Don your fake mustaches, read poetry, and have the biggest case of wanderlust possible. RLS, born November 13, 1850, was not only a talented and creative writer but an extensive traveler, drawing inspiration from around the world for his stories. He spent time in England, of course, but also traveled to France, New York, Hawaii, California, Somoa, and Belgium. If just talking about these beautiful places doesn’t ignite your wanderlust, here are some of the places RLS traveled that would make perfect vacation destinations.
RLS’s birthplace and the focus of Edinburgh: Picturesque, a series of essays about the doubled city that is Edinburgh, Scotland – old town and new town, rich and poor, city and country. Travel to Edinburgh to see beautiful castles, dark history, and cobblestone streets. But remember to take an antidote in your carry-on in case you're feeling more Hyde than Jekyll after your flight.
Stevenson traveled to France many times, to be inspired by the artists there, painters and writers alike. It inspired many of his essays and stories, including An Inland Voyage and Travels with a Donkey. If you decide to visit France, you can hike the Robert Louis Stevenson Trail, but you might want to pick up a donkey on the way.
In 1879, RLS traveled from London to New York to meet up with his sweetheart and soon-to-be wife, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne, in California. His stay in NY was really more of a layover, but he wrote about his journey in The Amateur Immigrant. We recommend traveling to NYC by plane, not by boat, but if you do go, make sure you have more than forty-five cents a day like RLS.
NAPA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA
In 1880, after marrying Fanny, the couple (and her son) honeymooned in Napa Valley, California, land of wine and petrified forests. Book your hotel early so you don’t have to squat at Silverado like RLS and his family.
While in Napa Valley recuperating his health, RLS was urged by a friend to travel the South Seas, a suggestion he finally followed in 1888. He traveled several times to Hawaii, where he became good friends with Princess Victoria Kaiulani and King Kalākaua. Make sure you bring your fineries to the South Seas. You never know when you’ll run into a king.
RLS and his family, after years and years of traveling, finally settled down in the Samoan Islands. His imagination was on fire from his time in the South Seas, and he penned many, many books. Bring a sense of wonder and curiosity here, for you never know what island night entertainment you might find.
Enjoy your vacations. Explore the world like Robert Louis Stevenson. But bring a map everywhere you go. You never know when you’ll find treasure.