Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

IWSG Writing Update May 2017 – Expanding Your Horizons

Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) encourages writers to share their fears, thoughts, progress, struggles, excitement, encouragement or anything really about their writing. A different question is posed each month, as a writing prompt for IWSG members. Answering it is optional. For May, that question is “What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

This amazing, supportive group of writers was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Today, the co-hosts are Michelle Wallace, Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan, Feather Stone and Liesbet Collaert. That’s me! 🙂 May is a big month for some of the members, namely the twelve finalists of this year’s IWSG anthology contest. The genre was “fantasy” and the published result, Hero Lost – Mysteries of Death and Life, has just been released on May 2nd. It is available in print and e-book. Congratulations to everyone involved!

My favorite subjects to write about are personal experiences and travel stories. I have had plenty of adventures all over the world, so there is no lack of inspiration and content, the words come easy, and little research is required. I don’t like doing research. Although, with the internet at our fingertips, it sure is much easier than when I was working on high school projects in the early 90s. When I write articles for sailing or travel magazines, I sometimes have to double-check locations and facts online, but that can hardly be called weird or cool.

Mount Cook, New Zealand

My aversion to research – I find it boring and time-consuming – is one of the reasons why I am yet uninterested in writing a “how-to” book, whether it is about sailing full-time as a couple, starting a business from a boat in the Caribbean and running it from the middle of nowhere, living frugally while seeing the world, or surviving a 24/7 relationship in a tiny space. Instead, I opted to write a memoir. It seemed like a fun and feasible goal.

Sailing in French Polynesia

“I’m going to write a book,” I stated to my husband a year and a half ago. “Sure,” he answered, shrugging his shoulders and continuing the email he was writing to a customer. Did he not believe me? He should know better… After being too busy having adventures for over a decade, the moment had come to finally write about them.  We had sold our sailboat in Tahiti and just moved to land for who-knows-how-long, in the fall of 2015.

Acadia National Park

Our new lifestyle of house and pet sitting throughout the United States allowed for a diversity of weekend activities, while the weekdays found us sitting behind our computers at ever-changing desks. Since then, unlimited electricity and internet in the houses we care for has been a delight. Mark focuses on our business The Wirie, while I work on my memoir. My commitment to this pursuit in a blog post, made it official. Now, I had to persevere.

The Precipice Trail, Maine

As with everything I’d like to accomplish in my life, it starts with a surge of adrenaline, when a new idea emerges. I realize there is no better time than now for this particular project or adventure and dive in head first. Then, as with other significant decisions like leaving Belgium indefinitely, deciding to stay in the US, hopping in a camper to explore Central America or jumping on a sailboat for the foreseeable future, reality hits a few days or weeks into it. Was I so naïve to assume that everything in Belgium would remain the same during my years of absence? That I could just live in the US without the necessary documents and hassle? That road tripping 24/7 with a guy you just met would be easy, especially when neither of you speaks Spanish? And, did I really think my seasickness could be replaced by love?

The Catlins, New Zealand

Honestly? No, I did not think about all those things. Just like I did not think writing a memoir would be difficult. After all, I love writing, I love sharing my adventures, and I love inspiring people to live a life less ordinary. I want to prove that an adventurous lifestyle is possible, as partners in love and on a small budget. Writing about my life comes naturally and does not require any dreaded research. I just have to pick my own brain, read through the hundreds of thousands of words I penned down over the years and trigger my memory by browsing an insurmountable number of photos. Sounds simple, right? It isn’t.

San Blas Islands, Panama

There is a difference between writing blogs or articles, and a book-size manuscript that needs to be cohesive, inspiring, engaging, intriguing and entertaining. As many of you know first-hand, writing such prose is hard. Especially without a background in literature, with no formal education or practice in writing and with English not being one’s native language. But, I mostly struggle with my inexplicable need to dump too much material into the narrative. “It is only the first draft,” I think, “I’ll have to cut, cut, cut in the next round, and enhance certain passages and insights.” Then, sometimes motivated, sometimes demoralized, I trot on. Alone, and winging it.

