How to Integrate Travel into a Story

by Melissa Tydell | 55 comments

I’m not a big traveler. If I want to take a trip, it’s usually to visit family or friends—or to soak up the sun on a beach. Backpack across Europe? Adventure through nature? Not exactly my idea of a vacation. Taking a road trip? Navigating the airport? I usually find it boring, annoying, or downright awful.

But lately, I’ve been thinking about the idea of a journey. Travel is more than just the destination. The process of getting somewhere is often rich with new and memorable experiences. And it has the power to transform us—or in the case of our stories, it’s an opportunity for our characters to reach a turning point, learn, and grow.

luggage

Photo by twentymindsomething

From Point A to Point B

Make travel a part of your story, and you’ll instantly set things in motion—literally and figuratively. Traveling is a process. It takes time and involves change.

Sending your character on a journey forces him to encounter conflict, meet new people, and be a part of a different setting. It moves your character out of his comfort zone. It turns his comfortable world into an uncomfortable one.

And that’s when interesting things happen.

If you—and your character—are stuck, try integrating travel into your story. Here are a few questions to consider:

Destination: Where is your character going?

Motivation: Why is she going there?

Mode of transportation: How is she getting there?

Conflict: What difficulties and challenges will she encounter on the journey?

Luggage: What does she take with her—physical items and emotional baggage?

Emotions: How does she react at the start, to the twists and turns along the way, and at the destination?

Change: How does she change over the course of her journey?

Planning out these elements will help you craft a unique story, one that has meaning and fits into the larger narrative. Your character may not know all the answers to these questions from the start, but they allow you as the author to guide the process. And who knows—perhaps you’ll end up surprising yourself as you write, as you travel along on this journey.

How does travel influence your characters and your stories?

PRACTICE

Write for fifteen minutes about a character taking a trip or traveling somewhere. Consider the questions above and really focus on the journey itself.

When you’re finished, please share your practice in the comments section. And if you post, please respond to some of the other comments too!

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Melissa Tydell is a freelance writer, content consultant, and blogger who enjoys sharing her love of the written word with others. You can connect with Melissa through her website, blog, or Twitter.

55 Comments

  1. James Hall

    Dao looked out over the expansive plain. Five hundred miles to the next town. It amounted to about ten days on foot, given only small bumps in the road. If they didn’t get captured again. If he didn’t have to play reckless with his life again. It could be a perilous journey, but it didn’t compare to the peril behind him. His mother, his father, were dead, slain before his eyes. Looking back held the certainty of giving up, dying mourning things he had no power to change. Looking forward, the road, howsoever treacherous it was, wielded at least a glimmer of hope, a glimmer of life. His new companions offered him more than the graves he left behind him. Except Tirrast, he was just a pain in the arse.

    Reply
    • Winnie

      You’ve answered all the questions. “Looking back’ and ‘looking forward’ sums up his situation. The last line is a gem.

    • James Hall

      Thanks. I totally thought I skipped most of the questions because nothing happens in the scene. Inner editor must have just been being a jerk again.

    • Sarah Grace Lawagan

      Very nice.

    • catmorrell

      Love how you use words. You inspired me to rewrite a bit of my story.

    • R.w. Foster

      This is good. Is it part of a larger work, or just practice?

    • James Hall

      I created it fresh, but it is based on a Work In Progress (WIP).

      I’m about 150 pages (26000 words into it). I’m looking to share the first few chapters to see if I’m getting the readers attention.

      Do you know any good places to share or places to get a free website put up?

    • R.w. Foster

      WordPress.com, Wattpad.com, Facebook, blogspot, tumblr.com are the first ones that come to mind.

    • R.w. Foster

      You are welcome. I am following your blog, and reading your story.

  2. Andy Walker

    A problem with travelling….I am writing a novel that is largely about a journey taken through medieval England. As the story is progressing I find that my main characters are meeting more and more minor characters along the way, and the story is in danger of being overpopulated by them. Most of these minor characters are necessary for the tale to be told, so is there any way of editing them down a bit (apart from removing them completely, which would make England a pretty empty place!)?

