More than talent, writing takes compassion, love, courage, self-honesty, integrity. Travel and friendships with people from other places are invaluable in developing who we are and what our writing is about.   The more we know of the world, the more we become a whole person and a writer whose work rings true.

A good writer has traveled both outward and inward.  They know greater humanity and they know them self . . . demons and dragons and better natures, all.   They have shed both propaganda thrown at them about others and illusions about their own good or bad.

Cashel, Ireland

When we travel, we realize that landscape, weather, artifact and history help shape a people and a country.  When we travel, we see our own community and country through a more objective lens.  When we travel, we realize people are more similar than different.

The banner of my website is a photo I took of Slea Head on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland.  In Ireland I found a world where scientific knowledge and the kind of intuitive knowing the Irish call Second Sight co-exist in relative harmony.  It is something the United States lacks.  Here, science trumps Second Sight, and Second Sight is relegated to the realm of superstition: something we want to believe we took care of in our Puritan beginnings by burning the folk who had it at the stake.  We still fear it.  One gift my time in Ireland gave me was comfort in my own skin, for I am both a scientific thinker and an intuitive.

In college my husband and I began what has become a thirty-year friendship with a Swiss couple, Susanne and Martin.  I love to ask Susanne and Martin what they think about this issue or that — to see through their eyes and their experience.

The Tessine

Our friendship his given us the chance to live Swiss.  The first time we visited them in Switzerland, in the 1990s, I saw how careful they are about energy consumption.  That caused me to come home and look at the cavalier way I used energy–something I had been oblivious to.  Heck!  I’d even thought of myself as environmentally aware.  I began to dry clothes on a rack instead of always in the dryer, recycle containers and bags, and limit water use long before these conservation measures were talked about much in the US.  We could step outside Susanne and Martin’s door in their little suburban village and catch the tram that runs into Basel. Getting around was so much easier than here on the west coast, where mass transit means driving with a million other drivers on interstate freeways. Susanne and Martin also took us to hidden treasures that we probably would never have found on our own; to parts of Switzerland that are not touristy.  Our favorite is the Tessine, an Alpine region in the south.

A home built right into Alpine rock & a wonderful old occupant who gave us tea

Susanne and Martin gave us the opportunity to hear Swiss folk from one region talk with their countrymen and women from other regions.  People often talk about things with each other that they wouldn’t talk about with foreigners.


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