8 more days before I board a LAN Airlines flight and head nearly 7,000 miles to the antipodean country of Chile. I'll be arriving in Santiago, the capital of this most prosperous country in all of South America. Santiago is apparently the throbbing heart of this 2,700 mile-long country. I've been conducting a ton of research to find out where to stay. Imagine if you were from a foreign country and were visiting New York City for the first time and were going to stay at least a month (that's how long I'll probably in Santiago before starting out on my travels). It's true, I have a lot of help. Wines of Chile (@DrinkChile on Twitter) and ProChile are sponsoring my trip, and the man responsible for this whole adventure, Mario Velasco Cavallo, have been extremely helpful in giving me a feel for the city.
But there's nothing can prepare one for the first day of being in a country where everyone speaks a different language, so I've been doing a lot of research. I have to admit I haven't traveled much in the past 2-3 decades. I'd be embarrassed to admit how long it's been since I've been to continental Europe. Okay, it's true I've had some flying issues in the past — but those appear to be, well, felicitously, in my past. I've also gone through some bleak periods where I didn't have the finances necessary to afford myself a trip. But, also, I've been very, very focused on my writing career and travel wasn't really in the cards.
But, now, my life's about to change. I've given up my apartment in Santa Monica. Iill be living in Chile, all over Chile, soaking up a radically new, kaleidoscopically diverse palette of colors. I hope that it informs my work the way that Los Angeles informed the work of Raymond Chandler when he moved out here. The newness of the place must have — no, it did! — galvanized his imagination. That's what I'm looking for. I'm so sucked the marrow of the Pacific Coast — especially Southern California! — that it's time for a change, a major change.
I'm going to try to blog — I prefer the word write — on a daily basis. I'm going to endeavor to have my journal, if you will, be as pictorial as possible, not as logorrheic, as I'm wont to be. I don't know what the future holds for me, but I like the uncertainty that it promises, the mystery, that life, my writing life, can go tabula rasa. In short, I need to wipe the slate clean. I need a whole new backlog of life experiences to bring to the computer when I set down to write my next novel.
But … the great news — which will be announced shortly — is that I'll be returning in March to my "Sideways the Play" headed to a major regional theater. Life is going to be busy. I guess what I'm saying is this: I've worked hard the last 20-30 years, making two indie features (in the barbarous analog days!), writing script after script after script (mostly in screaming frustration), writing two novels, and then a hit play. I've almost forgotten a whole other world exists. Most of my travels have either been to the Central Coast of California or to every corner of the world via Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. It's time for me to get out there and explore. I hope you'll follow me on my journey.