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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Florida?!?! Really?!?!?

Last night I booked a trip to Florida for March--the husband, baby, and I will be visiting my inlaws, and I never thought I'd EVER be excited about such a thing. Going to Florida to see my inlaws? I mean, COME ON! I'm more of an Italy, Ireland kind of gal. Which is why it was so much fun for me to write the parts of WHAT HAPPENS HERE that are set in Europe.

Chloe, the main character, goes to Europe with her family at the beginning of the book, visiting London, Paris, Rome and Venice. I was about Chloe's age--she's 16, i was closer to 14--when I went to Europe for the first time so it was neat to think back to my first impressions and to try to capture the wonder of travel. Back then, the last thing I wanted to do was be seen with my parents so that was sort of tricky since I wasn't exactly old enough to run around the streets of Paris by myself. But I was still grateful for the opportunity and thankful that my parents, neither of whom had ever been abroad before, had the drive to save up money and take us to Europe at a relatively young age. I really think it fostered my love of travel and my life has been richer for it. I even lived abroad--in Dublin--for about a year and a half after college.

A lot of the experiences Chloe has in Europe closely resemble my own: she visits a lot of the same tourist attractions (Buckingham Palace, Versailles, the restaurant in Rome that claims to have invented Fettucini Alfredo, Piazza San Marco in Venice, many many more); she has her portrait drawn by a sketch artist in Paris; she gets lost in Venice; she takes a boat ride on the Seine in France and has one of the best meals of her life to date in a tiny restaurant on a cobblestone street in Paris. Just thinking about it all makes me want to hop on a plane.

In the last few years I've taken some of the best trips in my life—my honeymoon in Belize, a sort of second honeymoon to Hawaii (a free week in a hotel there was one of our wedding gifts, if you can believe it!) and an amazing trip to Italy (for fun) and Ireland (for a wedding, also fun). I think the trip to Italy was probably the best trip I've ever taken (the food, the food!) but then again Hawaii was arguably the most relaxing week of my life ever.

Most of What Happens Here is set in Vegas, of course, but Vegas, well...Vegas requires its own blog posting. More on that aspect of the book and my long and storied relationship with Vegas next time. In the meantime, what's the best trip you've ever taken and why?!??!



Stephanie Kuehnert said...

I'm so jealous of your travels. I haven't really been able to afford to go out of the country other than Canada. But Scotland and Italy are the big goals for me. I was just recently in Vegas though and I, too, am going to Florida this spring, going for a wedding that should be fancy and fun!

jennifer echols said...

Definitely wedding and honeymoon in Hawaii! We're saving our pennies to go back. But Tara, I want to hear more about Belize. That was our early choice for our wedding/honeymoon and I really can't remember why we switched our sights to Hawaii.

taltebrando said...

Nothing wrong with Canada, Stephanie! I absolutely love Nova Scotia and am dying to go to Montreal. People say it's like going to Europe without having to cross an ocean.

Belize was cool, Jennifer. People we met there congratulated us on taking an "edgy" honeymoon, which we didn't really think it was, but it was definitely a little bit grittier than your typical beach destination. We spent time in the mountains and by the sea and loved them both. Canoed in caves. Snorkeled. Loads of fun. We also got a weird bug, though...the kind that has you running for the loo every ten minutes. Not so romantic! But anyway, my latest book for grown-ups, a novel called Wouldn't Miss It for the World, is about a group of people going to a destination wedding in Belize. It was fun to revisit my honeymoon in my mind. :)


Little Willow said...

I've never been out of the country.

My best trip out of the state was definitely my trip to Boston & Indiana a few years ago. I went to see the fantastic Christopher Golden and his family, who welcomed me with open arms for a week, then I visited friends in Indiana.

Teen Troves said...

Looking forward to What Happens Here!

My best trip was my senior year of high school when we went to Ireland for two weeks. It was my first time to Europe and it was special particularly because I'm...IRISH! Erin Go Bragh!