I am going on an adventure.
Next week I will board a plane with thirteen other intrepid individuals bound for Europe. The British Isles, to be precise. I will take the Harry Potter studio tour. We’re going to Canturbury. I get to see the BOOK OF KELLS. I get to VISIT STONEHENGE. I HAVE TICKETS TO SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE!!!
And thus we arrive at the point.
As an author, I spend a lot of my time with my butt in a chair, planning, creating, imagining. There is a sort of necessary solitude involved, without which, the book doesn’t get written. But if I am to do justice to my craft I need to keep my horizons broad. I can’t write what I don’t know.
There are lots of ways of “knowing,” of course. The internet is a great resource as are books, magazines and blogs. But nothing replaces the experience of actually standing in a place, taking in the atmosphere, observing the details. There is a veritas to be found in situ that cannot be gained any other way.
Traveling to the British Isles has been a dream of mine since I was old enough to understand that there were lands outside the continental U.S. The mystery and culture, the vast history, of these places, pull at spaces in my soul that nothing else can touch.
I think at least part of that pull derives from the fact that my father’s people are from Ireland and England, and by extension, so am I.
Just as American history is my history, England and Ireland also hold chapters of my story. Part of the preparation I’ve made for this trip has been to research my ancestry. I know that one of my father’s great-grandfathers came with his brother from Tyronne and married an Irish girl, also from Tyronne, in Canada before traveling down into Vermont and then points west. All that moving around may account for Dad’s early wanderlust.
His other great-grandfather came from England and married an Ohio girl. Their sons met up with James Marshall, and partnered with him in a gold claim as part of what became the California gold rush. Maybe that’s where I get my taste for adventure.
Like so many Americans, the branches of my tree are here, but the roots reach back to other places, other countries. If I can, I’m going to walk the soil where those roots are planted and see if I can’t recognize some faint trace of myself there. Then I’m going to come back, put my butt in the chair, and tell you all about it. I promise.