You know that sense of panic you have when confronted with a blank sheet of paper? Well, I’m experiencing it right now! I’m Johanna Bradley, by the way, and I run a blog called Restlessjo. The blog is my writing space, and I can kick off my shoes and feel totally comfortable in there. I hope my visitors can too.
When I tentatively suggested to Jill that I would be up for a little Friday Fun, it seemed like a good idea. Now I’m wondering whatever possessed me to mingle with so many great writers and high achievers. Maybe I’m hoping that a little inspiration will rub off on me. Words have always been my friends, but occasionally they can be the enemy too.
How did I get into blogging? For as long as I can remember, I’ve had the travel bug. I always kept a diary when I travelled, initially scribbled on the back of my postcard collection. It made the extravagance of buying so many postcards seem not so bad. This was long before digital, and I often experienced the crashing disappointment of abysmal photographs, even when I ‘knew’ I’d framed a superb shot! The postcards gave me a pictorial memory along with my travelogue.
One day I saw a job advertisement, of sorts. It was from a newly formed travel company called Simonseeks. The concept was for travellers to write their own mini guides to the places they had visited and publish them on the site, complete with photographs. In exchange they would receive a tiny percentage of any profits generated for the company by the guide. I loved the idea, and was soon engrossed in sharing my travel experiences.
Sadly the company foundered after a couple of years, but it had given me a taste of doing something that I loved. I continued to write for other outlets, but couldn’t find the ‘perfect fit’. I wanted to tell my stories in my own way. And that is exactly what I have the luxury of doing on my blog. I have discovered a love of photography too, and, though I am technically inept, I delight in telling a story in conjunction with my photos.
Could I write something ‘deeper’ or more substantial? I don’t really know. I don’t have the imagination or flair to write fiction. Those of you familiar with my blog will know that my Dad is Polish, and that I include a little of his extraordinary story in my Personal A-Z of Poland. It has the potential for a book, but it doesn’t feel like it’s mine to write.
I live in the north east of England, but am lucky enough to have a home in the Eastern Algarve, not too far from the Spanish border. It was bought as a place to retire to, where my husband might paint and I could scribble. We visit when we can and few things make me happier than finding new places to paddle and old ruins to explore. Maybe someday I’ll write that travel book. Who knows?
It’s ‘Question Time’! Jill has been an amazing hostess all summer. I am in just a little awe of this dinner party, but deeply grateful for the invitation.
If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Michael Palin- author and traveller extraordinaire. He has the twinkliest eyes and the kindest manner. Although I talk a lot, I’m really quite shy inside. I know that he would be gentle with me, and make me laugh, as he elaborated on all those amazing travels of his.
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Ride a bike! I am a perpetual source of disappointment to my husband. He trails disconsolately after me as I pursue the travel adventure. ‘Just one more corner’ has been my stock phrase for my whole life. It all has to be done on foot, because I can’t ride (or successfully drive a car, either- but that’s another story). There’s many a weary day he’s said to me ‘if only you could ride a bike’. And think of the extra ground we could cover!
After death, if you were to come to life as an animal, which would you choose?
A dolphin. I’m not much of a swimmer but I have always been fascinated by water. It has to be warm water, though. One of my most magical memories is of an opalescent sunset, between the islands of La Gomera and Tenerife. We eagerly scanned the water for these friendly and curious creatures. I am the clumsiest person you ever met. To be able to glide seamlessly and frolic in that water would be the greatest joy. Exploring the underwater world, an added bonus.
What celebrity do you get mistaken for?
Helen Mirren. Don’t tell her, will you? She’d be appalled!
For my daughter’s wedding last year, I bought a quite becoming long frock. It cried out for a little fur stole and elbow length gloves (it was a winter wedding). No tiara, mind you! How flattered was I when somebody remarked that I looked just like ‘the Queen’. Not entirely regal though. As my daughter pointed out at the reception, ‘Mum, you’re wearing your choker upside down!’ She would know as she had made it for me.
If you could visit one place in the entire world, where would it be?
Isn’t that the hardest question for a person who wants to go everywhere? I’m torn! The oriental has always called to me, yet I have never been to the Far East. Pagodas and temples are the stuff of dreams for me. An island paradise with lush gardens and the tinkle of wind chimes waits for me somewhere.
Many thanks, Jill. I hope I haven’t bored you.
Thank you so much for taking the spotlight and for sharing some of your beautiful photographs, Jo. You and your lovely blog are never boring! Up next week is John Howell.