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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

“Every journey is personal. Every journey is spiritual. You can’t compare them, can’t replace, can’t repeat. You can bring back the memories but they only bring tears to your eyes.” — Diana Ambarsari

While I’ll never accomplish such a feat as walking the entire distance of the Nile River, I have had adventures, like going on Safari to Kenya and Tanzania. Above, me at the Amboseli Airport in Kenya. — Photo by Kim Perrin.

Found at the Library

I talk often about my wanderlust being fueled by such travel writers as Tim Cahill, William Least Heat Moon, Osa Johnson, Charles Kuralt, John Steinbeck, Freya Stark and Paul

Theroux. I felt as if I were following in their footsteps when my book, Travels with Maggie, was finally published.

Now, a book I checked out at the library has given me a new idol, Levison Wood, a British Army officer and explorer who is best known for his walking expeditions in Africa, Asia and Central America. But I had never heard of him until I picked up his book, Walking the Nile, from the travel section of my small branch library.

I was only a few pages into the book before I added Wood to my travel writer hero list. The start of his adventure, in December of 2013, at the tiny spring which is acknowledged as one of the sources of the Nile so long sought by 19th century explorers, hooked me.

Wrote Levison, about why he walked the 4,250-mile length of the Nile, “…I wanted to follow in a great tradition, to achieve something unusual and inspire in others the thirst to do the same. Much of my motivation was selfish, of course – to go on the greatest adventure of my life, to see what people can only dream about, and test myself to the limits. But ultimately, it came down to one thing. The Nile was there, and I wanted to walk it.”

Levison inspired me. While my body is no longer up to long expeditions or strenuous adventures, surely there are still small ones in my future, like walking the 10-mile path beside the Rillito River (It’s really only a river when it rains hard) here in Tucson. As an old broad, I’ve come to the conclusion that what counts is not the distance, or the speed, but that you just keep moving.

Meanwhile, I’m thankful for books, such as Wood’s Walking the Nile, which with just a little bit of imagination, can take me and my wanderlust anywhere in the world we want to go.

Bean Pat: Oh, the places we’ll see … http://tinyurl.com/y8aels9d Maine’s orange sunsets. I liked this because it took me back to my visit to Maine.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

 

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Maggie

“When the man waked up he said, ‘What is wild dog doing here?’ And the woman said, ‘His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.’” Rudyard Kipling.

The day I picked Maggie up from the animal shelter. — Photos by Charlie Trentelman

My Canine Traveling Companion

I’ve been trying to organize my hodgepodge of journals, photos, scrapbooks and newspaper clippings lately. Going through them has actually been fun, and they have brought me many a delightful memory, like the one picture above of me taking Maggie, a black cocker spaniel, home from the animal shelter in Ogden, Utah.

My dear friend and newspaper colleague Charlie Trentelman captured the moment.

Peaches came before Maggie, and while Peaches would have given her life to please me, Maggie expected me to give my life to please her. I loved them both equally, and am glad for the memories they left me. — Photo by Kim Perrin

Maggie, I was told, had been abused, and needed a good home. I had a blind, aging dog, Peaches, and had recently lost my 18-year-old cat Chigger, who came to me as a tiny kitten. I knew Peaches, who was depressed from the loss of the cat — which she ignored in the presence of others but curled up with during the day when no one was home – might benefit from some daytime company, as I was working long hours at the time.

It was a good decision. Maggie did cheer Peaches up, and then she cheered me up when I lost Peaches six months later. It took a while, however, and two cross-country road trips to Texas, before Maggie became comfortable with my wanderlust ways. When I got her, it soon became apparent that she didn’t like riding in the car. She would huddle on the floor and shake whenever I took her for a ride.

Thankfully, she adjusted, and when four years later I sold my home and moved the two of us into a small RV, she was as ready for the road and adventure as I was. So, it was that for the next eight years, we traveled this country from border to border and ocean to ocean.

Sadly, dogs don’t live as long as humans and in 2012, I had to say good-bye to Maggie. I was blogging and working on my book, Travels with Maggie, at the time. I posted a flower header, and if you will look to the right, you will see that I dedicated the flowers to Maggie, and I promised myself that it would be my only photo header until the book about our life together on the road was published.

That happened last month. But I think I will keep the flowers.

Bean Pat: Wild in the Pryors http://tinyurl.com/yd6wpote The Mighty Renegade, a horse love story. A great blog for those who love wilderness and the creatures that belong in it.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y You can contact Bean at patbean@msn.com

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A mourning dove outside my third-floor balcony. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill.

Has It Been Too Successful?

