Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Traveling in Winter

Over the weekend I indulged in a little globe trotting. It began unexpectedly when I snagged a  friend at church just as he waltzed through the kitchen where I was dropping something off for a meeting later.

“How was your trip to Haiti?” I asked Mike. I was surprised when he told me he’d only been gone for a week but he put it quite clearly when he answered my question.

“Eye opening.”

Then he told me of the conditions under which people there live. Huts only a quarter the size of the kitchen we were standing in with only half of it roofed. He mentioned the number of people, 220K, killed in two minutes when the horrible hurricane struck. Lots of woe and lots of work left to do there. Without having to mention it we both understood how much we have here. I hope to talk to him about it again.

Later that day I went to Las Vegas. Our son, his wife and girls visited. They will be traveling there for a wedding at the end of March. Heather shared pictures of the flowers she’s making for the wedding party. Friends and family from New Jersey and Texas will be going, too. It brought to mind my visit there a few years ago when my family treated me for one of those birthdays with a zero in it (never mind). Food, fun and frolic. About as far from Haiti as one could get, I suppose.

At nine o’clock Sunday evening I snuggled into my recliner and made the trip I’ve been waiting a whole week to take – England. Yup, I’m a Downton Abbey fan. The era in which Lord and Lady Grantham play out their lives for our viewing pleasure all comes to me as I watch, fascinated with the loves and lives of these imaginary characters. Maggie Smith as the dowager countess is a stitch. Sunday’s episode included an unexpected death that proved to be a plot twist full of angst and heartache. Made me wish I could write like Julian Fellowes! I just love it. I hope the series lasts a few more seasons.

But it was over at ten. Now where do I go? Ah – that’s right. Botswana! My friend, Marie, has loaned me books 11 and 12 in Alexander McCall Smith’s series, The #1 Ladies Detective Agency. I turned off the telly (still in England a little) and opened up on yet another world. I got so engrossed I stayed in Africa for another hour and a half. I used at least six tissues dabbing away tears of laughter while reading of Mma Ramostwe and Grace Makutsi traveling into the wilds in a canoe. Water nearly came over the sides as Precious, a "traditionally built" woman, and Grace got in. Oh, my. It was worth reading almost to the end to get to this part. Fuuunnyy!!

So today I got up and wondered if anyone else globe trots like this. All snug in your winter habitat, dreaming of far away places and traveling there in a mind trip. How about you writers? Where do you attempt to take your readers when you pen your excellent stories? Are you able to impart a strong sense of place that will take your reader into distant lands – or, even – the local mall? Inquiring minds want to know.

And the rest of you?

Image: Idea Go                                                             Free Digital Photos


  1. I do like to travel in this way too! I've been all over the states, Texas most recently. Planning a virtual trip overseas soon. :-)

  2. That's why I enjoyed reading Phyllis A. Whitney's books. She actually went to the places she wrote about, changing names of buildings, etc. I subscribed to a series set in Maine because I like Maine - maybe traveling to Maine for our wedding anniversaries had something to do with that. However, the books, although interesting, were more character oriented.I can think of others that have taken me on trips to other places.

    1. I liked James Herritot's books because I felt as though I was actually there in Yorkshire, England while I read. It's a great way to see the world and even to plan an excursion, I suppose. I'd go to England in a heartbeat (and a thousand books sales to finance it. LOL)Glad you stopped by, Marion

  3. LOL Karen. Yes, overseas. Let's go!

  4. Oh, Sue... I am so taken with Downton Abbey, too. I LOVE those characters. (Had a headache from crying watching Sunday's episode.)

    When I think of going to places, I think of also going to different eras in time. Like to Mississippi in The Help. Would I have been so brave? I hope so. Or to Alabama in To Kill a Mockingbird, as inquisitive as Scout. And I wonder what letter in the alphabet I would have reached as to the books (by author) I was reading in the library as Francie in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn? I must say, the best way to travel is through reading. You don't have to pack, find someone to watch your cat (plus leaving him is always hard) or spend a lot of money. Oh the magic of books!

  5. Cindy, I totally agree about the magic of books (and Downton Abbey!). I hope good story tellers keep pumping them out! Always love reading your comments.