I don’t know about you all, but I love to travel. I’ve been extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to travel not just around the country, but the world. I got my first passport when I was six years old and have been flying and traveling ever since. During the summer between my freshman and sophomore year, I did a 10 day study abroad trip with my high school and got to travel all around Spain. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and I carry memories of that trip with me to this day. We started in Barcelona, then took an overnight train to Seville, then Grenada, Córdoba, and Segovia before ending our trip in Madrid. Some favorite moments that come to mind is doing the Macarena in a tapas bar in Madrid, soaking up all the beautiful artwork in the Prado (I am a huge fan of the Spanish Masters-Velasquez, de Goya, and El Greco), being awestruck by the beauty and grandeur of the Seville Cathedral, and getting lost in Córdoba by myself despite being told by the chaperones to go nowhere alone, and barely making it back to the bus to meet up with the rest of the group.
Eight years ago, my family and I went on a two week trip to London and Paris. London was incredible. I will never forget how awed I was, standing in the middle of Westminster Abbey, and almost getting run over on Bond Street because I wasn’t looking the right way. The British Museum and the National Gallery were also highlights. And I still remember my sister and I giggling and taking a picture of the sign for a bar called Dirty Dick’s because it amused us. If any of you go to London, I highly recommend London Walks, a fantastic walking tour company. Affordable, informative, and fun-well worth the time and money. And I’m STILL trying to find out what happened to that picture I took with George Clooney at Madame Tusssads!
What I love about traveling is that it opens your eyes and expands your horizons. Learning about different languages and cultures is an incredible experience. I learned so much about Spain and the UK while I was there. I learned a great deal about the Arab/Moorish influence in Spain, as well as the Hapsburg dynasty. I learned about the history of the Elgin Marbles at the British Museum, and a history of the city of London. There is nothing like being completely immersed in a foreign country to try new things, gain a different perspective, and learn what it’s all about. But conversely, travel also shows you how universal some things are (love, family, food) and how much we all have in common. Travel can help us show that oftentimes, there’s more that unites us than divides us. Being able to relate to someone helps you eradicate the “us vs. them” mentality, and gain understanding and empathy, always a good thing. I think this quote sums it all up:
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. -Mark Twain
There are still many places that are on my bucket list of places to visit. Italy is at the top of the list. I’d love to visit Rome, Venice, Florence, and soak up all the beauty, delicious food, and culture. Ireland is also a must-see. I’ve heard from so many people how beautiful the country is, and how friendly and welcoming the locals are. There are also many place I’d love to visit right here in the United States. I’ve always wanted to visit New Orleans and experience everything the Big Easy has to offer. Chicago, San Franciso, and Hawaii are also high up on the list.
I also love traveling right in the comfort of my own home. One of the things I most love about reading is that I get swept away to another time and place. Immersing myself in someone else’s story means I get to escape my own reality for a little while and go on a trip. The historical romances I’ve read transport me to the ballrooms and grand estates of Regency England. Nora’s Bride Quartet allowed me to delve into the world of wedding and event planning, and her romantic suspense hard covers often introduce you to a diverse array of locations and occupations. The list goes on. When an author is doing their job right, they can make you feel like you’ve visited the locale they set their story in, even if you’ve never been there in real life.
I particularly enjoy romances that are set in unique locations that aren’t often written about. For example, Carrie Lofty‘s Flawless takes place in South Africa. Jeannie Lin writes wonderful historicals set in Tang Dynasty China. Anna Randol‘s A Secret In Her Kiss is set in Constantinople. Sherry Thomas set her RITA winning Not Quite A Husband in a harsh, remote, hostile, and rugged area of India. Like I said before, these authors all do a spectacular job of doing the research to transport their readers to these foreign lands.
What about you? Do you enjoy romances set in unusual locales? Which are your favorites? Are you an avid traveler, or do you prefer to do some from the comfort of your own home? Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever visited? Let’s talk below, and feel free to include pics!