Where do writers get book-ideas from?

Less than twenty days ago, I traveled across continents. The journey of more than fifteen thousand kilometers gave me time to reflect on a number of issues, including changes in food items as one travels across borders - local and international.

Each time we were served a food item, I found myself wondering what story I could write on food in air travel. Reflecting back, I decided to answer a commonly asked question on where writers get ideas for their books.  

The answer can be as short as "from within their heads," and as detailed as "society."

While on 19+ hour connecting flights, my eyes wondered outside through the small oval windows. I instantly became grateful to whoever came up with the idea of the miniature window. The limited space provided a lens through which I captured the vast world outside in the form of fading and approaching cities, each with unique features. Want to hear my stories of being above the clouds at 38,000 feet above sea-level?

My mind got busy as I walked the long airport corridors. I made frequent pauses and stops, tilting my head upwards to find my flight gate from the computer screens suspended up from human reach.

I immediately remembered to tilt my head back into position, for a better view of equally busy passengers. Individuals in search of boarding gates, a place to eat, check-in desk, washrooms, an empty seat in crowded waiting areas, while straining to decode messages from airport loudspeakers. What ideas would occupy your mind if you had a day at a busy airport?

Before I could account for the five-hour stop over, I found myself buckled to a seat between two strangers on our 13+ hour flight. My mind shifted to top gear, wondering if I should proceed to chat with my neighbours after the brief exchange of greetings. The alternative was to make friends with the in flight entertainment screen and watch all the drama and comedies on offer. 

I could already see pages and pages of script as ideas rushed through my head on how to respond if one of my neighbours asked what brought me aboard, my destination? How would I respond, with details of am from home and going home? Or smile at the kids' cartoon on my TV screen?

My eyes brought more pictures into the story-mind as we landed, disembarked and walked into the first room. I saw passengers ahead of me fumble through their pockets and carry-on bags for something important. I did the same, searched for my Yellow Card as a response to the pronounced banner - Health Check. How would you describe expressions on the faces of individuals who did not find their Card immediately, or at all?

Ground travel brought forth new story ideas: the changing topography down the Great Rift Valley and vehicles struggling up the escarpment. My focused concern on the narrow roads shared by cars and trailers. Crops on fields, food vendors along public roads and people going about their daily tasks.

I am ready to write and share more on how my author mind rarely takes a break. The only challenge is getting time away from the community, local politics and good food. Let me know which of the many ideas mentioned above to elaborate on.

Until then, enjoy the photos.