We’re well into summer now, so I’ve got a summery, inspirational travel-writer for you, in the form of Rosie Bell, to get you in the mood for all those days spent outside, or getting away on holiday. Her book is the ideal companion to read while you’re relaxing, to remind you of what’s most important in your life. She’s here to tell us about her writing process, and what things have inspired her along the way.
About the author
Rosie Bell is an international travel writer, editor and author. She has penned articles for Forbes Travel Guide, World Nomads and a legion of global publications, exposing her unashamed lust for travel one story at a time. Combining a background in psychology and communication with a career darting from country to country, she remains fascinated by the human condition and simple, inspirational ways to garnish it with love.
Describe your ideal writing atmosphere.
The beauty of being a writer is that one may work wherever the heart desires. I tend to find renewed inspiration in the bustle and grind of a coffee shop, and the inviting aroma of the coffee grounds (though I can’t stomach the taste). Locating myself in a warm coffee shop brings out my inner poet, and is one of my favoured places to people watch. The beach is also a bit of an enigma for me; it draws beautiful ideas out of my mind unlike any other locale.
How long have you been writing and what inspired you to start?
Being a writer was actually my infantile fantasy. I was however sternly advised against this as it was not a “real” career that involved set hours and an office – I would never be able to be vice-president writer or CEO of writing escapades. I was nudged towards more professional careers but found my way back to my first love through a series of career fumble
Describe your writing style.
Wistful and dreamy with a dollop of sarcasm thrown in for good measure.
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison
What kind of story that hasn’t been written yet do you want to read?
A firsthand account from Wallis Simpson. Her autobiography would be quite a riveting read as one of history’s most vilified female renegades. I’d love to know her take on being the woman that caused a man that powerful to renounce an entire kingdom.
After I wrote this I did some digging and realised that this book does exist, I guess now I can read it after all.
Name any authors or books that have had an impact on your writing.
I refer to the works of Robert Holden and Roger Housden extensively in Escape to self. Before I went travelling a few years back, I bought Housden’s Seven Sins for a Life Worth Living. It caught my eye due to one of its chapters called “The pleasure of doing nothing useful”. I felt I needed this because I never knew how to do nothing in my chronically busy life in London. Loveability by Roger Housden is also a very inspiring read due to his eloquent celebration of all things self-love.
Describe the moment you truly felt like an author.
Shortly after publishing my book Escape to Self, a friend quoted a line from it during one of our discussions. That was really surreal and I spent the hours that followed just pinching myself.
What book by another author do you wish you’d written?
Dare I say it, but it would probably be Eat Pray Love. While I know this Elizabeth Gilbert offering invited mounds of vitriol, I love it because of the impact it had on inspiring a generation. It weaves in travel (my favourite pastime) with love, questions about the human condition, and the search for meaning and happiness; topics which are of use to everyone and anyone.
What is the best thing about writing/being a writer?
The freedom to redefine yourself with each word, the joy of educating with each sentence and the power to inspire with each story.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
There is someone out there that is waiting to be moved by your brilliance. Your stories are better placed in the public library where others can read and relish them.
Tell the story behind your latest book, why did you write it?
After a debilitating heartbreak, I embarked on an adventure into the Central American tropics to be at one with my thoughts and fall in love with the world again. Amidst a backdrop of cloud forests and azure waters, I questioned my “real life” back home and started to contemplate what I needed out of life. I was plagued by the sentiment that my life was not my own; stuck somehow living in pause, waiting for something to happen, anything. My negative experiences energised my desire to find a way out. I have committed that journey of self-discovery to print, the result of that being Escape to Self. The book is a love letter written by the heart to the mind. It stands to provide words and chapters for others to lean on as they embrace their own truths so their suffering may not last as long as mine did.
Most inspiring quote?
“To love and be loved is to feel the sun on both sides”- David Viscott
Which author (living or dead) would you like to have dinner with?
I would love a tête-à-tête with Jules Verne. My next offering, a novel, draws much inspiration from Around the World in Eighty Days. He could speak to me about untamed adventure and the Herminie complex which was tacitly evident in his work.
If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?
I would resurrect Emma from David Nicholls’ One Day and urge her to refrain from riding her bike around town.
How do you beat writers block?
With the risk of invoking the wrath of every writer to ever exist, I don’t actually suffer from writers block. I have an obsessive habit of writing down things as soon as they pop into my head and I keep a stock of words, phrases and topics so whenever I have an assignment or area I would like to explore; I just dig in to my treasure trove.
Give yourself some writing advice.
Forget about what the reader will say, any counterarguments and just let your pen flow.
What are your plans for the future? What writing projects are you currently working on?
I started writing Escape to Self three years ago and I will certainly take some time off to bask in the joy of fulfilling the dream of getting it to print. For my next book I shall veer into romance novel territory. I am also working on Club Elsewhere, an online travel mag to inspire and connect people through compelling storytelling courtesy of the writers, thinkers and venturers of the world.
Escape to Self is an ode to personal freedom that provides words and chapters for you to lean on as you embrace your own truth and pinpoint what it takes for you to feel proud of and take pleasure in your life. It is an invitation to realise, accept and pursue your desires so you may escape to a life that’s truly yours, free of social expectation or conformity. It is a prime read for anyone who longs to define their own life, doing away with traditional roles and what we are “supposed to” be striving for. It seeks to demonstrate that there very much is a box of collective desires, and that living within it is not where we are best situated.