Why raise money for a trip to Lapland, Finland, when all I need is the special wheelchair, some may query. Because the Four X is part of my “journey”. This is not leisure or pleasure, though I will evidently have moments of gratification; this is not a “vanity project” but integral to what I need to prove to other physically disabled people and writers and in my case, the literary industry, that we are just as capable as others; this is to show and document what perseverance, sacrifice and dedication can do – open doors, break down the barriers of perceptions so others can take hope, courage and belief in their own potential and dreams.

I have to mention that everyone has a bucket list, don’t they? Mine is dwindling as years go by. Even if I manage to raise enough money for my Four X off-roader, places like Petra in Jordan are disappearing into a utopic distance and let’s not even talk about Machu Picchu or the Himalayas. Many of my dream destinations will still remain inaccessible geographically and financially of course.

There are several reasons to go to Lapland apart from the fact that the Four X is manufactured by a Finnish company and that I have always dreamed of snowy expanses of forest and frozen lakes in the dead of a dark winter. I want to see the Northern Lights, to marvel in the wonders of the universe, my eyes turned to the stars and indigo sky surrounded by the muffled silence that only deep snow brings. I have always loved wide, empty spaces where I can connect with the universe and nature, replenish my body and mind, and fill my synaesthesia senses to the brim, burst with creativity and a trillion words. I also love connecting with other cultures, their oral storytelling traditions too and the Sami people hold a longstanding fascination.

Going to Lapland will be the culmination of my journey from start to finish – from the moment I took the difficult [and terrifying!] decision to leave my home and begin a new life elsewhere, to the end of my trip to Lapland where I will finish my novels and story collections before beginning a new cycle in my life. Three weeks of silence, rest, to produce new writing and complete work in hand. Three weeks of utter freedom from everyday struggles. Three weeks of joy.

Lapland is my writing retreat, a place to refill energy and creativity, be inspired, build up strength and health – and have a bit of fun for a change. Can’t wait to trundle off into a snowy forest with my Four X, throw myself into deep drifts and make snow angels, as long as someone is there to drag me back up! And of course, saunas with maybe a rapid dip in freezing waters afterwards? Beat me with those birch branches, baby!