There are obvious tourist destinations for those seeking inspiration or a connection to their faith, such as The Holy Land. A favorite Cathedral like St. Peter’s Basilica at The Vatican in Italy, an ancient temple like Angkor Wat in Cambodia, or even places rumored to have miraculous healing properties like Lourdes in France, Sedona in Arizona or Machu Picchu in Peru; all are destinations that would make sense for travels based in devotion. But that’s not what we’re going to talk about here.
This is for the unlikely sources of inspiration. The stories that get under your skin, fire your imagination and make you want to live in their world, while at the same time inspiring you to make the one we live in a better place. I’m talking about the Books, TV Shows or Movies that have you obsessed, and fill you with joy --but may be fiction and may take place in locations you couldn’t possibly visit.
Or can you?
Sure, you have to get a little creative, but there are ways to immerse yourself in your favorite fictional tales and experience the ways they initially inspired you at a deeper level.
What real places were included in your Fictional world?
Most places that have served as locations for well-known books, films or television shows have companies offering tours. The town of Forks in Washington State has Dazzled by Twilight, in England, you can find Harry Potter tours, as well as Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Dickens, or Downton Abbey tours, to name but a few. In New Orleans, follow the footsteps of the characters from Anne Rice’s novels. Da Vinci Code tours are available in Paris, as well as England and Scotland. If someone isn’t already offering tours, you can often find the information you need to plan your own route, off the beaten path and into your imagination!
Caption: A place of faith and one inspired by Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Locations: where your fantasy world was filmed.
Of course, there are studio tours like Universal Studios and Warner Bros., and they can be great ways to blur the lines between fiction and reality. You can also find out what real places served as look-alikes for the fictional places in your favorite tales, and then go there. For example, The Hunger Games was filmed entirely in North Carolina, while Catching Fire was filmed in California, Georgia, Hawaii and New Jersey. The upcoming Mockingjay –Part 1 returns to Georgia, but visits Massachusetts as well. The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations has a wealth of information to plan your travels accordingly.
What if my favorite fictional world takes place in space?
Would you believe that scenes from the most recently made Star Wars trilogy were filmed in Italy? And many of the locations from the original trilogy were filmed in Tunisia. But if you want to get a sense of being in space, you might want to visit Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. There’s a Zero-G Weightless Experience in Las Vegas and other airports around the country. The Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
What about time travel?
Almost any historical landmark in the world allows you to get a sense of going back in time, and many have tour guides dressed in period costume. But there are also Historical Reenactments that happen in a variety of settings and time periods. You could go to a local Renaissance Faire, or a local Victorian Society ball. You could join Civil War buffs or Ancient Romans or Celts on the battlefield or off.
Another way to experience time travel is to use modes of transportation that were popular in an earlier era. You could enjoy horse-drawn carriages or tall sailing ships, or perhaps re-live the age of steam and travel by steam train or steamship. Hot air balloons, Zeppelins or other airships, can help you take to the skies, or submersibles can help you explore the leagues under the sea.
Whatever worlds inspire you in fiction, you can find a way to build a bridge from your mind to a vacation destination in the real world!
Malayna Dawn is the co-host of “Pop Conscious: Where Pop Culture and Spirituality Unite!” on Unity Online Radio. An internationally-published freelance writer and author of a spiritual adventure novel, Echoes Across Time, she shares her fascination with world culture, pop culture and spirituality at: www.popconscious.com.