    Reply
    • James Hall

      Tie in events and setting to the minor characters. Although we like to think of minor characters as minor character, remember that they can play as main characters in a specific scene. Remember that things that happen to minor characters can affect the major characters.

      An orphanage might have emotional implications on your main characters. A town with an outbreak of a disease might be really depressing for your characters. Another town might have a parade or a holiday and just be having fun. Believe it or not, fun did have a role in society, even then. Keep the minor characters interesting and continually relating to the main characters.

      For example, in my WIP, the antagonist sets a werewolf lose on a village. One minor character, a child whose father was killed, is bit by the werewolf. The main characters struggle to save his life, but are unable to. One of the main characters is forced to “put him down” before his transformation is complete. This is a breaking point for the main character who has to do it.

    • Andy Walker

      Thanks, that’s a real help. Maybe my minor characters aren’t as minor as I thought. Quick question – do you name your minor characters (those that just appear in one chapter as the main characters pass through) or do too many names just confuse the reader?

    • James Hall

      So far, I actually use a combination of both. How much dialog is taking place is one thing that might be considered. If the characters are going to be using each other’s names, you might need a name.

      This might be a good rule of thumb: Is there any reason for them to have a name? If they are to be referenced or pop up in the story again and again, the reader might benefit from a name. If, on the other hand, the only place you ever use their name is the spot they are introduced, they might not need one.

      If you want the minor character to be remembered you can use a name, but (and probably more importantly) you can have the character do something that the reader will remember.

      To bounce that off my WIP. Even if the child that I spoke of that must be “put down” doesn’t have a name and even though he represents a major turning point in the novel, he is still memorable. If I did choose a name, it would probably reflect the event.

    • Andy Walker

      Thanks for your excellent feedback.

    • James Hall

      Don’t worry too much. Concentrate on the characters, the story, and the setting. Respectively, they are the most important elements. Everything else can be tweaked later. Don’t let your inner editor beat the pulp out of your creative flares.

    • R.w. Foster

      Wow, James. You’re giving great advice. You’ve even given me stuff to think about, and you were helping out someone else. 😀

    • Winnie

      Thanks for all these tips!

  3. catmorrell

    Head throbbing, Annabeth leaned against the scratchy wool upholstry of the old car. Prickles ran up and down her spine as dust and sweat mingled. Her little brother stood in the back seat waving at the farm.

    “Good by barn, good bye windmill, good bye cat.” He intoned a sad litany of all things fading into the past.

    Annabeth felt her self fading to nothing. Everything she loved lay behind her. Damn the depression. Damn the dust. Damn the failed crops and damn her father for dying.
    *********
    Melissa, Thank you for making me rethink this portion of my story. I do need to up the angst.

    Reply
    • James Hall

      Simple and elegant. Short and sweet. I like it.

    • catmorrell

      Thank you!

    • R.w. Foster

      This is pretty good, but I was pulled out at the end. Maybe instead of telling us she was depressed, you could show us. Or were you referring to the great Depression? If the latter, maybe you could go into further details to show us the time frame. Maybe describe the old car? Or give us more details of the farm getting left behind?

    • catmorrell

      Thank you. She wasn’t depressed, just grieving. This was during the Great Depression. I probably should have capitalized it. I already am about 60,000 words into this story. I am rewriting and cleaning things. Your input helps.

    • R.w. Foster

      60K, huh? That’s impressive. Let me know when you have it published, and I’ll gladly loan you my 63 blog followers to help get word out.

    • catmorrell

      Thank you. It is a couple more years out. I like to play too much and still want to retrace my dad’s path to Oregon from Kansas to lend more accuracy to the trip. Maybe next spring or fall for the trip. I started writing this for the grand kids only, but it keeps growing and dare I say, I am at the point where I might want to self publish. I do want it good enough they can have bragging rights. This website has been tremendous help.

    • R.w. Foster

      A couple other things that may help, if I may: The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, and Ink by R.S.Guthrie. I refer to them both constantly and am always learning something new from them. Both are available on Amazon in both print, and digital formats.

