I love the word adventure. In my mind it conjures up magic and dragons and epic journeys across treacherous terrain. Today I learned that it comes from the Latin adventurus, which means ‘about to happen’, from advenire ‘arrive’. I like etymology – learning where words come from and how they are put together. And I like thinking about an adventure as something that is about to happen. Perhaps in order to become an adventurer, you have to let something change inside of you and maybe this is the arrival: you have to let the unknown in.
I’ve been on lots of camping adventures this Summer which has been a mixture of sleepless nights, sloping fields, swarms of midges and beautiful sunsets - the classic camping experience! Here’s a picture of my girlfriend and me on Striding Edge – a sharp ridge that we clambered along for my sister’s 30th birthday. It was pretty spooky and misty but amazing to see the rocks appearing out of the cloud.
I’m also on a very exciting adventure right now and it’s mostly taking place at home on my laptop! I’m studying a PGDE teacher training course to become a primary teacher, something that has been in the back of my mind for many years before I finally decided to go for it earlier this year. It feels like a huge adventure, and there are definitely magic and dragons but the journey is mostly inside my head!
Doing this course means that I’m very busy with learning all kinds of amazing and interesting and creative and challenging things about teaching, but I’m also still visiting schools and festivals as a children’s writer when I can! I was lucky enough to virtually visit Tacoma Library in Washington State in the USA this August (!!) and speak to their volunteer teen league which I LOVED and I’m very excited to be speaking about nature and inspiration at the Stirling Science Festival this September. You can find out about the free creative workshop here – it’s going to be great! I’m always up for festivals and schools visits so get in touch if you’d like me to come along or do a virtual hello!
Because I got excited about etymology after I looked up “adventure”, I decided to look up “clue” as well because they often guide the adventurer along the way. Apparently, clue is derived from “clew” and the original sense of “clew” was a ball of yarn or string. When Theseus went into the Labyrinth to slay the Minotaur, Ariadne gave him a ball of yarn (a clew) to unravel as he walked further into the maze so that he could find his way out again. I like this is a lot. Being on an adventure, with a hazy unknown destination, is nerve-wracking as well as exciting, so if I imagine I have a ball of yarn slowly unravelling so I can find my way home, that’s very reassuring.
As well as teacher training, I’m also on a new adventure in my writing. I have decided to rewrite the book I’ve been working on last year – changing the story but keeping some characters (because they’re stuck inside my head and won’t let me go!) and seeing where they will lead me this time. It’s very much an unknown at the moment and that can be quite daunting but I’m imagining that with every new paragraph I write, I’m unravelling the ball of yarn that little bit more, so I will always be able to find my way back.
I’ll keep popping on here with updates through this adventurous year and I hope that wherever you are in your adventures, you have a clew to keep you going!