Monday, June 14, 2010

International Travel and The Writer by Curt Iles

I'm very thankful to have the privilege of traveling out of the United States. I've come to realize there are various benefits as a writer in my travels.

I want to make it clear: I travel for the purpose of sharing about my personal faith in Jesus. Going to the "hard places" (i.e. difficult to reach, tough conditions, great physical/spiritual needs example: Democratic Republic of Congo, the neediest place I've ever seen) always softens my heart. I learn much more from new friends in these countries than I could ever teach them.

Here are a few benefits I see as a writer:

1. Traveling abroad always gives me Perspective on Life. I see the world in a new way. I see myself in a new way. I return with much greater appreciation of the freedom and opportunities I have as an American.

2. Traveling abroad provides Perspective on my writing. I step back from the canvas and can "see" my current work in a new light. Where I'll be for the next 2 weeks (Congo and Rwanda) has very limited and slow internet, little phone service, and no TV in English. I don't take my laptop. It's a chance to step back, refresh, and reflect.

I always return with a journal full of ideas and a clearer mind about the writer I want to be.

3. Traveling is a great way to hear/see new stories in a new culture. I've come to believe that human nature is very similar throughout the world. A story from Ethiopian or Honduran culture is just as powerful as a story from Cajun, Piney Woods, or Southern culture.

I go to help.
I go to learn.
I always come back fuller.

My goal in this trip is "Return with an empty suitcase and a full heart."

CURT ILES writes from his hometown of Dry Creek, Louisiana. A lover of stories, nature, history, and dogs, he writes of the wonders of the woods and the memorable people who live there. Curt's new novel, A Good Place, is now available at


  1. Good post, Curt. I hope your trip was blessed and that you came back with wonderful stories to tell.

  2. So sorry I missed this wonderful and interesting post earlier!

    Thanks for sharing.