Traveling Tuesday – where do you go to find inspiration for your writing?

How far do you travel to find inspiration for your writing?

If I had copious amounts of money, I would travel to Europe and visit as many castles and ruins as humanly possible, especially in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and England.  As a child, I was lucky enough to visit Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.  The experience has remained with me my entire life, not only because of the opulence and sheer beauty of the palace, but more importantly  because of the romantic tragedy surrounding it’s owner, King Ludwig II.  I would someday like to return to the castle and experience it through the eyes of an adult with the knowledge I’ve gained over the years about this “crazy” romantic “fairy-tale” king and his very suspicious death/suicide.

Until I gather the funds necessary for travel, I have to look closer to home for inspiration for my medieval-esque tales, and where better to look than at my local Renaissance Festival.

Every Spring, I try to attend “Ren Fest”, an enchanted realm of wizards and warriors amongst gourmet treats and unforgettable entertainment. Guests are encouraged to dress up in period clothes and wander around the ‘medieval’ town where jugglers, magicians, fire eaters and specialty acts perform.  One can experience live armored contact jousting, Human Chess Matches, strolling minstrels, maidens faire, peasants, fools, and Royalty.   The great thing is that Ren Fest is not limited to Florida.  There are Ren Fests all over the United States.   If you haven’t attended a Ren Fest, I urge you to go.  They are a lot of fun, you meet a lot of interesting people and you’ll come away feeling as if you’ve experienced something quite unique and entertaining.

Where have you traveled to get inspiration for your writing?

File:Bay Area Renaissance Festival, Tampa, Florida 2.jpg

28 thoughts on “Traveling Tuesday – where do you go to find inspiration for your writing?

  1. There are so many places I would love to travel to, especially to see castles. I love your picture of Neuschwanstein. It is fantastic. You’re lucky to have seen it as a child and I can certainly understand how inspiring it must be for your writing. The French one featured in the series Merlin is another gorgeous castle.

    When we were in Florida in 2000, we spent an evening at Medieval Times, watching jousters and eating with our fingers. It was fun! A friend belongs to a group that portrays those medieval times during fairs such as you’ve mentioned and has even been crowned queen. Too bad she doesn’t live in this province anymore, as I think it would be a riot to participate in those activities – and what better way to gain inspiration for fantasy novels! 🙂


    1. My youngest daughter participated once in our local Renaissance Faire. I spent several days making her costume, including a lacing corset with gommets and boning. I’d never made anything like it in my life. It was a gas. If I can find a picture of her in it I’ll post it. The organization behind most of the nationwide Ren Faire’s is vast and all material for costumes has to pass inspection as ‘authentic’ to the time period and to the person’s station before the actor can make them.


      1. That is much like our Living History Society where the volunteers perform for events such as the recent Scottish settlers celebrations. When I was out at the Lower Fort this summer, the administrator had read my books and took me on a behind the scenes tour of their costume room. That was fabulous – to see the dresses that had all been hand-sewn with material special ordered so it was authentic to the time period was so exciting! 🙂


  2. That castle is on my to-visit list too! 🙂 I love how new places inspire me. Even just traveling in the US can spark a new story. The Ren Fest pics look amazing. I want to do that next spring.


    1. Your recent pictures have inspired me to travel again. Once I am gainfully employed again, I think weekend trips will be on my calendar once more. I’ve got a hankering to go to Seattle (to see my daughter and grand-daughter) and Maine for fresh lobsters and the fall weather. Somewhere in there will also be a trip to the mountains of NC to see my other daughter. 🙂


    1. They are tons of fun! I’m not sure where you are but I’m sure if you Google Renaissance Festivals in your area, there will be one that pops up. If you’re into medieval times, this will be an adventure.


  3. I’d love to walk through a castle, but by myself — not with other tourists. It’s hard to “soak it in” when there’s a screaming kid in the next hall.

    I have not been to the Renaisance Faire (that’s what it’s called up here) in over 12 years. We’re talking about maybe taking the kids thing year.

    Can you say “Joust”

    Oh Yeah!


    1. I was 7 years old when I visited Neuschwanstein, Linderhof, and Herrenchiemsee and I remember it like it was yesterday. While in Neuschwanstein, I wandered off the beaten track, ducked under the velvet markers that keep people on the designated path, and found a wooden door. Curious, I found the door unlocked and opened it. Behind it were boards, criss-crossed on the frame. Beyond those boards, was a dark drop off that fell into the unfinished floor below. There was absolutely no floor, just wood planks stretched across beams, some lying helter skelter. I later learned several of the castle floors were never completed before Ludwig’s mysterious death. Leave it to me to find one of them. Of course, by the time my mom and security found me, I had returned to the tour area and was admiring Ludwig’s amazingly beautiful carved wooden bed, acting as if I’d done nothing wrong. I wonder if the castle personnel have sealed that area off any better than it was in the ’60s.


  4. My two WIPs are set in and around Washington, DC, which is only 25 miles away. So my regular trips there are often good inspiration for setting details in the stories or for potential future story lines. 🙂


      1. Geysers. There’s nothing like them. Although the Mammoth Hot Springs are pretty incredible, too. In the Skyrim video game, certain parts of the landscape definitely remind me of Mammoth Hot Springs.


  5. Lately I’ve traveled as near as Cleveland for my writing. Exciting, no? 😉

    We have a renaissance fair near us, but we haven’t gone for a couple years. It’s always a lot of fun.


  6. I don’t think I’ve ever travelled somewhere specifically to get inspiration for my writing, I like to think I am open to inspiration wherever I go – not sure I always am, but I like to think I am!

    Living in England though, you’ve made me realise I should probably visit more of the castles etc with my writer’s head on.


    1. It is stunning, and I remember it very, very well. I also toured King Ludwig’s Linderhof Castle, and Herrenchiemsee, the king’s version of the Palace of Versailles. I remember standing in the Hall of Mirrors completely stupified by its opulence and beauty. I would love to go back and linger in the rooms of all three castles, especially knowing what I know now of Ludwig’s tortured life. I have researched him and his castles extensively over the years and even have a historical novel in mind with the “Swan King” as the main character.


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