    • James Hall

      Details could do a tremendous benefit to this piece. But I would have to disagree about you telling us she is depressed. Your characters “damn” spiel tells us more than the two paragraphs before. Setting is the Great Depression.

    • catmorrell

      “The Great Depression” 1932. Probably should have capitalized it. This is a fictionalized version of what happened to my Dad’s family. I heard the story many times. It finally became my own.

    • James Hall

      No need. The “the” has got you covered. “the depression” says it all. I definitely wouldn’t have her saying, “Damn the Great Depression.” maybe “Damn the Depression.” would be a good compromise. I don’t know, it made complete sense to me the first time. Is this a WIP? If not, you should expand upon it.

    • catmorrell

      I am about 60,000 words into this. I started it about three years ago, worked on it during NANOWRIMO. Still need to drive the route and photograph it. I want something good for the grand kids when I am done.

    • James Hall

      You should post a piece up to wordpress or somewhere like that. It is really easy, I did it over the course of about 2 days. You can see it here http://vozey.wordpress.com. Let me know if you need a reviewer.

      NaNoWriMo, does much really come of it? I was looking at it. It seems like the best reward is whatever you get out on paper. I’m not sure I would want to attempt to write a novel that fast. I love to write a couple of chapters and then let the next chapters simmer while I revise the ones I just finished. Really, my “first edit” should be done when I finish the book.

    • catmorrell

      I like Nano because it forces me to move forward. The only reward is momentum. Speed writing helped me explore different options for the story arc too. Thanks for the link to word press. I like fantasy, and will get back there to finish reading your story. One of our guild members has a word press account too. At some point a blog will be a good thing. I just need to figure out which platform I want to use.

    • catmorrell

      Thank you!

