Yes, I know, I've been recommending a lot of great reads this month! But I couldn't let July wrap up without mentioning this exquisite book: Educating Alice: Adventures of a Curious Woman, by Alice Steinbach.
If you have a stubborn, persistent travel itch...
If you are a perpetual learner, always intrigued by new subjects...
If you--ahem--get a teeny bit bored with travelogues that are only about one place (or is that just me and my attention span?)...
Then this is the book for you!
Alice Steinbach quit her job (as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist!) to travel the world. Cool. Sounds great, right? Lots of good initiative there.
But here's the rest of it:
Every place she went, she took a class or a course. She went ahead and LEARNED stuff.
... I don't know about you, but that's like the perfect crossroads for me: To travel and to take a course. It gets me drooling. (Have you heard of those cruises that are cooking schools? Just STOP, right?)
Ahem. So. Alice Steinbach learns about gardening in Provence, cooking in Paris, architecture in Havana, traditional dancing in Kyoto, and, among other trips, border collie training in Scotland. (Gaaaaaaaa!!! I can't stand it!)
In her chapter with the border collies, "Lassie, Come Home," Steinbach writes:
Somewhere in the first ten minutes of my initiation into the art of being a shepherd, I found myself about to be charged by ten Scottish Blackface rams. Not Blackface ewes, mind you, but full-grown males who seemed to resent my attempt to redirect their usual movement patterns. Even from a distance I could see their eyes challenging me, the way New York City drivers challenge a cop who has the chutzpah to reroute traffic on Fifth Avenue. Go ahead, just try it and see what happens was the message I got from their wide-set eyes.
(ALICE. You are my writing-traveling-and-learning HERO.)
I liked her writing style, loved her travel/learning itinerary, and frankly adored the prospect of doing the same thing myself.
Trust me: if you frequently itch to travel, or if you enjoy being a student, this book will have you daydreaming your own round-the-world learning trip.
... And who knows? It just might change your plans for the rest of the year.