What the Dickens am I doing here?: Introducing the Ultimate Resource for the Book-Loving Traveler
Just as every story needs a great beginning, so too does a blog. And yet beginnings in one's life are damnedly difficult to pinpoint, aren't they? If we go all the way back where it all began, I'm afraid we'd have to start in the cradle, and this would become a 500-page, overly confessional memoir. As the overly chatty Polonius says, "Brevity is the soul of wit," so I shall try to do as he says and not as he does and introduce myself briefly.
My name is Constance. I am a writer, an avid reader, and an adventurer/traveler. I love chocolate and tea. I teach yoga, and in the extra hours I carve out of every day, you might find me hiking, snorkeling, or running (if ever so slowly). I am a gardener, nutritionist, pescatarian, and erstwhile English teacher.
Travel has been a central part of my life since before I was ever old enough to get on a plane and go. I didn't come from a traveling family, but the wanderlust was always in me, tempting and teasing me in my relatively stationary life. Since legal emancipation to pursue solo, around-the-world travel as a 12 year old seemed neither feasible nor affordable, my restlessness found other ways to manifest: reading stories, writing stories, and purchasing a ridiculous number of books about England, Scotland, France, and Egypt. I read them, stared at them, dreamed of them. (And I mean "dreamed" quite literally. I was astonished to learn recently that not everyone's dreams involve traveling in Europe. People are strange).
The opportunity to realize the dreams of my youth came during my undergrad studies in English language and literature, when I gathered my courage, took out my first student loan, and bought my first transatlantic plane ticket. I would be spending four months immersed in literature and travel during a semester abroad in London, England.
Apart from sleeping on on old and unreliable bunkbed in a dormitory with 13 other women, it was better than I could've imagined. I got to visit the homes of authors whose works I'd read my whole life:
Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, William Shakespeare, Beatrix Potter, William Wordsworth. I got to see the Peter Pan statue in Hyde park, the Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey. I walked, amazed, through the towering halls of Canterbury Cathedral and tromped all over London tracking down those beautiful blue plaques, signs on homes stating that a famous author once lived there. I saw the home in Primrose Hill in which Sylvia Plath lived and died, as well as some of the homes of Virginia Woolf and George Orwell.
That semester was a dream, and yet upon returning home I experienced that dreaded feeling any traveler is familiar with... the sinking regret of learning about places you would have absolutely loved to have seen, if only you had known to look for them.
Even since that life-changing semester, as my travels have taken me all over the US and to parts of Europe, I've always tried to track down literary sites anywhere I go. Still, too many times I've experienced that post-travel regret of having missed things.
Resources for the book-loving traveler are astonishingly hard to come by, despite the overabundance of blogs and books in the world. And so, as no one has yet made the resource that would eliminate this ROMO problem forever (regret of missing out; it's a thing), I have decided myself to become the resource I would love to have.
Lucky for you, book-loving traveler. Now you, too, will be able to find all the literary destinations of your dreams ahead of time, along with recommended readings, and sometimes even chocolate and tea suggestions to go with it (why confine myself to books and travel when there is also tea and chocolate??). Together, we will celebrate all year round with literary events and festivals, stories, poems, and plays, all designed to inspire you to explore the world around you (if not physically, thank you Covid, then by George, then at least mentally).
So a very warm welcome to you all. I look forward to interacting with you through my blog posts here as well as my Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest pages (go ahead and give those a follow right now while you're thinking of it). Not on social? In the footer, you can enter your email address to get notified every time I post a new blog entry.
Thanks for being here! Let's jump in.