We do most of our sightseeing through the written word here at Frostbeard Studio, which occasionally spills over into our book-themed travel bucket list for our next big vacation. When we stumble across a novel that makes us positively dizzy with description, we stick a pin in our map. From misty moors to sparkling oceans, our travel wishlist is filled with a lovely mix of cities, landscapes, and entire countries we’re planning to visit someday. Here are a few of our favorites.
One literary location we’ve actually traveled to is the Isle of Skye , the primary setting of Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. Though much of the introspective novel takes place inside the Ramsay family’s summer home, Woolf’s descriptions of the outdoors had us longing to take in the views. Just look at this line, for example: “So fine was the morning except for a streak of wind here and there that the sea and sky looked all one fabric, as if sails were stuck high up in the sky, or the clouds had dropped down into the sea.” Can’t you picture yourself perched on a cliff, musing about the ceaseless passage of time and the changes it brings? We certainly can.
The Isle of Skye isn’t the only draw of Scotland by any means. Venturing to the mainland, we took in the sights that inspired one of our favorite historical romances: Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. There’s even an official tour that takes visitors on an 800-mile route through the country, hitting locations from the book and TV adaptation!
André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name is a heady tale of desire and blossoming love woven deeply into the landscape of the Italian Riviera. For a brief six weeks in the summer, seventeen-year-old Elio and 24-year-old Oliver dance around each other before finally recognizing a mutual passion. The sun-drenched scenery lends a dreamy atmosphere to this brief romance, made all the more bittersweet by the rest of the novel. For a perfect vacation, we dream of renting out a villa in northern Italy where we could enjoy the hot, dry summer weather while pondering the tenderness of first love.
The Yorkshire Moors
Say what you will about the gloomy nature of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights – we don’t care. We want! To go! To! The! MOORS! This changeable landscape is at times fearsome and haunted by ghosts, but it also acts as an escape for the spirited Cathy, offering her sunshine and warmth away from her abusive household as she grows. We want to walk the near-mystical region where she and Heathcliff would have played and planted the seeds of their wild, doomed love. The Brontë sisters grew up surrounded by this scenery, so who knows – maybe we’ll be inspired to pen our own twisting tales.
Ah, Dublin. We’ve never been, but a visit to this jubilant city just might be at the very top of our nerd bucket list. So many of our favorite characters – both modern and classic – have gone on adventures here. We’d really love to visit for Bloomsday in June so that we could celebrate famous author James Joyce while walking the path Ulysses lovingly traces through the heart of downtown.
Dublin (and Ireland in general) is characterized as a place of magic, rich with folklore and history, but sometimes we like a little science to go along with those dwarves and fairy hills. Eoin Colfer places Fowl Manor, home to criminal mastermind and boy genius Artemis Fowl, just outside the city. Though much of this first novel in the Fowl series takes place inside the manor or underground in the world of fairies, Colfer treats us to a particularly lovely passage in which a major character soars over the city and into the countryside on a journey to replenish her magic.
Another favorite Dublin-centric book of ours is Karen Marie Moning’s Darkfever, the first novel in her Fever series. Mackayla Lane and her supernatural exploits have us longing to experience the vibrant Temple Bar District, which, according to Mac, is “the most alive part of the city, full of craic – Irish slang for something along the lines of ‘rollicking good fun.’” Hopefully, we’ll be able to take a slower tour of the area, instead of being chased through the dark by monsters ready to suck up our life force!
Hanging Rock, Victoria, Australia
Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock has stuck with us for its mystery, its intriguing characters, and because we can’t get this image out of our heads – three girls climbing higher and higher towards a volcanic landmark, eventually disappearing forever. This novel feels so atmospheric, ghostly in a way that only an examination of unexplained tragedy can be, and we eat that mood up. How can you not shiver at the ominous line, “even the lowest and most accessible levels of the Rock are exceedingly treacherous, especially for girls in long summer dresses?” Lindsay’s deft combination of mystery and horror makes us determined to see the “geological marvel” of Hanging Rock with our own eyes. After all, we can only watch the 1975 film so many times before we book some plane tickets to Australia and go off to explore the outcropping ourselves – with some friends, just in case!
Where Will You Go with Frostbeard?
Planning a trip takes time, effort, and careful budgeting. But don’t stay stagnant while you save up funds or vacation days for that journey of a lifetime – when you need a break from planning, crack open a novel of your choice, light a book-inspired candle, and let yourself be whisked away on an adventure in the comfort of your own home. And let us know your favorite book-inspired destination in the comments!