Departing San Francisco

Jumping in head first, whether it is bungee jumping, snorkeling with sharks or attacking my keyboard, seems to be my personal strategy. I realize things the hard way, by doing with little forethought. I make swift decisions and “deal” with the consequences. Sometimes, it is the only way to attempt – and achieve – the (seemingly) impossible. If we don’t leave our comfort zones, never take any risks or leaps of faith, don’t take initiative, nothing exciting might ever happen and we will be stuck in the same routine, held captive by the familiar. We only live once and expanding our horizons is an alternative way to happiness.

Barbuda, Caribbean

Do you listen to advice? Do you think ahead when making decisions? Do you take (calculated) risks in life? What motivates you to take action or start a project/adventure? Have you written a memoir?

124 Comments

  1. Thanks for co-hosting today!
    Beautiful pictures. Now that you’re back in the states do you miss your travels?

    • To be honest, Lidy, I don’t miss all the traveling too much. Yet. After 12 years of it, I truly felt exhausted. And, being in the US – which is not my home country – still feels like traveling in a way. The longer periods of time being in some place, allow us to combine new sights in the weekends and focus on work during the week, which is a great combination. Now, our office doesn’t change every day anymore, but every few weeks or months. I do miss the view, though, of the azure water, the white, palm-fringed beaches and the spectacular sunsets. The other two things I miss are the silence and the wildlife.

  2. It’s so cool that you’ve traveled all over the world. The adventures and stories you could tell… Love your pictures!!

  3. So . . . we share many similar characteristics, I’ve just haven’t traveled as much, but my wife and I are gearing up for more this year and into retirement to following year. I’m working/researching a memoir project that I am going to ghost write. So far it’s interesting but I have a long ways to go, this being my first memoir . . . and it not being my own. Good luck with yours, sounds like it will be awesome.

    • Thanks, Dean. Ghost writing a memoir sounds interesting. I guess the protagonist tells you all about what he/she wants in the book and you do many interviews?

      Glad to hear that you will be traveling more; such a rewarding past-time (or lifestyle). When we were sailing and RVing full-time, we met a lot of retirees and their biggest regret was that they didn’t start earlier. Not always easy to be constantly on the go, but when you can combine work and adventure (and have money for a break or a longer house sit in between), life can be pretty good! 🙂

  4. The internet sure has made doing research so much faster and easier, though you do have to weed out some iffy stuff now and then.

    I enjoy reading and writing memoir. I have an inactive memoir blog that has a lot of content in it that I might delve into for a book eventually or maybe even start posting on the blog again.

    All the best with the memoir you’re writing. Sounds like you’re living life!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    • The WWW helps us all so much now, with research. A few clicks and there you are, with answers, pictures, directions, opinions, everything is at the click of keys.

      I recently had to write a memoir piece for my creative non-fiction module for my masters degree and that took a ton of research. It was just the first few chapters of what would be the whole book, but to put myself back into our childhood needed special details, like TV shows, food, decoration, etc. Those details poked at my own memories a treat. Best of luck with your project! X

      Shah Wharton
      http://shahwharton.com

      • Thanks, Shah! And, that is a great tip about researching the era of when I grew up online, to trigger some memories. I”m sure the photos, music and certain relics of the 80s and 90s, will get the juices flowing. I also find photos helpful to remember feelings.

    • Life is pretty good, the way we do it. 🙂 Just needing to find a better balance between the work part and the travel part. I am looking forward to leave everything behind again and hit the road full-time in about a year or so. While it sounds like we have traveled a lot, the last two years has been mostly “moving” within the same country. I’d love to check out your memoir blog!

  5. Thanks so much for co-hosting this month 🙂 Trying something new can definitely be scary, frustrating, nerve-wracking etc., but the new experiences (good and bad) definitely enrich our lives. I’m still in awe of the fact that you’re writing your memoir in a second language.

    • English has become pretty natural to me, these last few years, but when I am trying to find the perfect word or expression, it can be very frustrating, especially when the Dutch word I would want to translate from is just perfect. And, I truly miss out on certain ways of linking to things of the past in the US or comparisons to songs, TV shows, expressions you learned in school here. I know nothing about any of that. Plus, my literary knowledge is zero. Oh well… The memoir will be different and unique, because of my elicit voice. 🙂

  6. Looks like you’ll have tons of things to say once you sit down and get to it.

    https://emaginette.wordpress.com/2017/05/02/iwsg-36-caves-around-british-columbia/

    • Too many things to say and write about. That’s the problem! 🙂 Needing to pick and choose is in order, as the first draft is already getting out of hand and I am only halfway…

  7. All the best with your writing– there’s no way to get it done than to do it. You’ll hear all sorts of advice– pick the ones that feel right to You.

