DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Jun 4 2012

The Wayfarer’s Way

by Jnai W

I’ve always wanted to travel abroad. However it’s something I’ve never gotten around to and, honestly, it’s been something I’ve been a bit frightened to do. From traveler friends I hear the same old adage: “there’s nothin’ to it but to do it.” Yeah…but doesn’t that sound like something a fearless, wanderlustful wayfarer would say? However, there’s a little more to it than that for a homebody and a worry-wart like myself.

Lately, however, I’ve been feeling stir-crazy. So much so that I find myself actually relating to the poor sods featured in shows like Locked Up Abroad, folks testing their luck in foreign lands, seething with a desire for adventure or a chance at a new life. This desire drives some of the folks on this show to do terrible, misguided and desperate things like drug smuggling…but I’ll digress  (this is a family blog, after all). Either way, I’m making the decision to go out and to see the world but in thoughtful, wholesome and life-affirming ways.

There are several books that I’ve read in the library that are really encouraging when it comes to traveling the country and the world. Below are a few that I’ve enjoyed:

Volunteer Vacations: Short-Term Adventures That Will Benefit You And Others by Bill McMillon, Doug Cutchins and Anne Geissinger: This is a book that I’ve found incredibly informative and inspiring. This book is a directory of many fascinating opportunities to see the world while making a difference—whether it’s working on an organic farm in Africa, being a helper/companion to a senior citizen in the U.K or volunteering in any number of other ways described in this book.

Getting Out: Your Guide To Leaving America by Mark Ehrman:  This book is one that I’ve read and referred back to on many occasions. While the title and cover art reek of conscientious objection and political dissidence (and it’s certainly helpful to those who feel that way about the U.S of A), there is lots in Getting Out that is useful to those who want to travel abroad…but would also like very much to return to America when they are done. This book offers helpful, perhaps even exhaustive,  insights and tips for the novice world traveler, including how to make a living abroad and where certain nations stand in terms of human rights and gender equality.

A Foxy Old Woman’s Guide To Traveling Alone Around Town and Around the World by Jay Ben-Lesser: Here’s a small disclaimer about this book—it was published in 1995, nearly 20 years ago. But considering that this is not a travel guidebook to any country in particular, that shouldn’t deter any would-be travelers from giving it a look. It’s a brief, compact book that I gravitated to not so much for tips on, say, where to stay or how to book a flight but for Ben-Lesser’s insights into how to travel on your own. The first half of this book includes several tips and exercises for learning how to become confident, even comfortable, being outside of one’s comfort zone and to travel the world with minimal trepidation.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jesse M June 4, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Another good book in a similar vein is Vagabonding: an uncommon guide to the art of long-term world travel by Rolf Potts.

Tosh Norfair June 5, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Getting Out: Your Guide To Leaving America by Mark Ehrman I keep reading this book over and over I really do not have a desire to leave but I enjoy the idea that I can. Whenever I sit down and read this book it makes you take a lot of things into consideration. Great book with an even better website.

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