By Linda Ulleseit
August 18, 2020

TODAY marks the release of my novel, THE ALOHA SPIRIT, set in Hawaii. Hawaii is one of my favorite places to visit, a very popular tourist destination for everyone. Since you can’t physically go to Hawaii, THE ALOHA SPIRIT can take you there!

My family never traveled much when I was growing up. Every summer we went camping for a week and to the beach for a week, never going more than a couple of hours from home. When I got married, my husband and I dreamed of traveling, but it was always “after we get a house,” then “after we have kids,” then “after they’re older, and finally “after we retire.” As a result, it wasn’t until I was an adult with teenage sons that we actually left the state of California for vacation. Hawaii was our first out-of-state destination.

As we neared retirement, we began to plan a fabulous trip to celebrate. In 2019 we both retired. Trips that year included Washington, D.C., Williamsburg, Virginia, and San Antonio, Texas-all attached to writing conferences-and Portland, Oregon, to visit our son. In September, however, I got my first passport and we went to Europe

I love family history, and this trip to the birthplace of my father’s ancestors was truly special. We focused our time in London and Edinburgh. We stayed very near Buckingham Palace, and took a day trip to Stonehenge, Bath, and Salisbury Cathedral. A Sunday jazz river cruise on the Thames was lovely, as was our dinner at the Albert Pub (do you know about their windows?) We took the train to Edinburgh and enjoyed the countryside views. Focusing our time on the Royal Mile, we must have climbed a thousand steps…a day! We saw Edinburgh Castle, of course, the Writer’s Museum, and St. Giles Cathedral, and we sought out locations used in filming Harry Potter and Outlander. On a day trip we visited Deanston Distillery, which used to be a textile mill that made all the linen for the Titanic, Midhope Castle (Lallybroch in Outlander), and Doune Castle, used for Winterfell/Castle Leoch in Game of Thrones and Outlander. We didn’t have enough time at Stirling Castle, so we definitely have to go back. 

So many sights, sounds, experiences! Those of you who are seasoned travelers understand the delight in sampling new food, seeing special places in real life, and talking to people who live in a different place than you do. Our trip was a delight. On the way home, we listed places we needed to visit: Ireland (for my mom’s family), Germany and Portugal (my husband’s family), and Greece (because we’ve both always wanted to go). 

We had just returned from Hawaii, February 2020, when COVID-19 shut down the world.

At first, we were so consumed by figuring out how to shop for groceries and conduct our lives, that thoughts of travel were pushed aside. We canceled 2020 trips that included Colorado, Arizona, and a return to Hawaii to promote my new book. We pushed out our dreams of returning to Europe. 

It actually feels very normal to me. My whole life has been an experience of waiting and dreaming about traveling. The only difference is now that we’ve had a taste, waiting is even harder. I know we will have the opportunity to travel again, even though we don’t know when that will be. 

Our first trip will undoubtedly be to Portland to visit our son and daughter-in-law. It’s agonizing not to be able to see them. After that, we will go to Hawaii to enjoy our favorite place (so far) on Earth, to visit family, and to promote THE ALOHA SPIRIT, which is released TODAY, August 18. After that, the sky’s the limit.

Linda Ulleseit
Written by Linda Ulleseit

Linda Ulleseit writes award-winning heritage fiction set in the United States. She is a member of Historical Novel Society, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Women Writing the West as well as a founding member of Paper Lantern Writers. Get in touch with her on Instagram (lulleseit) and Facebook (Linda Ulleseit or SHINE with Paper Lantern Writers).

View Linda’s PLW Profile

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