  4. Bob DeSpy former Spycacher

    A massive Nubian woman took the seat beside Ghareeb. She had to walk down the aisle sideways, which made no difference, she still had to find space and squeeze between seats to avoid getting stuck. Her round face
    harboured, under very thin eyebrows, a pair of eyes that seemed to be
    pushed-close at all times by the force of her prominent cheeks. She had a broad mouth with bulgy, purple lips that flashed, when laughing – which was almost the whole time unless she was eating that also was often – perfect, snow-white teeth. She offered him sweets, or whatever she was eating. Her hands and forearms were tattooed with floral depictions. She chatted a lot with Ghareeb, but mostly to herself.
    At last, the driver closed the loosely fixed, folding doors by operating a handle from his seat. The odyssey started on a bumpy ride jolting the travellers, leaving the green river banks to enter the desolated desert. The driver knew the road well, and the obstacles in it, so that he swayed the vehicle from side to side to evade the potholes and ditches. Some parts of the vehicle’s floor were corroded, and you could see the dirt road fast slipping away. The bus lifted a cloud of yellowish dust that, as a curtain, covered the landscape behind them. The road was empty but for some, now and then, oncoming vehicles. The camel trains walked off-road, with no haste, in the safety and dust-free sands.
    The long, almost straight road disappeared melting into the horizon where the desert bounds by the rugged blue-grey mountains, the target they speedily aimed as an arrow shot to destiny. From the distance, a rising cloud of dust was approaching: the announcement of the Apocalypse, another vehicle was coming to confront them. Soon, the purring in a crescendo of the opponent began to exceed the deafening sound of the bus Ghareeb was in; the inevitable was nearing. Passengers were preparing; covering the faces with any rag on hand. The opponent’s honk warned of the imminent encounter; a blare returning the compliment. The meeting between the two machines happened in slow motion; the opponent: another bus, the passengers, also with their faces covered and with bulging eyes peering to the condemned to the gallows, preparing, they too, for the inevitable. Then a thump shakes the
    clunker and the curtain of dust pervades the wheeled case engulfing everything in its path. All darkens. The condemned, squeezing the rugs even tighter to their faces and their heads hanging in recognition of the inevitable karma.
    For an instant, the driver couldn’t see the road, and for sure, he didn’t miss the
    next pothole, wallowing everyone in their seats and settling them back as a
    slack potato sack. The bumpy ride was swaying the Nubian’s masses like a blubber tsunami almost erasing him against the bodywork.
    A big uproar from the passengers and the chickens break forth, cursing the driver and his late mother.
    The rumbling antagonist fades away into the distance behind them. After some time, the wrath of the gods appeased, and the gentle, imperceptible breeze clears the dust flag to one side of the road, showing, once again the way and hoping another vehicle may delay a long time coming. The driver put
    the pedal to metal and the dust in the cab vanishes. Deep respire. Not for long though. For some reason, the encounters were more often, but apart from abandon them to the torture, they were just not giving enough importance to the urgent honking.
    The uneven road made the speech sound like a machine gun, but the colloquialism went on despite. The door jerked to the beat. The dust and heat dried his throat.
    ‘Can I have some of your water, ma’am?’ Said Ghareeb. His gourd was empty.
    ‘Don’t call me ma’am! I am Cana.’ She said with a loud roughened voice and, of course, showing all her teeth whereas her bosom quivered as gelatine. ‘Here’, she searched with difficulty in her bags, ‘have a gulp.’ Passing the water flask to Ghareeb. This was the opportunity for her to start the chatter again. When approaching the elongated, pyramid-shaped ridges, they changed to an ochre colour; giving a bleak feeling of desolation. The ship of the Calvary began the effort to undertake the climb. The engine started to sound exacerbated as sawing through the road. The driver, like a puppet, juggles around a handlebar coming out of the floor of the star ship, while dealing with the steering wheel; pushing, pulling, holding, and pushing again to the pace of the changing engine-sounds. Sometimes, the peaks on both sides of the road, steep as a wall, appeared to wrap around the advancing junker, as trying to prevent its progress. After unwinding the snaky road of the highlands and emerging at the top, the view opened, and in the distance he saw the deep blue sea melting with the sky. Now, a refreshing, wet breeze came to meet them, cleaning and sanitizing the interior, giving a new vigour to passengers. The fragrance of water, but not as the stagnant waters of the Nile, but different, fresher, were moistening the lips with a salty taste and stinging the eyes.

    Reply
    • James Hall

      You lost me at the halfway point. The switch from past tense to present tense was a little distracting. I really loved the details you laid on up front. For some reason, as soon as you said Apocalypse, I thought pre-apocalyptic escape on a ratty old bus. It sounded very exciting, but you took it in a different direction. Unfortunately, I felt kind of lost right after.

    • Bob DeSpy former Spycacher

      Thanks a lot, James. I like the feedback, it’s my first real writing, and I need to learn a lot. I will have to revise it anyway, and such comments will help me to improve.

    • Bob DeSpy former Spycacher

      James, going through your comment regarding the direction and feeling lost; it may be because you only got to see part of the whole. I was already overstepping the length of the post so that I selected the part regarding the travel. Later Ghareeb will hit a very bad situation. Stay put, as soon as I have my second reviewed version. I hope soon, I will post the full novel for all of you to give me feedback. Thanks a lot.

    • James Hall

      Be sure to let us no when and where. I just loaded up some of my novel for the first time at wordpress. (http://vozey.wordpress.com/) I’m particularly looking for a couple of fellow writers that would like passing detailed reviews back and forth.

    • Bob DeSpy former Spycacher

      For sure, I will because I am interested too in reviews. What is the name of your work in WordPress?

    • James Hall

      It is a fantasy novel. The title is Greybow: A Dwarven Legend. The title is subject to change though. Feel free to follow the link above, I’ve posted the first three chapters.
      I’m working on the eighth.

      Thanks for the interest!

    • Victoria James

      I loved all the details, you described it so well. I felt like I was there in the bus with Ghareeb!

    • Winnie

      ‘They cursed the driver and his mother.’ I’ve never read such a description of an ordinary bus trip. But then every bus trip on the road you describe so masterfully must be an expedition.

