Tag Archives: armchair travel

Literary Locations You Can Visit! (Or Just Read About)

Inspired by Alyssia’s post Literary Homes You Can Buy! (Or Just Visit), my recent vacation where I toured historical sites, and the summer travel season, I thought I’d bring you a post on literary locations you can visit. Though it won’t be through any such means as a magic wardrobe, that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as fantastical!

Cover of The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

We’ll start this list off with two epics, and being a biased fan, we’ll begin with my favourite world: Middle Earth.

Most people know that the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies were filmed in New Zealand and that, besides the incredible bigatures, much of the stunning scenery we see on screen are straight shots of actual locations. So I’m here to recommend three lesser known places than Matamata, NZ (home to the Shire) to visit.

Moseley Bog, Birmingham, UK served as Tolkien’s inspiration for the Old Forest, a place that might be more familiar to book fans than movie fans. In the books, it abutted Buckland—ancestral home to Merry Brandybuck—and was full of living, angry trees and a curious (and much debated) character named Tom Bombadil.

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Love and Travel

Photo of Santorini, GreeceFor the last few months, many people, even the most avid readers, have been having trouble picking up a book and getting through more than a few pages before their minds start to wander. My colleague Kasey wrote about this recently and I can certainly relate.

One way that I have been coping with the anxiety of these uncertain times, besides my weekend stress baking, is reading more romance novels. Romance is often considered an escape. It tends to be about regular people living their lives, and you know there will be a happy ending, whether it’s happily ever after or happy for now. There’s something comforting about that, and even the predictability of the story lines can be reassuring – you know what’s likely to happen but you get invested in the characters and you continue the story to its satisfying conclusion. Continue reading

On Armchair Traveling and Pipe Dreams

Book Cover of Epic Runs of the World by Lonely PlanetYou might be wondering why I’m choosing to highlight our travel collection in light of the current situation that makes traveling in the immediate future a bit of a pipe dream… and you’d be absolutely right to wonder! In fact, I’m writing this post with a bit of a self-delusional fervor tinged with a bit of optoomuchism, as Penelope Lumley in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place* put it (i.e. overly optimistic in light of what is known, or perhaps more of a strategic optimism to prevent total deflation). I’ve changed all of the linked titles to those electronically available via Overdrive (either VPL or Markham) or Hoopla Digital, so please, join me in dreaming a little too hard about leaving our front doors and traveling to destinations beyond the grocery store! Join me on an armchair travel.

What’s Armchair Traveling, you ask? Armchair travel is when you travel wherever you so desire using the transportation vehicle that is your imagination, and it can be quite fun, whether you’re the sort to armchair travel as you read novels taking place in another part of the world, sucking you into the time & place in which they are set; if you lose yourself in learning all about the history of a place and time; or if you’re the armchair traveler that gets a kick out of imagining and planning all the fun adventures you’re going to have (or not have, if you prefer lounging on a beach) when you read about some place and/or time that’s… well. Not here or now.

Just a note before we start: I started this post before Canada started taking measures towards travel, back when we were told that the risk of COVID-19 to Ontarians (Canadians? I forget, now, how widely that net was thrown) was low. I’ve changed most if not all of the titles I refer to and links I link to electronically accessible resources we have access to, but let me know if I’ve missed anything! And the majority of the following are going to be focusing on Lonely Planet’s handbooks and inspiration tomes, but you can also peruse the rest of our travel guides on Hoopla Digital here as we think about future travel plans**.

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