Dreaming of adventure? Rebecca Raisin tells us all about the inspiration behind her new best seller, Rosie’s Travelling Teashop, published by our friends over at HQ Digital.
Have you ever wanted to escape the daily grind? No more peak hour: cramped bodies on the tube, racing up elevators, down stairs, all to wake up and do it again the next day. Your life regimented and ordered by some higher power who controls the biggest chunk of your time each and every week. The drudgery of nine-to-five. Earning just enough for your exorbitant rent and a few over-priced glasses of wine in the latest on-trend bar.
It’s all well and good striving for this kind of life if you enjoy it, but what if you don’t anymore? What if you gaze around your tiny London flat one day and think: is this it? This is all I’ve got to show for running around like a mouse on a wheel for the last fifteen years!
This was the sudden conundrum that faced my heroine Rosie. Ennui had crept into her life, but she was too busy to give the feeling a name so when her husband surprises her on her birthday with the fact he’s had an affair her future deflates like a soggy soufflé and she knows it’s time to change.
Except Rosie doesn’t do change.
She likes order, she likes to plan. She has strict timetables in place so she doesn’t end up like her father. London feels toxic to her suddenly as she becomes the talk of the culinary scene for all the wrong reasons. There’s nothing left for her to do except escape…
Now I’m the complete opposite to Rosie, I’m chaotic, disordered and a daydreamer, so I thought why don’t I send Rosie on an adventure I’d always dreamed of doing? Wouldn’t it be fun to displace her, take away all those routines, all her safety nets and see how she handles it? Really I wanted to live vicariously through her.
I have wanderer in my soul but like Rosie I’ve followed a certain path and realised one day I couldn’t just up and leave. I couldn’t buy a campervan and follow the open road. I had the family unit, bill
s to pay, kids in school, a house, a dog, responsibilities. We couldn’t hightail it.
What if we pulled the kids out of school, and taught them ourselves? What if I wrote love stories on the road? The kids would learn life skills as well as literacy, and even the dog would be happier with this brand new world opening up to us, if only we took a leap of faith! I envisaged us as nomads wearing big grins, with wise eyes from all we’d see and learn. We’d walk forgotten paths, tread in velvety undergrowth, sun ourselves on empty beaches. All that clean fresh air would give us perspective and secretly we’d feel smug about living life on our terms, our way! The boys would adapt, make friends in every city, we’d learn the art of fitting our essentials into the tiniest of storage spaces. Oh I had grand plans!
But they weren’t to be realised…
When you’re a dreamer and your partner is not, then what? My visions of our van life crumbled before my very eyes when the ‘sensible one’ in our relationship quashed my dreams with one word: No.
We crunched the numbers. And still I held out hope. Really, I cried, you’re saying no because of something as mundane as money! While he’s practical, I’m more of see where the breeze blows you kind of person and I just couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t risk it. Or even try!
Now I’m not one to give in but after a lot of tallying I could see it wasn’t viable to buy a van big enough to fit four of us and a dog. Insurances, camp site fees, petrol, food costs, living on one wage, and hoping for the best wasn’t enough to convince Mr. Practical we could do it.
Unless we sold our house. With his eyes well and truly bulging at the thought, I knew I was fighting a losing battle.
My dad was never one to let the grass grow under his feet and I have that same trait, that I’m always looking for greener grass, a new place, a new version of this life, the excitement of change. But then I remember being a child and constantly moving from place to place, new schools, new friends, and wishing for once we’d settle somewhere. Was I about to do the same to my own children? Take away their home, their stability, their happy lives in order to fulfil my own needs? It was those memories of my own childhood that gave me pause and I eventually understood the wanderlust that pulsed inside of me would have to be assuaged another way.
The kids would go to a regular school, I’d write from my office at home, the dog by my feet, and the only open road I’d travel down was one when I’d get helplessly lost, which happens alarmingly often.
But that didn’t mean I couldn’t find joy in travel. I’m a writer, after all. So why not imagine the life of my dreams on the page! So I sent Rosie on the adventure I wanted to go on. And to spice things up I gave her a couple of love interests, and so what if one of them resembles Jason Mamoa? This is my dream life, isn’t it?
I adored writing Rosie and watching her change as she faced one challenge after another. Just when she got comfortable, bam, another fork in the road. It was then I discovered that while I might adore the idea of uprooting our lives, things don’t always go to plan and what I’m actually yearning for is writing about those different versions of living your best life and that mine is fine just the way it is. Kids in school, dog at my feet, partner who celebrates my ups and downs, and a chaotic, busy life where I spend a lot of time talking to fictional people as if they’re real. What’s not to love?
Get your copy of Rosie’s Travelling Teashop by Rebecca Raisin here!