    • Good advice! I have been going back between “putting everything” (which is already a selection) on paper and keeping my main thread in mind and only work with passages that relate to that. So far, I am still finding it easier to mention all the things I’d like to say for the chapters I have outlined and work with the thread in the second draft.

  8. Sounds like you have an exciting life, and your memoir would be equally exciting! I’m sending you tons of encouragement!

    • Thanks, Megan. If the memoir gets written well (I know exactly how in my head, but do not manage to actually put it down that way), it will be exciting. When I came up with the initial outline, I managed to write 90,000 words in one month, describing what and how I want my memoir to be. Writing engaging content the way I imagine – the here and now, the dialogue, the passages,… – that’s another story. 🙂

  9. Thanks for co-hosting today!
    Wow, your life has been such an adventure. I can’t imagine that much travel. But you’ll have so much material for your memoir.

    • You are very welcome, Alex. Plenty of material. Too much, actually. Hoping to work with flashbacks and focus on one decade and a main thread throughout for now. 🙂 I feel like it’s been a while since we actually traveled extensively, since we have been working pretty much full-time when living on the water and the road since 2009. Maybe in another year or so I get to finally visit a new country again! 🙂

  10. My life isn’t one to fill a memoir although it certainly has had interesting moments. I love research because I’m always excited about getting something down or how research can turn a story into a direction I’d never come up with otherwise. It’s so much more fun than school because the information is put to immediate use for something I’m passionate about.

    • It seems like one only needs one major event or experience to write a memoir… I am learning that now as I think about themes and immediately realize, “not now, it’ll have to be for another book”. 🙂 What I want to cram into this memoir needs to seriously get reduced, for sure. Research can be fun, but it takes a lot of time. At least, as an adult, you can research something you are passionate about – like you say – but then, you get sucked in and it takes even more time. 🙂

  11. Very interesting read, Liesbet. And well written. I wouldn’t say I think through my decisions, certainly not all of them at any rate. I tend to act impulsively because I’m driven by my emotions a lot. Having said that, there are occasions I’ll think through a situation and strategise an approach to give me the outcome I want. Best of luck with the memoir, I think you should continue following your instinct in how you write. Do what comes naturally 🙂

    • You sound like you approach challenges and ideas like me: impulsive in many cases, as long as it feels right and sometimes, more thought goes into it. I think I mostly take “calculated” risks, but I find that the more you “hum and haw” (spelling?) over decisions, the harder it becomes to make the “right” choice. 🙂

      • Exactly! I find that the more time I spend mulling over something, trying to decide what to do, the more likely I am just to end up confused & frustrated 🙂

  12. I agree, Trying new things makes life interesting, and you sure are leading an exciting life. You have plenty of fodder for your memoir. You’re wise to just write it ALL, and then cull your story to find the theme(s) you want to carry throughout the chapters. I’m writing a memoir now about the first year we began our retail business. One problem, we didn’t know anything about the business. Yes, sure makes life interesting. Thanks for co-hosting and best wishes on your memoir project!
    JQ Rose

    • Thanks! Same here in regards to starting from scratch with our venture, Janet! My husband and I started a business from our sailboat in St. Martin, without knowing anything about creating or running a business – from developing to assembling to selling to advertising to supporting a “WiFi for boats” product, we do it all ourselves. And, he and I are all but salespeople, so our customer friendly approach is not the best for making money, but we wouldn’t want it any different. 🙂 I could write a whole book about that experience as well, but for now, snippets will have to do. I think not knowing anything about the business, makes for a better story, so I’m sure that your memoir will be an interesting read!

  13. I started writing a biography about a family member and had to stop. It was too tender a subject. Do journals count as memoirs, because if so, I’ve got ages worth of material. 😉 Still, I would find it too difficult to share most of that stuff–other than with close family members.

