Open TicketHave You Ever Been Inspired To Travel Somewhere Because Of A Book Or Movie?Stephanie Spitler

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s much-loved novel of sisterhood, sprawling manor houses, and gossipy rich people turned 200 last week! In celebration of this literary birthday, tourists have been flocking to Austen landmarks, like the town of Bath.

Like most Austen-ites, I love Lizzie and Mr. Darcy (and I even have a place in my heart for boring Bingley and goody-two-shoes, Jane). Hey, who wouldn’t love a story about a smart, sassy heroine who likes to read and has no patience for mean girls or stuck-up dudes? When I first read Pride and Prejudice, I dreamed of strolling through the genteel English countryside and visiting grand old houses, of sipping tea and attending fancy dress balls. And seeing the miniseries/movies based on the book only solidified those desires.

That book was one of the reasons I chose to study abroad in London.

I’m not ashamed to admit that as soon as I could travel on my own, I chose my destinations largely according to literary and cinematic inspiration. Grimm’s fairytale castles in the Black Forest? Check. The Sound of Music bus tour in Salzberg? Definitely check. Salem, Massachusetts to do a little sightseeing a la The Crucible? You’d better believe it. My most recent trip, to Colorado, was inspired by several things: The Shining, every Western I’ve ever seen, and ski movies. I figured ONE of those things was bound to be right on the money.

Travel based on books is nothing new. Literary works have always inspired travel, ever since the first person got off at the Baker Street Tube stop looking for Sherlock Holmes. Maybe literary tourism is so appealing because we connect so deeply with our favorite literary creations, because we feel we know them. Seeing where their lives are set brings them to life in a way we never could in our minds, sitting on our couch and devouring the words that form and shape them.

So, say you’ve been hit with a light bulb inspirational moment and have decided to set off in search of your favorite fictional setting. What happens when you get there? Are you disappointed if/when it’s not exactly like you thought? Travel expectations aren’t just limited to literary travel, but it’s a special brand of disappointment to realize that the place you’d imagined for so long isn’t exactly as you’d pictured it. Any time you see a gorgeous photo of a hotel, for example, and arrive to find that its “convenient location” description translates to “adjacent to a highway off-ramp” you’re faced with how to manage dashed hopes.

The best advice I can give you is, to shrug your shoulders and embrace the surprises. As long as it’s not sketchy or unsafe, then I say, roll with it. You’ll always have the book or movie, and now you’ll have your own (hopefully funny) story to tell about “the real” wherever.

So, you may ask, what’s inspiring me now? I’ve been to Italy but I want to go back and explore the Under the Tuscan Sun countryside. I’ve also been wanting to get all Blue Lagoon on a Caribbean island for a while now. And of course, I’ve wanted to go to California ever since I saw Elliott’s kick-ass neighborhood in E.T. (a far cry from my suburban Pennsylvania neighborhood, growing up).

What literary or cinematic settings inspire you to travel?

Let’s tweet about all things travel (and hot chocolate) related, @StephSpitler

Featured image via ShutterStock

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1205346092 Joanna Boese

    I’ve always wanted to go to NY after seeing “The Muppets Take Manhattan” as a kid….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1497845297 Yara Haddad

    Scotland, the Hogwartz castle, but alas I wont find a wizard to marry there. Im sure a nice cafe will have a milky cadbury hot chocolate to cheer me up!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1802051454 Alyssa Phillips

    Wuthering Heights, I really want to see the heather covered moors in England. Its my fantasy to go there one day. Im sure its beautiful there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1543980133 Emma Van Looy

    Eat Pray Love!

    Italy, India & Bali…one can dream!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1362297617 Linnea Fox

    Into the Wild made me want to get up and leave my life behind, just to start something new completely on my own. I really want to travel to Alaska and see the “magic bus.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000410317921 Morgan White

    Yes, “P.S, I Love You”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745720269 Maddie Farr

    My DREAM is to travel to Florence, Italy, inspired by A Room with A View… the book! (the movie too… :D) The hills, the pensione – so romantic!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1425326384 Liz Hicks

    I love Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, both the books and movie. When my family went to Canada last summer to visit relatives I made them stop in Toronto and see Casa Loma. Besides Casa Loma being a totally awesome castle, some of the movie was filmed there and it’s also mentioned in the books.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=632009572 Stephanie Spitler

      I’ve been to Casa Loma! It was one of my favorite things in Toronto :-) What an amazing place!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=730780509 Malavika Prabhakar

    You have put my thoughts into writing! Love it!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=632009572 Stephanie Spitler

      Aww, thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100400457 Jackie Bellamy

    In college I went to Tunisia. I had always wanted to go there because many scenes from the old and new Star Wars were filmed there. The Jedi capes are even inspired by the traditional dress worn in Tunisia. I was lucky enough to purchase a cape and always have a back up costume.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=568805898 Melanie Broussalian

    Rome because of “Eat, Pray, Love.” I’m learning Italian and plan to study abroad in Roma next fall. :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=27701591 Alexandria Brown

    Prince Edward Island, Canada so I live like Anne of Green Gables for a few days!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=685948798 Samrajni Patil

    Venice because of The Thief Lord! :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=515784952 Amy Wallace

      Yes!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=693210875 Natalie Jeane

    Ever since I started reading the Thursday Next series, I’ve wanted to go to Swindon. It’s not a particularly romantic getaway, but it means a lot to me!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=774410203 Miranda Lang

    Russia because of “The Bronze Horseman” by Paulina Simons

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662345173 Melissa Kowalewski

    Absolutely: I want to go back to Sweden because of Steig Larsson’s books, I want to go to P.E.I. because of Anne of Green Gables andI want to to go Atlanta/Savannah/Charleston, S.C. because of GoneWith the Wind and In the Garden of Good and Evil. I’d also love to go to the Scottish Highlands and Edinburgh because of Outlander.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513736627 Alison L. Mains

      I walked through the standing stones at Inverness on a Highlands boozy bus tour and three months later I met my Scottish husband, Jamie. Well, his name isn’t Jamie but the rest is true.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=632009572 Stephanie Spitler

      Prince Edward Island is a popular destination in the comments :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1443982652 Vero Pannitto

    I’ve visited Paris inspired by “Midnight in Paris” and “The Da Vinci code”, I’ve spent a whole afternoon at Louvre Museum. I would also like to visit New York for all the movies that shows the city during new year’s eve.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=632009572 Stephanie Spitler

      New York is one of my favorite cities! No matter how many times I’ve been there, there’s always something new to see or do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1285617475 Michela Rocchi

    I want to have a “Holden Caulfield” tour of NYC one day :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636469307 Nikita McInnes

    I’m planning a trip to Southern Africa and was inspired to travel there thanks to Roald Dahl’s autobiography, Flying Solo. He was posted to Botswana as a fighter pilot during WWII and his descriptions of the place, culture, animals and people have fueled this huge desire to see it for myself. I read the book when I was 10 and I have harboured this obsession with Botswana ever since.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=632009572 Stephanie Spitler

      That sounds like a really interesting book! I’ll have to check it out; Roald Dahl was one of my favorite authors as a kid.

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