Do you have a favorite book that you like to travel with? I don’t mean a book that you like to take on trips with you. I mean one that takes you away with it. I have an old favorite: Praise the Human Season by Don Robertson. According to Wikipedia it’s just an also-ran among other more popular works by this author, but when you read the comments on Amazon, you have to wonder if there’s ever been a better book. I’m with the commenters on Amazon.
My Favorite Road Trip Book
Praise the Human Season is a book about two elderly people who take off on a road trip without a destination. Woven in between the their tales of the road are their memories of the past. It’s hard to decide which is better, the road trip or the memories, but I’d like to recommend the premise of their road trip as a way to live. They decided what the budget for the trip would be and withdrew the money from the bank. When half the money was spent, they planned to head back home. They took their cat along with them, because they had no idea when they’d return.
What a great way to travel! On the first day of the trip they loaded up the car and then decided what direction to go. Rather than head to the nearest amusement park, museum or popular attraction, they headed to a cemetery. Now a cemetery might not be your idea of a great destination, but they had their reasons. When they got there, they didn’t drive through and move on to the next entertainment. They got out of the car, walked around and spoke to someone else who was there. What a concept! When was the last time you did something like that? Today we’re more likely to sit in our car and text someone we already know.
Back on the road, though they’d already selected a direction of travel, they changed course when the wife recalled a relative who lived nearby. On a whim! Could you do that? I find myself cutting down on my connections with people to satisfy my schedule. I let the urgent block out the necessary. Imagine tossing your schedule down the drain to visit someone who matters, but you haven’t seen in a while.
On the way to the relative, they see an old man next to a broken down car. Instead of breezing past, they stopped and helped. Now I know all about the trouble you can get into picking up hitchhikers. I’m not suggesting we should throw caution to the wind, but what if the world had no Good Samaritans. This being a book, the old man offered information critical to the plot. The book couldn’t have gone on without him, but if we’re whizzing around our lives ignoring the people who need us, there’s a lot we might miss too.
The adventures continue and the end will break your heart, but it’s a read worth every minute you devote to it. I suggest you get your hands on a copy. I also suggest you travel through life with the same agenda as the protagonist. Forgo the amusement park to visit a cemetery. Talk to the people who wander through your life. Don’t let your itinerary control you. Be ready to take side trips. Help people along the way. Above all, take your cat with you. You’ll be glad you did.