The writing trip
 

“I’ve got nothing anymore. Totally dry, no ideas, no storm of dialogue in my head, nothing.” Talia was in tears. Edward gave her a cup of coffee and handed her the box of tissues.
“Maybe it’s just a phase. Take some time off, read some books, go on a vacation. I’m sure it isn’t gone forever,” he waited for her to blow her nose, “It’s like a muscle, you just sprained it. Give it some rest.” Edward wasn’t sure it would actually help but he wanted to try everything to get her to stop crying. So far, it looked like it was working.
“I hope you’re right about this. I have tried everything to get it going again but so far nothing. It’s worth a try. I could take some time off work, I still have four weeks of free time to withdraw. Thanks for the idea, Edward.” 

When Talia got home she started to look where she would go. She had enough savings to actually go on a large vacation. With a list of essential places to visit in Europe, Talia set to work. It had cost her all weekend but she had a trip to look forward too. Taking time off work was easy, now it was waiting for her departure date. She called Edward with the good news.
“I took your advice and I’m going on a trip around Europe!” Even though the occasion was bad, she was excited.
“On your own? How brave!” Edward was genuinely surprised, “So you’ll be gone for four weeks?”
“Five, actually. It turns out I had a lot of free time left! I’ve already started packing and preparing everything. Will you drive me to the airport?”
“Of course I will drive you! But where will you be going?”
“I’ve got a ‘ten essential places in Europe’-list. A city, a nature park, an island. Something of everything. If this doesn’t get the writing juices flowing, nothing will.” Talia was determined it would work. 

The day of departure came and a couple of hours later she had arrived in the beautiful region of Tuscany. With a glass of wine on a terrace, with the beautiful hills in front of her. She was in an orchard, and could pick an orange from right above her head. With pen and paper in front of her, Talia tried to think of a story. Two hours later she had taken many photographs, but not had a single idea. After four days in Italy,  still not a single idea. On to the next.  

Place number two and three struck out as well. Talia now had hundreds of photo’s, but not one story. Not even a single word. She had no luck in the city either, better yet, she was happy to leave there. Too busy, too hastily and crowded. Number five was a beautiful place, but no inspiration had come to her. By now she felt somewhat better, Edward had been right about her being stressed and needing the time off. She was still depressed about not being able to write, but by the looks of it, it wasn’t getting any better soon. 

Five, six and seven were nice. That was about all she could say. She was happy she visited it, but if she had never done, not much had been lost. Talia had made hundreds of notes about recipes and meals, and was now thinking to make a photo annexe recipe book. She had made daily diary entries about her travels, making sure she would remember then in ten years. Travelling alone wasn’t so bad as she had always pictured it, and that made even Edward happy, even though he was still at home. Still no stories though. Talia tried not to think about it, but it got harder with the day.  

At stop eight she was sure something was brewing in the back of her head but it never came out. She was now working on the photo/recipe book to keep her mind occupied but Talia lacked real concentration. She had two chances left by the time she reached her penultimate place. She could make some spectacular photos in the abandoned places, but it didn’t make her writing juices flow. Realising her five weeks were almost over, Talia started to panic. What if her writing talent would never return? What would she do with her life then? The office where she was working was nice, but not something she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She steadied herself, “no panicking yet, not until I have reached my last destination”. 

The moment Talia landed and drove out into the country, she felt at home there. Beautiful, rugged nature, not as hot as the Mediterranean countries and really nice people. She had a blast touring through the lands, made hundreds of photos, but still no ideas. She had five days to spend there, by the second day she was fed up. It was raining and the wind was howling outside of her cottage. Talia made a big cup of coffee, grabbed her pen and paper and climbed into the bay window. Outside, the trees were blown in all directions, the water of the lake was foamy white and the sky was all kinds of grey. It was beautiful, it was soothing and it was spectacular. Sitting in that bay window, Talia saw all four seasons pass her by and without noticing, had written four poems.  

Talia never left that bay window, only to get more coffee or something to eat. By the time it had become too dark to look outside, she had written a dozen poems and three short stories. And she had an idea for a novel she could work on. The next morning the weather had improved and Talia walked to the lakefront. She felt calm, at ease, home. Right then and there she decided to call Edward. Only thinking about her real home made her muscles freeze up again, so she knew she had made the right decision.
“Edward, I have written twelve poems and three short stories yesterday. I even have an idea for a novel I’m currently plotting. You were right, I haven’t lost it!”
“What wonderful news, Talia! I’m so happy for you! So now you can return with a positive note?” He was genuinely happy for her, that made her scared for his reaction.
“Yeah, about that. I’ve got some other news as well. I will be coming back, but not for long. I’m going to live here, Edward.” The line fell silent.
“What do you mean exactly?” he asked, I heard a tremble in his voice.
“I feel at home here. I have never felt more at home. I have made up my mind. If I want to have a writing career, I have to take the plunge. It’s now or never.” Now my voice was trembling.
“But I’ll lose you…” He was on the brink of tears.
“I know, but it’s either losing you, while you can visit me, or losing my ability to write. If I lose that, I’d rather be dead.”