When I was a child, I dreamed of traveling the world. Inspired by the historical novels and adventure tales that I devoured in my bedroom after school, I wanted to see the Great Pyramids, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Parthenon, the Coliseum in Rome. My more down-to-earth fantasies featured me climbing on board a train to New York City (I grew up near Boston) and being whisked away, all on my own, to the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. Even though in reality I was a shy, over-protected little girl, staying by myself in a hotel was the most exciting thing that I could imagine.
I've been extremely fortunate. To a large extent my young dreams have come true. Though I still haven't been to Egypt or Athens, over the five decades of my life I've visited every continent except for Australia, and also had the unique experience of living in a foreign culture. I credit the realization of my fantasies mostly to my husband, who announced on our first date that he was "looking for someone to travel with", and then proceeded to keep me enthralled for two and a half hours with his stories of rambles in Europe and Asia.
Of course, my travels have been educational and entertaining. They've also strongly influenced my writing. Many of my tales have foreign settings, based on personal experience - amply augmented by imagination! London, Bangkok, Prague, Amsterdam, Provence, Laos, and India have all played host to my characters. I'm currently researching a novel that will be set in Cambodia, near Angkor Wat, and working on another that takes place in Turkey.
I've found that exotic settings are highly conducive to erotic romance. When you are traveling, the normal rules don't apply. You're more ready for adventure than when you are at home doing the laundry or making out the grocery list. Then again, when you're on the road, you're more likely to meet extraordinary individuals, whether mysterious and attractive natives or outrageous, seductive fellow voyagers. Travel opens your mind and heightens your senses. It makes you more susceptible to epiphanies of emotion that ignite and transform you - including falling in love.
I've included some photos from my wanderings. What about you? What is the most romantic place that you've ever visited? Paris has a quite a reputation, as does the Caribbean. I've never been to Tahiti, but the beaches of Krabi in Thailand approach perfection, while Bali is exquisite and mystical.