  5. Victoria James

    I leaned my forehead against the window, feeling the condensation cool
    my clammy skin. Watching the scenery rush past as we wound along the hilltop roads, I wondered how I had come to be here, how my life had gone past so fast. The bush beside the roadside was dense and dark, flashes of native birds
    could be seen flitting amongst the treetops above. I longed to be up there with them, flying free, not a care in the world. My stomach churned with anticipation – I couldn’t wait for this journey to be over. My mother sat in the front seat turned
    back towards me, chattering excitedly. I couldn’t hear her, my own blood rushing in my ears. It was all I could do to keep the nausea down. My hands fidgeted in my lap, twirling my ring around and around on my finger.

    Hannah reached over and took my hand. She could see the barely contained panic. She didn’t need to say anything, just squeezed my hand and smiled at me. I looked over at her and gave a weak smile back, it was all I could manage. Her hands felt so warm against mine. I couldn’t shake the cold, clammy feeling that seemed to be enveloping my body.

    We crested the hill and the dense bush spat the car out into the open fields, the sun beaming brilliantly. The feeling of the rays on my face helped calm me a little and I took a deep breath, releasing it slowly and trying to unfurl my tightly coiled muscles. The car rolled to a stop beside a group of well-dressed people – in my nervous state, I didn’t recognise a single one of them. My door opened and a hand reached in to take mine. I took it and carefully got out the car and looked into my father’s face. His eyes were shining with barely contained tears and a wide grin split his face. The strange juxtaposition of tears and smiles almost made me laugh and I felt some of my nerves slip away.

    As my father took one arm and my mother the other, I stole a look behind me out across the water. This beautiful site Luke and I had chosen was just as stunning as ever, and as I saw him waiting in front of the small crowd that had gathered a sense of calm washed over me. I knew this was right. This day was ours. The music started playing and I began the walk to becoming a wife.

    Reply
    • James Hall

      Excellent work. By the second to the last paragraph I was guessing it was a wedding. But the fact that I was into it enough to be guessing should tell you something. Nice work.

    • Victoria James

      Thanks for your feedback! I just joined this site yesterday so this is my first post. Currently writing my first serious novel in between my day job!

    • R.w. Foster

      This is indeed excellent. Is this an excerpt from your novel? If so, I can’t wait to read it. If not, this speaks volumes about your talent. Either way, I’d love to read more.

    • Victoria James

      Wow, thank you so much! It’s not – to be honest I was kind of imagining myself as I’m getting married in 6 months time!!! But you have given me huge encouragement for my novel!

    • R.w. Foster

      Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials.

      Good. I like helping folks. If you’d like further assistance, you can reach me here, on facebook, or on my blog.

    • James Hall

      Ditto. What genre?

    • Victoria James

      At the moment, post-apocalyptic thriller, but most of my unfinished manuscripts are in the fantasy genre.

  6. R.w. Foster

    I carefully walked the castle grounds, concentrating on how to move around outside without my sight. Seeing-eye dogs and white canes didn’t exist here. A couple of steps behind me I came the heavy tread of the bodyguard assigned to me. I hadn’t bothered to learn his name.

    I walked in silence, the sounds of birds singing in the trees, the gentle breeze wandering through the grass, and the smooth conversation of a nearby river flowed absently over my mind.

    ‘What are we going to do?’ I thought.

    ‘Continue on, dummy,’ I answered myself.

    ‘We’re fucking blind!’

    ‘Big deal! We can still think! Maybe that is how
    we are meant to help.’

    ‘Fine. Now, about Lady Orwen.’

    ‘We just met her.’

    ‘She’s treated us better than any woman ever has from our first meeting. Other women waited until we made ourselves useful.’

    ‘Good point. So? The plan?’

    ‘I don’t know.’

    Thus my thoughts went, over and over. At times, I wondered if events had driven me crazy. A light touch on the shoulder made me pause.

    “Lord Blake,” the bodyguard said.

    “Yes?”

    “We are at the river’s edge. A bridge is several paces to your right, milord.”

