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TRAVEL BOOKS!

11 TRAVEL BOOKS OF INTEREST TO SENIORS

Message to Readers: I am sorry that I’ve taken so long getting another list of reviews up; my “day job” has kept me busy (busier than I would like).

My goal is to get a list of short reviews to Frank at least every other week and one long review a month. I have received books and messages from many of you. Thank you.

I will consider them all, and when I see what might be an interesting read for me and the readers of Suddenly Senior, I will review it in this column. Yes, I will read and review all kinds of books: fiction, travel, nonfiction, poetry, cookbooks, health, humor, inspirational, etc. If you want to send me a book or recommend one, my address is 124 Cherry Road Court, Berea, Kentucky 40403. Please feel free also to email me at cli9761@alltel.net I look forward to hearing from you.

Happy reading,

MaryJo Thomas

REMEMBER: At Suddenly Senior's Amazon partner, you get a good price —often with discounts of 30% or more — and Suddenly Senior gets 5 percentage to help keep this site going. Everyone wins!



SHADOW OF THE SILK ROAD by Colin Thubron

The history of the Orient is written on silk. Silk worm cultivation probably began 4000 years before Christ; 3500 years before the Golden Age of Greece; 1000 years before the Old Kingdom of Egypt.

The author travels not just roads and paths through mountains and deserts, he also travels in time, venturing back along a route some believe to be 10,000 years old. Thubron, an extremely learned man and gifted writer, is perhaps the world’s best known traveler; this book is the ninth such book he has written. Although the tale is fascinating—pages flow over with discoveries and facts and amazement—Thubron is the real subject of this book for me. Well into his 60s when he begins his odyssey, he goes, he says, because he is “old and need[s] to understand something before it is too late.”

READ A COMPLETE REVIEW HERE!

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TRAVELING WITH YOUR PET 9TH EDITION: THE AAA PET BOOK

For a pet-loving traveler, nothing can be more aggravating than an unexpected confrontation with a motel (hotel) manager who doesn’t understand that the Dog (Cat) rules. If you and your pet have ever had the misfortune to be assigned to a crummy motel room that overlooks the air-conditioning unit and the garbage dumpster (at 20% over the price of a regular room by the pool), Traveling with Your Pet is for you.

This useful book is updated regularly by AAA and is your best defense against animal-hating, fascist, canine- (feline-) phobic innkeepers. Easy to follow, it uses the standard travel guide form: alphabetical order by geographic location (usually by state). This guide rates nearly 13,000 lodgings in North America that accept pets. You will find which accommodations allow four-legged travelers and the amount, if any, of the surcharge for a dog or cat. Provided in Traveling is a list of pet-friendly dog parks, attractions, and campgrounds. Information about service and companion dogs is also provided as well as tips for traveling and preparing to travel with your pet.

In addition, you will find information about animal clinics for emergencies. Border crossing procedures for you and your pet between Canada and the United States are given. (As of the 9th edition, passports for you pets are not required.)

BUY IT NOW AT AMAZON.


WAY OFF THE ROAD: DISCOVERING THE PECULIAR CHARMS OF SMALL TOWN AMERICA (Hardcover) by Bill Geist

I like Bill Geist. Geist is the sardonic, roving pilgrim of the unusual and the quirky who reports for CBS News Sunday Morning.

This book was published after Geist completed a 5,600-mile RV trip across America, which provided the material for both this book and several Sunday Morning segments. In fact, you will recognize these little pieces of Americana if you are a regular viewer of the Sunday morning show.  Marvin Kitman, who writes for The New York Times, calls Geist “A combination of Alexis de Tocqueville and Charles Kuralt.”

A stretch, perhaps: Tocqueville never encountered (or at least wrote about) these eccentrics and their “way off” places.

Geist suggests, for instance, a visit to the “Land of Lost Luggage,” in Scottsboro, Alabama, where your lost luggage (and mine) ends up and the contents sold--a second-hand store shopper’s paradise.

In Nederland, Colorado, you might want to visit the dead guy who has been kept on ice in a backyard shed for years (there’s more to this story). If you are interested in unusual food, you might want to visit the chef in Lawrence, Kansas, who specializes in road kill (cheap—very low overhead).

Or, if your tastes are less provincial, you might want to visit another Kansas town where, according to one resident, the best place to get a good eat is the “Texaco, 'cuz the Shell don't have no microwave.” Racing fans might want to visit the Bithlo, Florida, figure-eight races (school buses). Even Boston has its quirky attractions: no, not the Museum of Fine Arts.

Geist suggests instead the Dirt Museum (included among its many treasures is dirt lifted from the driveway of Barry Manilow).

