Category Archives: Travel

Medieval America 35 – Finishing California

In this installment of my travel series of videos I complete my trip through California. We stop at three different spots including Hollywood, Mount Palomar Observatory and Tijuana Mexico.

If you are new to my work this video is one of a series of videos I am making as I travel the entire continental United States. I call it “Seeing Medieval America” . And that title is because a majority of my destinations are castles, blacksmiths, meaderies and museums. Fun stuff. You can see the main page for this travel series on my website here: Seeing Medieval America.

Another installment in my Medieval America series

Some interesting spots in Southern California

This is my latest video in my series on traveling america and seeing mostly medieval sites. I have a strong focus on castles in this adventure. And in this particular video, posted today to youtube, I visit the famous Hearst Castle.

I also visit several other places in southern California including the Golden Gate Bridge, The Winchester Haunted House, and a breeding grounds for elephant seals.

I never expected to spend this much time in California. Nor did I realize that I would love it so much. It is an amazing state with a lot to offer.

You can watch the video on my youtube channel right here.

If you are interested in reading more and seeing lots of pictures from my trip around america I have a whole section of the website dedicated to it here: Will Travels Medieval America.

Castles, rumors, and movies

Castles are visually appealing and they are often rumored to be the inspiration for movies and more

I recently completed a trek around the USA visiting all kinds of sites including lots and lots of castles. It was a wonderful trip. And one of the by-products of the visits to castles was the rumors and stories each of them have. Here are two quick rumors about a couple of castles.

The Wizard of Oz Castle

Castle Rock hidden in New York State

This is Castle Rock. It is a private castle that you can’t get close too. But, being perched up on a hill like this means that you can get some pictures of it from afar. Like I did with a zoom lens in this photo. I am actually a couple of miles away from it.

Anyway, this castle is purported to be the inspiration for the Witch’s castle in the Wizard of Oz. It definitely has that feel to it.

Hogwarts Castle

This is a castle turned private school in Great Barrington Massachusetts. It’s called Searles Castle (Now the John Dewey Academy). And it is purported to be one of the inspirations for Hogwarts Castle. I can see it.

if you love castles like I do be sure to visit my website devoted to them: Medieval Castles

Thoughts about Traveling and Writing

It is definitely a different kind of writing

I had recently taken a road trip around America. It was a beautiful trip through an amazingly beautiful country. You can read about it and see pictures/videos on my website here: Will Travels Medieval America

And the whole experience lead me to some interesting observations about the processes of writing and of traveling.

Traveling is exhausting, especially when you get older! You have to give it a lot of energy. And because you are doing new things and seeing new things it also absorbs a lot of physical, and mental, energy.

This means that I didn’t write like I normally did. I just didn’t have the time or the energy for it. And, I did a lot of driving which absorbed a lot of time and energy.

But, I did take notes and keep a calendar with notes. And that has proven very valuable to me. Because now that the trip is over and I am back to a normal setting I have the time and the energy to write. And the notes and calendar have proven invaluable.

Doing this also helped me to soak in and appreciate my travel more. The travel wasn’t just about doing a job. It was about experiencing that in my life primarily. Writing about it was secondary.

Pictures and videos

There was a very profound benefit to me taking lots of pictures and videos during my trip.

Now that I am writing about the whole experience I am reviewing thousands of videos and pictures. (And that’s an accurate number. There are thousands of them!)

I previously thought of pictures and videos as a means of support. I thought I would write about a place, castle or museum and then I would dig up some pictures to enhance the writing. It turned out to be much more involved than that.

Bourbon Street in New Orleans

Going through the pics and vids brought up previously forgotten memories, and feelings. So, the enhancement to my writing wasn’t secondary. It took a very strong primary role. And this isn’t something that I anticipated. It caught me by surprise.

Well, to summarize all of this I just wanted to impart on you some advice. If you are traveling, or going to travel, I recommend you take lots of pictures and videos! They are so much more than just support for your writing.

Every Castle has a story

Even the younger ones in America have a story to tell.

It isn’t necessarily about castles; it’s more about human beings and the things we do. People have been people since the beginning of time. And this means, victories, triumphs, betrayals, murders, disappearances and stories of human effort and triumph.

But these stories tend to stick around with castles because castles tend to stick around. So, there is an anchor that keeps the story going. In some cases for hundreds of years.

Last week I told you about my journey around America in my quest to visit many sites including castles.

I have been thinking a lot lately about writing a book about the interesting stories of American castles. Send me an email if you think this is a good idea. Or if you know a story linked to a castle.

