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Write On Ottawa: Four Ottawa women explore the world

By Janoah Willsie on October 22, 2015

Travel Dreams and Nightmare: Four Women Explore the World covers all types of travel, from roughing it on a mountain hike, to relaxing by the sea, to taking a holiday to taste wine or experiencing new cultures at all corners of the world.

The book follows the adventures of four Ottawa-based women, Louise Szabo, Barbara Brown, Jan Jacobson and Wendy Quarry. Each one has their own preferred method of travel and so together, their stories tell a diverse set of experiences. There is the story of Brown’s hike around the Mont Blanc mountain range between France, Switzerland and Italy. There is the tale of Jacobson’s guided tour through the Cuban countryside. Quarry spent ten days in Ukraine studying the credit union movement in the country and Szabo traveled to Dawson City to visit the place where her father was first posted as a RCMP officer.

What makes this book good is its diversity of experiences, told in short, very readable stories. No matter what kind of travel you prefer, there’s a story for you in the book. You might even be inspired to travel somewhere that you wouldn’t have considered before, such as the Valley of Flowers in India, a meadow containing over 250 species of plants, which has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site.

The stories are concise and lighthearted. Although the women have challenges, such as the time Quarry spent at a former tea estate in Malawi, recovering from a severe stomach infection, the stories are still fun. It’s a book to read on a layover in the airport or on a lazy day at the beach. It is a light, enjoyable collection of adventures that inspire the reader to get on a plane and fly somewhere new.

Although each chapter is a stand-alone story, Travel Dreams and Nightmares is organized in sections, such as “Why We Travel” and “Finding Our Roots”. It is a nice way to group the stories as it gives the book some organization while not having a strict structure. Through this organization, the book attempts to address some common themes of travelling, such as the reasons for travel, the difficulties associated with traveling and the reward that comes at the end of an adventure abroad.

If you need some ideas of where to travel next, or you enjoy hearing about travels all over the world, Travel Dreams and Nightmares is a fun, readable book to give you the inspiration you need to plan your next adventure.

You can buy Travel Dreams and Nightmares online at Indigo or on Amazon, or borrow it from the Ottawa Public Library.