Even though I can’t do it as often as I would like, I love travelling. I love experiencing new cultures and seeing places that I feel I know just by reading about them. My husband, on the other hand, is a homebody who I think has a closeted fear of flying; every time I mention the possibility of going on a trip with me – say, to visit my relatives in Scotland – his response always is “Can we drive there?”. I am not a huge fan of flying myself, but I see it as a necessary evil.
So when I heard about this book Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World
by Seth Stevenson, I had to check it out. Stevenson and his girlfriend were in a rut in their day-to-day lives in Washington D.C. and decided rather impulsively to travel around the world. With a catch – they would do it without travelling by airplane.
After some time working out initial logistics and packing up their lives in Washington, they set off on their journey. Each chapter of the book represents a particular leg of their trip (e.g. Chapter 1 is from Washington to Philadelphia, where they boarded the freighter that would take them across the Atlantic to Europe) and begins with an illustration of that chapter’s route with the modes of transportation used. In addition to the freighter, their travels went by train, ferry, automobile, and bus.
It is definitely an adventure they undertook, one which I don’t know if I could replicate. The crossings of the oceans are long and at times incredibly boring without significant infusions of alcohol. Their ability to fly (pardon the expression) by the seat of their pants to get from place to place was quite amazing, though eventually I felt that getting from a to b was more important to them than seeing what a and/or b had to offer.
It is not entirely clear how long it took the couple to complete this journey. but suffice to say that it’s not something that the average person can do with only a few short weeks of vacation time. Yet it makes me think about how I will get to my destination when I take my next trip. A great line from the book that speaks to this:
“…. when it comes to travel, the slower you go, the more you appreciate where you’ve gone.”
Whether I’ll ever convince my husband to travel is still unclear, but I enjoyed reading this book and I recommend it to anyone with wanderlust in their heart.