Whoop whoop! I am about to begin the next stage of my adventure.
In less that a week I shall be jetting off to Peru. The plan (Plan A of probably several) is to spend three nights exploring the capital Lima before heading up the coast to the second/third largest city that is Trujillo.
I have been warned to watch out for and avoid the hoards of pickpockets and bag snatchers who will be waiting for me in the arrivals hall, I have totally confused myself about which cab, bus or colectivo is the safest way to travel to my hostel and, oh dear, that reminds me, I don’t have a hostel booked yet either.
When I wake up in a cold sweat at three am I have to remember that I negotiated Havana by myself, and I call up images on Google to remind myself that Lima is quite the cosmopolitan city, not some Dickensian slum, albeit with a tendency for gatherings of riot police. I have decided to stop reading the guide books for now and just see for myself.
I have spent the last five weeks catching up with friends and family, sorting out mundane yet vital things such as backpackers insurance and I have had a lost filling replaced at the dentist. There are still a myriad of jobs to complete before I depart but I am not quite so stressed about them now.
I shall be spending my first three months in Peru working as a volunteer for an NGO (non-governmental organisation/charity), and then after that: who knows! Plan A (still) is to visit Machu Picchu, go see Lake Titicaca (that one is for my mum) and then explore South America whilst blogging and hopefully picking up travel writing commissions.
I need to write. I can’t think of any worst punishment that not being allowed to write, other than not being permitted to read. In my old life I had written sixty thousand words towards my novel and countless short stories and articles, most of which were shoved in the back of a drawer but since I have started out on my journey with Scarlet, I have become more focused.
Last weekend I accompanied my friend – herself a published author – to the Festival of Romance Book Festival. We stayed at a great Bed & Breakfast with a lovely host who cooked possibly the best full English that I have ever had in the Bedford Park Hotel, and I had some time to explore the market town of Bedford. I have never written romance in my life, but I was totally blown away by the people that I met and the camaraderie and support amongst the group of writers and readers. There was nobody at the event who underestimated the dedication and hard slog that it takes to get your words out there. After the awards ceremony I met some of the winners of the new talent awards who are about to realise their dreams and who have been awarded publishing deals. I saw agents and publishers supporting their prodigies and engaged with the whole host of writers who were networking and supporting each other. People described themselves in various ways; authors, writers, hybrid authors, self-published, bloggers or readers, to name just a few titles which were bandied around. When I talked to people I struggled to describe myself as I am just setting out on this journey, but then somebody else summed it up perfectly.
She described herself as a ‘new writer – not yet published’ – a description which I am more than happy to adopt. And I blog – therefore I am a blogger.
I shall go to Peru and I shall raise the profile of my alter-ego Scarlet Jones by reinstating my Twitter and Facebook sites. Attending the Festival has given me a timely nudge and it has reminded me why I resigned from my job, gave up my flat and left my life as I knew it
South American posts will take priority and I will update them frequently, sliding my European Adventure posts in amongst them.
So bear with me whilst I rebuild and launch Scarlet’s public face.
I am a new writer, not yet published and a travel blogger just setting out on the journey of a lifetime