    • Same here, Crystal! If my diaries of the last 25 years could be turned into non-fiction books, I would have heaps as well. Nothing is that easy! 🙂 You are right about the sensitivity of some of the writing, though. I kept pretty intimate and heart-wrenching notes when we were going through my husband’s cancer and I am not looking forward to going through those tens of thousands of words for the chapter I am intending to write about this episode…

  14. How lucky you are to have traveled so much. Such gorgeous pictures! I have taken calculated risks. I think everything through several times. Thanks for co-hosting this month. 🙂

    • I usually feel more comfortable with calculated risks, but I have been known to follow my heart a few times as well. I find when I think things over too much, I am more worried to regret a decision afterwards.

  15. Great post! Last year I wrote a novella set in Hawaii as part of a Kindle World. Only problem? I’d never been there. Yeah, research….LOL! My current WIP is set in Montana but at least I have traveled there. But even when using familiar settings, I find myself stopping to research various things since I am a pantser. Keeps things interesting…

    DB McNicol, author & traveler

    • I see that research can be a way to switch things up a bit, between writing and doing something different like reading about and incorporating tidbits online. A lot can be found on the web, but immersing yourself in a place, in person, seems to be the best way to fully understand a location. If only writers would get their travel expenses reimbursed, right? 🙂

  16. Do I listen to advice? I try, but I have a real talent for jumping in head first and seem to lack a long-view (that’s what I have David for). I’m also pretty stubborn so if I start something, I have to find a way to finish it (another reason I have David — lol). I like getting things done, but being practical has its limitations. 😉

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

    • I see you know what I mean. 🙂 Mark has a “smarter” head on his shoulders than me, but sometimes I miss not being totally free and independent about what I do and desire. Like you, when I start something, I need to bring it to a successful end. So, let’s hope this memoir will fit that bill.

  17. I think the accessibility of the internet and efriends has broadened the definition of ‘write what you know’ to ‘write what is credible’. Your journeys sound fun!

    • I think you are right about that. Now, people write books about places they haven’t even been yet. Just like with articles – some research goes a long way.

  18. I tend to solicit advice to help me realize what my heart and gut have been telling me all along. If I have a strong YES or NO reaction to what a person’s saying, I have my answer. It was always there the whole time–I just had to access it.

    I love your bravery!

    • I know that feeling! When I need that extra nudge with a decision, I try to get more confidence by asking others or trying to confirm somehow – by research and imagining different scenarios – that it is the right choice.

  19. I’m smiling because years ago someone said to me that I make swift decisions and think about the consequences as they come upon me. I have found that to be partially true about me. I jump out of the middle of water and learn how to swim.
    Love your article and your pictures.
    Thank you for co_hosting.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

    • Rereading what you wrote, I was thinking that our impulsiveness might also have to do with not wanting to think about the consequences, which might make us nervous and therefore reconsider… Sometimes, it is better to just go for it, or it might never happen otherwise. I am writing this, right after booking the road test for my US driver’s license for Monday 9am, while I still have to practice quite a bit with the car of my in-laws. I figured, I’d better book it, otherwise I might get cold feet! I’m so nervous about this. I really thought tests like this were long in the past. I better practice some of that parallel parking this weekend. 🙂

  20. Hey there, Co-host! Advice and I get along well, as long as I ask for it. I’ve never done well with the other kind of advice (my parents, wife, friends can confirm) and have been known to do the opposite, just to be contrary. I don’t take as many risks as I should, and would never be brave enough to make th leaps you have. I’m inspired by you.

    • Funny how that goes when we have “mommy figures” around, trying to help out with advice that we couldn’t care less about… But, we are nice and patient and listen. And then, do what we want! 🙂 Spending about two months with in-laws and parents is really helping with the patience level. 🙂

      I’m flattered to be inspiring you, Ryan! Not sure whether one should take more risks if that doesn’t feel right to them and is not part of their personality. But, I always encourage thinking out of the box, being open-minded, considering different possibilities and opportunities and following your heart when it makes you happy. And, I think you are doing just that! 🙂

  21. What is life without taking risks and getting out of one’s comfort zone? Love the photo of the Catlins ☺ Us and the old girl (motorhome) spent time down that way. Panama looks amazing! I am in awe of your travels Liesbet! Amazing!

