Are you planning your summer vacation yet? I may not get much farther than Jellico, Tennessee, for a family reunion or Dallas for the RWA conference, but, thanks to Emily Hendrickson from whom I purchased a fortune of books-literally and figuratively-I have travel guides for the imagination!

My travel destination of choice will always be England, but, alas, not this year. So I’ll content myself with a peek into A Portrait of Georgian London by Fiona St. Aubyn. This book is compiled from The Microcosm of London (1810) and contains illustrations by Augustus Pugin and Thomas Rowlandson. It was also my most expensive book purchase, but worth every penny because I can really see what these sites in London looked like in the early 1800s. A real treat, however, is looking at the illustration of St. Martins in the Field and seeing that it looked much the same as when Amanda and Julie and I sat in the pew for a concert in 2003. Same with Westminster Abbey!

In my 2005 trip to the UK we traveled a bit into the Lake District, but not nearly deep enough to see what Wordsworth described as “the majesty of the mountains.” I’ll have to content myself with a tour through this book, The Illustrated Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes, edited by Peter Bicknell. It is full of prints of paintings by period artists of the beauty of the Lake District, and photographs that show that the beauty remains just as it had been then. And, of course, there are Wordsworth’s descriptions as well.

My friend Melissa James (Her Outback Knight, July 2008) is presently in Switzerland, far from her Australian home, but she is not so different than the “200 years of English travellers” who visited the tiny country. When I read about Maria Edgeworth in my copy of Southwards to Geneva: 200 years of English Travellers by Mavis Coulson, I’ll be thinking of Melissa and pining to see majestic mountains in Switzerland as well.

Do you have any Vacations-of-the-Imagination planned? How about real vacations? Can any of us beat Kalen’s trip to Morocco?
Think of me in Jellico!

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