For years I have loved reading memoirs, truthfully it doesn’t matter in this specific genre of books, if it were written five, twenty-five or hundred plus years ago, if it is set abroad I will pick it up and give it a try. Almost ever Friday you’ll find me wandering around the local library looking for a good book and many times a memoir is the best bet.
My love for the library started back in Highs School, when I realized it was a safe place to escape the stares and hushed remarks on a military base full of young male recruits, if only for an hour. Growing up in a large family it could be challenging to find a quiet place to think or find a room to be alone in for uninterrupted reading. The library was quiet, usually had an back corner with a cozy armchair and an atmosphere of comfort, no matter were we were currently living.
Over the last few years as a consolation to my wanderlust, I have read a large stack of memoir books, the majority written by women traveling or living abroad. Quite possibility at some future date, a side bar will be added to this blog listing the titles of many favorites and recent read recommendations. In the meantime, one book I finished this month in preparation for our trip, titled Slow Travel by Jennifer M. Sparks is a unique blend of personal memoir, explanation of the slow travel philosophy and includes chapters with detailed steps to plan an extended trip. Though I’d already completed many of the tasks explained in Ms. Sparks planning chapters, I especially found inspiring the beautiful literary travel quotes at the start of each chapter, as well as her, description of how to execute a slow travel adventure. She summarizes the slow travel mindset with this areas in mind: travel independently, at your own pace, with an open heart and mind, connect with people and cultures, try to communicate in the local language and travel overland (or water). I love this point as it has me imagining so family travel scenarios including traveling by trains, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, taxis, cars, boats, campers, horseback or by foot.
My favorite take away from this book is a chapter entitled Why Go?. This for me was a great reminder to think back to before we began making our check lists and figuring out all the details to make our big trip a reality. The Why? is the inspiration behind your travel, and it is also the guiding factor(s) for putting forth all the time and effort to plan an extended family trip or sabbatical. My personal big Why?s are inspired by my quest to become the adventurer I’ve always wanted to be and my desire for an extend unplugged period to bond with my husband and children.
Ms. Spark’s advice is to embrace travel in a foreign country, treat it not as a vacation by as part of daily life. “Instead, it is living your life differently.” Let us embrace slow travel.