Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Running Away

I love travel books. I think it is because, every once and a while, deep down inside, I want to run away from my life. Especially, when you read about so many fabulous places people have fled to.

One interesting story I like to recount is from the intro to Frances Mayes excellent book Under the Tuscan Sun. It seems that after the book came out Mayes became the go-to person for people looking at making life changing moves. In the book, unlike the movie (though I love both) Francis doesn't move to Tuscany to leave the pain of a divorce behind, rather she and her partner are looking for a place where they can get away from the past paced life they have in San Fransisco. Both work in post-secondary institutions and therefor both have 3 months a year off that they can use to run away. What makes the book so poignant is the leap of faith she takes in buying the place. The fact is that the cost will pretty much clean out her savings and leave her with no nest egg for the future. I can imagine the angst of such a huge decision. And obviously so could others, because pretty soon Francis started to receive phone calls from all over the world from people wanting her advice on how to make the same sort of change. Could she please, give them some tips on how to make a leap of faith?

I love that story, because it means there are a lot of people out there everyday thinking the same thing: is this what I want, and if not, how do I escape it? Not everyone is up to making a life altering change, some who have haven't meet with the same sort of success as Mayes. But if you are thinking about doing something along this line, let me suggest some other travel books to wet your palate.

My all time favorite: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. God, this man is funny.

The rest in order of my enjoyment.

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson (arguably his best and funniest book).

Hitching Rides With Buddha by Will Ferguson (his book Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw is also excellent, although this one is funnier).

City of Falling Angels by John Berendt (some will tell you his book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is better, but I strongly refute that).

On Mexican Time by Tony Cohan

MaCarthy's Bar by Pete McCarthy

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