    • We visited the South Island with a little camper as well. Traveling by RV is just the best way to see land sights in my opinion. We are working towards that goal again. Hope you are enjoying touring in Europe, now that you left down under behind (temporarily?)! One day, I hope to go back to Oz to show Mark around as well. 🙂

  22. Victoria Marie Lees

    May 3, 2017 at 14:11

    Hi, Liesbet! This is my first time here. I’ve followed your blog and liked your page. I agree with the others. You write beautifully and your photography is stunning.

    You definitely have the exciting life. To be not afraid to take chances–bravo to you! This is what I tell my five children daily. I’m in the process of writing a memoir about attending college as a mother of five. The key to memoir is to find out what your point is in relaying your many adventures to your readers. And Yes! Writing memoir is very tough, but you’ve shown many times over that you are up for the challenge. You can do this. Let me know if I can help. Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG May question.

    • Thanks for the offer to help, Victoria! Do you have a blog or website, where you post about the progress of your memoir? How awesome that you are attending college as a mother of five. That must be pretty challenging and stressful at times as well. Finding the point in relying some of my lifestyle choices and adventures to the readers… that is exactly what I struggle with at times. Sometimes, I feel like our story and life choices have been quite amazing, and other times, I think “who cares. really?” 🙂

    • Found you online! 🙂

  23. Stunning photographs! Panama is beautiful. Believe you’re write that book, and I bet you do. Thanks for co-hosting.

    • I’ll hold on to my stubbornness and desire to finish everything that I start! Maybe I have a chance… 🙂 Thanks for visiting and commenting, Joylene.

    • So sorry for what you had to and still are going through, Joylene. I hope the rehabilitation process goes as smoothly as possible and that, once you have a solution for the pain, writing becomes a good way to escape real life for a little while. Positive thinking is not always easy (I am with you here – it doesn’t make sense that while saving a life, you could have lost yours), but being able to sell the house might be a first step to a more satisfying life? Or, maybe this dreadful experience encourages you to focus on different things in the future, things you might have wanted to do at a later stage in life, but that you feel you could and should enjoy earlier? Sending you positive and encouraging vibes!

  24. Those pics are wonderful! What an exciting life you’ve had! Your adventures would make an excellent memoir. 🙂

  25. Now that you’ve gotten used to unlimited internet, you’ll never be able to go back again.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month’s IWSG post.

    • You might be right there, Ken. Not sure whether we could deal with the frustration again of trying to get online for something important and failing. It is the main reason why I think we shouldn’t hit the road full-time again, until we are “business-free”… I have enough experience with “the quest for internet” while sailing and camping, that I do not want to repeat any of it. It takes all the joy out of travel. 🙂

  26. I think memoir writing is for the bravest of us. It means baring your soul. For that very reason I dislike writing about myself. I prefer writing about imaginary heroes. That way, I’m still baring my soul, bit it’s camouflaged, veiled in the trappings of my favorite genre: fantasy.

    • I do like to share my adventures and encourage others to follow suit, living a less ordinary life, but the part about baring my soul is something I still need to experience with. I hope I don’t mind digging into the depths of my soul for this project. It will depend on whether I am in a “I don’t care what others think about me” mood, or in a “why would I share that nasty bit about me with the world?” mood. 🙂

  27. Wow, it sounds like you’ve led an extraordinary life. No matter how hard it is, you certainly have the material to write an engaging memoir. Keep at it, because a lot of people would love to enjoy your adventures vicariously.

    • Thanks, Susan. I might have to write a few memoirs, if I want to focus on adventures, cultural experiences, social and wildlife encounters, unique places, living on a budget, making money along the way and a 24/7 relationship! 🙂 Thank you for swinging by!

    • PS: Your blog link gave an error message of server not found… But, I found you anyway. Thanks to that wonderful internet, Google and research thing. 🙂

  28. I adore your photos, and sounds like life has been a true adventure for you. I love research, perhaps a bit too much, but understand those who don’t.

  29. Great post for your co-hosting role this month. There’s nothing better than travel when you want to research for writing.

