YA Highway asks: What is the most inspiring setting you’ve ever visited in real life?
This is such a tough one! And are we talking inspired like for a WIP or inspired to write or just inspired in the general, life-is-amazing way? I have visited some incredible places so far, most of which have inspired me in different ways. I could easily spend way too much time choosing a favorite, but since I have stuff I need to work on today, I’m just listing out my top choices. With pictures, of course. In no particular order:
1. Scottish Highlands. All of the mountains and the greenery were so stunning, and we really lucked out with the weather for the week we were there. It was an unseasonably sunny June, so they said. The scenery screams high fantasy to me–I could totally imagine riding horses across the land and turning the corner to run into a fairy or troll or something otherworldly. Also, the accents. Yum. When we first arrived in Edinburgh and couldn’t find our hotel, I asked a police officer and my husband says that I looked so completely starstruck. I believe him, because I couldn’t remember a single direction that adorable policeman gave us.
2. Cloud Forest in Ecuador. Driving through the Andes was an exercise in keeping my eyes on the road. I just wanted to look at the scenery. Another great high-fantasy setting. And despite being terrified of jungle bugs and terrified of riding in a rickety tarabita over the valley and terrified of the bridges that were held together by clothes hangers (seeing a theme?), I managed to enjoy our waterfall hike quite a bit. Not to mention that coming from the smog in Quito, fresh air was a welcome novelty.
3. Rothenburg o.d. Tauber, Germany. What was really awesome about Rothenburg was how well-kept it was. In itself, it was really such a touristy place–I heard English on the streets more than German–but the medieval wall around the city, the old signs, cobblestones, and traditional German architecture captured me. My husband and I took the time to walk all the way around the wall in the middle of the night, and it was really spooky. Looking out over the city at night, in some places, you could imagine that you really had traveled back in time somehow. Now, when I think of medieval Europe, Rothenburg springs to mind immediately.
4. Badlands, South Dakota. Although I knew about this national park before we drove through it, it wasn’t on our cross-country itinerary. We took a detour to go through the park at the last minute, and it was by far the highlight of our trip. If I ever decide to write about a dangerous lunar or martian landscape, this is exactly how I would write it. We arrived at the park just as the sun was setting, so on one hand we didn’t get to see all of it and we didn’t get to do any good hikes, but on the other hand, we got to see the sun setting over some incredible landscapes.
5. Seattle, WA. For some reason, the city itself really inspired me to write a lot more while I was there, and even after living in Seattle for months, I couldn’t get over those mountains. When they chose to peek out of the cloud cover, it was like a super-special treat and it made my whole day. I could spend forever looking at mountains. They’re one of the only things on Earth I would label “majestic” with a straight face.