One thing I have noticed since I started book blogging is the correlation between people who love books and people who love to travel, and I don’t believe that this is any coincidence. After all, what are books save a means of travel for the mind? We read to escape our every day environment and experience new thoughts, new places, new emotions; we travel for exactly the same reasons.
Travel is a huge passion of mine, so much so that until recently I have been running my own travel business. The only things stopping me being constantly on the move are lack of time and lack of money, so once my kids are grown and I win the Lottery, I’ll be off and away. In the meantime, I travel as much as I can, and spend the rest of the time travelling through stories.
I’ve been extremely lucky to have visited some fantastic places and had some amazing experiences over the years. I’ve stood on top of Rockefeller Center in the snow.
I’ve mushed huskies in Lapland, helicoptered to the floor of the Grand Canyon, been dune bashing in Dubai, seen Little Big Town inducted into the Grand Old Opry. I’ve listened to the Pope give mass in St. Peter’s Square, watched horse racing from a private box at Churchill Downs (home of the Kentucky Derby) and ridden in an Indy 500 car.
I’ve seen Ernest Hemingway’s six-toed cats, cruised on a steamboat on the Mississippi and tilted a thousand feet out over Chicago’s Magnificent Mile at the top of the John Hancock Building at night.
I’ve seen opera and dancing horses in Vienna, been to the birthplace of Muhammad Ali and feasted on a whole museum of Warhols in Pittsburgh. I threw a football on the home field of the Cinnicinati Bengals and hand-fed a giraffe at Columbus zoo. I’ve met Mickey Mouse, ridden rollercoasters at night in a deserted theme park, seen the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, the White House and the Liberty Bell.
I’ve also had some very sobering experiences, – at the Berlin Wall, Auschwitz and the 9/11 Memorial – where the memories of unbelievable human pain and suffering permeate the stones and we are sharply reminded why we all need to love more and hate less, and treasure each day we are given on this earth.
This year I’ve been to Krakow, with its beautiful square and turbulent history, in a freezing cold February to fulfil a long time ambition of the Irishman’s.
I’ve visited Washington and Philadelphia where we saw Trump fly overhead in a chopper on his way to Florida while the Stormy Daniels controversy was raging, ate Philly cheesesteaks and visited Arlington cemetery and the iconic Iwo Jima memorial.
We’ve also been over to Dublin, to visit the Irishman’s parents, which is always a joyful experience, not least to drink pints of the black stuff at McDaid’s or visit the beautiful library at Trinity College and marvel at the Book of Kells.
In a couple of weeks we will be visiting the Isle of Man for half term where the most excitement we get is shouting greetings to the Little Folk as we cross the Fairy Bridge, riding the steam railways and eating the delicious local ice cream.
Next year already promises a return visit to Key West with the whole family, plus a surprise trip for the Irishman’s big birthday in February (I can’t say where yet – don’t want to give the game away). I’m hoping we’ll fit some more trips in, maybe to Belfast where I’m desperate to see the Titanic Exhibition and visit the Giant’s Causeway. The Irishman keeps promising to take me to Galway and ply me with oysters. Or maybe he’ll plan a surprise trip to Europe (Venice, Niall, I want to go to Venice! If I keep saying it, he might take the hint). Who knows where adventure may yet take me?
I’ve been so lucky to have been able to visit so many amazing places, but there are so many more on my list. That’s what the Bucket List category of this blog is for – making plans and recording hopes and dreams for the future. In the meantime, I can go wherever I want, whenever I want, through the pages of my books.
Where have you been? Where would you go if you could? I’d love to hear your traveller’s tales.