  30. That is what I call living a dream. Beautiful pics. Thanks for hosting this month.
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

    • Thanks for swinging by, Juneta! May we all live our dreams and make the right choices to achieve those dreams (and goals). 🙂

  31. I have never been inspired to tackle a book – fiction or nonfiction. I’m glad you are working on your memoir, though; I think many people would love to read about your adventures!

    • I hope so, Janis! Sometimes, I feel like nobody would care. But, we all have those moments. In general, I think people will be interested in our stories, but my fear lies in not being able to present them in the best and most attractive, engaging way.

  32. Not good on taking advice, Liesbet, but I’m usually prepared to listen. 🙂 Memoirs are a strange genre, to me. Either you’ve had a traumatic, awful life that you want to share or an adventurous one, but unless you are a famous person you are probably writing for a limited audience. It sounds like your writing group should be able to help. Just writing and writing, as in Nanoprimo, and then cutting and refining, is obviously one way to do it.

    • The writing group is great for support, encouragement, answering questions and sharing ideas. When it comes to the reading and editing stage, I will have to get “professional help”. 🙂 My goal is to create a work that reads like fiction, but is a real life story, and, of course, I hope it will attract all kinds of readers, even the ones who usually don’t care about memoirs. 🙂

  33. Awesome that you have travel experiences to draw on. I haven’t done any really weird research either. Thanks for being a host.

  34. Thank you for co-hosting. I haven’t written a memoir, but then I don’t think I’ve done anything worth writing about, yet. I get that in writing one, you trade off the research aspect for perfecting your own life story in a way that others will find appealing. That seems a task too difficult for me at the moment, but you go on lots of adventures. I bet your memoirs are fun.

    • My difficulty lies in using particular episodes of my life and weaving the story around them, instead of wanting to share – and divert – too much. Making the story appealing sure is a big challenge! Thank you for visiting my part of the blogosphere, Toi!

  35. mlouisebarbourfundyblue

    May 3, 2017 at 18:59

    Such an interesting post, Liesbet! I enjoyed reading about your tackling a memoir. You’re living a life many people only dream about. Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG this month, and good luck as you continue writing your memoir.

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I’m glad to see that you and I both join the ranks of travelers. We create our own ways of life and our own priorities. Instead of just dreaming about a certain life or lifestyle, we can make it happen, with the necessary passion and commitment. 🙂

  36. I listen to advice, but that doesn’t mean I follow it. Everyone has their own process. Most people have a lot of enthusiasm at the start of a project but less when it gets tough in the middle. Then it’s work.

    • Listening to advice is easy, right? Incorporating it, or believing it is better than what we are thinking, that is a bit harder. I do ask for advice, since the more opinions, the more information I can gather and consider. Which, of course, might make it harder to pick the right solution yet again. 🙂

  37. Kudos on taking the risk! Thank you for co-hosting.

  38. Gorgeous photographs! I love living vicariously through your blog. Thank you for co-hosting!

    • Thanks, Adrienne! It was quite fun to co-host, but I am still catching up on comments and blog reading… 🙂

  39. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and all your house sitting adventures for a while now. I think it will one day make a very interesting book.

    • That’s encouraging, Jennifer! Thanks for being a loyal follower. There might be another memoir hiding in this “new” lifestyle of ours. I’d love to keep writing about our adventures more seriously, but… that would mean no time to go on adventures anymore. 🙂

  40. Hi, Liesbet – Coincidentally, I just finished reading another blog about memoir writing (https://profoundjourney.com/why-memoir-not-facebook and https://profoundjourney.com/memoir-writers-greatest-fear). Although I do not see myself writing a memoir anytime soon (or far), I love reading this genre. What I’ve read in your posts makes me know that your memoir will be fascinating. I am available to read your first draft!

    • Thank you so much for the offer, Donna! I might take you up on that, but probably after the second or third draft. 🙂 I will check out the link you mentioned, once I catch up here. 🙂

  41. Your writing is so eloquent, Liesbet, and I forget for a moment that English isn’t your first language. Writing appears to come easy for you and you have experiences and photos to fuel that fire 🙂

    • Thanks for the compliments, Terri. Writing does come very easy to me, but not exactly in the form and volume of a memoir, unfortunately. Maybe practice makes perfect?

