05 Jun 2009 – Bookends, Hay-on-Wye

Now here’s a woman who isn’t afraid to travel on her own.  In fact, she’s afraid for a long time of settling down and NOT travelling on her own.

We meet Laurie as she sets off from her home in Canada for yet another trip.  She’s on her way to California, a place where she feels she belongs and could settle.  There’s a passenger in the car and the journey triggers memories of all sorts of other trips, from her first forays away from the safety of home to later, sometimes disastrous, adventures in the Far East.

All of the tales are told with humility and self-awareness.  Laurie gets into scrapes and gets herself out of them.  She questions herself and her motives and looks at how she has changed as she’s matured – not always for the better.  The writing style is good and clear and the transitions between "now" and "then" are not clumsy in the slightest. 

Will Laurie find the cave she stayed in as a younger woman? Will she settle in California?

And a question for you, if you’ve read this far: is there a place you feel more at home than anywhere else? A strange feeling of homecoming when you got there? My two are Birmingham and Kairouan, a holy city in Tunisia – when I’m there (I’ve been twice) I feel as if I do belong in some way.  Maybe me Spanish Ancestor originated from North Africa – who knows!