Posts tagged ‘journey’

September 27, 2013

Book Recommendation — “Have Mother, Will Travel” by Claire and Mia Fontaine

It’s a book for women of all kinds, but it’s especially a book for mothers and daughters seeking insight into their own relationships. In Have Mother, Will Travel, mother-daughter (and author) duo Claire and Mia Fontaine embark on a four-month journey around the world together. The ultimate goal of their trip is to revive their flagging relationship, but along the way, 51-year-old Claire and 25-year-old Mia gain fresh insight into their own life journeys, as well as new appreciation for what they each have to offer — to themselves, to each other and to the world. Well-written, funny and very reflective, this book is definitely worth picking up!

havemother-final-cover

“Have Mother, Will Travel: A Mother and Daughter Discover Themselves, Each Other, and the World” by Claire and Mia Fontaine

Here are a few of my favourite quotes from the book:

I’ve become very clear that finding my way forward in life isn’t going to come from figuring out what I want to do, but by staying grounded in the person doing the wanting. The very core of my being, my essential, authentic, whatever-you-call-it self, never has any trouble knowing what she wants, and certainly never worries about how she’s going to get it. (Claire Fontaine)

Sometimes I wonder if we make big moves because we underestimate the importance of smaller ones. Years are just an accumulation of thousands of hours, and what we choose to do with each of them matters. (Mia Fontaine)

Adulthood isn’t a destination, it’s a process, and, as women, we are always coming of age. (Mia Fontaine)

There are some advantages to stumbling around lost for a while. It allows for discovery. (Claire Fontaine)

Change happens in the small moments, when a sliver of light finds its way through the cracks. (Claire Fontaine)

All relationships happen in stages, with varying depths, multiple layers. You invariably reach a point where you hit the ceiling of a certain level of intimacy and then have the option of staying there — which risks the relationship becoming predictable or stale — or you can take it to the next level. (Mia Fontaine)

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May 9, 2013

The epitome of an adventurer

I just finished reading the book Epic: Stories of Survival from the World’s Highest Peaks, an anthology of first-class mountain-themed adventure writing edited by Clint Willis.  The last excerpt comes from Alfred Lansing’s 1959 book Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, an account of the extraordinary 17-month epic survival effort of Ernest H. Shackleton and his 27 men after their ship was crushed by ice in the Weddell Sea in January 1915.

The excerpt describes Shackleton’s last 36-hour trek across the uncharted interior of South Georgia Island, a mountainous, rugged jigsaw of ridges, glaciers and precipitous cliffs falling into the sea.  “In the three-quarters of a century that men had been coming to South Georgia, not one man had ever crossed the island,” writes Lansing, “for the simple reason that it could not be done.”

Yet, driven by no other alternative than death by starvation and exposure, Shackleton and two of his party made the crossing.

What impresses me most about their effort is that they went with absolutely no prior information about the area, except that it was considered impassable.  “On the chart they carried,” writes Lansing, “only the coastline of South Georgia was shown — and a great deal of that was missing.  The interior was blank.  Thus, they could only be guided by what they could see.”

Nevertheless, the men set off, equipped with only three-days’ rations, 50 feet of rope, two compasses, a pair of binoculars and a carpenter’s adze to use as an ice axe.  They were dressed in the same tattered clothing they had been wearing since their shipwreck 17 months earlier, and they were already physically depleted by the rigours of their journey to date.

In this condition, the men trekked to the tops of one ice-covered ridge after another — some as high as 5,000 feet — only to be forced to backtrack in the face of impossibly steep cliff descents.  They hacked their way up icy slopes, never knowing what lay on the other side, never knowing whether there was a passable route anywhere on the island’s 3,500-square-kilometre surface.  They kept going without rest, until, 36 hours later, they lucked upon the opposite coastline, finding their route by little more than trial and error balanced on the point of a compass.

To me, Shackleton and his men are the epitome of true adventurers.  Yes, they lived in a different time, yet compared to modern mountain expeditions, supported as they are by GPS maps, aerial photography, elevation profiles, previous trip reports, satellite communications, base camps, lightweight equipment and the like, Shackleton’s achievement seems all the more remarkable.

Shackleton, you have my admiration and my respect.

April 29, 2013

Heartbreak – a journey (in three quotes)

Heartbreak: a journey (in three quotes):

The breaking of so great a thing
should make a greater crack.
(William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra)

She took a step and didn’t want to take any more,
but she did.
(Markus Zusak, The Book Thief)

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.
(Mary Oliver)

April 5, 2013

Book Recommendation – “The Raven’s Gift” by Jon Turk

The Raven’s Gift chronicles adventurer Jon Turk‘s journey to healing and self-awareness over six years of travel on the Siberian tundra and a series of encounters with a “magic” that permeates the natural world and connects it (and us) to the spiritual realm.  Insightful and incredibly well written, Turk’s story is a reminder of both life’s fragility and its resilience.  His experiences suggest that moments of awareness, connectedness and self-understanding are out there waiting for us, if only we trust enough to switch off our rational minds and just believe.  “It’s not how we seek self-awareness,” writes Turk, ” it’s whether we take the time and energy to make the journey [italics added].”  An excellent read.

