Well, relatively speaking. I just got back from eight glorious days in New York where I ate too much Thai food, walked about a billion miles, smelled about a billion smells, and met a girl who met Anjelica Huston, which basically means I met Anjelica Huston. The weather was perfect, the coats were amazing, and Central Park was a dream.
But even amongst all this vacationing glory, gentle reader, my brain was working. How, you ask? Because my manuscript is set in New York, which means my trip wasn't just about vacation - it was reconnaissance. I stalked all the major locations, found nearby restaurants, made note of subway stops, and people watched the crap out of those places. I'd done my research beforehand - of course - but seeing it live in person was a whole new level of understanding. Instead of just imagining the jarring rides of the subway or the feel of a hundred miles of concrete under my boots, I was living those scenes. Now I have more than just Google street views of places, or second-hand knowledge from friends - I have my own memories to write against, which is a much richer experience.
Next book I write will be set in Greece. Or Italy. Oooo, or both. I'm off to plan.
Do you like to write about places you've never been, or do you stick close to home? Have you ever done your own reconnaissance on vacation?