What is it about travel that leads people to open up about themselves? Why does it take stepping into new surroundings to find answers that have long been inside you? Why do we need to go away to appreciate what we have back home?
MidAtlantic USA’s inaugural book club selection will be from Educating Alice: Adventures of a Curious Woman by award-winning journalist and Baltimore native Alice Steinbach. In the book, Steinbach recounts her experiences as a traveler and a student abroad. She takes a series of what are most typically called “learning vacations,” and in the process learns more about herself than she had planned.
We will be reading only the last chapter of the book this month. Knowing how difficult it is to find time to read a newspaper, let alone an entire book, we’ll start off slowly with this twenty-page excerpt. It’s so short, you could read it in a night or read it first before the rest of the book and come back to it again later.
In the chapter we’ll read, Lassie, Come Home, Steinbach takes a learning adventure that brings her back to her family’s roots in Scotland, home of the Luss Sheepdog Trial, a Border collie competition that tests a dog's prowess at herding and gathering sheep.
In the chapter, Steinbach has signed up to take sheepdog training lessons. That’s unusual, yes, even a little far-fetched (I couldn’t resist the pun.), but her adventures in Scotland are so worth reading about simply because they’re out of the ordinary.
Through her experiences and comical mishaps, Steinbach hones in on the self discovery that so many crave when they take vacations. Steinbach’s accounts are not of family vacations or romantic getaways with significant others. Steinbach is a woman traveling alone and loving it.
At the next MidAtlantic USA Book Club forum, we’ll discuss the relationship between travel and self discovery. There are many great places in the MidAtlantic region where you can take learning vacations like Steinbach’s. You can share some of your ideas about those as well.
Travel Rating: 5
Entertainment Rating: 4
Utility Rating: 3