A little background: I’m writing a fic where my main character (35-ish years old, ex-military) winds up accidentally travelling around the world (it’s complicated). Essentially, he comes into some money at the same time that something happens to make home (modern-day London) unpalatable. He gets it into his head to do a spot of travelling – within England at first, then other parts of the UK, and then somehow he finds himself heading overseas. He’s going to wind up going on pretty much a world tour in his quest to reconcile himself to recent events.
My problem is that I’m not what you’d call a seasoned traveller. I want to write my character taking the less-beaten path. He might start out at tourist hot-spots, but he’d rather people-watch than do the typical tourist thing. He’s one for walking, and taking buses and trains and things, and just watching the world around him. He’s equally at home in urban areas (he’d especially love places he can just sit and people-watch) and out in nature (any kind, and here he’d probably prefer solitude… or at least fewer people). Money is not a problem, though he is by nature frugal. I’ve found that looking online and checking out my local library doesn’t really give me much in the way of these insider details I’m looking for, so I’m turning to you guys in hopes of help.
So! I’m throwing the field wide open here. What are the places you’re familiar with? Where might my character wind up going? Any little, out-of-the-way shops he might visit? What kind of people/food/events might he encounter? Where might he stay (he’d prefer cheaper places – motels, backpacker hotels, etc)? Also, probably an odd detail to look for – what are the policies on people sleeping overnight on a park bench or something? Would the local police kick him out/arrest him/leave him be? – because I might want him to do that for a night or two occasionally.
I welcome both broad details/suggestions for places he might go, as well as intimate details that will help me really get a feel for the place he’s in. Share personal experiences or point me to blogs/books/etc that might be helpful – anything goes. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help!
[Special thanks to kutsuwamushi for allowing me to post such a broad request!]
ETA: You guys! You are all so very, very awesome. Thank you for all the great comments you've left; I have so many new things to research now, which fills me with so. much. glee. *happy dance* (No, not ironic - I love research.)
RL is getting progressively busier, so I may not be able to respond to everyone who's commented, but I just wanted to say that I've read and treasured every last comment and I adore you all. ♥ THANK YOU!