I misunderstood the topic again...and then I reread it. "Writing Places I've Never Been" had me griping about the various writing conferences I can never seem to attend. And then the light bulb went on....maybe they were talking about setting your stories in places you've never been!
I've only done this one time. The main character in my alter-ego's second book travels to California, and admittedly, I patterned it after some of my experiences in Florida. Fortunately, I have friends who have actually been to Apple Valley and George AFB, so I was able to interview them about distances, the buildings, and any other information I might have gotten wrong.
For this reason, I tend to set my stories in a small town setting, where I've lived for the past fifteen years. But when my characters do venture out, I make sure they go to towns where I've BEEN, so I know what I'm talking about and can be accurate about local landmarks and culture.
The story which is currently begging to be written is going to literally be a headache. Not only has the research caused me to view many hours of Discovery Channel, it has already caused arguments about why those episodes are still on our DVR. I'm scared I'll delete a program only to discover the reason I saved it in the first place was for a key bit of info. And when and if this story a) is written to my satisfaction and b) accepted by a publisher, I don't want to be slammed by anyone depicted for inaccuracies.
And it's for this very reason I usually stand by the mantra 'Write What You Know'.
But sometimes, the imagination insists you break out of your comfort zone. So, into the unknown I go.
I wonder if this series is on DVD yet? Until then, don't touch my DVR!