Jigsaw puzzle depicting "99 Beautiful Places on Earth"
Who doesn't have travel stories?
Sleeping on the hard plastic chairs at Chicago's O'Hare in the middle of a blizzard; being stuck in the smoking section (years ago) as if there really is a difference between yes- and no- when you're all in a cabin 30000+ feet up; off inspecting a nuclear power plant in a town where "good restaurant" means a choice of vending machines in the lobby of the motel, the kind of establishment where you sleep with your clothes on and your purse under your pillow.
Luggage lost, luggage stolen. (Picture hand across brow here): I've seen it all.
I wonder why I've never given any of my characters a bad travel experience. Maybe because I think every reader would be able to say: I've been there, and I can top that.
In fact my characters have hardly traveled at all.
It took four books to get Gloria Lamerino of the Periodic Table series out of Revere, Massachusetts. It took eight books for Geraldine Porter of the Miniature Mysteries to leave fictional Lincoln Point, California. Sophie Knowles of the Professor Sophie Knowles mysteries stayed put in Massachusetts through all four books, as does Cassie Miller of the Postmistress series. (Jaunts to New Hampshire hardly count as travel.)
In theory, it's very interesting to put a character in a different locale from their original setting. You get a chance to see what happens to her in a new environment, how she reacts to things she's not used to: unfamiliar weather and culture, the idiosyncrasies of regional language.
I'm not sure why I don't send my characters packing. I'd love to see how the coastal Gloria would fare in Montana, how Geraldine would do in Iowa, how Sophie would adapt to Alaska, how Cassie might enjoy the US Postal Museum in Washington DC, how any of them would deal with a Mediterranean cruise.
I'm talking myself into a whirlwind tour with my protagonists, maybe hitting some of the 99 beautiful (to someone) places pictured above. What kind of luggage will they have, how will they dress? How would they deal with local law enforcement?
When you're reading or writing a familiar character, how do you feel about finding her out of town?