It’s been months since my last post, mostly because I’m working on another book, this one about the ever fascinating topic of psychedelic drugs. And speaking of unforgettable trips, a travel piece I wrote a year ago about spending Christmas in Spain just ran in the Post travel section. Since it had a seasonal theme, they had to hold it for 11 months. That set up an interesting scenario. When I read it online today, enough time had passed so I barely remembered writing it, which allowed me to read it as a reader, rather than an author. As I read, I wasn’t sure what was going to come next. I was capable of being surprised by a turn of phrase, to get an overall sense of personality that was myself, but not quite myself — like looking at an old photo in which your hairstyle was slightly different, your features just discernibly younger and the shirt you’re wearing is not one you ever remember having.
It’s the second travel piece I’ve written for the Post. The first — actually the second, but it ran first — was on a kayak trip to the Everglades. Both of them were a pleasure to work on, which is a rare thing for me to say about any piece of writing. I think it is because trips are always natural narratives with two destinations — one the literal, the other psychological. As you work out the writing, you discover the hidden meaning of the voyage, and the sometimes surprising psychic path you traveled to arrive there.