A Post-Covid Travel Guide for Literary Nerds

Something that can truly deepen your love for literature is traveling to destinations that have rich literary scenes. Even writers who need to claw their way out of writer's block tend to find traveling helpful. There are many places to choose from, however, I will mention my top places based on my own travel experiences. Look at this brief guide as a “post-Covid” travel list that will reignite your love for literature and love for writing.

The chaotic city of New York is a hub for great writers

New York City is full of creatives and intellectuals. Writers and dancers are celebrated here more than in other places in the world. Manhattan was also the birthplace of my love for literature and writing. It’s also one of the only cities in the world where the highest paid and most respected writers live and work. It is fun and intriguing to visit the great publishing houses of New York City. More importantly, it is a great cultural experience to see the ways that writers are making lots of money while making an impact on society.

Shakespeare and Company in Paris, France

The second destination is Paris. This city is great for art, music and film enthusiasts. But it is also full of a rich history in literature. When you get the chance, visit the Shakespeare and Company bookstore to have a nice old school ambiance while shopping for books that are incredibly intriguing. It sounds cheesy, but Paris can be a great source of inspiration because of the energy of the city itself. I wrote my first novel in Paris and developed a deeper connection with the city as a result. I was in a phase of feeling uninspired, and being in Paris for a few weeks helped unclog my mind and stretch my creative muscles.

Edinburgh Old Town's medieval aesthetic

The third place that caught my heart was Edinburgh, Scotland. There was something about the bookstores in Edinburgh that made us feel relaxed. My friends and I would sightsee and relax in the Old Town Bookshop because it had such a nice atmosphere. The Blackwell Bookstore is also a great one to visit. I bought one of the best thriller novels I’ve ever read, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides from there. I skipped London and focused on Edinburgh because I felt like Edinburgh was very underrated. The city of Edinburgh had a lovely medieval aesthetic that made me feel like I was in a different reality. That was really special to me because it allowed me to have a unique environment to think about things differently.

The legendary novelist, Franz Kafka's statue

The last place I visited before Covid-19 paralyzed the tourist industry is Prague, Czech Republic. Prague is the only city I’ve been to that idolizes its writers like other countries do with war heroes. Not only is this a great cultural hub, but it has great reverence and respect for writers. One of the most celebrated Czech writers is Franz Kafka who has multiple statues and museums in his honor. Kafka is an incredible novelist, I cannot summarize his greatness in this article. The way that Czech writers are celebrated and honored is so interesting to analyze because it shows the ways in which Czech society values its poets and novelists. It is a nice change of pace if you are used to countries that idolize only war criminals and presidents.

The reason I think it’s important for literary enthusiasts and writers to visit these kinds of places is because sometimes it can feel like literature does not matter. People tend to minimize and belittle the writers that are alive and worship those who have died. It is interesting to cross borders and see how other societies have been impacted by their own great writers. Whether they are historians, philosophers, poets or novelists, writers matter. When I lived in a small town, I never heard about the writers in my own country and never saw writers being celebrated and respected. It is my hope that when you visit these destinations, a deeper love for literature will be ignited in you. There is so much inspiration to be gained. There are many great novelists to be inspired by. That fire inside of you should be shared with the world, not just with your laptop.