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Fiction-Inspired Travel?

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Has a novel ever made you desperate to travel somewhere? I’m reading The Historian, and I’m now dying to visit Eastern Europe. I want to see the Danube, visit Istanbul, and spend weeks in Dubrovnik. And, okay, maybe visit the monastery on an island in the middle of Lake Snagov! (Map of the Danube via wikivoyage.) Anyone else?

Discussion  18 comments

Edith ZimmermanMOD

Wow, errant Dracula emoji in the wrong place; great work Edith!!!

Jason Robinson

I have recently been running a tabletop role-playing game called The Lady Afterwards, an occult mystery set in 1920s Alexandria, Egypt. The story is fiction, but thoughtfully written with lots of references to real people, places, and events connected to the city at that time.

I have been doing a lot of my own reading and research, including in the (real!) 1920s travel guide Alexandria: A History and Guide by EM Forster.

All of this has filled me with wanderlust, and a desire to travel both in space and time to experience the city’s renowned cafés, theatres, and historical sites for myself.

Edith ZimmermanMOD

Holy smokes, that sounds incredible. How long does a game like that take?

A recent read of Stephen Biesty’s illustrated cross-sections of Ancient Egypt made me also want to travel back in time (but just to be a fly on the wall, I think!).

Chris Brakebill

I distinctly remember this same feeling when I read the Historian.

Currently I’m reading (and watching) Shogun and it really has me wanting to travel to Japan

Richard Hemmer

Ah, I remember reading The Historian back when it came out. It was such a big deal when it was announced. And it's funny, because while I didn't love the book, I liked certain aspects of it a lot, like how it made me *feel* the places it described. So I can see how it would make you want to travel more. It also affirmed my decision to become a historian, which turned out nicely as well.

Richard Hemmer

Sorry, wrong thread! I'm not used to commenting any more :(

Edith ZimmermanMOD

It’s all good! And yeah, the book itself is not totally my favorite, but it’s definitely effective as a travel motivator.

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Jason KottkeMOD

I very much wanted to go to Paris while reading The Sun Also Rises. But not to Spain for some reason. 🤷‍♂️

Meg Hourihan

An affair with a dashing bull fighter was perhaps less appealing than hanging with your friends in the cafes of Paris.

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Christopher Walks

I feel like a significant portion of the economy in Prince Edward Island is based on tourism related to Anne of Green Gables.

Alison M.

Not exactly, but I love to read books set in the destinations when I'm traveling. I'm headed to Ireland in about a month, which has SO many great book options.

Edith ZimmermanMOD

What have you picked? Or, what’s on your list??

Ben Timberlake

Yes, this is what I do, as well, though it's not always successful. I read Pachinko on a trip to Korea but then found most of it is set in Japan (though many cultural references were nevertheless enlightening, not least the continuing tension between those two places), and I could get through barely the first 50 pages of Midnight's Children during travel in India (ended up not having so much time for reading on that trip, anyway).

But some high points include Mark Slouka's The Visible World ahead of trip to Prague (HHhH wasn't out yet) and a Tale of Two Cities sandwiched between visits to London and Paris.

Alison M.

This is the long list for Ireland, though I still need to narrow it down since I am only there 9 days and am still a paper book devotee:

Prophet Song - Paul Lynch
Skippy Dies - Paul Murray
Small Things Like These - Claire Keegan
Beautiful World, Where Are You - Sally Rooney
The Wren, The Wren - Anne Enright
The Rachel Incident - Caroline O'Donoghue
We Don't Know Ourselves - Finlan O'Toole

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Jolin Masson

There is a veloroute that follows pretty much the Danube in Eastern Europe. I did that in 2014 and it was fantastic!

Edith ZimmermanMOD

Ok I want to do that

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Lisa S.

Not fiction, but I recently read a book called Café Neandertal, and it made me want to go to the Dordogne and visit all the amazing prehistoric sites and markets.

Mike Smith

In the mid 00s, I read both Sacred Games (novel by Vikram Chandra) and Maximum City (non-fiction by Suketu Mehta), both set in and very muc about Mumbai. Afterwards, I really wanted to be immersed there for a long while.

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