I've lived and visited a lot of places in my life. I grew up in Missouri and can tell you about minute differences you'll find from the Boot Heel to the Rural Centers and the Cities. I've lived in Nebraska and Ohio and can probably answer a lot of trivia about both. Have visited Colorado, Florida, Texas and Louisiana. Grand Cayman, Belize, Honduras, Mexico (three times), Jamaica. Every place I've visited has left some kind of imprint on my life, from admiring a Jamaican sunset over the Caribbean to the out-of-breath feeling of being in Denver's lighter air.
But some of the best places I go are seen from my couch or bed or my zero gravity chair on our deck.
Because every time I open a book I take a journey. I might visit somewhere familiar like Missouri or Iowa or could be swept away to the Middle East or even China.
We talk a lot about character making the story here at WordWranglers (funny how we all think alike!), and I truly think character can make or break a story. But I also live for those moments, as a reader, when an author's voice paints a picture of where the action is happening. I love it when I'm not just reading about a hot, desert wind, but can feel that wind on my face. When the cold of a December snow freezes my toes on a hot summer day in Ohio. Or when the rain over New York City seems like it's just out of the reach of my fingers. Those moments are when I get to visit someplace that I've never seen in my life...but I can still feel like I've been there.