Young Female, Traveling Alone.
Anne-Marie M. Pop
2021 Pine Lake Road, Ste 100, Lincoln, NE
ISBN: 0595360246, $12.95, 156 pp.
The author has classified her book as "General Fiction"; however, as it is based upon her seven-month backpacking experiences while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and India, I would modify that classification to: fiction/biographical travel adventure. Not everything in the book happened to the author but does happen in Asia. Allow me to quote from the back cover:
"Young Female, Traveling Alone tells the story of a successful western female in her late twenties, who is on the verge of serious depression and leaves her comfort zone behind, embarking on a backpacking journey throughout Southeast Asia and India. On her journey, Anna discovers herself in different towns, beaches and mountains. She experiments with spirituality, drugs and rave parties. Following the loss of a close friend and the failure of a romantic relationship, in the underground rave scene of Goa, Anna roams around aloof, from one Indian town to another. Ultimately, she discovers that conversations with the locals bring insight to the search for her own identity in the world. In the end, she learns that life is a long hard lesson, but a great gift worth living, despite the bumps along the way."
This is an inspirational story because it takes a lot of courage to leave ones comfort zone and to travel as Anna did. The author tells me that her target audience is young travelers, particularly women, interested in visiting Asia.
The book is written in a journal-like fashion and although the chapters or entries are very short, they are fascinating, intense and yet, simply written. Anne-Marie Pop is a good writer and there's more depth to this story than just an adventure travel log. I will quote some passage from several chapters for your consideration:
"Anxiety--I couldn't fall asleep. The mattress was too thin, and I could hear the cockroaches running around on the wooden floors. Four other women were lying down sleeping in the small room. The air was tuffy and humid. I was fidgeting and felt emotionally drained.
I had a thousand question in my mind--but no answers. How can there be so much poverty in this world? Nobody cares about the poor, only about the rich. Why are people in the West so unhappy? They live such a luxurious life. Why was I unhappy? I had everything I wanted, but no happiness. What would it take for me to be happy?"
"Under the Desert Sky--We had been riding the camels in the desert for three days. I could no longer sense the camel smell. I probably smelled like one. The guide, Raman, led us through the desert. He was riding the camel on one side, the way a dainty lady would. At times, He'd look behind. We followed him closely. He'd sing songs in Hindi or try to humor us...."
We'd ride the camels in the hot sun a few hours during the day, and at night we slept under the sky. When it was time to eat, the guide set up a fire and cooked us chapatti and food. He'd first tie the camels' front left foot with the back left foot and se them free to eat the dry desert grass. Then he'd make us chai and cook the food. Jose and I lay down on a blanket under a tree, waiting for the food."
"Goa--We arrived in Panjim. The driver opened the bus door, and I stepped down through the small crowd of rickshaw drivers gathered in front of the bus. It felt like a jungle--the predators eyeing me, like prey, waiting for the right moment to jump."
"Goa Trance--The crowd was beautiful. Their faces shone in the night, and their tanned bodies, covered in colorful hippie clothes, moved along with the music. They were free, free of expectations and judgmental thoughts. It was a diverse crowd coming together under the moonlight, letting go of all limitations and exploring the connection with the music.
The speakers cried out repetitive high-pitched sounds into the air, grouped together through a tribal rhythm. I felt goose bumps all over my skin. I do not know how to express what I experienced. I felt uplifted and transposed through the crowd. The rhythms made me want to scream and lash out."
"Epilogue--One thing I've learned in Asia is to let go of judgmental thoughts and surround myself with new ideas. I'll leave it up to destiny to bring me to the right path, the path of happiness for which we all strive. After all, maybe we aren't supposed to be happy. Maybe we will never be. Humans have complex feeling that are hard to satisfy, and I've learned to accept this. I now try to live a peaceful life and look for happiness in small things, like grocery shopping and short walks. I no longer take drugs or drink alcohol, and I believe in peace of mind. I often think about my spiritual journey through Asia, and I feel blessed to have experienced it."
I highly recommend this informative, inspirational and honest adventure story.
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|Article Type:||Book review|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2006|
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