Travel can be scary and stressful. The last time I flew, I declared I never wanted to be in sight of an airport ever again. I do not enjoy being trapped on a plane or in a car for hours on end, or having to sleep in strange places and live out of a suitcase.
But traveling can also be inspirational. Going to different places and learning about them first-hand is my biggest source of inspiration. In one of my current works in progress, my heroine goes to Rome and Florence, and through her I re-experienced some of my favorite places in Italy.
The thing is, I would never be able to write a story like that if I hadn't been there. I'm horrible at translating descriptions into a visual reality (one of the reasons why I dislike long descriptions in books), so if I tried to write about Florence based on guidebook descriptions, it wouldn't make any sense. But I also wouldn't be interested in writing about Florence if I hadn't been there--I wouldn't have anything to connect it to in my mind that would make me think, "This setting would be perfect for a story!"
Whether it's horrible or fun, travel is an experience. Going to other places makes me think, "What would would it be like to live here?" and have some first-hand experience to help answer that question. The rest is inspiration.
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