  42. Even though I mostly write fiction, I feel my personal experiences, and the travel I do are research for my writing.

    • Travel is the best research ever, Patsy. While our lifestyle gets us on the move often and we manage to explore different areas at a slow pace during the weekends, part of me is itching to really “travel” again! I’m just not sure whether I am ready to give up on all the land-based comforts yet, and the time I have now, to write. 🙂

  43. Your life is already like a novel. It’s wonderful and full of adventure. Your memoir is going to be an easy and fun read. Thank you for co-hosting!

    FYI, I made the big move away from Blogger and can be found at:

    Elsie Amata

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Elsie! People like listening to our stories and I do hope I develop the talent to make the stories as engaging in print. Long way to go… 🙂 My first blog (about our sailing adventures) was on Blogger as well, but I made a conscious decision to put this blog, Roaming About, on WordPress and I am very happy about it. I like the usability, the layout and the looks of WP much better. Your blog looks great!

  44. Good luck with your memoir! And thank you for the anthology mention, 🙂

  45. Jennifer Hawes

    May 4, 2017 at 09:59

    Find the thing you love to write about then you will love the research. Nice pics and good luck with the memoir!

    • Thanks, Jennifer. Research sure is nicer if it concerns a subject close to your heart. The problem then, is not to get carried away and immersed in the reading and the research too much! 🙂

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  47. Interesting of course as “projects” often sound much easier than they are and writing a memoir has to be in that category. Just writing a blog post is so time consuming and everything at the end of the day requires effort. You are clearly living such an interesting lifestyle, that I look forward to reading your memoir. That photo of the two of you in San Blas islands is fabulous!

    Yup, Ben and I take a fair amount of calculated risks. More than the average person. Some work out some don’t but at least we can say we “went for it” and therefore have no regrets.

    Great post!

    Peta

    • I had a feeling you two belonged in the “calculated risk taking” category, or you would have never ended up in Sri Lanka! When one is open-minded and adventurous, a lot of opportunities and possibilities open up. And you both take advantage of that! For that reason, I truly like to follow your adventures as well, Peta! Have you ever thought about writing a memoir about your lives as ex-pats and travelers? Having no regrets is a wonderful way of life. I strive to achieve the same! So far, I don’t have too many complaints about that part. 🙂

  48. Diane Burton

    May 4, 2017 at 15:38

    Your post is delightful, Liesbet. My attitude toward writing a novel was much like yours…in the beginning. How hard can it be? LOL I soon found out. But perseverance and the support of good friends–like the IWSGers–helped me immensely. Not giving up when the going got rough. Enjoying the journey reminds me why I got into this line of work. Thanks for co-hosting this month and best wishes on your memoir.

    • Thanks Diane, for your visit and your encouraging words. There’s nothing like hearing this from a pro. 🙂 Funny thing is that I don’t struggle much with the writing itself right now, since it is a first draft and I am giving myself a lot of slack for that, but with finding the time to work on the memoir. Sometimes, when I dedicate a morning to it, but don’t feel like it, I try to find excuses, but once I sit down and write, or read previously written parts to incorporate, I don’t mind at all! The human mind works in funny ways. 🙂

  49. Loni Townsend

    May 4, 2017 at 18:16

    Wow. Sounds like a tough and trying, yet very rewarding and fulfilling life you’ve had. Best of luck with your memoir!

  50. It’s cool that you can view far off places in an instant, though. Live, in many instances.

    • The internet works as a time and destination travel machine! 🙂 It’s great to have a glimpse or research a few things, but the real experience – with all senses – comes from immersion. Seeing all these places online makes me want to go there in person. 🙂

  51. How lucky you are to have traveled so much. Such lovely pictures and places!

  52. Like you Liesbet I am not keen on research. I have never considered a memoir or a book as I just don’t think I have the stamina for it. I applaud you for jumping in and bringing your amazing adventures to print. I very much look forward to reading it in the future. xo

    • Oooh. Thank yo so much for your kind and encouraging words, Sue. I hope I won’t disappoint if and when this memoir business is finally finished. By the looks of my non=existent progress these weeks and an exciting turn of events, it might take even longer than I thought… It is truly all about priorities and right now, that is our stay at my elderly in-laws and our upcoming visit to Belgium. Sigh!

