks like I’ll be holding off from pulling out my jumpers and making hearty soups for a while yet.

The thing I’m most excited about which is coming up this autumn, though, is my six week trip to America. In exactly two months from now, I’ll be on a plane, flying to San Francisco. (Well, actually, first I’ll be flying to Singapore. And then, Hong Kong. And THEN, San Francisco.) There are many things I’m looking forward to on my first ever visit to the mainland States, but, without a doubt, the one experience I absolutely can’t wait for is my storm chasing tour, on which I will also celebrate my 30th birthday.

When I tell people about my reason for going to America and how I’ve chosen to spend my 30th, many people look at me with incredulity, wondering what on earth is the appeal of such a tour. Isn’t chasing tornadoes akin to a death wish and risking the prospect of living to see another birthday? It’s true that I’ve signed a waiver that I accept I could die- but, in truth, is this not the very nature of life itself? Certainly, there is no waiver we can sign to guarantee that, when we wake up in the morning, we will live to see out the day.

All we can do is hope that there is still plenty of sand in our hourglass, and make the most of the time that is given to us.

One Month

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Today marks one month since I started An Evolution of Adventure. I am immensely proud of the fact that I have been writing every day since then. It was a goal I hoped to achieve, but one that I was not entirely confident I would. I thought it would be too hard.

As it’s turned out, it’s been easy. Writing has simply become part of my daily routine, and the best thing is, I haven’t forced it to be. That’s made all the difference, because it means that now, I look forward to writing, instead of regarding it as something that has to be done, like a chore on a to-do list. And of course, when you enjoy something, it gives you joy. Writing is now a source of personal satisfaction rather than frustration.

The reason why writing has suddenly become easier for me is because I’ve learnt that it is only as difficult as I choose to make it. Simplicity is best, but we are so used to life being complicated that we tend to forget this. Sure, there are still times when I sit and deliberate over words. The creative process has a mind of its own, and sometimes it wants to transform a simple idea into something bigger than Ben Hur. When it all starts to get too much, I know, now, to get back to basics. Or rather, I apply this knowledge, because deep down, I think I always knew. The key to achieving success in writing, for me, is to stop overthinking things and focus on what it is that I want to say. Essentially, it all comes down to that wise philosophy to keep it simple, stupid.

I’m delighted that the year has got off to such a great start, creatively, and I can’t wait to continue writing. After all, if writing is a form of alchemy, I’ll be in for a magical year.

Remembering a Dancing Sky

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Can someone please take me out of the 40 degree heat we are experiencing in Perth right now and send me back to Ivalo? It’s surreal to think that exactly two years ago today, I stood underneath a bitter cold Finnish sky and watched the universe dance.

The cosmic marvel that is the Northern Lights is something that I will never stop dreaming about and in my never-ending pursuit of colour and light, they will always be the ultimate chase.

Ocean Blue

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“I belong in the middle of the ocean blue
Getting nowhere but that shouldn’t really bother you
So many people, so many worlds

Don’t you worry about me
Don’t you worry about me”

-Ocean Blue (Moniker)

You know when you stumble upon a song and it speaks to your soul and you wonder where it’s been all your life because its existence is music to your ears, literally and figuratively? Well, I had one of those moments yesterday, thanks to ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’, a gem of a film from New Zealand. I saw the film at the movies last year and re-watched it last night. (If you’ve haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour and check it out.) If you have watched it, you may recognise the above lyrics from the scene that begins the third chapter of the movie.

Rediscovering the song and, better yet, finding out what it was called and listening to it on repeat, had me smiling like an idiot for the rest of the night. It’s a magical two minute and twenty five second melody and it’s what freedom sounds like, or at least, what I imagine freedom would sound like, if it had a voice. It’s the embodiment of a sun-kissed day and a crystal beach on some remote island, where time stands still and worries don’t exist. I’m floating… is hummed like a lullaby, and leaves you feeling like you really are drifting off into a tropical dream.

I love when a movie introduces me to awesome new music! It always reminds me of how powerful an impact art, in its various guises, has on my life. Not only does it play a huge role in my own creative process, but there have been many movies, songs and books which have inspired my travels as well. It’s almost like a domino effect.

Sometimes, they are the reason for a holiday. My brother and I visited Bruges in December 2012 specifically because we loved the movie ‘In Bruges’. I went to Iceland in October 2015 after ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ showed off its insanely beautiful landscapes. After reading ‘Shantaram’, I decided I need to visit India.

Often, they inspire particular experiences I choose to do on a holiday. Like when I visited Hawaii in October 2014, I simply¬†had to take a ‘LOST’ tour and see the locations that had featured in my favourite TV show of all time. Or when I visited Japan for the first time in April 2013, I spent my last night in Tokyo at the Park Hyatt and drank Suntory Whisky a la Bill Murray in ‘Lost in Translation’.

With music, I believe every city has its song. Sometimes, a song will fit a place before I even go there. The mountains of the Himalayas were characterised by Gheorghe Zamfir’s ‘The Lonely Shepherd’ long before I ever set foot in Nepal. (Thank you, Kill Bill, for bringing this song into my life.) Other times, I’ll discover a song while I’m travelling and it becomes the ‘tune of the trip’. Or at least, a tune that takes me back.

And this is what I love most of all- the transcendental quality of art. So often, it is created as a way to escape reality and yet, art is the thread that connects us to the world.

Music, especially, is such an instantaneous link to memory. It transports me to other times and other places as well as any time travel capsule could hope to do. A cold winter’s day turns into a hot afternoon in the Philippines whenever I hear ‘Summer ’97’ by GRiZ. The congested freeway becomes a breezy beach on Boracay when Mark Ronson’s ‘In Case of Fire’ starts playing in the car on my way to work. Jose Gonzalez’s version of ‘#9 Dream’ instantly takes me back to the scents and sounds that make up the hustle and bustle of everyday life in Cambodia.

There’s a quote that says Earth without art is just eh. I think that just about sums it up. Now to wait and see what corner of the earth ‘Ocean Blue’ belongs to.