Photography and Text by Terry “Travels with Terry” Zinn [email protected]

As the years pass on and our stamina decreases, it’s comforting to relive our past travels through memories sparked by a movie. This happens to me more and more these days, as our mobility and stamina restraints keep us from physical traveling. Since physical travel is out of the question, why not time travel: back to our personal travel memories?
This confirms Reality Bites, especially as we get older and our reach exceeds our grasps. We want to do things that just aren’t reality. This past year I scheduled travel with tours and air with hotel reservations and cruises, I had to cancel when I faced up to reality of my senior status. The mind and wishes were willing but the reality of the plans coming to pass was just not feasible. I canceled my trips on a cruise to Norway to see the Fords and explore Edinburgh Scotland, a NYC Broadway show tour and even a family gathering in North Carolina. As those proposed dates have past, I was not too disappointed in them not happening as I weighed it against my comfort level and realization of my bodily restraints. Not saying I am an invalid but I do have mobility and stamina issues. Thus movies on TV is not just a substitute but a pat on the back of all the places I once visited.
When I see a movie with a familiar destination there is a personal connection with memories. Seeing the replaying of the TV series North and South filmed a great deal in South Carolina brings back the enchanting morning spent at the Oak Tree lined avenue of the Boone Hall Plantation. I did have to sneak past the closed gate and drive half way up the road so I could try and make a photo or two of this iconic Southern Plantation locale. I did and seeing my photo brings all the sensory feelings back to life.
Other Southern Plantations have been checked off my bucket list a couple of times. New Orleans is rife with the opportunity to visit Plantations such as Houmas House (Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte) and Oak Alley (Interview with a Vampire) and the French Quarter as well. Visiting theses filmed locations might be considered top locations of my life as well. After many day visits to Oak Alley I booked a cabin on the grounds which afforded me the opportunity to linger under its avenue of oaks after the house tours were over and tourists left. Again I fulfilled a quest to make it a special photography event. At midnight I forced myself to leave my cabin and walk the couple of blocks to the alley of oaks tempting a visit of ghost or vampire. And while none came, it still was a haunting experience.
Prime on my early travel bucket list was Egypt when in 1980 I made that trip down the Nile, (Death on the Nile) along with Abu Simbel, the Pyramids and other ancient ruins. Seeing those locals in the movie brought back my visits and a reality the movie magic could not deliver. In the movie the guests were whisked to Karnak, Abu Simbel, and the Pyramids all in one day, which of course is not physically possible today no less in the 1920 period of the movie. It moved the plot along but having been there the foible of the movie time line was obvious. I wonder how many other movie viewers were as knowledgeable?
Having toured many of the French Chateaus, (Dangerous Liaisons, The Serpent Queen) the external vistas of the movies bring back my tours. So glad I usually add on a couple of free days on to exotic locales is never a regrettable. While the exterior architecture and gardens remain of various chateaus the interiors are usually nothing to see except empty rooms, remembering that the French Revolution stripped away furniture and art. Still roaming the grounds is worth the traveling effort, that is when you are young and able to wander.
The entire city of Savannah (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil -book and movie) is not to be missed in your travels. The elegant town squares surrounded by period houses, including the Mercer House, present an atmosphere like no other. On more one my travels there I was fortunate to meet a few of the real life characters from the book. The time I was there there were tours of the Mercer House where I visited with the Sister of the books protagonist. The unique moss draped Bonaventure Cemetery out side of town, offers a perfect atmosphere so right to accompany the story. You can even find the story’s antagonist Danny Hansford, resting in his grave in the adjacent cemetery.
Movie hotels are another memory jog when you can say I visited or stayed there once: The Plaza,( The Way we Were, Home Alone and others) the Waldorf Astoria, Broadway and Lincoln Center, or on the Mexican or French Riviera, or Rio, or Mt Kenya Safari club Africa, or Monument Valley (featured in so many John Ford westerns).
When you have physically been there, seeing them again in movies, is a real definition of Arm Chair Travel. While the wander lust can still tempt me, I feel comforted that I made the most of my youth travel experiences over the last forty years, and pleased I do not have to now face the challenges of travel. Keep making travel memories and be thankful and cherish the ones completed.

Mr. Terry Zinn – Travel Editor
Past President: International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association
3110 N.W. 15 Street – Oklahoma City, OK 73107