It’s been a long time since I discussed the Fates, an untitled and unpublished manuscript I wrote and completed some years ago. In the book (and the sequel) much of the action takes place on the remote island of Socotra (I promise it makes sense and was the best fit for the novel). In reality, Yemen is a difficult place to get to. In fact, it might be one of the most difficult in the world (especially with a US passport). While I am positioned well from a geographical perspective (Dubai and Socotra are less than two hours apart by plane), it’s nearly impossible to get to individually. As compared to my current project, The Queen of England, where almost all of the action takes place in Victorian England, there simply isn’t the same amount of research and information available for Socotra. I’ve never felt that my book was lacking because I hadn’t physically visited this island, but I’d always hoped I could make it happen.
Fortunately, there is a company here who coordinates trips to this amazing island. While I’ve always had an eye on visiting, trips were far apart or I had to work, or y’know, Yemen is in the middle of a very difficult period in their current history. Transiting through the main city of Sana’a (or any city on the mainland) is dangerous and irresponsible (and I’m pretty sure impossible for a single American woman).
Thus, when a trip was announced that managed to overcome all of the challenges (and skip over the mainland altogether), I had literally no excuses and could hardly believe my fortune. So, I booked. And I asked other friends if they wanted to join, and two friends said yes. And I’m still not quite sure if I believe that we’re going.
Even as long-time expatriate, I sometimes can’t believe my life. Not only am I going to one of the most remote places on the planet, I’m doing it with friends. And it only just occurred to me that I should e-mail a Yemeni friend and ask for any advice he has. The countdown is on for November 29th!