 

Image of the cover of the book "The Raven's Gift: A Scientist, a Shaman, and Their Remarkable Journey Through the Siberian Wilderness" by Jon Turk

“The Raven’s Gift: A Scientist, a Shaman, and Their Remarkable Journey Through the Siberian Wilderness” by Jon Turk

March 5, 2013

Why it pays to listen to your heart

Wise words, courtesy of author Paulo Coelho in his excellent novel The Alchemist:

“Why do we have to listen to our hearts?”  the boy asked.
“Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.”

February 8, 2013

Open wide and travel well

I like this quote from Marcel Proust:

The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

There is so much to discover right where you are — today, tomorrow, in this moment.  Open your eyes wide and travel well.

January 12, 2013

If you want to get anything done in this life . . . just do it

Have you ever let naysayers or internal fears stop you from pursuing the dreams or paths that call to you?  Here’s a bit of inspiration to help overcome such obstacles, courtesy of a few books I read recently:

From Plastiki:  Across the Pacific Ocean on Plastic, David de Rothschild’s chronicle of his four-year project to build a boat from recycled plastic bottles and sail it across the ocean from San Francisco to Sydney:

My attitude is that there will always be skeptics and people who want you to fail.  If you worry about failure, you’re not going to get anything done in this life. . . . [But] when you follow an audacious dream into the unknown, the journey itself can be inspiring in ways beyond imagining.

De Rothschild and his six-person crew successfully sailed their boat of 12,500 plastic bottles from San Francisco to Sydney, raising awareness about ocean health and inspiring thousands of people to rethink their relationships to disposable plastics.

And from Dauod Hari’s excellent book The Translator:  A Tribesman’s Memoir of Darfur:

You have to be stronger than your fears if you want to get anything done in this life.

Hari, a translator by chance, risked his life several times over to take foreign journalists into the Darfur region of Sudan, all so that stories about the atrocities of genocide occurring in the area could reach international eyes and ears.

If Hari can overcome fears of persecution and death in order to walk his path, can you overcome your own (perhaps lesser) fears to walk yours?

December 25, 2012

All aboard! Your train awaits.

Today’s quote comes from the 2004 film The Polar Express and hints at the importance of taking that leap to start your own journey before the moment passes you by.  Says the conductor of the film’s magical train:

The thing about trains [is] it doesn’t matter where they’re going.  What matters is deciding to get on.

We can never predict where the journey will take us.  We must always take uncertainty along for the ride, accept the unknown as our constant travel companion.  So be it.  We can still take that first step and choose to embark on the journey in the first place.  Yes, we can.

Merry Christmas.  Be well.

Bells

December 14, 2012

The path to your future is waiting

A wonderful quote for today, I think…

When embarking on any path, we erase footprints behind us in order to move forward.
~  Terrie M. Williams in The Odyssey of KP2:  An Orphan Seal, a Marine Biologist, and the Fight to Save a Species

Travel well.

November 11, 2012

Become the person inside you

I am reading a life/travel memoir about a woman who, 48 years old and recently divorced, unbinds herself from her material possessions and takes off to travel the world — indefinitely.  Her book, Tales of a Female Nomad:  Living at Large in the World, tells the story of a woman reborn.  Disillusioned with her previous way of living and open, for the first time, to the dreams and desires within her, Rita Golden Gelman shuns the conventionality of a “home base” and instead spends months or years living in different locations around the globe, plugging herself into local communities and absorbing the cultures that surround her.

But Gelman’s new way of life is unconventional, and three years into her nomadic existence, her American friends continue to ask her when she’ll finally end her wandering ways and return to the “real world.”  Her response is confident and wonderful:

No matter how often I ask myself if I’m running away from something, I always get the same answer. No, I’m not running away.  On the contrary, I’ve discovered a new way to live.

My life is endlessly fascinating, filled with learning, adventure, interesting people, new and enlightening experiences.  I laugh, sing and dance more than I ever have.  I am becoming the person inside me.

Becoming the person inside you.  Isn’t that what life is all about, ultimately?  And does it really matter which path — direct or circuitous, conventional or unconventional — you take to get there?  As long as you are walking a path that makes your eyes shine and your heart beat with anticipation, keep going.  Follow that path — your path — the one that takes you to the person inside you.

You don’t have to travel the world as Gelman did to live a life that excites you.  We’re all different people with different dreams.  But one day you may have to make a decision or choose a direction that takes you outside the box of what others expect.  Do this with confidence and conviction, as Gelman did.  It’s your path, after all.  Your path deserves to be walked.