I just returned yesterday from a two-week tour of England, Ireland and Scotland, which started and ended in London. Because it’s the end of the tourist season, there were only 18 of us, plus our tour director and the driver. I’m so glad that we went on this particular tour, and that it was smaller. We got to know each other much more than if it had been a bigger group.When I started on the tour, I planned to try to use this in a future book so I could deduct some of the costs on my taxes. Near the end, I did think of a plot in which I could use all three countries. But when I looked at it a couple days later, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t write it. My books are about people and their idiosyncrasies and what makes them wonderful. They aren’t about places. So though I won’t be able to take deductions for the trip, I have a lot more ideas for characters that I’ll be using.
I could easily use one woman as a heroine. She found out early in the trip that she might have a blood clot in her leg, and there was something wrong with her knee. Instead of booking an early flight home or sitting sedately on her bus seat as much as possible, she was dancing down the aisle of the bus – at one point even saying to me, “I’m going to put on a show.”
She and the friend she was traveling with set the laughing, fun tone on the bus, so that it felt more like a party bus instead of a bus filled with mostly retired adults who’d booked the tour that started after school had started so the crowds would be thinner.
We also had a ‘hat lady.’ She and her husband were from Newfoundland, Canada, but spent half their year in Florida. And she looked so lovely in her hats, that I bought one, too. (I’ll wear it to my next authors’ lunch.) And our tour director spoke very English-y. Words and phrases like ‘quite lovely,’ ‘quite nice’ and ‘quite quite.’ (There were many others, and I wish I would’ve written everything down; a few of the others did.) And at the end of sentences, he liked to put his lips together and say, ‘Hmmmmmmmm.’
On our last evening, my husband and I saw War Horse at a West End theater. I loved it. The ending especially was amazing, and I was crying – and it was a great cry because it was sad and happy. I’ll never write a book like War Horse, but I’d love to write an ending that would make people feel a mix of emotions, with happy winning out.
So though the places I saw were magnificent and they had a great story, so were the people on the bus.
What’s your favorite trip, and what do you remember most about it?