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Beyond Borders – Travel the world one page at a time

This entry is part 15 of 17 in the series Armchair BEA 2013 - 2014

Following the trail of enchanted pages

Books transport me to a different world. I leave one state of being and return to another. For a little while, I’m somewhere else, and often someone else. As a child, I roamed the world through fairy tales. The Brothers Grimm opened the door that eventually led me into the deep forests and enchanted land of Hans Christian Anderson. My travels didn’t stop, though, because I then visited fairy tales by the French, the Irish, and, after crossing the seas, the Japanese. It was a wondrous year. The next year flew by as I explored the world again, through religions.

Travel has been an accepted part of my life. Two weeks after I was born in Pennsylvania, my parents, their two dogs, and little me ended up in Buffalo, New York. As an Army brat, there was no end to travel in the real world, so I guess it’s only natural that I pursued travel in books. To this day I am easily led astray by the well-turned phrase of a good travel writer.

Travel writers play the Pied Piper

There’s no one way to describe a travel writer, but most have the heart of an adventurer. They live to explore, but what they do even more is keep meticulous records of their experiences so that they can share them with the world. It’s not enough for them to simply live the life. No, like the hero at the end of the journey, they return to the tribe and share the elixir found in their discoveries. Sometimes it’s their very life that gives us the most hope.

To see the world in a different way

Travel the world through booksWhen it comes to going beyond the borders, the James Holman’s A Sense of the World takes you there in more ways than you might imagine. Most of us, at one time or another, entertain the thought of traveling around the world. Most of us, stay home. We may do a bit of armchair traveling, or maybe we take a vacation here or there, but real, full-bore globe-trotting travel isn’t something we do. The reasons why we don’t vary. They’re strong enough to keep us home, but what if there was another, more powerful, more sensible, reason why we should stay home? What if we were blind?

A Sense of the World is a true story about an Englishman, who, in the late 1700s, traveled the world alone — did I mention he was blind? If you ever fall into a slump, if inertia sucks the very life out of you, grab this book and start reading. James Holman, known as The Blind Traveler, can teach us a thing or two about living life to its fullest. His is an empowering story that will stay with you for a very long time.

This week Armchair BEA encouraged us to step outside ourselves and run and play across a virtual landscape filled with books, authors, writers, and, most especially, readers. The folks at Armchair BEA are the Pied Pipers challenging us to discuss our roles in the literary universe and to put down the books and get acquainted with one another. How have you gone beyond your borders? Use the comment section below to share your thoughts.

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  • Elizabeth Bevins

    I love that read takes me beyond even my own imagination. I’ve been all over the galaxy, inside the earth, traveled in time, suffered and cried with characters….truly reading is life lived large.

  • Vikk Simmons

    I know what you mean. It’s an amazing thing and such a shame that fewer and fewer people appreciate it. Thankfully, there are people like the many book bloggers at Armchair BEA that keep that flame alive.

  • Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    I think I would really enjoy A Sense of the World, so thanks for the recommendation. I don’t get to travel much which makes books my only escape!

  • Wesley

    I haven’t read A Sense of the World but it gets an internet high five from me because the cover art is a picture by my favorite artist, Caspar David Freidrich!

  • Joy Weese Moll

    Added A Sense of the World to my TBR — thanks!

  • KatrinaBookishThings

    I’m adding it to my TBR. It sounds so interesting.

  • Alisha (MyNeedToRead)

    I hear ya re traveling via reading when you were young. Reading fables and fairy tales and mythology was my way of seeing more of the world.