Picos de Europa, 2016

‘Mastering others is strength.  Mastering yourself is true power.’  ~ Lao Tzu

Years of struggling with severe depression saw a return of a debilitating anxiety disorder that plagued much of my teens.  It got so bad that I could not even ride a bus out of town and I found myself confined within the walls of Exeter for over a year – soul destroying to say the least.  Fortunately, at the time, there remained a steadfast desire to find a way through it and, after years of trying various therapies and medication (while continuing to hold down jobs and maintain a studio), I took what was my first trip abroad for over five years!  I had long wanted to visit the Picos de Europa, which turned out to be significant as it was here that I finally put pen to paper for my novel (an idea that had been in my head for at least two years during which I could barely think straight enough to write a sentence let alone a book!).  I camped in the lovely Arena de Cabrales of which the surrounding landscape became a significant influence to the magical world of Cabras in Adrift in Amnesia.  The trip also included visiting San Sebastian (one of my favourite cities), Bilbao and riding the Atlantic Feve train from Llanes back to Bilbao.