And just as a teaser … I included in this post a picture I took of a castle. It is called “Castle Rock” and it is in New York state. You can’t get anywhere near it. It is on private land and you can only get pictures of it from a distance like I did. But an interesting story about this castle is that it is rumored to be the inspiration for the Witch’s castle in the movie The Wizard of Oz.

Want to learn more about castles in America? I have a whole section of my website right here: Will travels Medieval America

Medieval America Episode 33

This is one of the most magnificent castles in America.

In this episode I travel to Napa valley to visit a castle that is also a working winery. And the amazing thing about this castle is that it is an authentic 15th century Italian castle. The builder did it the way they did it back then! He even hired in real Italian stone masons.

This image shows the Great Banquet Hall

ep 15: Travel

In this episode I talk about the philosophy of travel and how travel changes as you change. In different stages of your life travel brings different meanings. And there is an additional benefit to travel that nobody ever talks about.

Every Friday at noon Eastern Standard Time Will posts a new episode of the Friday Fish and Chips Podcast.

This podcast was originally posted as a youtube video.

You can see my youtube playlist for fish and chips here:

If you like to make things or you like various subjects you might want to check his website:

http://www.stormthecastle.com

Want to Support Will and his work? Help him create more content and help him build a castle? You can learn more and become a patron here: http://www.patreon.com/epicfantasy

Cardboard and Tudor houses

I have been working on a cardboard project. It’s a dollhouse in a tudor style. It’s a nice project and a lot of fun. (That project is on my youtube channel here if you would like to see it)

Anyway, I have a friend over in the UK named Stephen and he went for a walk and took some pictures of Tudor buildings. These are around New street and Friar street in Worcester.

All the lines are crooked and the buildings all lean forward. And don’t get me started on how amazing the glass windows on the upper floors are. The buildings just have a wonderful hand-built feel to them. No mass manufactured cookie cutter stuff here.

Aren’t they amazing?

Just think about the fact that these buildings are probably older than America.

I have been thinking a lot about going over to the UK so I can see castles. But now I am thinking that there are whole lot of other things I will need to see including Tudor buildings and of course. . . I will need to get me some authentic Fish and Chips!

Tudor building in the UK - Worcester

Enjoying Arizona’s Amateur Astronomy

Arizona is one of the best places in America for star-gazing and Astronomy. This is for a few different reasons. First off they have a sparse population with a lot of desert. This means that there are very large areas with very little light pollution. And they have mountains which of course are even better. The higher up you go the less air disturbance you have.

Arizona does have some world class observatories on the tops of it’s mountains.

Arizona also has a very vibrant community of amateur astronomers. These clubs meet all the time and share their time and telescopes with the public. It’s pretty darn great! And I have been enjoying it all. Since arriving here I have been to six different astronomy club events. And there are more coming.

And later this month is the event of events! The grand canyon national park has a week long astronomy and star-gazing event. I am booked and going. And I am so looking forward to it! Hopefully I will get some amazing pictures and share them with you.

If you are interested in Amateur astronomy and telescopes be sure to visit my website: The telescope Nerd

Finding project inspiration in Museums

I have been having a lot of fun traveling all over America. And travel, in itself is rewarding. But I have been taking it to another level by finding inspiration in the travel. Let me give you a couple of examples of what I mean.

My over-arching goal for this trip around America is to see castles; to research them and understand how they were built. That’s one thing. But, as I traveled the thought occurred to me that I could also take this same approach on a smaller scale.

I have been seeing all these wonderful things in museums and thinking “Hey, I could make something like that.”

And that is what I have been doing. I have been finding inspiration in museums and making my own projects based on the inspirations.  Here are a few examples.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The MET) has this beautiful marble statue of Perseus slaying Medusa. And the focus here is on the sword. I took a whole bunch of pictures of that sword from various angles.

Then I went ahead and made it, with an included tutorial so you can make it.  If you want to make this sword the tutorial is here: Make the Sword of Perseus

Let me give you another example.

At the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore Maryland they have a wonderful exhibition called “A Chamber of Wonders” It was a popular thing during the 17th century Flemish Renaissance.

 

It’s a wonderful thing. I thought that it would be perfect for a diorama project. So, I turned it into a paper diorama (Tatebanko) project.

And it is a full tutorial with everything you need. Download the pdf, print it up and make it.

That project is here:
Chamber of Wonders Tatebanko

Traveling all over America has been a wonderful experience for me. But it has gone beyond just experience. It has also been a journey where I have learned things and improved my skills at making things.

So, in your travels and trips to museums, or even other places give some thought to using what you see as a learning experience and a way to improve your crafting skills. Can you  make it? Is the big question to always ask yourself. And me….. I ask myself that exact question every time I visit a castle.