To tell you the truth, I’m a wanderer of convenience. My destinations are often based on whims, and once I’ve chosen the destination, I start digging in to see what geekery I can get up to. That said, there are destinations that call to me because of my nerd interests.
Greece, for example, has been on my travel bucket list since I was a kid because I was (and still am) obsessed with Classical Mythology. To tread through the ruins at Delphi and to stand atop the Acropolis are dreams of mine. The reason I keep getting drawn back to the northeastern United States is because of my love for the American Revolution. And then there’s stuff like – oh, I don’t know – San Diego Comic Con.
So let’s talk how nerds make travels like the above happen.
Theme + Destination (or vice versa).
Not all trips are themed, but sometimes, you want to do a nerd trip. For my personal nerd trip, I picked a theme, which then dictated the destination. I’d wanted to do a Revolutionary U.S. History trip for a long time, and that theme made the Northeastern United States the destination. From there, I narrowed it down to Washington D.C., New York City, and Boston. I like to choose more metropolitan destinations because they offer the most bang for your buck – a mix of old and new, historical and cultural events, and a variety of food. Not to mention, ease of travel (walk-able distances, public transportation, taxi/car services)!
The flip side works too. You can pick a place and decide how you want to theme it. Headed to London? Make it Whovian or literary! (I did the latter.)
Set the Mood
While this isn’t an outwardly way of expressing your geekery, adding supplemental materials to your trip prep can make your trip more exciting. Psych yourself up by consuming relevant media. Read books and watch shows that relate to your trip. Listen to music that reminds you of where you’re going or evokes the experience you want to have. It’s research, but I’m not talking about research in the strictest sense.
Yes, I did read actual U.S. History books before I went on my Revolutionary History trip, but I also watched the heavily dramatized TURN (on AMC) and Sons of Liberty (on the History Channel) to get me in the history-nerding mood. Completely unrelated to my theme but definitely relevant to my destination, I listened to Taylor Swift’s Welcome to New York as we drove into Brooklyn. These supplements can be educational, but mostly they’re meant to up the fun factor.
In his post, Marlon talked about leveling up his trip by bringing nerdy things, but he made a point about bringing items that are easy to pack and/or carry. Enter accessories, which are usually small and easy to pack and can be used with multiple looks. You can’t pack your entire wardrobe and your clothing choices will be further limited by the weather and your chosen activities. So you might not have the right pieces to bring along, but accessories can easily make an everyday outfit geekchic.
Add a red and gold-striped scarf to any winter kit to instantly represent Gryffindor House. Put on a pair of lightsaber earrings to proclaim your love of Star Wars. Wear a Bad Wolf beanie with a bright blue coat, and don’t be surprised when fellow Whovians greet you on the subway to ask if you’re a fan (this legit happened to me in New York)!
Accessories are the plot devices that will turn your travel story into a nerdy one. Choose a couple to bring along and save luggage space for the souvenirs you’re sure to acquire.
Prop it Up
An alternative to wearing nerdy clothes or bringing too many accessories is to bring one or two objects to represent the nerdy part of you/the trip. Traveling is ultimately about making memories and taking home stories, and for most people, taking photos is an integral part of that. So if you don’t want to stress about making yourself geek-representative in photos, then bring something that will express the geeking for you.
In the movie Amélie, one of the charming plot lines has a garden gnome on a trip around the world. Pictures of the gnome in front of famous landmarks are sent back to his owner. You can do something similar with your trip, marking your adventures in a similarly quirky-cute way.
Instead of a gnome, use a Lego Winter Soldier or a Funko POP GoT dragon or a pocket Jamie Fraser* in your pics. A friend I made at SDCC takes different sized Chris Evans prints everywhere for her adventures as My Life With Chris Evans**; of course, I had to snap a photo with Chris myself in the Hall H line. Or take the same type of photo everywhere. For example, my sister and I like to take photos of our shoes or shadows at our destinations (Bonus points for geeky socks or shoes!).
I hope to cover a few more topics about how nerds travel, including other ways to express your fandom and what nerd clothes I always bring to the show. But that is for next time!
Be sure to check out how Marlon travels at Nerdcoolture!
Q4U: How do you pick your destinations? What do you do to geekify your trip?
*photo of Jamie-in-book courtesy of a friend for whom I made that pocket Jamie **My Life with Chris Evans is an instagram account - linked above. Supplement: (TV) TURN: Washington's Spies | AMC (Book) Washington's Spies | Alexander Rose (Music) Welcome to New York | Taylor Swift (TV) Doctor Who (Tenth Doctor era) | BBC (Movie) Amélie (Book/TV) Outlander | Diana Gabaldon/ Starz