By Pamela Trevisan

Human beings are creatures of habit; we are comfortable with the familiar. Going to the same grocery store, having your friends/family close, and knowing where to pick up your medication makes us feel safe. This creates a web of what is known and what can be attained, often easily. We grow into these shells of comfort and make a home there. Our subconscious falls into a complacency bias through this comfort, welcoming in the information that can relax us rather than seeking out information that can change how we think. Change is how we transform, by leaving our regular routine, the mind is forced to expand and make sense of new boundaries.

 If you write in the same place, you will often write what you know and your writer’s voice will swim in the same pool of ideas, but traveling to a distant place takes you to a whole new sphere of experience. All the grocery stores are foreign and if you travel alone, your family and friends aren’t quickly available to help. Left to your own devices in a strange, new place, you’re forced to discover your own resourcefulness and yet your writerly voice is still with you and often the change in environment can make you hear it more clearly.

 Traveling has aided my own writing; each time I go somewhere new, I learn more about myself and the world. This past summer, I went to Norway and witnessed a completely different movement of life. The guys wore denim shorts and  sunglasses meant for professional skiers, although they might have been ( there were many athletes—or at least people with athletic builds—on the street). Mountains and fjords surrounded me and that unlocked a new setting that I could write from, a change of my usual scenery like adding another layer to the senses. Thrown into this different culture I was bound to follow in the current of a Norwegian society, while still being tuned into how I operate.

As the green capital of Europe, Norway is a leader in the practices of climate sustainability. Their trash gets recycled into heat and manure for crops, 99% of the cars are electric, and most buildings are carbon neutral. In America, we are not as far in thought and practice with how to preserve our environment.  Through the conditioning of my own culture and upbringing, my formed perceptions receive the friction to the change that gets observed. A new truth gets presented that brings up the questioning of what really is the truth. That’s the beauty of travel, expanding the mind and breaching at the tip of a boundary you never once thought to walk up to.

 Writing appears as an anchor when I travel, something familiar that holds who I am in a stable place, something I can return to whenever. We get to see how small we are in the grand scheme of things, and how there are so many moving parts that orchestrate this existence. Writing from place opens up a new terrain that brings the reader in, through an immersive experience. It’s the visual detail, the context, and what the “I” is experiencing when they step out on the street. More than the flowers that grow from the trees or what the “I” is wearing, writing in a new place brings the reader to new emotions, feeling with the “I” with all their anxiety or praise for the world.

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