  53. Liesbet, it is good to hear that you are making such great progress on the first draft of your memoir. A writer friend of mine defines “a writer” as follows: “A writer writes.” And you are doing that, which is so much better than thinking about writing but not writing (which is what I am doing right now).

    Good luck on your road test!

    Jude

    • Thanks, Jude. You luck wishing helped. I passed on Monday! Now, I hope the license actually gets here, before Mark and I leave the East Coast again. I do love writing and I write every day, even if it is just in my diary, like these extremely busy days, so that is a good sign. Becoming a good and accomplished published writer, therein lies the problem! 🙂

  54. I love all the pics, especially The Precipice Trail, Maine… and The Catlins, New Zealand.
    Hope the memoir is taking shape, Liesbet. 🙂

    • The coast of Maine and of the South Island in New Zealand have a lot of similarities. It appears that we are still drawn by the water. 🙂 Thanks for swinging by, Michelle.

  55. I should be following the IWSG, I follow Damyanti, so I see the questions, but I have stopped taking on new Follows as I cannot keep up with them and want to get back to writing my next novel! Good luck with your research… that’s the bit that I love. Like you, though, I make things happen by saying that I am going to do them… then I have to.

    • That seems to be a struggle for many of us, Hilary… The social media interactions take up so much time. I feel the only way to concentrate and work on my memoir is to shut off all else “internet”, at least during certain times of the day. Facebook is distracting and I am already doing well ignoring it, apart from early mornings and late evenings. I do not want to dive in anything else social media related yet. And, I managed to reduce my blogs from three posts a week to one (or so) post a week. Hosting the IWSG was extremely time consuming, but fun. I”m almost caught up with everything I want to read and comment to. My next commitments have to do with family, friends, helping out everywhere and doctors appointments, but, at the end of June, I should be back in business with a regular schedule, including lots of writing I hope. No wonder this memoir is starting to drag on! 🙂 Good luck and good fun with your next novel!!

  56. You have so many of the pieces that make for great memoir. You lead an interesting life that you are reflective and introspective about, and you love to write. There does need to be some research in memoir but, as you say, much of it is of the fact-checking variety. If you need to do more research than that, feel free to let me know. I love to research and would be happy to help out.
    Kudos for following your desire and deciding to do the work of writing memoir. You don’t need to be either famous nor traumatized in order to attract a large and grateful audience. You can do this!

    • Thanks for the encouraging words, Karen. I hope you are right about the audience… We will have to see about that. 🙂 It looks like I have all the “tools” for this memoir, but the writing background and talent to make an attractive and coherent end-product are (still) missing. I will keep trying, though. And, if I need a hand, I’ll let you know. Thank you for the offer.

  57. Liesbet–I don’t really listen to advice because when it comes down to it, I’m the one who’s going to live with the consequences–good or bad. Sometimes I fly by the seat of my pants and just go with it. For travel, however, I/we always plan ahead just so that we cover all the things we want to see or do, but taking that fork in the road has given us some great memories.

    Memoirs? I do keep a journal also with receipts or ticket stubs. Occasionally I paint a la plein air the memory.

    As far as projects, I have a long list. Every morning, unless it’s planned hike or kayak trip, I’m up early and pick which project I will work on that day.

    I admire your zest for life!

    • It sounds like your retirement is all but dull! Being out in nature is so nice.

      When we travel, it is sometimes a toss-up. I always make a list of places I’d like to visit, but I know ahead of time that half of them will remain undiscovered and, after tiring days, I might not get too mad anymore that we won’t get to do everything, since my body needs a rest. 🙂 The older I get, the less anxious I become to run around and see “all”.

      I have been keeping ticket stubs, maps and memorabilia from my previous trips, to add to photo albums. Not sure how much longer I can hold on to all of that, since those photo albums are so far down the list of things-to-do, that I probably won’t get to them until retirement! When I go “home” to Belgium next week, I am planning on throwing out all the books of stubs, receipts and such I collected during my teenage years. Too much stuff for my parents to store…

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