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Choosing a Travel Destination: A Confession

I have a confession to make. It’s about how I chose my travel destination for next month.

Have you ever seen the BBC show “Death in Paradise”? It’s a murder mystery series, a pretty common format on the BBC. In this case, the Detective Inspector is a goofy, absent-minded, but absolutely brilliant crime-solver. He’s assisted by a beautiful, efficient, female Detective Sergeant and two male policemen. One of the policemen is very honest and eager, while the other is playful and provides comic relief.

photo: Flickr copyright A Bloke called Jerm

photo: Flickr copyright A Bloke called Jerm

So far, so formulaic. Now in its fourth season, every episode starts with the lead-up to a murder, followed by the body being discovered. The crime-solvers gather evidence, but are stumped until the Detective Inspector has a sudden brainwave and figures out who committed the crime. Every episode ends with all the possible suspects called together for the big reveal à la Agatha Christie. The Detective Inspector walks his audience very dramatically through his thinking process, finally revealing the guilty party, to everyone’s astonishment. The show ends with a brief, often comical or emotional, closer.

Here’s why this particular series caught my eye: the scenery. Set on a fictional Caribbean Island called Saint Marie, the place does indeed look like paradise.

Whenever I watched this show, I got so caught up in admiring the scenery behind whatever action was taking place that I often missed the story line altogether.

Meanwhile, I was considering all the many places around the world I wanted to visit during my sabbatical, but finding it hard to choose a destination. I knew I wanted to go back to the Caribbean; we spent a few weeks in Bonaire for my 50th birthday, and I fell in love with the place.

palm tree and the sea in Bonaire

Bonaire: my kind of destination!

There’s just something about the climate, the feel of the breeze, the sound of palm tree leaves rustling, the brilliance of bougainvillea flowers … it makes me feel like I’m home.

The problem was choosing which island to visit this time; I was spoiled for choice.

Then it occurred to me to look up where “Death in Paradise” is filmed. It turns out Saint Marie is Guadeloupe, and the particular village view that gets shown every episode is a town called Deshaies.

a view of the village of Deshaies, Guadeloupe

Deshaies: photo copyright Tim Loudon on Flickr

So that’s my destination. It’s as good a reason as any, in my view, to choose Guadeloupe.

I’ve been reading up on it, and there’s plenty to see and do there. I’ll climb a volcano. I’ll do a lot of snorkeling, and possibly some diving if I feel I can afford it. I’ll visit a rum museum and a plantation and other historical buildings. I’ll lie on a beach, probably in the evenings when it’s cooler. I’ll get to brush up on my French, since Guadeloupe is still part of France. I won’t even have to change money since they use the euro.

So that’s my confession: I’ve let a TV series steer my choice of destination. It’s as good as any other way to make the decision, isn’t it?

Have you ever built your travel plans around a TV show or a film? Tell me about it in a comment below!

14 Comments

  • Monika

    March 26, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    That´s an excellent reason for a visit! 🙂 I have never chosen any destination based on a TV show (not including documentaries) but I always sigh when I see movies taking place in “cold” regions such as Alaska, Iceland, etc. – or recently Newfoundland (as seen in the Grand Seduction). Unfortunately, I haven´t turned it into real actions yet (I always end up in different places for some reason) 🙂 Anyway, enjoy your adventure! 🙂

    Reply
    • rachel75

      March 26, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      Watching cold regions on TV just makes me want to snuggle deeper under my blanket! Though I’ve heard Iceland is wonderful. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  • Natalie Deduck

    April 1, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Good choice Rachel, looks like a real paradise!!
    I have never chosen a destination inspired by a movie or TV series, but I do try to watch movies about places I´m gonna visit… I think is a good way to be familiarized to our next destination!
    Happy Travels,
    Nat 🙂

    Reply
    • rachel75

      April 1, 2015 at 6:11 pm

      Well, I’ll let you know if it turns out to be as gorgeous as it is on the show! I’m not sure it’ll live up to your pictures of Langkawi!

      Reply
  • Sally

    April 2, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Haha I love this. I always do this! Sadly I have a teenagers mentality when it comes to TV shows! I went to New York and walked around looking at all the Law and Order SUV locations! Next on my list is Nashville and Jurassic Park.

    Reply
    • rachel75

      April 2, 2015 at 6:42 pm

      Oh what fun! I also did Harry Potter film locations in England and Scotland with my son and nephew, but (officially anyway) that was for their entertainment, not mine!

      Reply
  • Annie

    April 7, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    I love this! Why not let the scenery from a show help you make your choice? This happens to me all the time. I’ll be watching something and just wondering: where is this filmed?! It’s gorgeous. I think a dream job would be scouting filming locations. Have a great time on your trip!

    Reply
    • rachel75

      April 8, 2015 at 1:23 am

      I’d love a job like that! It does make me wonder if that was what put this show in Guadeloupe: as an excuse to spend time there.

      Reply
  • The Educational Tourist

    May 19, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    LOL! Love it! I can think of worse reasons for choosing a destination! Ok, I really haven’t thought of worse reasons, but who cares! Whatever makes it a dream spot is OK in my boat!

    We are thinking of Portugal and northern Spain for the next trip. I just can’t get Gaudi’s art in Barcelona out of my head. How is that for a reason??

    Love the post,
    Natalie, The Educational Tourist

    Reply
  • Ilya Levin

    December 5, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    This is a great story!!! I personally choose Guadeloupe as my next vacation spot because it is number 2 Caribbean destination according to US News. [link removed]

    I’ve been to BVI and USVI, – #1 destination on their list – and to St. Lucia – #3 destination … Hence it was a logical choice for me.

    I came across your post while looking for details about hike trail to La Soufriere Volcano. What a great write up!!! Now I have no choice but to hike it. THANK YOU very much for it!!!

    Reply

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