The Daily Post: In Transit

I get very anxious when traveling – be it by automobile, train or plane. I want to plan it out to the Nth degree, control as much as possible so that in the event something goes wrong – and in my experience something goes “wrong” almost every single time – I know that I’ve done everything I can to make the trip easy and not at all confusing.

If you add in to that the anxiety I get when having to go a plane – you would be absolutely amazed to find that overall I greatly enjoy traveling. Since I’ve overplanned (yes that’s possible) and arrived about two hours earlier than I need to – just ask my husband, if the plane leaves at 6, we need to be there at 4, I want to be there at 2…

Where was I?

Oh, yes. So since I’m at the train station or plane station long before I need to actually be there I have a lot of time to kill. Best time in the world for a writer if you ask me. I get to sit and just watch the people go by. There’s a story in each face, in each hug, in each tear shed and smile given. I can’t help but guess what the story is – allow my imagination to run away with me and create an entire life for this complete stranger that has just run past me.

I can watch the families interact or the single traveler get immersed in the book in their lap. I relate to the obviously stressed and panicked faces while being enthralled by the relaxed “we do this all the time” children who are phased by the loud noises, running or yelling people. If I’m ever at a loss for a character and how they would react in a situation I think of what they would be like at a train station or an airport.

I picture them there and what they would have with them – be it an awesome rolling suitcase or a bring pink carry-on bag. I imagine if they would be frazzled or calm, anxious or excited. Placing my character in this situation – one they may or may not ever actually experience in the world I’ve created for them – becomes very helpful in seeing how they would react in the situation I have written for them. It helps me be able to better visualize this person I’ve created in my head  and bring them into reality.

So despite my own anxiety about taking the bus to New Jersey for the first time at the end of this month (I’ve always gone by train – but the deal was just too good to pass up!) I’m also looking forward to it. It’s an entirely different group of people I can watch and study and look for that next character!