Travel as Gateway to New Worlds by Janine Donoho

We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment. – Hilaire Belloc

Egyptian passageway

Egyptian passageway

Doorways, windows, and gates always feel like a call to adventure. This proves especially true while taking in the view in Peloponnesian Greece while pivoting

Bronze age bath

Bronze age bath

around in Agamemnon’s ruined bath chamber. Experience delicious shivers when you remember that this is the scene of ancient crime. Upon Agamemnon’s return from the Trojan Wars, his wife Clytemnestra killed him to be with her lover Aegisthus. Then Orestes, her and Agamemnon’s son, murdered his mother in revenge before going mad with guilt.

History’s rampant with rape, murder, incest, and treachery—the substance of legend, myth, and story. Discoveries arise when you take a much needed break on

Anatolian burial site

Anatolian burial site

an Anatolian burial platform outside Pemukkale, Turkey. Or as you stand outside one of Malaysia’s ornate gates, where invented stories feed into your creativity about who lives behind them.

In Northern Africa I learned the phrase, “Your mother would be ashamed,” after inescapable brushes with roving gangs of

Valley of the Kings

Valley of the Kings

menacing boys. For those interested, it’s سيسبب عملك هذا الخزي لأمك! Sadly the pronunciation has moved beyond recall. My rendition usually garnered laughter while temporarily redirecting hooligans from tormenting innocent animals. Useful, huh?

Travel feeds spirit, imagination, and stretches your world view. You bump up against cultures and languages that expand your horizon exponentially. You gain language skills, especially polite ones, although I confess to a joy in adding foreign invectives to my vocabulary, too.

Portal to ancient Egypt

Portal to ancient Egypt

Welcome to another view of travels with moi. Enjoy and allow me to wish you joy in your journeys, too.

How have language skills expanded your travel? What do you wish you knew then that you know now?

Beautiful door & man

Beautiful door & man

Doorways

Doorways

Cattail gate

Cattail gate

More beautiful doors - Morocco

More beautiful doors – Morocco

Red gate Kuala Lumpur

Red gate Kuala Lumpur

Egyptian passageways

Egyptian passageways

Passageways: Breaking through to the other side by Janine Donoho

Snow gateWhile hiking in the snow today, a freestanding gate materialized from the mist. Not intended to protect livestock, this was another silly human attempt to restrict access. It clamored “mine, mine, mine” even as deer, coyote, and bobcat prints infringed on its periphery. My response? Gateways offer a way in—a transition between this side and the other. In other words, a call to adventure.Alhambra

EgyptWritten transitions elicit the same sense of excitement for me. No, I’m not talking about those boring, yet necessary, expressions that unify your opus via “and, whereas, because, yet, immediately…” Yawn. I’m more interested in the movement between one action and the next, which eventually develops as conflict, plot, and story arc. Those, I want to be dynamic, elegant, and somewhat imperceptible.

Now back to corporeal entryways. During international journeys, each culture’s approach to either invitation or deterrent fed my curiosity. Thus I’ve filled albums, both virtual and concrete, with photos of portals between one space and another. What insights I’ve gained animate my writing.Malaysian gate 17

Essaouira, MoroccoSo enjoy this visual of portals. May they rouse your inquisitiveness and make you want to explore what’s on the other side. Our efforts as storytellers aspire to invite readers in, after all, and travels to the other side can enrich that experience.GatesMoroccan doorCasablanca

Gates by Janine M. Donoho

Ornate with Chinese influence
Often gates are physical barriers.  Gates and attached fences serve as devices to exclude, imprison, warn off, intimidate and stake claims… Well, you get the idea. Sometimes they act as invitations. Either way, gates serve as transitions into other spaces. For me, gates impose the ultimate shift between what we know and the extravagant unknown.

Does ‘Keep Out’ come to mind?
Opening gates, whether physical or figurative, allows you to move between one side and the other. Nowhere did this become as concrete as in Malaysia. There you’d often find a gate attached to a wall, then be faced with electronic entry. Often a sentry reinforced the barrier. If you happened to be in a condominium, separate gates guarded each personal vestibule and multiple locks protected final doors. Within a single family home, internal rooms might be defended by separate bolted doors in case of a break-in. Really.

Huge estate with serious gate
This proved remarkable to someone living on a mostly natural 20 acres. We’re surrounded by Ponderosa forest and sagebrush steppe. Since this is cattle country interspersed with open range, barbed wire makes a strenuous argument for staying on your side of the fence, too. With fondness I recall wooden ladders over harsh obstacles. Not here, though.

Wooden gate over
barbed wire
The most obvious local gate equates with a cattle guard. Yes, some locals bar their driveways for purely exclusionary reasons. Such practice and attitude gives me misgivings. However, I’m not pure. Main gateways into the ranch can also impede seasonal hunters, allowing us to live lightly on this wildlife refuge.

Metaphorical gateways cluster around events like birth, illness and death. Social ones include graduations, weddings, and religious ceremonies. These events elicit wide ranges of emotional responses.

I find myself at just such a  juncture now, poised between do-I-stay or do-I-go. To progress toward that answer with me, I invite you to meet me here again for GATEKEEPERS.

Soundings, Water Elemental

LaunchFebruary 27th, 2015
The big day is here.

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