Monday, June 1, 2015

5 Things You Need For An Adventure by Melinda Curtis

I live a rather normal life in a rather normal town. I've traveled a bit, but mostly to civilized countries. Which would be the end of this blog if I hadn't gotten a story idea last year that was essentially a mash-up of Romancing the Stone meets Runaway Bride set in Ecuador (a place I'd never been).

Lucky for me, my friend Kim was starting a chocolate company and had visited Ecuador. I asked her what I would need if I went there. Her answers might surprise you. Or if you're like me and are squeamish about bugs and snakes, maybe they won't.

1. Boots. Cheap plastic rain boots like you had as a kid. It rains a lot. Oh, and you'll need two hand
towels. Why? When you take them off you want to cover the openings with the hand towels. Bugs and critters like the snug darkness of the toes.

Allow me to pause for a moment while you shudder and make squeamish noises. Are we good? Okay. Moving on...

2. A machete. This might be moving into cliche territory, but it's true. Handle size is very important, especially for we women and our smaller hands. No, you should not get a pirate scabbard. Thrusting it through a belt loop (Levi's!) should suffice.

Okay, just so we're clear...I would be the one in the party to back into someone and stab their leg or put one sexy slit through my own pants leg if I carried a machete. (Squirrel sidebar: Don't you like the sound of the word machete? Can't you hear Red Reddington from The Blacklist saying machete? "Lizzie, careful of that man. He's got a machete.")

3. A waterproof jacket. There are so many problems with this. Did anyone else have a rain slicker as a kid? Or do you have one now? Plastic is not a breathable fabric and I've heard Ecuador is hot. Be prepared to sweat.
Spider Not To Scale

4. Hair gel and deodorant and bug repellent. Lots and lots of hair gel. It's wet. It's hot and muggy. Who remembers life before hair products were so common? And because of the waterproof jacket, you'll need deodorant. Strong enough for a man, whether you're a man or a woman. The need for bug spray is obvious. The bugs there are HUGE!

Bonus advice: You should buy bug repellent before you arrive in Ecuador. My friend Kim is not a fluent Spanish speaker. She went to a store in Ecuador trying to find bug repellent that didn't have toxic chemicals. She picked out a bottle that had a baby on the front (safe, right?). Turns out, it was diaper ointment. She did mention it was effective in soothing her itchy bug bites.

5. A Swiss Army knife. It has a plethora of items to choose from like a small knife, a screw driver, corkscrew, toothpick, etc. (Squirrel sidebar: For my five year anniversary at a Fortune 500 company they gave me a Swiss Army knife. This is not a lie. Which makes this blog even more bizarre, no?)

In conclusion...If you are a writer plotting a book/a reader planning a trip to a distant and exotic locale (Jurassic World comes to mind), what would you bring?

As always, writers and readers are encouraged to comment, but only readers will qualify to win an ecopy of a book from my backlist.

Melinda Curtis is a USA Today bestseller who writes light-hearted romances (sometimes on the
quirkier side). Her latest Heartwarming is from March (One Perfect Year). The sweet romantic comedy that inspired this blog post is The Wedding Promise. Because Melinda is a glutton for squeamish punishment, she revisits Ecuador in her upcoming release Rescued by a Bridesmaid.


36 comments:

  1. I loved this post, Melinda!

    When travelling to exotic locations, it's also wise to consider the elevation. At 8,700 feet above sea level, going for a run or using the hotel's gym can present a challenge. If you're going for a few days only, you might want to leave your work out gear at home.

    I am looking forward to your next book.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved this post, though I'm not going...er, there, ever. Thank you so much for writing such great books so we can soak it all up vicariously!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I'll be heading that way anytime soon either, Liz!

      Delete
  3. Melinda, this is traveling the way I prefer, through reading a book, or seeing photos a friend took when they suffered through that sweaty, buggy land. Looking forward to your character's trip to Ecuador.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's something to be said for getting out there...and there's something to be said about my reading chair, Roz.

      Delete
  4. Your story sounds delightful, and like Roz, I prefer doing my traveling to exotic lands by relaxing in an easy chair with a good book.

