I’m so tired of being in Nashville. With the exception of a couple of jaunts to Indiana to see my folks, we have not been out of Nashville since my husband and I went to Charleston in October 2019. Stupid pandemic. So while I’m not quite brave enough to head out just yet, I have been reading books about exotic locations to satisfy my wanderlust until I’m ready.
I started out easy – after all, you can’t just jump back into travel by heading off halfway around the world. Better to start small, stay more local, and then venture out. Hodgman (who you might remember as “PC” from the Mac vs PC ads or The Daily Show) has a problem. He has two summer homes. (#firstworldproblems, am I right?) One in rural, western Massachusetts and one in Maine. These essays follow how he dealt with this nightmare situation. I thought they were funny and enjoyable summer reading. Plus, I’ve always kind of wanted to go to Maine. No idea why, but this was good practice.
I went a little farther afield with this one and must admit that I didn’t know what to expect. Heck, I wasn’t even sure I knew where Bhutan was. (It’s a Himalayan country bordered by Tibet and India.) As an American, Leaming fell in love with the country on her extensive travels and moved there to teach English at the beginning of the 21st century. While there, she also fell in love and married a fellow teacher. Since he was born and raised in Bhutan, Leaming felt like she married his country as well. I think I’m too much of a Type-A American to be happy in Bhutan (they have issues with time). Also, the plane ride to get there sounds harrowing (big, gigantic mountains and an itty bitty landing strip). If you want to read this one, you’ll have to use ILL, but it would be a fun way to learn more about Bhutan without the rigors of traveling to one of the most isolated spots in the world. ILL will take a minute to get your book, so while you’re waiting, you might also want to check out our copy of Radio Shangri-la, which is also about the happiest country in the world.
After going completely crazy with Bhutan, I pulled it back in a little for this one. I have actually been to Italy – my mother-in-law was born in Udine, and we have family there. But I’ve never really thought about living there. Martha and her husband John decide to live in Rome for almost two years while he goes to school and she learns Italian (sort of). She had lots of great stories about life in Rome, and even though that wasn’t my favorite city (Florence was), it still made me want to go back. It was also interesting because Miller moved to Italy at the end of August 2001, so she and her husband got a different perspective on 9/11. I also loved all the people that she met. This is a fun look at the real Rome – not the tourist version.
Reading these books remind me that the world remains a big and beautiful place, and one day – hopefully sooner than later – we’ll get to go out and see it again.
Until then, NPL’s got you covered.