Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Why travel is important but I choose to stay home

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” 
― Mark TwainThe Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

My stepdaughter just graduated from high school and is thinking about using her graduation gift money to travel, instead of heading off to college right away.

My first reaction was, maybe you should save that money for college... but then I got to thinking about it more, and college isn't always the right answer - not until it's the right time. And travel is an education itself, too - just as valuable, in a way. I look back on my travels (a couple trips to Europe, a two month road trip across America) and while they weren't life changing, they were enriching in a way I can't even fully express.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” 
― Marcel Proust

I still love to travel and as the rest of my kids are getting old enough to start appreciating it, too, I plan to travel a lot more. (Hmmm, I need to start budgeting for that). But this time of year when people commonly ask questions like "what are your summer plans? any travel or vacations?" I always find myself saying "no plans, no travel."

I love just to stay home during the summer. We live in a place that has an absolutely perfect summer (in my opinion) - 70 to 80 degrees, every day sunny, just enough rain for the occasional rainbow. Big skies, with huge cloud formations that form their own amazing landscapes/skyscapes, and sunsets with 360 degrees of color. (Unfortunately our perfect summers are balanced by mind-numbing six-month long winters some years). I love a slow summer, no rushing around, no packing and unpacking or itineraries. If we go somewhere, it's to the pool, or to a picnic in our nearby mountains. I always have a book with me and there's no greater contentment than sitting on my porch swing, watching my kids play and turning the pages of a good book. Time enough for travel and discovery in the spring and fall. (The kids always like getting pulled out of school for travel, too - grin.)

So speaking of books, there's some really good books coming out in June. I never used to pay attention to new releases, but I'm always on the lookout for them now (though I try to balance them with older books too - there's still so many great books I want to make sure I get around to reading).

Here's my picks from all the June new releases:

The Secret Ingredient, by Stewart Lewis. "a journey of family, food, romance, and self-discovery as Olivia, a teen chef living in L.A., finds a vintage cookbook and begins a search for her birthmother that will change her life forever" - a teen chef? Now that's a new one, but the  real selling point to me was the first chapter with Olivia's all-over-the-place colorful and heartfelt ramblings. 

Catch Rider, by Jennifer H. Lynne. I'm a sucker for any story with horses, but new horse stories are rarer than you'd think (and I'm getting pickier about them, the older I get). I read the sample chapters for this one and went all kinds of crazy happy because not only is this a premise that I never grow tired of but it's got a main character with an original, entertaining voice.

Whoa, that's two contemporary books in a row. (Pauses to check temperature and vital signs). Phew, the third one is back to my more common genre, fantasy:

 Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), by Leigh Bardugo. I don't often read sequels, but I'm eager to read this sequel to Shadow and Bone. It's set in a fantasy-version of Russia, with cast of characters so memorable, I'm still on a first-name basis with them, even eight months after reading the first book.

I also picked these two June releases from NetGalley and lucked out getting approved to read them early.

Ink, by Amanda Sun (releases June 25).   Loved both the cultural insights from an American girl living in Japan, and new-to-me mythological elements.

Burning, by Elana K. Arnold (releases June 11. Why, that's today, perfect timing). Another contemporary! Shocking! But such a good book with settings that could almost burn you, and one character that is definitely going to stick with me - a Romani Gypsy girl caught up in a forbidden romance.

What are you reading this lovely June? Or, where you are traveling? (I can still be envious of you, even while I sit contently on my porch swing with my books piled up around me).


  1. We have lots of little travels coming up this month - VT for a cousin's wedding, PA to visit old friends, that sort of thing. Nothing too exciting! But we're hoping to move to the UK after my husband finishes his graduate degree, and once there we plan to do a good bit more traveling. Never mind that simply living in a different country will be exciting and challenging all on its own!

  2. I love a summer at home, too. Travel's nice and I do it when I can, but truly I'm a homebody.

  3. I love traveling but also think spending time at home during the summer, especially with nice weather and a good book, is wonderful! I don't get to travel as much as I want to, so I'm glad I live in an area I enjoy. :)

  4. No travel plans here either. June will probably be for more MG reading.
    Summer here is torture so if I had the means to go somewhere else for a short while I totally would.

  5. I totally just tried to leave a comment and failed. =(

    Anyhow, I think it's great that your daughter wants to travel--especially before all the responsibilities of life hit. Given an opportunity, I would have done the same.

    We're headed out your direction this summer. The kids are finally old enough to appreciate a cross-country trip, and I can't wait!

    AND I nominated you for a couple awards. http://crystalcollier.blogspot.com/2013/06/awards-coming-out-my-ears.html

  6. We don't have any huge travel plans, either: just to the beach with my in-law family for a week. When I was a kid, we'd travel somewhere different each summer for two weeks (we had a pop-up camper) and then later in the summer we'd camp by the beach for a week. I've never been outside the U.S. (expect partly in Canada when we went to Niagara Falls), but I've traveled all over the U.S. Someday I'll get outside my country!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  7. Oh Margo! I wish there was some way I could keep up with you and your reading! I aspire to that, actually... (*busily writes down titles and authors onto a reading list*).

    My travel plans actually involve moving across country. Back to Cali! I will be driving a lot, but maybe I'll find some audio books of the titles you recommend to fill the hours.

  8. I think your perspective is deep Furniture. In fact the choice of each person is different and I see what you come up with quite realistic and interesting. There may be some people change after reading your article.

  9. There is certainly something to be said for enjoying a slow summer. We're only doing one small trip, less than a week, and less than 3 hours away.

    Those books sound great. Sometimes I think I should read some of the stuff on my Kindle, but every time I go to the library I can't help but find armloads of books to bring home.



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