    “Thank you.”

    With that, I turned ninety degrees in the specified direction, and took eight calculated steps. Even without sight, I sensed the subtle change in sound and wind temperature that indicated I was next to the bridge. I rotated left and stepped on the connection with care. I felt the cobblestones through the thin leather soles of my new BattleHammer shoes. I counted my steps as we crossed. When the sound changed and the sensation of the ground differed, I ceased counting and came to a halt. Seven hundred forty-eight paces. I cover around a meter with each stride. This meant the span was about 683.97 meters from one side to the other. The calculations served to distract me from being blind. At least for a while.

    I resumed hiking, hearing the crunch of hard packed earth beneath my feet. I noticed the birds had stopped their twittering. Somewhere ahead, I caught the hot coppery scent of lifeblood. I came to a stop and signaled the bodyguard forward. He stepped to my side and I signed for silence.

    “Yes, milord?” he whispered.

    “I smell blood up ahead,” I breathed.

    A faint hiss as he drew his sword. He bade me to wait and crept along the path. I have no idea how much time passed. Then, an ungodly cry and my guardian screamed in anger. The ire became a shriek of agony. Running footsteps came.

    “Run, milord!” he shouted. “Werewolf!”

    Before I could respond, I perceived what my nose told me was the metallic odor of blood splashing upon the ground. A sudden rush of air and a light thud indicated something landed near me. I no longer detected my bodyguard’s footsteps. I assumed he was dead.

    The howl I’d sensed moments before erupted again, closer now. A rush of pounding feet as the creature raced towards me. Adrenaline dumped into me as I prepared to die. Off to my left, I swear Godzilla roared. A wave of intense heat flashed past. The werewolf bellowed in pain. I scented burning hair and roasting flesh, as the monster was consumed by the inferno. Overwhelmed by sound and odor, I dropped and vomited. When I had no more to disgorge, I sat back on my heels, and listened intently. Snuffled breathing sounded in front of me. I tentatively stood and reached towards its source.

    “I don’t know who you are, but thank you for saving me,” I said.

    I touched a scaled muzzle with long whiskers. The scales were like small interlocked plates. Hot, sulfurous breath caressed my face.

    “Angriz?” I asked softly. Hopefully.

    The creature crackled and I caught a brief whiff of ozone. A sudden gust of wind slammed into me from behind. From all around came a burst of energy like thunder, but without sound.

    Then, “Carter?”

    “Yes.”

    “What happened? Last thing I remember, we were being attacked by the Crimson Walker.”

    “Well, the machine flipped a guard’s bloody head into your mouth. An angel named Azriel locked the Engine away. I became blinded. Lady Orwen was abducted two weeks ago and you were banished as a mindless beast.”

    Angriz growled his displeasure. “That explains the blankness. How was I saved? When the blood of an intelligent being touches the tongue of a half-dragon, we are rendered senseless; wild and volatile. Nothing has ever brought one back from Bloodtaste before.”

    I shrugged. “All I know is: my bodyguard and I were walking along the castle grounds. As you may imagine, I was making some attempts to deal with my blindness and the fact that I’d be that way forever.” I paused. The memory stung. “Anyway, after we crossed the bridge, I recognized the metallic scent of blood. I informed my guard and he had me wait, while he investigated. I think he went into the woods and was attacked. He ran back to warn me and was killed moments after. Clearly, I was to be next, but you incinerated the thing before then. You approached me, and I reached out and touched your face.”

    I said the last, and we burst out laughing. He actually had a pleasant laugh, not at all what I’d expected, more melodious than rasping. We laughed long and hard as the giddy might after finding themselves safe from a dire threat. Our laughter died away, his large clawed hand grasped my shoulder.

    “Carter,” he said softly. “I have no way to repay you for what you’ve given me. Words of thanks are inadequate.” He paused. “Come with me, I know of one who might help you regain your sight.”

    “Mordecai said I’m immune to the magic of this world.”

