The Twelfth Day of Christmas: Gift Ideas for the Travel Lover

I am finally getting into the holiday spirit – and why not throw out a few ideas to those seeking to find the perfect gift for a travel lover?

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Over the past few months, I have had many great sounding recommendations of travel themed books to read. Here are a few suggestions from some of the readers of my blog, and myself:

1. Jo Nesbo (author – read all of his books in order).

– Recommended by me

2. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

– Recommended by beingoutthere

3. At Play In The Fields Of The Lord by Peter Matthiessen

– Recommended by kevin meyers

4. Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux

– Recommended by Arundhati

5. Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

– Recommended by kevin meyers

6. Discovery Road by T. Garrett, A. Brown, and Sir Ranulph Fiennes

– Recommended by beingoutthere

7. End Of The Earth: Voyage To Antarctica by Peter Matthiessen

– Recommended by kevin meyers

8. Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

– Recommended by beingoutthere

9. In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

– Recommended by kevin meyers

10. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

– Recommended by iamatticusfinch

11. Down The Nile: Alone In A Fisherman’s Skiff by Rosemary Mahoney

– Recommended by kevin meyers

12. Blue Highways by William Least-Heat Moon

– Recommended by kevin meyers

13. The Education Of Little Tree by Forrest Carter

– Recommended by kevin meyers

14. I Wonder as I Wander by Langston Hughes

– Recommended by transplantedtatar

15. Love In The Time Of Cholera and 100 Years Of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

– Recommended by kevin meyers

16. Apples Are From Kazakhstan by Christopher Robbins

– Recommended by kevin meyers

Thank you to all of you bloggers that helped in formulating this list!

Morocco from years past

Many months ago, when I first started this blog, I discovered the journal I had written in when I took a course in Morocco in my university days.

Excerpt One

Excerpt Two

It was quite entertaining to read, since it was basically my first major trip I took in a plane (my first was to Cuba a few months earlier). I was quite the unseasoned traveler.

Here is another excerpt from my journal (picture my wide eyes the entire entry!):

Tuesday August 31st


Hangin by the water in 45 degree weather

We started along the winding roads today on an air conditioned bus to take a tour of the new part of the city of Marrakech. We also visited the large reservoir that provides the city with clean water, which was very interesting to see.

It’s actually so beautiful almost anywhere we go, so unbelievable!

After the city tour, our group was heading to the Casba de Toubkal for a few nights of peaceful rest. The bus ride up the mountain was very unique…the landscape suddenly switched from flat city streets – to foothills – to mountains right before my eyes within 2 minutes.

Hiking for 15 minutes to Casba de Toubkal was a killer – especially with an oncoming migrane, 40 degree weather and 2 large backpacks. But when I got to the entrance and I saw all of the flower gardens, it took what remaining breath I had away.

View from the Casbah, sigh...

It is so amazing here, as I am writing this on the rooftop “casbah” filled with richly coloured pillows to sink into. I think I am in a dream!

Dinner was so delicious as well, I love the food here! Lentil soup and a hearty vegetable stew served in gorgeous tagines.

Hopefully my migrane will go away soon so that I can enjoy my time even more here!

Dr. Jane Goodall – in love

One amazing thing that happened to me in my March Break lifetime was meeting my hero Dr. Jane Goodall.

Who can say that they met their hero in their lifetime, someone they looked up to, aspired to be, and researched hour after hour about?

Not me!

This opportunity arose when Dr. Goodall was in town to discuss the new documentary on her life Jane’s Journey and the Jane Goodall Institude of Canada provided me with a ticket to the movie:

This documentary was great. Aside from the story about Jane Goodall growing up; her research with the chimpanzee’s; her love’s; her losses; and her son – who’s relationship has met hardship in the past – the movie was outstanding. The music, screenplay, and cinematography meshed so organically.

So, there she was. Standing amongst a throng of admirers who paid $$$ to join the pre-game schmooze fest before the movie, for the opportunity to meet her and shake her hand.

Yes – there she was. There I was.

She had so many people to meet and greet and I was thinking – WOW how does she do this all the time, every day (and travel 300 days of the year), but still have this calm poise as this young girl comes up to stare and shake her hand; as some man approaches and compliments her accomplishments; as this mother bursts into tears and describes how her entire family is in awe of her accomplishments.

Anyway, Thursday evening – I was placed in front of her and, despite all my days of training when I knew I might meet her, I gawked when I looked into her kind, wise eyes. I shook her hand and mumbled something like, “such a pleasure to meet you” and ran away.


I was so embarrassed – but what could I do, in such a setting? People crowding around, waiting for their chance. Plus I knew I would see her again the following evening at the same type of event. Perhaps a chance to redeem myself? Let’s let all these other fans get their chance.

Ok – Friday evening now – I’m set to see Dr. Jane again.

Who gets this? Two days in a row to meet your hero? JGI Canada – thanks so much, again!

Nice – I show up super early when no one is around at the Ontario Science Centre. Quickly, I am escorted to a room where Dr. J would be appearing from.

Wait – I’m too early, and there she is, arriving in style – which means, she calmly walks toward the room in her elegant shawl/caftan so peacefully…how does she do it?

Anyway, I met her yet again. She remembered me, (me thinks/me hopes). And as I listened to her opening speech again and admired the way she was so easily able to tell a story and how sweet and peaceful her voice sounded, I was sure I could never get enough of hearing her.

Please see the movie Jane’s Journey – it is well worth the 2 hours.

I DID get a photo with her – I just have to wait for the photographer to send along the picture I will cherish for the rest of my life…

All I need now is to go to Egypt for a month or two, experience the life-long draw I have had toward ancient Egyptian culture, and I’m good.

Too much to ask?

Conclusion: The Lost Girls

Last week, I mentioned that I was currently reading a travel novel called The Lost Girls. It was a great break from all the murder mysteries I have been reading lately, that’s for sure!

Overall, it was such an entertaining book. It left me giggling, reflecting, jealous, but mostly, it left me drooling.

Three good friends quit their jobs and spend an entire year traveling around the globe. They completed, “60,000 miles around the world, from the mountains and jungles of South America to the beaches of Australia, passing through Kenya, India, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand”.

Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett and Amanda Pressner

The book was able to keep my interest and actually make me laugh out loud, which is a hard thing to do when by myself. It was divided into different sections for each lag of their trip, and by chapter, with the three girls rotating writing tasks.

My favorite of the three, or should I say – most relatable, was Holly. She always found a way to analyze her surroundings and get a real feel for the culture. Holly really seemed to appreciate each person she encountered and tried her best to enjoy every experience. I cannot believe she made it through a month at a somewhat suspect ashram in India. Really, I have never heard anything that great about these places. Her patience and peace-keeping personality very much sounded like myself.

Not to take away anything from the other girls. They both had unique personalities on their travels. Jen (adventure/thrill-seeking) and Amanda (dedicated/out-going/fun-loving) would be people I would love to travel with. They were full of energy and loved to dance. I must say, as I mentioned above about being jealous…it was mostly due to their night of dancing to reggaeton music in South America.

The danger with reading this book, the only negative aspect, one warning for anyone reading……

You will have the strongest desire to pick up everything and LEAVE to your nearest airport.