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HOW TO SHIT AROUND THE WORLD: THE ART OF STAYING CLEAN AND HEALTHY WHILE TRAVELING by Jane Wilson-Howarth, Kathleen Meyer (Introduction)

Well, it is important, isn’t it? Probably the best approach to this subject is the one Dr. Wilson-Howarth takes: direct, sometimes graphic, and with humor. After all, we are all slaves to our bodies,: kings and peasants we all gotta . . . .

The good doctor discusses the problems world travels since, I guess, Marco Polo have had to face: diarrhea, parasites, and all those other invisible assailants of the gut. It may not be a pretty subject, but nothing can ruin a trip like unhealthy water and careless hygiene. Not to mention traveling freeloaders such as spiders. And leeches. And worms. As one reviewer put it: here is a book “on squat toilets, getting the runs, and getting the runs while using a rough squat toilet.”

There is even a whole chapter on toilet paper.

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THE SMART TRAVELER'S PASSPORT: 399 TIPS FROM SEASONED TRAVELERS by Erik Torkells, The Readers of Budget Travel, Staff

If you are an experienced traveler, you are probably familiar with the magazine Budget Travel, whose philosophy is “vacations are for real people.” When the editors considered putting together a book on vacations, they asked for the guidance of their readers; thus, The Smart Traveler's Passport, a collection of 399 travel tips from real travelers.

This book is designed to look and feel like a real passport, but inside you will find general tips on planning, packing, flying, security, and getting around easily in a foreign country. Specific tips include innovative uses for dental floss and baggies, locating the best street food in the world’s favorite metropolises (you may want to consult Dr. Jane Wilson-Howarth’s book above), and directions for avoiding long lines at popular attractions.

The book is divided into sections related to different parts of your trip. A great going away present for the new or seasoned traveler.

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SHADOW OF THE SILK ROAD by Colin Thubron

Colin Thubron has written another great travel book. Shadow of the Silk Road is the perfect adventure story for both the seasoned traveler and the stay-at-home, vicarious mind-traveler. For more than 40 years, Thubron has traveled and written about his adventures. He chooses the exotic, timeless path; the eccentric companions and conversationalists; and the rough and common transportation of the peasant: donkey carts, buses, camels, and trucks.

Shadow of the Silk Road records a journey along the greatest land route on earth. Out of the heart of China and into the mountains of Central Asia, across northern Afghanistan and the plains of Iran and into Kurdish Turkey, Colin Thubron covers some 7000 miles of rough terrain in eight months. Furthermore, our author is not a young cavalier--he is a man well into his 60s. Perhaps because of his age and experience, Thubron’s journey is as insightful as a study into religion and philosophy. There is, too, the eloquence and succinctness of his prose.

Traveling through much of the Islamic world—Afghanistan, Turkey, and Iran--Thubron’s conversations with locals allow us to observe a people many Americans, unfortunately, now believe to be our natural enemies. His discoveries may not make the Islamic world less mysterious and terrifying for us, but he does demonstrate that here is a part of the world that does not understand boundaries as we in the West understand them. The real borders along the Silk Road are not political; they are tribal, ethnic, and deeply religious.

I will be writing a longer review of this book very soon. Please look for it.

BUY IT NOW AT AMAZON.


TRAVEL TIPS & TRIPS FOR SENIORS by James Toland

James Toland is an experienced traveler who has written a book here specifically for the 50-plus traveler.

Filled with money-saving tips, Toland’s book is funny and practical. He encourages seniors, “Never travel anywhere if you have to get shots before, or re-enter the food chain after. Avoid places where bugs, animals, people or prices might bite!”

As the kind of traveler who hates the thought of encountering new and potentially harmful or uncomfortable surprises, I find this good advice. Nonetheless, Toland’s destinations are not limited to the local KOA campgrounds (you know, the one in the field next to the Wal-Mart Super Center).

He actually suggests visits to unrestored ghost towns out west, to Alaskan glaciers, and to the edge of volcanoes in Hawaii. His experience as a traveler provides him with lots of street-wise advice that will help you save money and keep yourself safe.

Toland’s philosophy is “better, smarter, and cheaper.”

BUY IT NOW AT AMAZON.


TRAVEL YOGA: STRETCHES FOR PLANES, TRAINS, AUTOMOBILES, AND MORE! by Darrin Zeer

From the author of Office Yoga, Travel Yoga offers some fundamental exercises that can help relieve both the physical and emotional stresses of traveling. Darrin Zeer studied the Eastern arts of healing in Asia for seven years. In this book, he applies some of his considerable knowledge to the stresses associated with all kinds of travel: delays, lost luggage, rudeness, the waiting lines, hotel room harmony, and the general need for civilized catharsis (i.e., methods of “blowing off steam” that do not involve physical violence and jail time).

This book of 50 techniques is nicely illustrated. There is also a Quick Help Guide in the front to address immediately your sore neck, back, etc. A useful book for frequent travelers.

