(You could call it a bucket list, but I don’t think I would like the pressure.)
Have you ever tried to remember how you became interested in a place? I figure remembering when you learned of it is a lost cause for big cities, and most of the places I think of when I think of places I want to go are exactly that. I find my brain works in a bit of a pragmatic prioritizing way — if you asked me where I look forward to going to in the near future, I would rattle off European capitals for as long as you could bear to listen to me, and then I’d be like, “And when I’m done with that, if I have the money and I can get a passport, then I guess we can start in on the United States?”
I took a different tack for this list because it turns out that most of the European cities I want to visit got on my list by being pretty and near. Meanwhile, my feelings recall US states along with flashes to TV and movies and books, because at my geeky core, I am basically made of stories. That shit runs deep. So let’s talk about it.
The other day I came across someone pointing out how many restaurants in Paris have café gourmand on the menu, which is, I kid you not, coffee plus four mini pastries. Is that the greatest thing in the world or what? I must remember this.
Paris is obvious and a pop culture favorite, and to tell you the truth a lot of what it makes me think about is sort of muddy and hard to pin down — the feeling of spring and hearing music coming from a few buildings away and reading fanfic that wasn’t even set in it.
But then there’s things like Anna and the French Kiss, with its inclusion of Notre Dame; Ratatouille and its illustrated views and music; the streets of Paris as drawn in Tomb Raider; and all the interior spaces in Julie & Julia.
And then I could get swept away to Monte Carlo, and it would be like the movie Monte Carlo, and I would be a happy, happy girly-ass geek.
Ah, the capital of American TV. The only show I’m currently watching is set in Brooklyn, though the setting barely registers most of the time since it’s a workplace sitcom.
But many shows go to town with the landmarks and architecture. There’s Gossip Girl, obviously; I want to have lunch on the steps of the Met. I want to walk around Central Park and I want to pose around the brownstones in Greenwich Village. I want to go to The Strand, because Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares started out painfully relatable — Dash is a snob just like I was at seventeen — and became a true delight. I want to reread Princess Diaries and take note of everywhere she is and goes.
I want to experience Manhattan, mostly, because I am still a little bit like Dash. But it’s also just the kind of place you have to go at some point. And I know so very many people who live there, including my she-may-not-think-we’re-friends-but-I-say-we-are, Jen Hsieh, and my new accountability partner who has absolutely sold me on Brooklyn via her blog.
Truthfully, this is a healthy mix of pop culture influences and blogging and Pinterest; it seems the perfect nucleus of that Alabama/Georgia/Mississippi appeal. I’m working hard to interrogate my interest in the area and its architecture because of its links to slavery and the Civil War, and/but/so I’d really like to visit. On top of that, there is Hart of Dixie. Which is set in a fictional town in Alabama with frequent mentions of Mobile, and oh does anyone remember Ashley Tisdale’s character on Hellcats? She was called Savannah! Yeah, sometimes I reach a bit.
This is a mix of fandom and Grey’s Anatomy. And maybe a little bit Twilight, which I only watched the movies of because of the setting, so I must have had a connection to it before that that I can’t quite pinpoint! I imagine it’s the rain and the greenery and my friend Katie, not that she lives in Seattle, but she’s close enough. And Seattle culture sounds very much like the kind of place I would be happy in, with all its indie bookstores and whatnot. It’s one of the US cities I’ve wanted to go the longest.
For reasons far beyond my understanding, the Princess Diaries movie is set in San Francisco instead of New York, and it is an absolute delight, though not any more delightful than it would have been if set in NYC as the books are — it’s been thirteen years and I’m still just baffled. But I’ve got a reason similar to one of my New York ones here, and that reason is Lola and the Boy Next Door. That’s by the same writer as Anna and the French Kiss, and I had similar trouble getting into it as with Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, because Lola is a bit of a special snowflake. But San Francisco is painted with love, and I kept flashing back to the Princess Diaries movie, and now I want to go there.
Ready for an absolutely guilt-free pleasure? Watch The Prince & Me. More of it is set in Wisconsin than it is in Copenhagen, but the movie – being American – gives Copenhagen the Rome montage treatment, with Paige pointing out buildings from her taxi, and you put that next to my love for modern royalty AUs in fanfic and I am thoroughly ensorcelled. (Choice of word entirely due to BBC Merlin fandom, where said stories – set in Britain, and the reason I most want to properly explore Covent Garden – abound.)
I wouldn’t think much of Santorini – the architecture hits oddly close to home, in a bad way – if it weren’t for the emotional link to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Lena spends much of the books and movie around the steep streets and white houses, in sundresses, with the sea surrounding everything. It’s gorgeous, and every time someone I know goes there, the photos they come back with make my breath catch.
So, that’s the pop culture side of my travel interests. What’s yours? What cities do you want to visit because of a movie? Do you associate any of mine with a different TV show? Tell me in the comments or on twitter!
Post in collaboration with Travelbag.