When Annette suggests a book, I read it. I end up loving it and wondering why I hadn’t stumbled on to it before her recommendation. Her suggestions make me think, question, evaluate, reflect and always get me excited to share my new found “best” read with someone else. With picture books and Young Adult novels, it’s one or sometimes many of the classes in my school who are on the receiving end ~ Mrs. Bruyns does a Book Tour. With social justice selections it’s colleagues and family members. But with her latest recommendations (in form of a gift) I’m compelled to share my reflections with the author, Rachel McMillan. Oh what I wouldn’t do to sit down and enjoy a drink with this lady!
Last Friday, Annette gifted me with “Dream, Plan & Go ~ a travel guide to inspire your independent adventure”. Rachel’s latest book. This morning, as the skies opened up and we were treated to a thunderous summer storm, I stayed under my bed covers and read it from cover to cover.
It is a rare gift to feel that you know the author and some members of their family as you read their words and relive their experiences. Rachel is Annette’s niece. They have a special bond, which emerges through the book, through their social media banter and from stories that Annette has shared over the years. I loved the references to Annette and her daughter Hannah in the book. I had the privilege of attending Hannah’s fundraiser and can easily hear Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” playing in the background at her house. When I was there last week, it was the soundtrack from “Eurovision”. Music plays such an integral role in Annette’s life! Plus, I can just imagine the conversation about Klaus J
In reading this book, I can now understand Rachel’s tweet a few months ago about desperately needing to travel. It’s in her blood; it’s a part of her world.
Although my travel stories do not begin with, “Once when I was in Paris, Vienna, Dubai, Ireland, Brussels etc.,” I still felt a kindred spirit to Rachel as she shared her need for quiet moments, for traveling alone and for being able to select adventures that feed your soul.
Back in 2010, I started a tradition of renting a cottage for myself for one week. Each summer I selected a different location ~ Long Point, Port Elgin, Grand Bend, Port Stanley and Lake Chesley. I packed my bike, my stack of books and my laptop. For my week at Lake Chesley, I also had my kayak. I recall that my family members and friends seemed perplexed at how I would spend my days. But I loved it. I explored nearby shops, rode my bike, read the day away or tapped the keyboard on my laptop when inspired by the writing fairies.
In 2015 we invested in a family cottage. My husband joked that now I didn’t need to rent my summer cottage. Although the last few summers have been fraught with knee surgery (which incapacitated me from launching and docking the boat on my own), this summer I returned to full health and hence having a few days of solitude at the cottage.
One of the other key messages in Rachel’s book is about finding adventures in your own backyard and in unexpected places. She speaks so fondly about my hometown, London. There are so many places that I take for granted that they will always be there, like the Covent Market Garden. And yet the tragedy of Notre Dame Church is a lesson in not waiting until tomorrow.
So, now that the rain has subsided and the sunshine has emerged, I’m off to explore London o
n my bike. We’re hitting the Thames Valley Bike Trails. Thanks Annette for the suggestion too !
Rachel ~ the next time you’re visiting your Tante Annette, I’ve placed a request for an invite. We can talk about Sherlock Holmes (I loved The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder), although I may refer to the Robert Downey Jr/Jude Law movies a couple of times, travel, fine food and fashion.
Thank you for this book ~ the messages of empowerment, not waiting until tomorrow and conquering your fears (even heights) are so important, especially now!