If you hadn’t heard, I’m heading to the United Kingdom on March 10th! Pretty super duper excited. My goal is to feel the rhythm of the street and understand what it would be like to LIVE in a new place. How are peoples lives around the world different? How are they the same?
My dream trip doesn’t include all the best museums and I probably won’t hit all the major “must-see” attractions. I just want to taste the essence of a different life, and find a spot in my heart where I can hold onto that essence forever.
So today for Wanderlust Wednesday, I’ll be preparing a book list to get me into the mood for the British Isles.
Before I travel, I like to read all I can to prepare myself for new surroundings. I figure that the more I research, the easier it will be to absorb new info and fully appreciate my surroundings once I get there.
One way that I get a general overview of countries is through the Enchantment of the World book series. I’ve been reading books from this series since I was in junior high and still try to read a couple each month. Despite the fact that they are designed for children, they offer a full overview of geography, natural life, cultural life, politics, and history sprinkled with fantastic photos and interesting tidbits.
If you are traveling anywhere, I highly recommend them because they will offer you a look into the country that a travel guide just doesn’t provide.
I also want to read a bunch of books by famous writers to sort of, you know, get me in the mood of the land and then (hopefully) more fully appreciate the inspiration that these writers drew from.
I will be spending a good chunk of my trip in Wales, where my friend lives. I am super excited about exploring a land that I know so little about. This is a land of much inspiration and poetry. Although, I must admit, I am not too familiar with Welsh literature. I hope to learn more about it while I am there.
The BFG – Roald Dahl
Other notable Welsh authors and poets include Philip Pullman, Ken Follet, and Dylan Thomas. Also, Beatrix Potter had an uncle in Wales and spent a good bit of time there. In fact, The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies is set in her uncle’s estate.
Persuasion – Jane Austen
OH my. Soo so so much writing inspiration there. I cannot wait to see the land of Charles Dickens and Shakespeare. I hope to stroll through the Old Curiosity Shop and pay my respects to the greats at Westminster’s poet corner. The list of famous English writers who have influenced me is just overwhelming.
Selections from David Hume
Selections from Adam Smith
Heart of Darkness -Joseph Conrad
This is the land of J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes), George Orwell (Animal Farm), and Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island) – just a sampling of some of my favorite writers.
William Butler Yeats collection
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce
I must admit, I am a bit behind on Irish literature. I hope to catch up before I leave. Some of my favorite Irish poets and writers include: Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest), Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels), George Bernard Shaw (Pygmalion), and C.S. Lewis.
Literature truly does have the ability to inspire me.When my older brother heard about my trip, he sent me an email/poem/absolute masterpiece to share his enthusiasm and explain all the wonderful things I could do in the UK.
Just a sampler,
England is a merrie land so full of literature. It is a place where meadow, grove, and stream, the earth and every common sight to some did seem apparell’d in celestial light, the glory and the freshness of a dream. You could wander, lonely as a cloud, through the lake district where one’s heart with pleasure fills at glancing at the daffodils. You could go and look on the happy Autumn-fields, and think of the days that are no more.
He has a photographic memory and just spewed forth references to poetry throughout his email. In the whole email, I think I counted over 20 references to different poems and works of literature.
(In case I hadn’t mentioned it before, my older brother is a genius.)
What do you do to get super hyped up for a trip?
Are there any English/Irish/Scottish/Welsh poems or novels I need to catch up on before I head across the pond?