Reads From the Road: 5 Books To Take On Your Next Trip

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I am always curious to know what people are reading (yes, I am that person trying to get a peak at a book cover when I notice someone reading on the bus or out and about). 🙂 This past month I was lucky enough to spend a month in Ecuador for yoga teacher training, and enjoyed lots of fun book talk with fellow trainees about the books they love and the ones they brought on the trip. So, which books made the long journey and were highly recommended? Continue reading “Reads From the Road: 5 Books To Take On Your Next Trip”

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

IMG_2292“He was experiencing emotions he didn’t know existed. He had begun to discover people and animals that excited him. He wasn’t ready to rot away in his armchair, mourning his wife and waiting for his children to call, and filling his days with plant-watering and TV.”

At age sixty-nine, Arthur Pepper has a set routine in life, one that consists of getting up at the same time everyday, wearing a specific set of clothing, spending time in his garden, and watering his plant, Frederica.  Things change when on the one-year anniversary of his wife Miriam’s death, he discovers a charm bracelet in her belongings, which he had never seen before.  His curiosity leads him on a journey to discover the story behind each charm on the bracelet, and in turn learn about Miriam’s life before they met.

“Arthur thought about how it was possible for memories to shift and change with time. To be forgotten and resumed, to be enhanced or darkened as the mind and mood commanded. He had conjured up emotions, of how Miriam had felt about the people who gave the charms to her. He didn’t know. He couldn’t know. But he did know that she had loved him . . . “

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a wonderfully charming story with an equally charming and endearing protagonist.  It encompasses many different themes, including family relationships, the courage to embark on something new, the discomfort/challenge of travel and new situations, as well as the question of how well do you ever truly know someone.  Following Arthur on his journey is an absolute delight, as he uncovers unknown details of his wife’s past along with discoveries about himself and his desires for his life.  He meets an array of interesting characters, each with an engaging story of their own.  A truly sweet and heartwarming read.

Chasing Windmills: A Spanish Adventure

IMG_2152“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies?  Perhaps to be too practical is madness.  To surrender dreams — this may be madness.  Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!” – Don Quixote

Spain is a country very near and dear to my heart.  My time working there as a Language & Culture Assistant gave me the opportunity to travel, meet incredible people, make life-long friendships, and experience some truly special moments.  One of my favourite adventures continues to be a spur of the moment trip to the town of Alcázar de San Juan, in Spain’s Castile-La Mancha region.  A fellow Language Assistant was visiting Madrid from Barcelona and had an idea for a very interesting excursion.  The goal was simple: visit the windmills famous in that part of the country, as it is said that it was this setting that inspired Miguel de Cervantes’ story of Don Quixote.  Brilliant!  So, we hopped a train and set off in search of windmills.

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About an hour and a half later we reached our destination.  The trick then was to figure out where exactly were the windmills.  I think we assumed there would be signs pointing the way as it is a famous part of the area, however this was not the case, and we set off into the sleepy little town in search of windmills… and food.  We did find food in the form of a charming Italian restaurant, and on the way came across Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Continue reading “Chasing Windmills: A Spanish Adventure”

Make Me Remake Me by Gillian Cott

IMG_1810“I realized that I deserved romance if I dreamt it and adventure if I desired it.”

With a desire to travel and expand beyond what is familiar, Gillian Cott embarked on an adventure by saying “Yes!” to an opportunity to live on a farm in Burgundy, France.  A decision which would lead her to Paris, Prague, Montreal, and New York, among others.  Through a combination of poetry and prose, she recounts moments, people, and locations that were significant to her experience, along with the feelings that came with those moments.

Walking on Windy Days

Embrace all colours and feelings of life
like the wet autumn leaves that stick together
crushed under boots
but still bold

At times, you still feel inexplicably alone
more like the last leaf left on a tree
begging to fall
to feel more than
just yourself
shaking against the wind.

Make Me Remake Me: Writing Myself Across Two Continents is a lovely little book that beautifully conveys the author’s feelings about the different and new places she found herself along with romantic hopes, desires, and disappointments.  The combination of prose and poetry works very well and I loved the writing style, finding myself quite often marking phrases that particularly struck me.  Mostly this is a book about self-discovery, finding your place in the world, learning to love yourself and not be defined by another.

Travel is so Broadening by Wasela Hiyate

BLOGTravel is so Broadening is a collection of short stories that explores the ways in which travel challenges and alters our perception:

“All ten short stories in this collection demonstrate how Travel can be a catalyst for self-discovery. Each one of the protagonists in these stories experiences a life-changing epiphany while visiting a place away from home. Some become aware of the social injustices that are hidden in their own country but are revealed in foreign places, some become aware of certain freedoms and possibilities that are not permitted on their own native ground. Some people travel to a place they once called or still call “home” only to discover that “home” is no longer there. In any case, these well-crafted narrative gems subtly and elegantly proclaim that Travel Can be Broadening, that all journeys are spiritual journeys.”

Travel.  It can affect you and challenge you in so many ways.

The author explores various topics and journeys in a way that is vey frank, honest and raw. Some stories made me think, some made me sympathize, and some made me a little uncomfortable. And really, isn’t that what travel does? Continue reading “Travel is so Broadening by Wasela Hiyate”