Monday, October 15, 2007

Armchair Traveler Reading Challenge: Book Three

In August, I joined reading challenge. Lesley is the host of the Armchair Traveler Reading Challenge at A Life In Books. Following my original post, I've "been to" Persia/Iran and England. And, apparently, I am not the only one traveling all over the world - figuratively speaking of course! LOL When Lesley's original post reached 100 comments/reviews, she posted another! Wow!

And, now I've been to Mexico.

While my first two books were on my "Plan B" list, I did get to read one of my first choices! My mom sent me
Nothing To Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone as a surprise. And, while I read it immediately, I haven't gotten around to posting the review until now...6 weeks later! So goes the life of a ADD mama with a nearly 2 year old and a nearly 4 year old! LOL

This book was
interesting to me since, in pre-Vikings life, I had always figured I'd end up traveling alone. And, while I have no particular reason or explanation, I've always wanted to learn Spanish. Mary Morris now teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College. At one time (the book has a copyright date of 1988), she took an extended sabbatical to "escape" New York for a while and ended up in Mexico with some money and a typewriter.

I was looking to live vicariously through her submersion experience in a new and different culture. As someone who never felt like they "fit in," there was a time when I daydreamed of leaving everything and taking off like that. Free of past mistakes, of what was expected of me, of what few responsibilities I had acquired.

In this way, the book was a letdown.

I never "bought" that Morris was on an adventure - she was just running from something. It didn't seem like she interested in learning anything per se - just licking recent wounds and attempting some extended self-analysis. Even with a change of location, environment, and hemisphere, she seemed just as miserable as she must have been in New York.
The people she met - stereotypical. A native. Fellow ex-pat writers. "Hippies" and those of alternative lifestyles. Young folks with backpacks on vacation. Even the eventual "boyfriend" she hooks up with turns into a college seminat about cross-cultural dating, Manifest Destiny, and colonization.

Even Morris' travels out of Mexico seem to be for no particular reason than to wander - but wandering without any of the "romantic," spontaneous "let's take off and only make right turns and see where that takes us." LOL

There ARE new friendships, relationships, and location discoveries but everything just seemed so mopey. It was a struggle to finish but I'm glad I read it.

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