International Travel,  Travel

Novels as Travel Inspiration

Enter the contest for your chance to win the free Audible audiobook at the end of this post.

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Travel Inspiration

Location Familiarity

Does reading books about faraway places inspire you to travel there? I’ve always been an avid reader. Reading well-written novels transports me, in my mind, to the location the writer describes. It was many years ago when I read a book about Savannah, Georgia.  The book was historical fiction but the descriptions of the city, along with its parks and squares, were so vivid and detailed that I felt like I was visiting. Fast forward a few years and I actually did visit Savannah. My mind recalled those scenes from the book and it felt almost like I’d visited before even though it was my first trip there. Seeing the places described in the book in real life was a magical experience.

Bucket List Inspiration

A good novel can inspire me to travel to a new destination. Case in point, Scotland is at the top of my travel wish list after reading Diana Gabaldon’s detailed descriptions of the Scottish Highlands, in her Outlander series.  After spending so much time immersed in these novels, the characters feel like real people to me and I want to see the places where they lived.


When I read a book that describes a location, I often imagine myself there. This has happened many times over the years. This past summer I traveled to Ireland which features prominently in novels I’ve read by Maeve Binchy. Finding the town of Dalkey, Ireland felt like I’d come home to an area that I’d visited time and time again when reading her novels. This was no coincidence because, as I later learned, the author actually lives in Dalkey!

Destination Planning

I started to think it would be fun to read novels set in locations I’m planning to visit. I’ve always been intrigued by Amsterdam and hope to visit soon. When I was offered a copy of Amsterdam Exposed by David Wienir, I thought it would be interesting to read while planning my trip. I was not disappointed.  

Amsterdam canals
Photos courtesy of the author (David Wienir)

Amsterdam Exposed

The book is set in Amsterdam, in 1999. It paints a very vivid picture of life for a law student living in Amsterdam for a semester. The book describes the sights and sounds of Amsterdam, its red light district, and coffeeshops in great detail. (Do not confuse an Amsterdam coffeeshop with a café that serves coffee). Although I plan to visit Amsterdam, I don’t plan to spend time in the red light district. Reading this book brought the culture of Amsterdam to life for me, in great detail.  Having read this book, I’ll be able to visit Amsterdam yet not feel like I’m missing out by skipping the red light district.

The novel is an honest portrayal of the author’s time in Amsterdam while he pursues his dream of writing about the girls who work in the windows of Amsterdam. If you were curious about life in Amsterdam for a visitor, I would recommend this book — with a caution that due to the sensitive subject matter it is intended for adults only.


(Giveaway has ended you can purchase a copy of the book by clicking on the Amazon link below)

Cover of amsterdam exposed

The publisher has kindly provided me with two Audible audiobooks to give away to my readers. From the publisher: 

Enter for your chance to win the Audible edition of 2018’s most compulsively readable memoir, AMSTERDAM EXPOSED! AMSTERDAM EXPOSED tells the true one-of-a-kind story of an innocent exchange student who moves to Amsterdam hoping to write a book about the red light district — and everything that follows.


Written by David Wienir — a business affairs executive at United Talent Agency and entertainment law instructor at UCLA Extension, who has represented clients such as Steven Spielberg and Madonna — AMSTERDAM EXPOSED is an American abroad story, and also a love story; it’s an uplifting tragedy, full of humor from beginning to end; it’s an Amsterdam survival guide; a sympathetic look at a societal problem; a little piece of policy; a sweet farewell to a world just about gone; and, ultimately, as close as you can come to a free trip to Amsterdam without leaving your couch.


The Grand Prize Winner at the 2018 Hollywood Book Festival, AMSTERDAM EXPOSED is the fourth book by entertainment lawyer David Wienir (Making It On Broadway, 2004, etc.) who recently traveled to Amsterdam for its launch at The American Book Center, the Netherlands’ premier English-language bookstore.

Praised by Kirkus Reviews as “a provocative, enlightening, humorous and impressively executed guide to Amsterdam’s twilight world,” the memoir has been called “extraordinary” and “the next best thing to actually being there” by Midwest Book Review and “an honest though naïve look into the workings of Amsterdam’s red-light district” by Publishers Weekly.

If you’ve ever spent time in Amsterdam, or dreamed of doing so, this book’s for you.

Giveaway Entry

The publicity firm, Smith Publicity, Inc. has offered two Aubidle audiobook copies of Amsterdam Exposed for my readers.

Enter to WIN one of two Audible audiobook copies of Amsterdam Exposed by David Wienir. To enter the giveaway, follow the steps in the Rafflecopter below. (Giveaway starts Dec 18, 2018, and ends Dec 25, 2018). At the end of the contest, two winners will be randomly selected. The winners will be contacted for their email address and will receive a code via email for the free Audible download of the audiobook version of Amsterdam Exposed directly from Smith Publicity, Inc. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Purchase a Copy of Amsterdam Exposed

Want to purchase a copy for yourself or to give as a gift? Click on the image below.


What books have inspired you to travel? Let me know in the comments below.

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