Bohus Fortress in Sweden!
- Dutch Fries!
- Well-worn books!
Hey, and How Are We Today!I have some European pictures here because that’s what I had on hand. I love the Netherlands! Belgium is great! But I would never slight Scotland, Israel, England, Egypt, the Phillipines, Mexico, Sweden, Canada or even the little coral atoll of Diego Garcia, the southernmost isle in the Chagos Archipeligo. When I travel, I like to just run off and see what there is to see. I do study in advance to and plan where I’ll run off from and to; what I mean is not being jammed in a tour group or cooped up on a ship the size of a city. If I see a hole-in-the-wall museum I can just do it.
You’ll see in my books that I use what I’ve seen in my characters. Elise is from the Netherlands, Ricky is Scottish, Olivia is Indian, and mi amigo Barto is from Paraguay (a couple of those places I have yet to visit – they’re on my list). When they remeber a place it’s often because I remember standing there myself. For example Ricky tells Wing (in Tenembras) that Elise is as rare as Orkney sunshine – it rained every day I was there. He also reminisces about dangling his feet in Loch Ness – Mama and I did that ourselves.
Bust your blinders off – travel and walk amongst the folks, learn some of the language, eat their food, ride the trams and boats. I try to get at least three weeks in a place so I can really get the feel of it. Another favorite is to add a week of vacation to business trips – saves on travel fuel and reduces the overall cost and footprint. My advice to a would-be traveler is to study a good guidebook well in advance, get yourself a big dry erase board and draw a big calendar of the days you can afford. Pick events and adventures out of the book and switch them around on your calendar.
Check the country and those places out on the internet; the country’s tourism site is a good place to start but by no means is it the only spot to look. Consider Scotland. I wanted to see a grand Highland Games spectacle and found the Highland Games website to help me choose. I wanted to stay in a castle; I got to price them and check availability. Travel is fun, educational and it gets you out of your rut. GO for it!