My mother, a librarian, often suggests travel titles or writers she comes across. About a year ago, she mentioned Alice Steinbach, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author who hails from Baltimore, where I currently live. A local author AND a travel writer — my curiosity was peaked. I purchased both of Steinbach’s non-fiction travelogues and finished them over the past few months. I noticed last week that her more recent collection, Educating Alice, has just been released in paperback.
If you read my last review, you’ll notice a pattern emerging…books by single woman solo travelers. (Sorry guys!) It’s a keen interest of mine right now, as I’m in the process of planning solo travel of my own. (Some sort of extended trip is on tap for me in 2006.) Steinbach’s sophisticated travel style (expensive tour groups, classes and hotels), is certainly too rich for my pocketbook (and many might argue, not the preferred way to learn about a particular place), but the purposeful educational component to each of her trips is inspiring nonetheless, and may give readers ideas for how to spend time independently spanning the globe. Her stories about Wakayagi style dancing in Kyoto and the art scene in Havana most appealed to me. I could have done without the Scottish sheep farm collie breeding experience, or the tour of Provence gardens, but, like any class or lesson, Steinbach’s school on the move will not appeal to every student.
Steinbach’s first book, Without Reservations, chronicles her year abroad living in Europe, which sparked her second book of specific travel lessons. Both books provide insight into the life of a female writer, traveler and life-long learner on a journey of discovery. Although Steinbach does not travel the way I intend to do so (budget backpack style is more my speed), the books still offered intriguing perspective and observations, and I admired her inquisitive nature. No matter where we go or how we choose to travel, asking questions is still the best way to learn.
Next up for me…one more female solo travel book (so predictable) given to me as a gift last June(!!) for my birthday. I promise something by a male author after that, I look forward to a differnt voice and genre, any suggestions to get me started?