The Delights of Travel
Ever since my first trip to Europe when I was 17 years old, I've been in love with the historic atmosphere of the Old World. I didn't know what “old” meant until then. I thought it was old buildings that needed to be torn down so that newer, more modern buildings could be built. But when I walked into my first European cathedral, I got it. Kings and queens were christened, married, crowned, and buried there. Important historical events took place there. The high, vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows, and richly appointed chapels all contribute to the pervasive aura of spirituality, as though populated with remnants of long-dead worshipers.
And then there are castles and graveyard and ruins of civilizations that existed thousands of years ago. There are museums galore, with treasures from all periods and places in the world. Medieval villages with thatched-roof cottages. And cultural activities, such as theaters and concerts, or people-watching in a park or pub.
And who doesn't enjoy the beauty of nature? Seascapes, rolling hills, lakes, brightly-colored flowers, and neatly-trimmed hedgerows along the side of the road are always pleasurable to see. The smell of the countryside and the sounds of the birds. The taste of genuine fish 'n chips or a Cornish pasty. The touch of a statue, such as the one of Beau Brummell outside the Burlington Arcade.
As a historical author, I am fascinated by all these things. It all combines to give me a feeling of what it was like to live hundreds or thousands of years ago. I can get it from reading historical books—fiction and nonfiction—but it's ever so much more vivid to be there. I learned this from my study-abroad jaunts during my teaching career, and now that I'm an author of historical fiction centered on the British Isles, I know being there will provide a new layer of authenticity to my writing.
My 2014 Adventure
While I've enjoyed my short visits to London the past two years, this year I'm planning a longer stay. I've rented a flat on Baker Street—an area I know well from having stayed at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel on past visits—for a whole month! This area is centrally located with easy access to public transportation, and comes with a kitchen, laundry facilities, a rooftop terrace, Wifi, and even the use of a UK cell phone! This doesn't come cheap, but it's a whole lot cheaper than staying in a hotel!
The plan is to visit as many places in London as possible, but I will be traveling outside the city at least a few times. One place is Leeds Castle in Kent, which features in my current WIP. Another is Chatsworth in Devon, where I have rented a room at the Devonshire Arms—one of the outbuildings on the Chatsworth estate—for my birthday! And I'll be visiting the Pavilion in Brighton as well. If I can, I'd like to visit several places in Yorkshire as well, but that might have to wait for another time. London itself is full of wonderful historically-significant places, even though the appearances have changed a great deal over time.
Travel is a wonderful way to gain a world perspective. I wish everyone could have the opportunity to see what the rest of the world is like…and used to be like. Most travelers I know agree that their travels have fundamentally changed their attitudes about other people and cultures.
What are your travel plans for 2014? In what way has travel abroad changed the way you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
She's a country lady. He's a London swell. They have nothing in common. Or have they?
A wounded soldier and the girl next door find peace and love amidst a backdrop of rural Christmas traditions.
About SusanaA former teacher, Susana is finally living her dream of being a full-time writer. She loves all genres of romance, but historical—Regency in particular—is her favorite. There’s just something about dashing heroes and spunky heroines waltzing in ballrooms and driving through Hyde Park that appeals to her imagination.
In real life, Susana is a lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, although she has lived in Ecuador and studied in Spain, France and Mexico. More recently, she was able to travel around the UK and visit many of the places she’s read about for years, and it was awesome! She is a member of the Maumee Valley, Central Florida and Beau Monde chapters of Romance Writers of America.
Susana’s Parlour (Regency Blog)
Susana’s Morning Room (Romance Blog)