I recently visited Gibraltar. Gibraltar is a UK territory attached to the south of Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is home to the Barbary Macaque Apes.
I’m a person who likes a challenge; I crossed the highest, longest suspension bridge in North America, I swam with sharks. But, moreso, I like to explore; I saw a grisly bear in the Yukon, held a Koala in Australia, traversed the catacombs in Paris, etc.
So, I was there on the Rock of Gibraltar to get a peek at both Spain on one side and Africa on the other all the while standing in Europe. Pretty freaking cool.
The apes, which look more like monkeys (and are referred to as such), wander free there. They hang out on the patio of the visitor’s center, play in the trees and bushes, and hang out on the roads.
I did get close enough to one to have a photo. But I know better than to attempt to feed a wild animal. I did see four young women getting their picture taken by a park ranger while they fed one of the adult Macaque’s not far from the “Do Not Feed” sign.
From the visitors’ center, you can hike to other views, other places on the Rock and even all the way down. There’s another shop on the Rock where you can see a cave and buy trinkets, which is what I did. When I travel, I like to buy holiday ornaments for my tree as a remembrance.
I have the Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, a Santa Star Fish from Hawaii, and even a Santa Chili Pepper from New Mexico to name a few.
I hiked back up to the center to grab some water and lunch before taking the cable car back down to the city.
I’d been warned not to take a big back pack or food with me. The monkeys, they said, will jump on you. I heeded these warnings, had only a small pack/purse and no food.
But approaching the visitors’ center, one of the juveniles (juvenile delinquent!) jumped on my back. I raised my hands in surprise and she bit me. She then opened my bag, took the ornament, and hopped off. (This is the picture of the monkey as it tried to eat my ornament! Thank you, Geoff)
I’m okay. Maybe “attacked” is a strong word, perhaps assaulted is better? She left a dental impression and some scrapes on my hand. Yes, a little blood, swelling, bruising. My doctor is a little vexed with me.
But what does this have to do with writing?
We must challenge ourselves, we must overcome, we must use incidents such as these as inspiration or fodder. I feel all of these adventures make me who I am and my writing what it has become over the years.
I’m not suggesting you put yourself in harm’s way! I am suggesting that once in awhile get out and face your fears, do something new, experiment, explore, learn something new – this will create fresh shifts in your writing (and in yourself)!
The whole incident has me thinking of a half a dozen stories!