A white-winged dove on the roof across from my apartment. — Photo by Pat Bean

In 1974, a small flock of Eurasian collared doves escaped captivity in the Bahamas. By 1982, the doves had made their way to Florida. From there, they spread out all across the country to the Pacific Ocean.

I remember the excitement created by this dove in 2002, when my Northern Utah birding friends began adding it to their life lists. I didn’t see one until two years later, however, and that was on Nov. 4, 2004, in Fowler, Colorado, not long after I had begun my nine-year RVing odyssey.

Eurasian collared doves. — Wikimedia photo by Horia Varlan

Here in Tucson, I daily see mourning doves and white-winged doves from my third-floor balconies, but haven’t yet spotted an Eurasian collared, which has me questioning the concerns some birders have about it impinging on our native doves.

Coincidently, in the latest Bird Watcher’s Digest, I came across this pearl about the Eurasian collared dove written by birdwatcher and postman Mel Carriere, who admits to keeping his eyes on the sky more, sometimes, than on the mail he delivers.

Wrote Mel: “Being a dangerously invasive creature itself, I think Homo Sapiens should reflect carefully before condemning another species just because it has been so overwhelmingly successful at achieving its own Manifest Destiny in so brief a period of time.”

Mel’s words made me smile.

Bean Pat: Bug on a fireweed http://tinyurl.com/y7jl5n22 I love this blogger. I always learn something new.

Pat Bean’s book Travels with Maggie is now available on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y9gjlc7r Bean is now working on Bird Droppings, a book about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at https://patbean.wordpress.com

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“A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.” — Ernest Hemingway

Great Horned Owl — Painting by Pat Bean

What Big Beautiful Eyes You Have

Back when I was a normal person and still a working journalist, I found myself eagerly accepting assignments that involved birds, which is how one day I found myself traveling in a van through the Bonneville Salt Flats on Highway 80 between Salt Lake City and Wendover, Nevada, with seven members of HawkWatch International, an organization that monitors raptors as an indicator of the ecosystem’s health.

My goal was to monitor and report on the HawkWatchers.

Eves of a great horned owl. — Wikimedia photo

The first notes I made were about all the birds these seven guys were seeing, mostly turkey vultures and red-tailed hawks. I had driven this route before and had never seen a bird while doing so. That was the day I learned the difference that separates a birdwatcher and a normal person.

Then, after we had entered Nevada and left the interstate and civilization behind, and were driving on an unpaved backroad, one of the guys yelled “Stop! There’s an owl in that cottonwood tree.”

The driver stopped, and all of the guys oohed over the owl, which they had quickly identified as a great-horned. Even after one of the men pointed out to me where the bird was sitting, it took me a couple of minutes to actually see it. But when I did, its giant yellow eyes popped open and it stared straight at me. “Wow” was all I could think as we piled back in the van.

I was well on my way to losing my status as a normal person and becoming one of those crazy birdwatchers

Bean Pat: FrogDiva Thoughts http://tinyurl.com/y7ttlp6q Just do right. A message for these times from my hero, Maya Angelou.

Travels with Maggie, is now available on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y9gjlc7r Or for an autographed copy, email me at patbean@msn.com

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The bridge stand-off at Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, one of the many places I visited during my RV-ing adventures. — Photo by Pat Bean.

“Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure.” — Paulo Coelho

Tell Me Your Stories

Now that Travels with Maggie has finally been released to the world, the next step, my friend Debra tell me, you have to market the book. And one of the things you need to do is put together a 30-minute PowerPoint presentation so you can give talks.

A trail at Laura S. Walker State Park in Georgia, one of the many trails I hiked after the age of 65. Halfway along this two-mile trail, I came across a sign that said Beware of Bears. Needless to say the second leg of the hike was done in record time. — Photo by Pat Bean

“I have dozens of photographs from the journey, but I’ve never put together a PowerPoint presentation,” I told her. But that problem was quickly solved when I mentioned this to my youngest daughter, T.C., here in Tucson. She said she uses PowerPoint almost daily at work, and that she would put a presentation together for me on my computer, which already has all the necessary tech ingredients.

One problem solved. The next, I realized, was that I needed a script. But after a night of lost sleep, pondering what to talk about, I came up with a theme: Never Too Late. It was a no-brainer.

My wanderlust began when I was 10 years old, after reading Osa Johnson’s book I Married Adventure, which was about photographing and documenting lions in Africa. The book was the best non-fiction seller of 1940, the year after I was born. Traveling across America full-time became a specific dream after I read William Least Heat Moon’s Blue Highways in 1983.

