I’m driving along a country road. The weather is unusually fine. I pass open fields, the odd village, a loch on the left. Hold on. There are no lochs in Ontario. Lots of lakes, yes but nary a loch. Oh, sorry. I forgot to mention that I’ve been in Scotland all morning. Just outside Inverness, to be precise. Oh, look at the time…I have to get back to Toronto soon because my kids will be home from school any minute…
Has the Wee Banshee perfected time travel? If only. Truth be told, she is carrying on an obsessive affair with a certain someone. Meet The Other Man. Call him Google Man, LYM (Little Yellow Man), whatever you like. I run away with him as often as I can, have been doing so for some time. You might be shocked to know that my own husband introduced us…it’s so often that way…
Before Google’s Little Yellow Man entered my life, I traveled only occasionally. Now, I am on the go every day. Before our trip to Europe last summer, LYM and I journeyed all over Italy (how I knew the Amalfi Drive would cause me to have a nervous breakdown). I drove that cliff road long before we ever got to Italy. I’ve driven the narrow streets of old Athens and the shady lanes leading up to Pompeii. Just out of curiosity, I popped over to Stockholm while reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I’m in London just about every other day because The Novel is partially set there.
I’d been to London before, for real. However, when I wanted two characters to meet in a coffee shop near the Green Park tube station, LYM and I took a little tour so I could describe it accurately. LYM has taken me down roads in the Highlands without me going into cardiac arrest every time a car approaches like I did when I was actually driving there. Driving with LYM is safe, leisurely, and informative.
In short, I’m in love. I am now officially a Laptop Gypsy.
LYM has opened roads to me that I couldn’t possibly travel down otherwise. I have no funds to travel to Great Britain to cruise the roads between London and Inverness. I couldn’t leave my children for weeks on end while I nose around the Scottish Highlands absorbing atmosphere. Having said that, there is no substitute for breathing the air, feeling the spongy earth beneath your feet as you walk along a peat-coloured stream. I am insanely jealous of authors who can hop on a plane and do their background research in the actual locations. Some day, I will journey to far-flung places, notebooks and camera in hand.
I’m lucky that I’ve been to the places where The Novel is set a few times. I can draw on notes, photographs, and memories for quite a lot. But when I need to know what the high treeless moors look like on the A93 near the Cairngorms National Park, I call on LYM. He’s always up for a wee drive into the countryside. He’s never too busy, he gets me to my destination (if it exists and if it’s not in a restricted area) and he always stops when I have to pee.