BUY IT NOW AT AMAZON.


LIVE YOUR ROAD TRIP DREAM: TRAVEL FOR A YEAR FOR THE COST OF STAYING HOME by Phil White, Carol White

I remain skeptical, even after reading this well-written, fully tested, well-planned, humorous, real-life adventure of two retirees. Phil and Carol White have written a “how-to” book, a step-by-step guide that will prepare you to run away from home for a full year.

Readers learn how to pay for the trip, what to do with responsibilities (to family, friends, the yard, taxes, voting, mail, community, the dog, etc.), how to handle emergencies and other unexpected turns, how to tolerate their companions for 365 complete days and nights, and what to pack.

I could buy it all--the dog, the family, even the emergencies, and even, maybe getting along with my mate for a whole year. But could I pack clothes for a whole year? Do I even know what size I will be wearing a year from now? I don’t think so!

Still, others have sworn by this book, have found in it inspiration to climb into their own RVs, board the dog with the kids, and cut across America for a year, as the Whites did.

BUY IT NOW AT AMAZON.


THE GROWN-UP'S GUIDE TO RUNNING AWAY FROM HOME by Rosanne Knorr

From the Publisher: “More than just a wish book, this handy volume gives readers all the information they need to decide where to go, how to fund the trip, and how to keep the home fires burning from the French Riviera to an Alpine cabin, whether the goal is a month or a whole new life.”

Many people, especially the more chauvinistic reader, are not going to like this book, for here is a how-to book for the expatriate-in-training. It is aimed at the retiree who wants to retire outside the United States.

Knorr also wants to help people from making the wrong decision: living in a foreign country isn’t for everyone. (In fact, one of the problems for me with this book is that it seems to assume everyone has the money to accomplish this move. No matter how you approach it, no matter what others tell you, moving to another country is going to be too expensive for a lot of us.)

The book begins with a self-assessment that should assist the would-be expatriate in making this critically life-changing decision. Her cautious, step-by-step process is designed to produce a successful transformation or to discourage the half-hearted or impulsive reader from even attempting the move.

For the reader who has made the decision, Knorr asks and answers a lot of practical questions: Where do you want to go? What about your family? Your pets? Do you speak the language? What do you take with you? How much are you willing to pay for storage of the stuff you leave behind? How do you stay in touch with your loved ones in the states? How can you use the Internet to your benefit? What about your financial affairs abroad? What are the immigration regulations in the country to which you are moving? What about passports? Insurance?

This large choice is probably only for a very few, but as one reader put it: “She speaks to the adventurer inside of me, not my fear.” Highly recommended--for the right persons.”

BUY IT NOW AT AMAZON.


101 BEST OUTDOOR TOWNS: UNSPOILED PLACES TO VISIT, LIVE AND PLAY by Sarah Tuff, Greg Melville

From the publisher: “A unique guide for the millions of American urban dwellers and suburbanites seeking quick getaways to small, breathtaking locales where there are pulse-quickening activities but a slower pace of life.

“Grab your gear; pack your bags and beat the developers to 101 of the greatest places left for living, visiting and playing—outdoor towns where you can still eat breakfast at a local diner; play all day in a gorgeous, natural setting; find microbrews and comfort food; and flop yourself into bed at a family-run lodge.

“Tuff and Melville look far and wide to identify these places that have fresh vitality without having been overrun with fourth-home buyers and resort developments. These are places where you'll want to visit and just maybe stay on. 101 Best Outdoor Towns includes information about the towns, their history and all the things there are to do—as well as lodging and dining information. You'll even find each town's ‘stay’ factor for just how livable and affordable the place might be for the long-term. 1 map, 101 black & white photographs, index.”

BUY IT NOW AT AMAZON.


FOR MORE RECENT BOOKS ON TRAVEL, CLICK HERE


*WHO IS SUDDENLY SENIOR'S NEW
BOOK REVIEWER, MARY JO THOMAS?

Suddenly Senior reviewer, MaryJo Thomas, is a published writer and journalist.

A college professor of literature and writing for fifteen years, she writes, "I escaped from academe three years ago to work full-time with my sister in our freelance writing, editing, and research business.

"I am 57 years old, divorced, with no children. I have seven cats and a black Lab. My interests include senior rights, animal and environmental rights, lighthouses, Albert Camus, poetry, and reruns of "The Prisoner" and "The Nanny.

“I proudly belong to no groups, though I believe American seniors need to form a coalition (not AARP) to combat those who would rob us of the rights and privileges we have worked and paid for ( politicians, pharmaceutical and insurance companies, and generations X, Y, etc.). I am looking for writing jobs."

MaryJo's e-mail address is cli9761@alltel.net. She lives in Berea, KY.

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