By this time, I had become addicted to reading travel books, but 1983 was also when I was in the midst of my 37-year journalism career, and was struggling to keep the wolf from the door. It wasn’t until 2004, at the age of 65, that I was finally free to pursue my dream.

I sold my home, bought an RV and spent the next nine years wandering this beautiful country we live in, fulfilling a dream that spanned over half a century of dreams. It truly never is too late.

I would love to hear the stories of my readers about how they finally fulfilled longtime dreams. Please share them with me. I am sure they will help inspire me in writing the script so my friend, Debra Winegarten, whose book, There’s Jews in Texas, won the 2011 Poetica Magazine National Contest and who is the founder of Sociosights Press, and whom I adore, will stop nagging me.

Bean Pat: Joy Loves Travel http://tinyurl.com/ycjqq3dc An epic tale of England, a great armchair viewing of an outdoor spectacle.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y You can contact Bean at patbean@msn.com

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The cover of the 1888 edition of Goody Two-Shoes. — Wikimedia photo

“Enjoy the satisfaction that comes from doing little things well.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I No Longer is One, Thank Gawd!

By my own naming, I was a goodie two-shoes until I was in my mid-30s. By this, I mean I followed all the rules, never skipped school, made straight As, didn’t cuss or drink, and thought I had to be — and tried to be — the perfect wife and mother, which of course any sane person knows is impossible. I also thought the world was fair and justice would always triumph.

Wood cut from the 1768 edition of Good Two-Shoes. — Wikimedia photo

While it hurt deeply for me to accept that the world wasn’t fair, one of the best days of my life was the one in which I not only accepted that I didn’t have to be perfect, but that I no longer even wanted to be perfect.

Sometimes I ponder in amazement, and disbelief, about that person I used to be. Then, this morning, my wondering mind asked itself where the term goodie two-shoes originated.

Back in my goodie two-shoes’ days, and even for many years following, such wondering would have involved a long search at the library. Today I simply typed the words into the search engine on my computer and came up with the answer.

Goody Two-Shoes was the name of a children’s book published in London in 1765 by John Newbery, the Father of Children’s Literature, and for whom the Newbery Medal for children’s books is named.

The story, which was published anonymously, is a variation of the Cinderella tale. Goody Two-Shoes is the nickname of an orphan girl who goes through life with only one shoe. In the end, she becomes a teacher and marries a rich man as reward for her goodness.

Not like my life at all, is all this old-broad has to say to that. I just hope Goody ended up as happy with her life in the end as I am with my far-from-perfect life.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Tsawout Trails http://tinyurl.com/ydgpg8uj I took a refreshing armchair trail hike with the Old Plaid Camper this morning. Perhaps you would enjoy the scenic walk, too

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A Funky Bird: Just a fun painting to get your attention. — By Pat Bean

“The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think.” Harper Lee            

Three of a Kind

            I enjoy reading pretty much all genres of books except horror and true crime. Usually, I have about five books that are in my reading stack and a dozen or more eagerly waiting to be moved up to it. Most often the books in the reading stack include a mystery, a travel book, a fantasy novel, a book on writing and one other.

I just noticed, however, that my current reading stack includes three books on writing and journaling. I’m not sure exactly how this came about, but all three are by writers I admire.

The first is The Sound of Paper by artist and author Julia Cameron, who also wrote the Artist’s Way and many other books. She urges writers to do morning pages. This was something I was sometimes doing, but since picking up Julia’s book, I have been doing it faithfully. She urges three pages, but my goal is only two, although once I get started and let the brain take over, I usually end up with three or more. I find this morning journal writing helps focus my day. Her second rule is that we make an artist’s date with ourselves once a week, and the third is that we take daily walks. I already do the latter, and agree that it’s the best time in the world for thinking. As for the artist’s date with myself, I think that’s a great idea.

The second book in my stack is Long Quiet Highway by Natalie Goldberg, whose books Wild Mind and Writing Down the Bones I have also read. This is Natalie’s memoir in which she talks about finding her way as a writer. It echoes many of my own writing thoughts, and is a delight to read. I especially love Natalie’s vivid way with words

The third book in my stack is A Trail Through Leaves by Hannah Hinchman, whose A Life in Hand I have also read. While I found the first two books at my local library, I got Hannah’s secondhand on line after being unable to find one at the library. Like Julia, Hannah is also an artist and encourages the use of art work in journaling. Since it is full of illustrations, I’m glad I will be able to add it to my own library, or to pass it along to someone else who will enjoy it. My small apartment simply can’t keep all the books that come into my possession.

So, what are you reading?

Bean Pat: Lighthouse on a Cliff http://tinyurl.com/y8fj75pg

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