After seeing the ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ that was filmed in Jaipur, I was so inspired, that for days, I sorted through boxes, sleeves and carousels of transparencies that I had taken during my own trip to India in 2001. I culled the 1200 or so images, whittling down the numbers for scanning on to DVDs.
It was this wonderful film that made me realise I should make a book about my own visit to Jaipur in Rajasthan, and Dharamsala in northern India.
On the back cover of my book Every Great Journey Starts Somewhere – Seven Days in India I wrote: “When opportunities arise, no matter what, grasp them with both hands…as I did”. I meant it. For this is one thing I have learnt over the last ten years, to honour everything that happens in your life, no matter how small or mundane.
Seeing the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel sparked something within me on that cold night when we went to The Theatre in Leatherhead in Surrey. I was transported back to those seven short days in April 2001. The film worked for me: it woke up the colours inside me, and reminded me to grasp opportunities.
In putting together my pictures and writing the text of Every Great Journey….. and re-reading my old journals and half-filled notebooks I found a missing link – between the four articles I wrote and had published to fund my trip – the stack of transparencies that have remained in cardboard boxes for ten years – and how my life is now, always looking for a bigger picture in everything I do.
As a writer I find my mind works best when it shifts into what I call marketing mode – feeling free – looking for solutions – finding clues – going with the flow – being inspired by anything and everything – finding the unexpected – acting on simple impulses – stirring up the grey matter – being grateful for being alive.