Nomadland: Moving Tales of Survival

In an era of expensive tiny homes, giant motor homes, and slide-outs that extend from every side of RVs, an American subculture on wheels follows good weather and seasonal work, out of necessity. The itinerants live in rustic, converted vans and RVs of all sizes, moving from campground to campground. Luxurious RVs may surround their modest homes, but they represent a life that couldn’t be farther away.

As camp hosts, they clean bathrooms and quiet rowdy campers. They work in Amazon warehouses and fill orders from an America unaware how much effort (and injury) go into millions of deliveries. Some move their rigs from street to street, hoping to avoid attention and eviction.

New York Times journalist Jessica Bruder drives Halen, her camper van, for part of a three-year journey as she follows a lifestyle that is invisible to many. In Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century, she tells the story of Linda, who supplements her small Social Security check and dreams of one day owning land and a modest home. Like others chronicled in Nomadland, Linda’s story will tug at your heart and keep you turning the pages of this compelling book.

Find Your Happy Place

Think of the happiest you have ever been. Where were you? Is it a place or is it a state of mind that can be transported anywhere?

NPR correspondent Eric Weiner travels the world searching for what makes people happy. Bhutan, Iceland, Thailand, Great Britain, and more. America too. Then he goes to the least happy nation, Moldova. His book, The Geography of Bliss, is packed with humor as he shares his candid perspectives of people and cultures.

A self-described grump, he finds ways he can be happier (no spoilers here) and questions whether love is more important than happy. And, please, don’t be happy around the clock. Too much happy is almost as bad as none.

Is money a key to happiness? Or is it like hamburgers: one may fill you up, but are you happier if you eat five?

English Author Packs a Magic Touch

Have you ever…

Enjoyed a book so much that you wrote to the author?

George Mahood

I had just finished Free Country, a wild romp about two Englishmen who wore only boxer shorts as they began their journey at Land’s End, the southernmost part of England, determined to bicycle to John O’Groats, at the northern tip of Scotland.

The young men had no money–just a notebook, pen, and hearts filled with trust. Author George Mahood bet that the good will of their fellow countrymen would provide them with bicycles, food, lodging, clothing, and much more. After reading his true story, I was ready to accompany him to Las Vegas and depend on his good fortune.

But my e-mail led to more than a winning bet. It changed my life.

George wrote back and suggested I make the leap from travel blogger to book author through Amazon’s KDP program. About a year and a half later, I published my first book, Camino Sunrise, and am now working on my second.

So a big shout out to George Mahood on the release of his latest, How Not to Get Married: Confessions of a Wedding Photographer. I can hardly wait until the paperback arrives via Amazon. (Yep, it’s in ebook format too.)

I am so confident that it will be another of his humorous, insightful looks at his eventful life that I know I will be writing him another note when I finish reading.

This time, I will be writing as a fellow author, brimming with respect for George’s hard work, talent and kindness.