Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Road Trips and Relationships

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

This photo really annoyed me! 

But I’ll tell you more about that in a minute. 

It was taken as we ascended our way out of the depths 

of Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon.

As you might know, my memoir, En Route, takes us on a trip around the world. Within those travels, comes the unraveling of our relationship and a stealthy dose of personal growth, inspiration and life lessons thrown in. But this is not a review. The purpose of today’s blog post is to invite the reader behind the eyes of the author. To see the unraveling take place and to understand her motivation for writing her life on the pages of a book for all to read.

Below, are a few questions you might find helpful in feeling the emotions behind the decisions that the author has made.

• What is the significance of the title?

En Route suggests moving towards a destination, and the subtitle, The Best Is Yet To Be, indicates that better things are to come. It is a line from the poem by Robert Browning, and the line that stopped me in my tracks goes like this, Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be. It’s about never giving up and about getting through the hard times, for better times ahead.

• How honest do you think the author was? 

I can vouch for the author’s full disclosure and open honesty, because I am she.

• What aspects of the story could you most relate to?

This one I can’t answer on the reader’s behalf, so I would be intrigued to hear your opinion, either from the book itself, or from the following admissions by me, in these answers.

•Why do you think the author chose to write their memoir?

In the writing of En Route, I gave my all. On some days I had to go for long walks after writing certain passages just to calm my high emotions. For this reason I can truthfully say, I wrote my memoir so that others like me, people-pleasers, reserved personalities and conformists could find their voice and the courage to speak up, speak out and speak their truth.

• How did you feel about the ending? 

As the narrator of the unfolding events, the story became about as much as my personal growth as it did about building my relationships. Not only my marriage but family and friends who joined us on our trip as well. The ending indicates the arrival of ‘finding self’ amidst the clamor of life and all its demands.

• How has the author changed by the end of the book?

Immensely. Braver, bolder, confident in my self-worth.

• Have any of your personal views changed because of this book? If so, how?

As I’ve bared myself above you can clearly see how my personal views have changed. If you have read En Route it would fill me with gratitude to know how it has changed your personal views as well.

• What scene would you point out as the pivotal moment in the narrative? How did it make you feel?

The Planet D

I promised to tell you more about the Bright Angel Trail photo at the beginning of the article. This was my pivotal moment in our Gap Year of insight and marital understanding. We had literally ascended the trail after a strenuous and stressful hike. I had berated myself for not being more astute about our surroundings in case of an emergency and James had voiced his irritation with my constant questioning for reassurance; are you ok, how do you feel, watch your step etc – nothing annoying about that right?

As we reached the top of Bright Angel Trail we truly felt better aligned as a couple, and I as an individual with a healthier understanding of what it means to be a wife vs a carer. So I wanted photo’s that depicted our feeling of being on top of the world. This was my result! I felt knee-deep in chafe instead of victoriously on top of the world. Another life lesson – I am not in control of every situation. As the penguin caption above indicates – the certain way to be wrong is to think you control it – marriage, life, outcomes. 

This is the end of Part 1 for potential book club questions. I’d really value your feedback regarding the suitability of question choices. The reason being is that I would like to propose a book club outline to my local library who has En Route catalogued in their collection.

Next week I’ll conclude Part 2 of my question list and would be thrilled to add any suggestions of your own. Leave a comment to tell me what questions you would ask if you belonged to a book club. 

Secret admission: I’ve never belonged to a book club. Ok wait that’s a lie. I lived in Michigan for 9 months and went to one book club session – ever. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, it was that I felt intimidated by the members’ knowledge, detail, descriptions and opinions of the story we had read, Little Bee, plus I hadn’t had time to finish before the meeting took place because I was still so new to the area and had only just discovered them a short while before their next meeting. 

WOW have I changed now! 

I have an opinion

and I am not afraid to use it.

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