    ReplyDelete
  5. LOL, Mel. I'm wondering if the diaper ointment would have worked as hair gel ;). We need those Star Trek universal translators lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure diaper ointment has many uses, Rula!

      Delete
    2. I am not going anywhere exotic, but just going to the cottage can be a trial when it comes to things like mosquitos. I take an antihistamine about 1/2 hour before going outside and that way if I get bit, it helps with the swelling and redness. Keeps it from itching too..

      Delete
  6. What a riot, Mel! I remember you telling us you sometimes do the last dog walk before bed in cowboy boots. I have a mental image of you in them in a broad-brimmed birder's hat, searching Ecuador for research details. I can deal with bad weather, but big bugs and snakes will keep me away. What a fun way to begin the week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I took Tally out at 4am and ran screaming back inside because there was a possum in the bushes. I'm not made for the wild

      Delete
  7. I think I learned on my recent trip to Hawaii where we did much hiking on lost trails that I am not one for exotic locals...at least not the kind without room and board. But I like the idea of reading (and writing) about them! :) Can't wait for the next Bridesmaids installment! Now that I think about it...I could use a machete *said as Red Reddington*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm amazed you got out in the wild, Anna. No offense and Happy Birthday!

      Delete
    2. Yeah--between that and horseback riding, I'm a sit by the pool girl from here on. :) And thanks!

      Delete
  8. Thanks for all the wonderful tips if I ever travel to a foreign country. I think I will stay with the Swiss Army knife . I would be less likely to hurt myself. Yes, bug repellent is a must and I hope that I can find the right kind instead of baby ointment that makes my skin smooth, thus attracting all the insects ever known to man. Rain boots are a must and I will be parading around in my styling Garfield boots. Maybe Garfirld can scare the snakes and other scary pesky creatures away. Thanks for all the tips.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deana, I bet you could handle almost any situation with a Swiss Army Knife. Mine has a small ruby chip on the handle and the company logo. Tres chic

      Delete
  9. Though I don't have any adventurous trips like that planned, I enjoyed this post. My dream adventure would be a trip to Tuscany, Italy. Don't think I'll need a machete there, but hey you never know! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Christina! I'm not an adventurous traveler either and - not that you asked - but I'm leaving for Italy on Wednesday! Really, cafes, pasta, and wine are much more my speed.

      Delete
    2. Go ahead and twist the Swiss Army knife, why don't you?!

      Delete
  10. I too think my travels to exotic places are best done through books. I hate hot weather, despise humidity, and since I'm a mosquito magnet bugs are some of my worst enemies!! However, reading about someone else braving the elements or bugs or whatever is exciting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurie, I hear there is something in the diet that makes the mosquitos love you. Not that I know what that is.

      Delete
    2. I've heard that too. Whatever it is I must be full of it!!

      Delete
    3. Congratulations Laurie! You are my winner, please contact me at melinda@melindacurtis[dot]net with which book from my back list you would like. :)

      Delete
  11. I'm glad there are fellow "travel wimps" out there! I like visiting cities---no mosquitos, public transportation, lovely restaurants and shops--and have resisted my friends' attempts to convince me that hiking is *fun*. Ha!! I live vicariously through Jeremy Wade's adventures on River Monsters and pray to God I never have to go to South America and paddle around on the Amazon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, Kristine, I suppose that rules out you going on Naked and Afraid, too. LOL!

      Delete
  12. Love it!! I'm not sure I could handle your friend's adventure, so all of this is good to know- from a distance, of course!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think checking out local customs and taboos would be valuable.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I am going to be relaxing on an exotic vacation so I am going to bring my Kindle with me.

    Bettyjo.English@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. When I go on vacation, all I want to worry about bringing are sunglasses and sunscreen! I hope you have a fabulous vacation. You deserve it!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Well, thanks a bunch, Melinda...now I have to come up with a whole new list of excuses to say NO to auditioning for "Naked and Afraid." (Do you think "cellulite" should top the list?) LOL and thanks for the fun tips!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think I prefer visiting through stories--no bugs and heat. What would I take if I were crazy enough to go? probably water. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  18. If I have to travel with a machete, I'd rather stay home. LOL

    ReplyDelete