Monday, April 22, 2013

Novel Traveling for the Budget Conscious

Novel Traveling is all about the adventure; it’s about the mysterious and beautiful places (and characters) you meet along the way. Exotic places, far away things which simply don’t exist in our everyday lives. It’s this break from the mundane which can inspire creativity in us.

So then how does a writer on a budget travel to these places? Google Image Search can really only get you so far. Sometimes, you just need some firsthand experience that only visiting a place can give you.

Well fear not, for there is a way to gain this experience without spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars traveling to some foreign, exotic place. I call it: Backyard Traveling.

Allow me to explain. I live in Los Angeles.

LA is one of the biggest cities in the US. Culturally diverse, yes, but somewhat lacking in landscape other than “crowded city.” But for those willing to research a little, there exists places to go which, while perhaps not as fancy as Bali, are very different from what I see everyday.

Though even if you live in Bali, Backyard Traveling is an option. The capital of Bali is Denpasar, a city not unlike Los Angeles. Outside of Denpasar are the more remote regions that tourists rarely travel to. Regions like Singharaja, where beats the artistic heart of Bali. So in a way, no matter where you live in the world, Backyard Traveling is always an option.

To accomplish Backyard Traveling, you need a few things:

1. A place to visit, somewhere local yet out of the ordinary. 
( for your city.)

2. A local, someone who knows the area and is willing to help you out. 
(A friend, or check our list of location experts under "For Writers.")

3. A list of things to do during your travels.

Not a very long list, which is what makes this so easy. I took a Backyard trip recently, so here’s my checklist.

1. Catalina Island, one of the channel islands off the coast of Los Angeles.

2. I’ve been blessed to come to know a woman, Amy Keating-Rogers, who supplied me with knowledge of the island.

3. Mrs. Keating-Rogers also supplied me with a guide to the island that she wrote. The Internet is also a valuable tool.

So now that you have completed your checklist, all that’s left is to pick a date and head out.

What makes Backyard Traveling good for the aspiring Novel Travelist? 

Surely if you want to send your characters on an adventure in the artistic heart of Bali, then what does a little island in the US have to do with that?

The answer is a lot. Catalina Island, despite being only 27 miles from Los Angeles, is vastly different.

It’s a change in scenery, a new adventure, something to kick start inspiration. Then you can consult a fellow Novel Travelist, like Michelle Em (Under "For Writers"), who lived in Bali for further details.

Stuck on what to do next? Use your travels to inspire something. Perhaps wander around somewhere. Need a new location? Relocating yourself can often help you dream up somewhere new to throw your characters. Need a new character? Surrounding yourself with new people helps. Someone you meet can inspire you to make your best character yet.

All in all, a Backyard Trip can be just the thing to either inspire a new story, or help you out of a rut in your current one.  It’s cheap and easy, so even the Novel Travelist on a budget can head somewhere and have a real life adventure.

Credit for the information on Bali goes to: Michele Em, a Novel Travelist location expert listed under “For Writers.”


  1. Hi, thank you for sharing this interesting post. Surly I'll keep it in my mind, when I'll plan my new trip.
    Have a great day !

  2. I totally agree. First I love backyard traveling. There's so much to see and do in Northern California. Second if I'm familiar with an area it's easier to place my characters there. And it's fun!

  3. Hi Doronette and Julia, thanks so much for the kind comments.