    Angriz snorted, “Lord Mordecai isn’t aware of everything, powerful as he is. A Weirdling lives a few days from here. She does not deal with rakshasha or wizards. She only deals with those of dragon blood. Also, she may be able to tell us where Lady Orwen might be.”

    “Alright,” I said. “I suppose we should return to the castle and let everyone know we’re leaving.”

    “That wouldn’t be good. None ever came back from the Bloodtaste before. You must understand, they’d kill me without hesitation.”

    “Fair point. Let’s go then.”

    I can’t say why I chose to trust and follow him at that juncture. Maybe because he gave me the hope of being able to see again. Probably, it was a way to piss off Mordecai for tearing me from my home. Petty? Probably. I didn’t care, though. His choice caused me to be blind.

    Without further words, Angriz took me by the wrist and led me into the woods. I sensed the transition from bright, warm sunlight to cool shade as we passed under the forest canopy. I perceived the soft swish of grass; I smelled the musty, damp scent of trees—pines, cedars and soon, willows. Life in the woodland became accustomed to our presence and resumed their usual activities: the thrum of the woodpecker as he hunted his dinner and the skitter of clawed toes as squirrels chased each other through the trees. In the distance, beavers chewed on trunks of pines as they built their dams. I both smelled and heard the brook as it meandered by the path, a small splash as a fish leaped into the air and fell back. I was silently delighted and amazed at all I was able to distinguish. For a city boy, it was especially wonderful, because I’d never spent any time outdoors. The adage about losing one of your senses and having another sharpen was seemingly true.

    After hours of travel, we stopped for the night. Angriz gathered wood, explaining that he would build a fire once he finished getting camp set up. I didn’t want to be a burden, nor to feel helpless, so I began to gather the deadfall into a pile for the blaze. My fingers became host to many splinters, and I cursed each that punctured me.

    Reply
    • Winnie

      I like the way she described the way his senses picked up the sounds and smells of where they were. Travel doesn’t have to be over long distances.

    • R.w. Foster

      Thanks. I’m glad you liked it.

  7. Winnie

    The flight in a modern air-conditioned Boeing was comfortable and uneventful.
    Accustomed as they were to the open cockpits of the old canvas and string
    planes they constructed, often from a basic framework, all that remained of
    these grand old ladies of the air, it felt better even than sitting at home in
    the lounge.
    Clearing airport and immigration formalities went seamlessly. It was when they stepped out of the airport building that things started to unravel.
    “Senor!”
    A woman ran in between them and grabbed Egerton’s arm “What happened? What happened? You promised me.” she shouted in Portuguese.
    Their driver leapt smartly between them. “Beggars,” he said over his shoulder, as he manhandled her away.”You look too much like tourists.”
    Marina looked down at her khaki bush clothes, sunglasses, and the cameras round their necks. This was the only outfits suitable for the sticky humid heat.
    She looked at Egerton. “Are you OK?”
    “I’m fine.”
    “You don’t look it.”
    “It must be that breakfast we had on the plane.”
    “On the way we’ll stop for tea..To settle your stomach.’”
    Greg glanced over, silently pointing to his watch. Could they afford the time? The plane had come down more than a day ago. Since then Egerton had been pushing them to visit the site and clear everything with the authorities.
    “The crew’s bodies have been returned.” Marina read off an item on a list as they sat at an open-air café surrounded by banana and papaya trees, fanning herself against the midday heat, and the flies. Cicadas screeched in the background…
    “How much further to go?” Egerton looked at his watch.
    “We’re almost there. How’s the stomach?”
    “That hit the spot.” He tapped his chest with his thumb and smiled weakly.
    Marina sipped at her coffee. And wondered. If his stomach was upset, why didn’t he have the runs? Not once that morning did they have to make a pit stop. And he’d hadn’t visited the men’s cloakroom, even to freshen up.
    Greg sipped at his beer.”That plane flew like a dream the last time I tested her.” He adjusted his camera, pointing it into the distance, clicking and whirring away
    as he tested the mechanism.”I was looking forward to taking her up at the show
    next week. She always drew the crowds.”
    And offers of help from like-minded aviation enthusiasts, Marina thought, plus tips about old planes lying forgotten in sheds or dusty hangars somewhere.
    This should have been the old vintage Tri-Motor’s final test flight after the
    engines had been overhauled. There’d been problems with the middle one.
    Even so, the pride of their fleet could get along very well on only two.
    Marina’s heart sank. Up till now she thought she was the only one who knew it had been used for human trafficking on this trip. But Egerton’s nervousness, and the woman at the airport, showed otherwise.
    And Grant? Her enigmatic partner, the epitome
    of cool, what was he holding back?
    As they climbed back into their vehicles, her heart gave a lurch. The illegal
    passengers had been teenagers, eager for a new life away from their impoverished villages.
    The same age as the son she’d been forced to leave behind in Europe with his father when she was deported after her work visa had expired.

