Last year, I went to Dartmoor National Park in Devon for research.
The other day, I travelled up to Exmoor National Park in Somerset/Devon for research. And while I was walking barefoot along the beach, a realisation suddenly hit me:
I am so blessed to be able to walk through such beautiful countryside, enjoying nature and all its magnificence, yet at the same time am able to do research for my story. If you ask me, there is nothing greater.
My story, Ilimoskus, is a deep fantasy tale. The Ilimoskus are a race of beings, and they are bound with nature – they are nature, since they are the elements – and so being amongst nature is surely the best research I can do!
I walked along this beach while in Exmoor:
When I go walking through the countryside (or along the coast, as the case may be here), I very often take my shoes/socks off and walk barefoot. Why do I do this? Well, there are two reasons:
1) I really enjoy walking around outside barefoot.
Not only in the countryside, but also in towns! I grew up and live in a rural city, and not far from my house is a walk by a river, though to get there you have to walk through tarmac streets. I remember when I was about 10-12ish, I went for a walk by this river, but I walked back home barefoot. In hindsight, I probably looked quite odd walking through the streets like that! But, the point is, even though I may not like cities and concrete, I still like walking upon man-made surfaces barefoot. When you wear shoes, you cannot feel what you walk upon; when you are barefoot, you can feel every stone jab into your soles, every blade of grass brush against your skin, the different temperatures and textures of the surfaces! It is as though you connect with the Earth itself with this contact and sensation, and it attunes you to the world all around.
2) It is, to me, the best research I could ever do for the Ilimoskus story.
“Is it?” you may be wondering. Yes, it is. As I said above, the Ilimoskus are bound with nature. They are nature. If you read the story, you will see how they are in harmony with the world around them, and how they connect with it with profound peace and love. This links with my first reason. However, there is a far simpler point. Since the Ilimoskus are so entwined with nature, they do not wear shoes. They are barefoot. So, because they walk around barefoot, whenever I do, I feel the world as they would. And, because I feel the world as they would, I can then share it with you all via the Ilimoskus story (:
I never really considered things like this as research until my mother pointed it out that my going to Dartmoor for the story was, in actual fact, research. I guess I never considered it as research because I love it so much, but that just shows how blessed I am to be able to do this. Walking around barefoot is so, so simple, but it is the most glorious experience for me. Nothing will ever match it. Nothing can ever better the enchantment of simplicity.
When I was in Exmoor, I also realised something else: it is actually impossible for me to be amongst nature and not think of the Ilimoskus in some way: when my bare feet touched the sand, I thought of the Flamikus’ love for heat; when the wind caught my long skirt, I thought of the Aeriikus and their freedom; when I gazed out at the sea, I thought of the Agwikus and how they live within it; and when I heard the sound of stones tumbling after I had disturbed them, I thought of the Humiit-kus and their solid strength.
I took some photos both when in Dartmoor last year, and in Exmoor the other day. If you would like to seem them, click here.
I would like to say thank you to all who support me, and encourage me to continue taking the very daunting and difficult route that is writing. With all my heart, thank you.