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5 Destinations Every Literature Fan Should Visit

5 Destinations Every Literature Fan Should Visit

‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’ – Mark Twain

Book lover? If you’ve ever been inspired to visit the setting of one of your favourite books, read my guide to 5 of the best destinations for an unforgettable literary trip.

In the UK, we’re especially blessed, for the country is a green and pleasant land full of literary wonder. More or less wherever you are, there’s bound to be something of literary interest close to you.

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The team at hotel deals experts Travelzoo think so too – so much so that they’ve created a literary map of the UK, featuring 11 must-see destinations. Match each iconic tale to the right city or region and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a literary escape for two. You have 30 seconds to select each location and confirm your answer.

I’ve just entered the competition (I was 80% book-smart), so here’s my pick of the destinations from Travelzoo’s map – plus a few favourites of my own.

1. Edinburgh

For fans of: Muriel Spark
Edinburgh is where The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is set – Muriel Spark’s coming-of-age story of 6 adolescent schoolgirls and their unique teacher. Take a trip to the Scottish capital and walk through Edinburgh’s Canongate, Grassmarket and Lawnmarket thoroughfares – where Miss Brodie takes her charges for a gander about the Old Town.

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Did you know that the National Library of Scotland recently launched a campaign to open Muriel Spark’s personal archive to the public?

2. Penrith, Cumbria

For fans of: W.H. Auden
Poet W. H. Auden was deeply inspired by the Cumbrian landscape. His poem In Praise of Limestone has been read as a paean to Cumbria’s limestone, as well as other places he lived in his life. Auden seemed to draw spiritual, magical and religious inspiration from the landscapes he experienced.

3. London

For fans of: Arthur Conan Doyle
Known around the world as the home of master sleuth Sherlock Holmes, London is a literary lover’s paradise. My favourite Holmesian things to do in London include a trip to the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street and to take a Sherlock Holmes walking tour to see the different locations used in the many film and TV adaptations.

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Fancy a drink after a day padding the streets? Enjoy a refreshing pint at the Sherlock Holmes Pub on Northumberland Street, close to Trafalgar Square.

4. Stratford-upon-Avon

For fans of: Shakespeare
Millions of people visit Stratford-upon-Avon every year to pay homage to William Shakespeare. The world’s most famous playwright was born in the town in 1564. Check out the house where the Bard was born, see something at the Royal Shakespeare Company or just take in the many Tudor buildings to get a feel for Shakespeare’s time.

5. Whitby

For fans of: Bram Stoker
Its dramatic cliffs, spooky graveyards and sweeping seascape make Whitby the perfect place for a spot of gothic delight. Part of Bram Stoker’s classic Gothic novel Dracula was set in Whitby. A trip to Whitby Abbey is a must – climb its 199 steps to enjoy a wonderful view. Every year, there’s the Whitby Goth Weekend too.

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If these destinations have whetted your appetite, go ahead and play Travelzoo’s game to find out more about some of these literary destinations – plus many more. You never know, you could be packing your bags (and your books, of course) for the literary trip of a lifetime.

Travelzoo’s literary map of the UK is super simple to play:

Match the book to the correct city or region (remember it could be either the story’s setting or the writer’s inspiration).
You’ve got 30 seconds to select a location pin and confirm your answer.
Get your book-smart score and share on Facebook.
Enter the prize draw to win a literary-themed UK break!

Ready to prove your knowledge? Play the game to be in with a chance to win. Enjoy! The draw is open until February 14th 2016.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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