Imagine a magical portal, a room of polished wood and gleaming windows, each of which frames an exotic view: Florence to the right, Kyoto the left, Kenya over your shoulder, the northern lights arcing upward to the ceiling.
Such were the images conjured by the very name “A Traveler’s Library.” And the beautiful website doesn’t disappoint. There are plenty of websites for researching and booking trips. But this is a site to cause dreams, then help fulfill them.
Vera Marie Badertscher founded her beautiful website in January 2009. Why? “I love to read and I love to travel,” she explained. “And when I read travel sites on the web, I noticed that whenever someone asked for a recommendation for reading material for a trip a very long and enthusiastic string of answers followed. However, I couldn’t find a blog dedicated to the concept of suggesting good reads to inspire and inform travel. It was a need that I was more than happy to fill.”
There’s a big connection between books and travel, in the sense that books are travel in the most basic sense. While your body might remain in a comfortable chair, the imagination “books” passage for the mind and spirit, inspiring virtual travel into far-ranging realms of both time and space. Some books seems to relate to travel more than others, and mine fit with Vera’s virtual travel concept because it takes my readers to a very specific destination: Milford-Haven, on California’s Central Coast. You can get there by downloading a short-story prequel called When Hummers Dream (free for your Kindle through Labor Day). Or you can enjoy a longer visit by reading What the Heart Knows when it comes out next month.
Vera asked me some intriguing questions during my Traveler’s Library blog visit. One of my favorites was whether it’s easier to describe a real place or a fictional one? The answer was a trip unto itself as I mentioned several authors who presented “place” as vividly as I do. But I loved being able to say “A place has to be fictional in order to be true.” Hah! What do you make of that?
Vera’s life, too, has been an interesting journey so far. Like me she was trained in theater. She worked in small theaters, both acting and directing. Then she became a political strategist until about fifteen years ago, when she reinvented herself as a freelance travel writer.
What does she believe travel brings to a person’s life? “I could write a book!” she exclaimed. “Travel makes you realize that there is value in difference, that your way is not the only way, that people are generally kind and funny and interesting in any culture–more alike than different. And sometimes it makes you appreciate your own home more than you might have. Mark Twain, as usual, said it best: ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and small mindedness.’”
So join Vera and me in banishing bigotry, and engaging in the great adventure of reading to travel, perhaps making Milford-Haven your first stop.
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