Travel Inspires Creativity

Jun 18, 2024 by Gayle M Irwin, in Authors
Pacific Ocean along northern Oregon Coast - near Ecola State Park. Photo by Gayle M. Irwin

Earlier this month I traveled to Oregon with my elderly father. He turns 88 next month, and an item on his travel bucket list has been to visit the area where Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery wintered in 1805-1806.


Once we arrived at the coast, our first stop was Fort Clatsop south of Astoria, where a replica of the explorers’ winter quarters can be experienced and a visitor’s center helps tell the story of the expedition’s wintering there. One can walk outdoor trails to the output/input site the entourage used for their canoes and be treated to learning about the plants and animals of the area.


Fort Clatsop, replica of fort constructed by the Lewis and Clark explorers, circa 1805. Photo by Gayle M. Irwin


My dad bought three thick books from the center’s bookstore, with many journal entries from Lewis and Clark, telling the story of the entourage’s adventures. He plans to read these books during Wyoming’s upcoming winter season. My mom, who opted to stay home because of her health, told me one of the books interests her as well and she hopes to read it while dad reads the others first.

This was my third visit to the Oregon Coast. The first trip took place while I attended the University of Idaho more than 35 years ago. A friend lived in Albany and I attended a student conference in Portland. We met up after the conference and traveled to the coast so I could see the Pacific Ocean for the first time. I remember rolling up my pant legs and stepping into the ocean – a thrilling sensation overtook me as the water lapped my feet and ankles.

I never tire of hearing and seeing the ocean. I’ve been to the Pacific Ocean four times since that time in college. More than a decade ago, I went whale watching off the southern California coast; my father, husband, and me took a tour boat from Seward, Alaska about seven years ago, and twice I’ve visited the Oregon Coast: in 2018 to the southern part and, as mentioned, earlier this month Dad and I visited the northern part. My dad, uncle and aunt (who live in eastern Oregon and drove over to spend time with us), and I stayed in an Air BnB house near Rockaway Beach that had a view of the ocean. An upper story balcony allowed us to sit outside and bask in the sight and sound of waves and to walk on a stretch of beach. Here I experienced my first Pacific Coast sunset – a memorable experience indeed!


Sunset along a stretch of Rockaway Beach, northern Oregon Coast. Photo by Gayle M. Irwin


Nature provides creative inspiration for me. Whether visiting a national park, seeing wild horses on the plains, or listening to the thundering waves of an ocean, I experience peace, excitement, and insight. Settings for stories, ideas for books, scenes, dialogue, subtle rescue components – these creative innovations stir in my brain and heart. I envisioned the ending of a story in progress while walking the beach and having a conversation with my father about adventures we had when I was a child. A new series plot began to weave last year while observing and photographing wild horses and integrating that idea as a plot twist for one of my upcoming 2024 releases that will launch the 2025 series also came to light during this Oregon Coast trek.


I may not have been able to do a few things I had hoped to do (i.e., go whale watching) during this Oregon Coast trip, but new story concepts and time with my family did come about … and for those I’m grateful.

Are there certain places you’ve traveled where your soul has been elevated and in awe? Perhaps your creativity uplifted and inspired?


The Oregon Coast is the setting for the final chapters in my book, Paws-itively Love, which released earlier this year. The story begins in southwestern Montana, and the central characters travel to Yellowstone National Park, another inspiring, unique place, and one of my favorite areas in the U.S.

Have you read Paws-itvely Love yet? It’s part of my Yellowstone Country series of Pet Rescue Romance books and is for sale on various online platforms in both e-book and print formats. Click this link to learn more:


6th book in the Yellowstone Country series

Summer is the time many people travel. I hope any treks you take in the next few months are safe and enjoyable for you and those with whom you travel!

Jeremiah also enjoyed our walks along the beaches of the northern Oregon Coast! Photo by G. Irwin