HOW I LEARNED TO TRAVEL: A MEMOIR
Forthcoming, this memoir chronicles my peripatetic life. In 1967 I left California to study sociology in England with no thought of return. A spur of the moment move to Jamaica in 1968 catapulted me into the Third World where I lived, worked and traveled for the next two decades. How I Learned to Travel weaves these unplanned journeys into a quilt of experience. Never looking for the reasons why I pursued constant change of country and culture, once traveling became a way of life, I had to re-think my philosophy about “seeing and being” in the world. I invite you to come with me to Brazil, China, Ghana and beyond. (forthcoming 2021, see ” A Little Bit of Italy” the prologue to How I Learned to Travel, on this website.)
THE RED SUITCASE TRAVELS BRAZIL (A NOVEL)
Our hero, a successful software engineer, travels to find the Brazil he lost when his family moved to Scotland. He’s now twenty eight and living in foggy London without a true sense of belonging. He is not ready to marry Sarah, his girlfriend just yet. When Xander arrives in Belo Horizonte, he collects a suitcase filled with his mother’s journals. As he begins to read them, family secrets buried in the past are revealed. He travels on to Rio, meeting a beautiful, feisty law student. Ana Claudia views Xander as a gringo who doesn’t understand Brazil and its many contradictions. Xander is bedeviled by the conflicting muses of infatuation and infuriation. At each subsequent stop on his journey, he meets another Brazilian who helps him to better understand himself and the place he wants to find. Each entry of his mother’s journal generates more questions and suspicions about who Xander really is. Each email he receives from Sarah and his parents make the possibilities which emerge from his travels more complicated. Whether he is in Espiritu Santo visiting Daniela, an activist with the Landless Workers’ Movement; in Salvador losing his naïve view of Afro-Brazilian culture or in Brasilia getting briefed on Brazilian politics and environmental challenges, he discovers the unexpected. Then in the Amazon, after a visit to Fordlandia, Henry Ford’s rubber plantation debacle in the 1930s, Xander finds a final clue to the truth. Then he must decide… (See an excerpted chapter on this website.)
THE ALLIGATOR’S TOOTH: STORIES FROM JAMAICA
“Searching for a flat in London is no fun, especially after a summer in Spain. The search persists day after day. The air chills, a reminder of the English winter marching towards me. Emerging from the Charring Cross Underground station to scout for an Indian restaurant, a travel poster catches my eye. The gentle curves of a white sand beach banded by a wide ribbon of turquoise dissolving into deep blue defy the London gray. Coconut palms with shaggy yellow-green fronds cast soft shadows on shimmering sand while two empty orange chaise lounges relax in tropical luxury. Below the picture, in heavy bold block letters, I read the word “JAMAICA.”
These stories chronicle seven years in Jamaica exploring past roots, putting down new ones and then pulling them up again in a to and fro dance that characterized this young woman’s journey into a post-colonial world.