Gillybean in China: What a Trip!

“Is it alright if we join you?” said the tallest of three lanky guys in their early 20s.

“Er, uh, yes, of course,” I stuttered, exhausted after an exhilarating day touring Shanghai with California college students I had accompanied on a three-week study abroad journey. I sat in our hotel bar, enjoying the opportunity to recharge with a Chinese beer. My students were upstairs in their rooms, giving their professor a break.

“Thank you,” the young man said as he and his two buddies sat with me in chairs around the low-profile table. “What a day!”

To heck with recharging. I was curious. “Tell me about it.”

I ordered three beers and leaned forward to hear their story. The Norwegians had flown the previous day to Germany, where they looked up at the departures board for a place to go. They found three seats on an overnight flight to Shanghai and off they went, without reservations. They had grabbed the last room in the downtown hotel and, as we sipped our beers, they picked my brain for ideas for their weeklong adventure.

When she turned 60, Scottish native Gill Puckridge planned to leave her life in South Africa for three months in Central America, but got sidetracked by a cheap flight to China. Three months later, her experiences had exceeded her expectations and she left China a changed person and traveler. She has been on the road ever since (for six years) and I eagerly await her next book.

Her story is Gillybean Goes to China: The Adventures of a Wandering Sexagenarian. The book often made me wonder, “Could I do that?” as I read about her daily adventures, accommodations, social life, and much more.

Gill Puckridge did not share the youth of my three fellow beer drinkers in Shanghai. And she was alone in a country that can intimidate even the most worldly traveler. But she packed courage and a thirst for new experiences in her seventh decade of life.

Her story is captivating. Like the Norwegians, she embraced China as a place full of opportunity while she employed her natural charm and curiosity.

Discover Inspiration on the Oregon Coast

Looking for inspiration for your book, short story, poem?

Or maybe just a place to let go?

West of Coos Bay, Oregon, park in the day-use lot at Sunset Bay State Park. Take the trail toward Cape Arago, along the clifftops, about four miles with a few modest dips and climbs. You will hear the sea lions before you see them. Keep an eye out for the lighthouse.

I hope you remembered lunch to enjoy on an ocean-view bench at Cape Arago.

On the way back, treat yourself to a easy detour through the gardens at Shore Acres. Don’t miss the rose garden. Not a bad place to eat the candy bar you saved from lunch.

This is about as good as it gets in Oregon. Or anywhere.

 

 

 

 

Catcher in the Rye: Holden Caulfield’s Voice Resonates

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Holden Caulfield’s voice as the protagonist in Catcher in the Rye is the masterful creation of J.D. Salinger, a man who often wanted to be left alone.

The words of the 17-year-old New Yorker take readers on a journey that feels so real we can all get lost in his world. Having flunked out of a boarding school for boys, Holden is isolated by depression, a distrust of shallow people, and vulgar language. He is more sensitive than he admits, still mourns the death of his brother Allie, and adores his younger sister Phoebe. He has not found a fit in four private schools.

The book’s first sentence sets the tone for Holden Caulfield’s story:

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”

Salinger’s most famous book, set in the 1950s, was written for adults, but it remains a favorite of youth, selling hundreds of thousands of copies a year. Its popular use in high schools has gotten teachers in trouble for its themes of morality, violence, sex, underage drinking, mental health.

Most of us had a Holden Caulfield in us. Ferris Bueller did. Many of us still do.

Five decades after I first read Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield’s words make me laugh, make me sad, make me want to tell him to be kinder to himself. And, sometimes, to others.

I can still learn a thing or two from Holden Caulfield–and I’m not just saying that.

 

If Marvel were to create characters who performed superhero feats across the world’s waters, Glen and Julie Bradley could be models.

For seven years, the early retirees defy death more times than cats, always landing, sometimes barely, on their feet. Piloting a French-made Amel Super Maramu, one of the world’s greatest sailing vessels, they visit 63 countries, including Bequia in Saint Vincent, Niue, and the far-from-ordinary Colombia. 

In a pair of enthralling books, author Julie Bradley takes readers on a journey that rarely includes the usual paths of world travelers. They experience adventures that bring pleasure and terror, sometimes on the same day. Between the two extremes, they overcome unpredictable hardships that must make them proud today.

You need no sailing experience to follow the adventures in Escape from the Ordinary and Crossing Pirate Waters. But you will marvel at the exploits of these two American mortals. 

 

Couple Sails Around the World Like Superheroes