Travel Inspiration

Do you travel for inspiration?

I love travel.  In recent years, in the interest of frugality and my starving-artist state, I’ve cut back on a lot of my more adventurous (read as: expensive) trips, but I recently came to the apex of that pendulum swing toward penny pinching and started swinging back toward the center and the reminder that if you always do the responsible, money-saving thing you can miss out on a lot of experiences in life.

In that vein of prioritizing experiences again, I sat down with my family and we agreed that instead of pushing back (again) the trip we’d been talking about taking for the last five years, the time was now and I would make it work.  And so, we gathered in New York and boarded a ship bound for England, for twelve days of leisurely sea days (though I confess I did do some polishing & release prep for my May book on board, so it wasn’t totally leisurely), followed by eleven days in the UK.

The cruise was a cruise – great for hitting the reset button and recharging when you’re feeling like a hamster on a wheel – but it was in England that I felt like the creative portion of my brain really opened up and the inspiration started flowing.  We stayed in London for a few days, but it was when we left the capital and drove along the winding country roads (and many, many roundabouts) to some smaller towns and cities that my imagination really took off – and I started thinking how fun it would be to take a similar trip with a group of writers.  

In Brighton and Bath, it was impossible not to think of Regency writers. 

Prior Park in Bath

Prior Park in Bath

At Caerphilly castle or Stonehenge, the medieval and fantasy writers would have a field day. 

Caerphilly Castle in Wales

Caerphilly Castle in Wales

But it wasn’t just the most obvious destinations that fired up my brain with creative possibilities – just the windmills on a hill in Cornwall sparked an idea for a story that’s lurking in the back of my brain.  And seeing an ancient carving in the British Museum reminded me of a story idea I’ve been meaning to get back to.

You never know when inspiration will strike – but for me it always seems to strike more frequently when I get out of my rut and out into the world.

We had a few advantages on this trip in that I used to live in England, so I know my way around a bit and driving on the opposite side of the road doesn’t feel any differently to me.  But as I played tour guide for my family, I couldn’t stop thinking how fun it would be to do the same for writer friends.  Maybe that’s my future career – travel muse!  Who knows?

Do you find inspiration in travel?  Is there someplace you would love to go (or have gone!) to find fuel for your creative fire?

Lizzie Shane is a travel addict and 3-time RITA nominated contemporary romance author.  Her upcoming release, The Decoy Bridehits the shelves on May 29th.  You can check out more pictures of her recent trip on her Facebook page, or visit her website for more about her books or to sign up for her newsletter.  She also writes paranormal romance under the pen name Vivi Andrews.  Happy reading!

18 responses to “Travel Inspiration”

  1. So happy to have you back, Vivi, and what a great reminder to get out of the rut and experience the world. I always get so many ideas when away from the pressures of home life. Won’t it be great if we could be world travelers for 300 days out of the year?

    Let me know if you ever decide to hold that writer’s adventure to England. I’m in. The bath is done! (personal note readers)

    • It would be magnificent if we could just soak up new experiences all the time! But alas, the piper must be paid. And also, I think we might hit our saturation point and burn out on travel eventually. It’s good to be home, and to have the time to get back into a productive writing routine! But a writers’ trip does sound pretty dang fun, doesn’t it? 🙂

  2. Addison Fox says:

    Vivi – what a wonderful post and what an amazing trip!!!!

    So glad you got a chance to go out and inhale the world – I can’t wait for all the stories to come from the inspiration!! 🙂


  3. Julia Day says:

    I love to travel as well. It challenges my assumptions about the way things should be, and makes me “see” things differently.

    I accompanied my daughter to a conference in Rotterdam a few years ago, and put her in charge of finding lodging. She picked a houseboat on a canal. I’m so glad I let her do that–because I would’ve never chosen that and what an amazing experience. I learned so many things. A houseboat is compact *and* comfortable. Dutch grocery stores are closed on Sundays. Walking around confidently can fool people into believing you know what you’re doing. And–it’s an odd feeling for everyone to understand what I’m saying when I had no clue what they were saying.

    There is so much inspiration in all of those little details.

    • Yes! Yes yes, so much yes. I could not agree more about the benefits of being shaken out of our assumptions. And now I desperately want to go to Rotterdam and stay on a houseboat! That sounds amazing!

  4. Heather McCollum says:

    What a fabulous trip!
    Yes, I get inspired every time I step outside my normal world. Since I write Scottish historical romance, England and Scotland really fill up my creative well. Hope I can make it back there again soon.

    • England and Scotland sound like the perfect fit for your muse, Heather! You’ve talked about trips you’ve taken over there in the past, haven’t you? But there’s always more inspiration to soak up. 🙂

  5. Yes! Whenever I travel the ideas pop up everywhere. So I try to take a ton of pictures to capture the feeling of the spot, and I have to have multiple notepads for those quick scenes that come to mind.

    I’m glad you went. There’s never a good time because there will always be a more responsible choice for the $…but the memories with your family and the inspiration are worth it.

    • Those notepads are a brilliant idea, Alexia! I was telling my gran’s BFF about the trip and she was SHOCKED that I hadn’t kept a detailed journal. I always think I’m going to remember everything, but without the help of photos and journals it will all fade. Next time – Journals!

  6. Tamara Hogan says:

    The trip sounds amazing, Vivi! I haven’t traveled in a while, but some memories last a long time. Just last month, my sisters and I had a giggle fit about something that happened when we all traveled to Maui with Grandma about a decade ago. 🙂

    Back when I still had the day job, I had the opportunity to travel abroad fairly frequently. The several-week swing through New Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai was life-changing, shoving my many forms of privilege front and center. The last time I returned from Bangalore, I couldn’t buy a cup of Starbucks for over a month without drowning in guilt, knowing that what I was spending on a dispoable cup and convenience could feed a family of four for several days.

    Now that Mark has fully recovered from hip replacement surgery, vacations are on the agenda again. We’re tentatively planning a trip to DC within the next year or so. I’ve never been to any of the Smithsonians, which seems like a HUGE gap in my education. 🙂

    • Oh wow, yes, enjoy the Smithsonians! So much to see! And I completely agree that the jolts of perspective we get by traveling internationally are invaluable. I’ve been wanting to see more of south Asia.

  7. What a fantastic trip, Vivi. Thanks for sharing, really enjoyed the pictures. I don’t write medieval but just looking at the castle made the ideas churn. Guess I need to pull out my suitcase and recharge!

  8. I’m so glad you did this!!! I just got back from Europe, too. A dream of mine for decades. I loved every ounce of it and can’t wait to go back. Your pics are stunning. Thank you for sharing and putting me back in that dreamy state I love so much.


  9. Thank you for sharing your pictures and experience. It looks lovely!

    I do find inspiration when I leave home. There’s something about getting out of my own “life” and trying something new on for size that helps me think more clearly.

    Glad you enjoyed an amazing family trip!


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