Book Hippo

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Great, Big Adventurous Shelf Life

I admit it, I'm an armchair traveler. I have spent many hours reading Paul Theroux and Dervla Murphy and also various adventurers in the jungles, deserts and mountains of the world. I for a time considered going to Africa or Indonesia to see apes or moving through Nepal. In those mountains, I thought, I would find something extraordinary.

Sometimes I just got a map of northern Canada and thought to canoe down the rivers. I could start in Ottawa and paddle up the river, see where it took me. I asked my friend, now my room mate. "How will you get past the rapids?" he asked. I hadn't known there were rapids up stream. I intended to go as far as I could.

The Pacific Islands attracted me also. Tahiti and Cook Islands seemed like they would be just right for someone who liked to swim. Then I read that the islanders actually use their beaches for a toilet. Ugh.

So there was always something I didn't like about those places and although I still think I might want to see Tasmania some day, I've given up on traveling the world to find something extraordinary. For one thing, I'm too old and my knees won't handle hiking anymore, I doubt whether my lungs will go for thin mountain air and I've found that other people countries have unsanitary toilets, sometimes just a hole in the floor.

So I'll just stay home or in the tourist areas where I'm safe and they cater to you but I'm not sorry I read all those books. It gave me a cursory understanding of how different people's outlooks can be and how we're all human and none of us is right and  none of us is wrong, we just are.

That's worth it to me, it taught me not to see myself as right and everyone who disagrees with me as wrong. We all have our little worlds. Mine is satisfactory to me as yours is to you, I suppose. So I'll think of my great, big adventurous shelf life (book shelf) as time well spent.

The Mountain City Bronzes is available at MuseItUp Publishing Bookstore for 99 cents.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Madeleine,

    We share very similar reading interests! Have you read Eric Newby? He is hysterical--start with A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush. Really a wonderful travel writer.