If I had to pick one word that defines my mood at the moment it’s ‘travel’. These days, I’ve been thinking of it non-stop. In the weeks ahead, I’ll be heading to Europe for a brief respite, and then again in the fall for a longer jaunt.
Since flying is on the brain, it goes without saying that the books I read should match. This last week has been filled with almost nothing but armchair travel of one sort or another. First it was Rory Stewart’s excellent volume entitled The Places in Between. Read by the author, this audiobook was highly enjoyable. Stewart had walked across Persia and Pakistan, and this text concerned his peregrinations through Afghanistan. I loved his boldness and determination, especially when dealing with locals. The experiences he chose to share were also poignant.
Next came One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the World Journey with Our Children, by David Elliot Cohen. I had read about this book before and finally took it out. It was a breeze, and, like Gopnik’s Paris to the Moon, or James Dodson’s Road to Somewhere, it afforded the reader a glimpse of children discovering their world, through a parent’s loving eyes. It's the way I wish I could teach my kids one day.
This evening I’ll be finishing up Kerouac’s On the Road, one of my classics selections. I didn’t enjoy this one as I thought I would. It’s clear why it’s a classic, and what it captures about the beat esprit, but ultimately it wasn’t for me. Like Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers, this is a book, I think, most meant for guys in their early twenties.
I’m still immersed in ancient Greece and Rome, but perhaps I’ll check out the Voyages of Marco Polo while I’m in trip mode, since it’s on my list too. We'll see… I have the coming week off, so doubtless you shall hear from me again soon.