    Reply
  8. Andrew Zyjewski

    Have I traveled Many roads in my life? Yes, I have but the
    most important road I have ever traveled has been for the past fifty-four years. It has taken fifty-three of them to figure out who I am and why I would do things the hard way, at least in my perception they were hard. Honestly, my life has not been the easiest one to live that is up until March of 2012.

    I headed home on interstate 84 in Connecticut after a
    particularly tough day at work. Traffic flowed smoothly, and it drizzled on and off causing the road surface to be wet. I travelled in the extreme right lane keeping my speed to fifty-five miles per hour. I was in no hurry to get home.

    My mind was wandering as it often did and I was thinking of
    what I would like do once I got home. All that time there were probably a hundred cars passing mine. Nobody does the speed limit anymore. In an instant, a blue car speeding past my left side broke my thought process. There were at least a hundred cars passing on that day.

    Why did I notice this one? Must have been my traveling
    companion, my spirit guide alerting me to what was about to happen next. In a manner of twenty to thirty seconds, I saw the car out in front of me crossing two lanes. It spun around facing me but skidding in the same direction I was going. I see their faces as clear as day, both the driver and her passenger
    looking straight at me with terror. I slammed on my brakes as hard as I could, gripped the steering wheel tightly, and locked my elbows to try to keep me from slamming into the dash.

    We connected. Grill meets grill – bumpers locking on to each
    other, holding on for dear life knowing we were going to hit the guardrail. The cars slid across the right lane, over the breakdown lane, and into the guardrail. What I saw next was the equivalent of a NASCAR accident. Parts from the front of my car went flying through the air onto both sides of the railing.

    When we came to rest I took a very deep breath. Assessing
    any injuries I might have sustained I found only a slight scrape on my right knee. I was lucky. I got out of my car and went to the other vehicle to see if anything happened to the driver or passenger. Both of them sustained no injuries. At this point, I believe that my Angel companion protected me from harm.

    This is where my travels begin. I would reflect on this accident for the remainder of March. During this time, I realized that
    something just was not right with me. I started to feel adequate,
    unaccomplished, could not connect things to get them to work. My life felt like a shambles. I started to see a counselor to address these issues. She brought up some very good points about my life as I was living it. She gave me a title of a book to read by Edward M. Hallowell M.D. and John J. Ratey M.D. Driven
    To Distraction.

    Curious as to what this book held in store for me I went to the local library and borrowed it. I became completely engrossed in its contents. As I would read page upon page I found out that at least ninety percent of the words written in it were about me. I became so excited, I finally found a name for what I was going through my whole life.

    This led me to seek out a Psychologist. One who deals with
    ADHD/ADD. Finding the doctor I needed I continued on my journey. It has been a trek filled with discoveries of who I am, where I come from, why I do the things I do, and how to correct much of the learned behavior I have acquired through the years.

    This journey is far from over for me, I continue to make great discoveries about myself. With aid from modern medication and a willingness to get out of my comfort zone, I now know what it feels like to live a “normal” life. Emotions that I never felt before are flooding within me.

    When I reach triple digits in age and I pass from this life I will be continuing with my journey, learning great truths that are incomprehensible here on Earth.

    Reply

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