Writing Journey

Travel & Write

I love traveling – most of my friends, and even some of you, know that. I actually make it a priority to travel at least once a year. And because I’m not living in luxury – despite few assuming so, due to my escapades – I save as much as I can every month to make travel possible. It has become a ‘need’ in my life. But why?

There is, of course, the reason of ‘taking a break and seeing the world’. That’s the best reason anyone can give. It’s also a very legit one. But aside from that, I’ve found another reason to travel: inspiration. Traveling has inspired my writing. In fact, it has made me a better writer. Flights of fantasy frame a tale, but an experience gives it life. I endeavour to travel because I believe it gives my stories life – it makes them real. But how so, you ask?

#1 Cultural Understanding

Whenever I hop on a plane, I subject myself to a culture unlike my own. There’s a whole new way of doing things in a foreign land – a new mindset, upbringing, and belief. This unfamiliarity is the perfect opportunity to broaden my perception of the world. It corrects my former notions, and opens my mind to different possibilities. This understanding helps in my writing, especially when trying to break from a mold.

Often times, we box our characters in an ideal world – a world with a common set of cultures and beliefs. We do so because it’s safe – it’s what we know. But by experiencing other cultures in the real world, we gain a new understanding. Through the diversity, we’re able to sculpt a story from a fresh perspective. And by infusing the variety of life, we make our stories relate-able. Such stories live beyond the final page.

#2 Sight Beyond The Picture

There’s a difference between seeing a picture of an icy mountain peak and actually seeing it in person. There’s a set of emotions that come from sight beyond a picture. When you stand before a colossal work of nature, you’ll find yourself lost for words – awed at its magnificence. But when you look at a picture, you only feel a pinch of that emotion. You cannot grasps its magnitude and beauty, and your imagination will have to fill in those gaps.

When you’ve seen something in reality, your capacity to describe becomes far greater. The hustle and bustle, of a crowded street, is easier written when you’ve been jostled by the swarm of bodies. Compare that to a snapshot of Shibuya crossing, you can only imagine being sardined. Writing through an experience will leave a sense of reality with your reader. But to paint a real picture for them, you have to see its reality for yourself.

#3 Play Of Emotions

How important are emotions? Very. A writer needs to feel, before a reader can do so. But how can you feel anxious, overjoyed, fearful, and excited in writing, if you’ve not felt it in reality? There are many emotions aside from the common, everyday Inside Out posse. To know what it feels to be truly lost, is to be truly lost. To know what it feels to be wonder-struck, is to be truly wonder-struck. To know what it feels to be… you get my drift.

Traveling gives you the opportunity to experience and play with emotions you normally don’t. It helps you grasps the true meaning of a word. It helps you explain it in words, drawing from your very own encounters. Invoking emotion in a reader requires an author who knows that emotion inside out. And the only way to know an emotion is to feel it.

I know I’ve sold traveling as if it’s the best thing a writer can do. I also know that traveling may not be a luxury for some, while it may not be a priority to others. Whatever it is, I want to encourage you to see the world. You don’t have to board a plane to do so – you just need to try something new. Explore a part of your city you’ve not traversed. Try exotic dishes at a foreign restaurant. Befriend somebody from another country. Go out and experience the world first hand. Trust me, it’ll make a whole lot of difference in your writing – this, coming from a wanderlusting author.

Original Works

The Puppeteer

The PuppeteerI can’t really recall the day I first met him. I was probably too young to understand what he was at that time. What does he do? Why was he with me? He was something I could not comprehend, and he was also something I could not discard. Since I came into the world, he has been by my side. He was a gift and he was a great gift at first. He acted as a companion and became an extension of who I was. He followed me to school, to the park, and he slept not too far from me. But as the years went by, things began to change.

There is something dark and sinister about him. I did not realize it when I was younger, but when I started to understand how he worked, I saw his true nature. What was once a docile being now took on the character of a madman. One day he would wear a smile, and the next day he would wear a frown. I did nothing to trigger him, yet he somehow managed to come alive. He … became alive.

At first I thought it was merely my imagination. How could something I had control over become independent? He was an extension of me, and if the life he had was coming from me, I should be able to stop him … right? I was wrong. The day I realized I was wrong was the day I realized that I was no longer in control. He had taken over and the roles had switched.

Those who I’ve found some form of comfort in told me to separate myself from him. But what they do not understand is that I cannot run from him. He is a part of me and I cannot remove him no matter how hard I try. We were put together since birth and we will not separate till death… and that thought haunts me. With no solution to this nightmare, all I can do now is wonder.

Some nights, I would ask myself why I let him take over, and on those nights I find no answer. It is not because of denial, but it’s because he is always there to stop me. He would watch me as I lie in my bed, staring at me with those big, round eyes. He never says a word and that makes it even more terrifying. Other nights, he would sit next to me and stroke my arms as he whispers in my ears. His words are never clear but they always send shivers down my spine.

Day was always better than night, though. I would wake up with the lack of sleep knowing the sun would protect me because in the presence of others, I feel the safest. Even though he is with me, he cannot do anything to me when there are people around. But sometimes, he would still find a way to torture me with his evil glares and sinister smirks. I do not know what I’ve done to make him treat me this way, and I wish I knew.

To be honest, not everyday is a hell on earth. There are days where he still brings joy to my life. I know I sound crazy saying that, but it’s true. On the good nights, I would hear him walking outside my four walls and humming a sweet melody. He would peek his head into my room and wish me a goodnight, but he never comes in to taunt me or watch me sleep. On the good days, he would hold my hand and whisper encouraging words to me. He would even listen to me and know exactly what will cheer me up. But that only happens on the good days.

These days, the good days have become scarce. I don’t even know if there would be any good days left after this week. He has not been very happy recently and he has been tormenting me. I wish there were more good days or at least enough to balance the bad days, but I don’t know how to bring them back. Maybe if I regain control over him, I could make everyday a good day… but how? How do I switch the roles back to what they once were? Shouldn’t it be simple? It is simple, isn’t it? Please tell me it is.

I hate what this life has become. I hate not knowing what tomorrow would bring, and I hate being so afraid. Afraid he might sneak into my room one night and end my life, afraid that he might threaten me into doing things I do not want to do, and afraid he might hurt those I love; my family and friends sitting on the shelf, watching the agony I have to endure. I’m just afraid.

Fear is all I feel these days and fear is all I have. Fear… fear of the puppeteer.


This story is my metaphor of emotions. Emotions are an extension of us, they bring us joy and they bring us pain. But are we in control of them? Do we have control over our emotions or do our emotions control us? Do our emotions tell us what to think and what to do? Or do we keep our emotions in check and not let it take over?

Sometimes, we have the tendency to let our emotions control our actions, and there’s no harm if those emotions are good emotions. But if the emotions we allow to take control are anger, pain, and even guilt, our actions might end up being something we regret. Never fear your emotions and never give it power over you. Your emotions are an extension of who you are, and not the other way around.

I hope this story was pretty entertaining 🙂 Do let me know what you think of it in the comments below!

© 2014 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)