-by Albert Berkshire
There are days that should never end. The days where all your crazy notions come to light. The days when you not only realize where you want to go, but accept where it is you should be. Those are the days you just want the car to keep moving.
Credit card. Phone. Passport. Clean underwear. Everything you need to make a run for it.
Just. Keep. Driving.
I’ve calculated that if I drank enough coffee, I could be in Belize in four days. Belize would be a welcome change. Warm ocean breezes, atolls, sand, rolling waves and snorkelling. No calls. No stress. No worries…mawn.
Just time to write.
It wasn’t too long ago that a 15 hour drive in a day was anything of a challenge. In 1998, whilst moving to a new city for a new job, I succeeded in traveling from Toronto to Thunder Bay in 15 hours. The girl was much further away, but I was where I was supposed to be at the 15 hours mark and like any young pup dreaming of the corporate ladder climb, I pulled over, dropped my bags and settled in for the long, long, LONG Northern Ontario winter.
I think it’s still winter there.
My old joke, which falls on now annoyed ears in my house, “I lived in Thunder Bay for 18 months. It was the longest five years of my life!” is, to this day, the most accurate explanation of my time in that town. We didn’t work out, me and Thunder Bay. Too humid in summer, to cold in winter. It was like Toronto on a menstrual cycle. Bloody angry.
That brings me back to the drive to Belize. The need to escape is sometimes so overwhelming that the idea of just going for it becomes all you can think about. And recently, it’s been the ideas that a) there are easily accessed internet connections in Belize; b) I could easily ignore all forms of electronic communication; and c) the freedom to just write would be waiting for me there on the beach, have all conveniently emerged in my mind as a reality not too far off from the one I’ve been seeking for several years.
The freedom to just write when I have to write. Not when I want, or feel I can, but when I have to write.
The latter is easily explained.
Sometimes things get in your head, and if you don’t get them on paper, on a screen, or recorded onto a device, you’ll lose it forever. And there it little more frustrating to a writer than forgetting what you wanted to write about. Because it was brilliant! The not so brilliant part of it is calling your other writer friends and asking, “You know that idea I had last night at dinner, when we were drunk. Do you remember what I was going to write about?”
First let’s acknowledge that our writer friends are not going to help us. No one likes competition that much. And secondly…well, see point number one. That’s pretty much it. You’re on your own, freinemy.
So what do you do?
You drive. Because those times spent in a car give you so much to think about. So much to remember. So much to hold on to until the next time. And in a 63 hour drive, you can dream up a lot of material. Belize…it’s so much more than a tropical destination teasing me with a story and the freedom to write it. It’s where my mind drives when I just want to keep driving.
It’s simply amazing…right up until I see my exit.
Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer, voice actor…storyteller. He is regrettably guilty of never taking time to write when he has to write. A good drive might just solve that dilemma. He just hopes to avoid exits next time. For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire.