Vanessa is a blogger at TurnipseedTravel where she shares tips for travelling by getting the most and spending the least. She adores making lists and these are her good things.
Good things to read.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Ah, there’s no love like your first love! I’ve been reading and re-reading this series since I was 8 years old and I still love it. Being from Maritime Canada myself, I love the stories of olden Prince Edward Island and try to adapt Anne’s joyous spirit as a guide for my own. And for the history buffs out there: the last book in the series, Rilla of Ingleside, is the only novel that details Canadian domestic life during WWI that was written during the period. Amazingly rich in historical detail.
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. Is it cheating to say you should get it as an audiobook? Well, you should! The accents are so rich and well done – it is mesmerizing to listen to. Based on true events, this book chronicles Lin’s escape from maximum security prison in Australia, to hiding among the underground of Bombay – serving as a medic in the slums – to passport and gun running into Afghanistan in the earliest days of the Taliban. Perfect for a long plane ride.
419 by Will Ferguson. This multiple award winning book invites the reader to explore the dark and murky regions of a Nigeria consumed by oil madness and computer schemes. When the life of a Canadian woman starts to unravel as a result of a 419 Nigerian letter scheme, she doesn’t hesitate to pull at the tread and follow the trail. It was the first book I review in 2013 as part of a project to read a different novel each week that inspired travel and, while it doesn’t exactly have me packing my bags for West Africa, it does make me feel like I’ve been there.
Good things to watch.
Shakespeare in the Park. I love pay-what-you-can theatre and always try to make it to community Shakespeare in the Park. It’s a great way to combine community support and great entertainment, along with a dash of history and literature. When I travel I try to always attend a Shakespeare performance. My two favourites have been seeing Romeo and Juliette at the Southern Utah Shakespeare festival in Cedar City and Richard III at Shakespeare’s Globe in London.
You’ve Got Mail. Sure it’s a classic rom-com. But it’s the only movie I can think of that documents the cheerful, unpredictable way the internet entered our lives – and our love lives. You have to be of a “certain age” to feel nostalgic about hearing the early AOL dial-up tones and seeing those old, huge screen icons. It’s charming and feel-good, and manages to feel like it has captured the modern age while still making me feel nostalgic.
The “7 Up” documentary series. How does that old quote go? Give me a child at 7 and I will show you the man. Originally a documentary of 7 year old British schoolchildren from different economic background, it has become a series. Every 7 years, the lives of the now-grown up children are re-examined. It is a fascinating window into the soul of both people and sociology. 56-Up just came out in 2012 and it’s starting to air in theatres here. I can’t wait.
Good things to use.
A carry-on bag. I write about value travel and I wholeheartedly believe in travelling with carry-on only bags. Once you do it, you will never go back. Breezing past everyone struggling with their gear. Being at the front of the customs line. Never having to wait to check in. Never waiting at the conveyor belt. Never waiting at the lost luggage office! Saving money and using public transit or walking instead of pricey taxis. And never paying a penny for checked baggage again – put all that money you save towards a nice bottle of wine on your last night.
A cake pan. Nothing says welcome, thank you, happy birthday, I love you, or I’m sorry quite like a homemade cake. Doesn’t have to be fancy – hell, you can even use a cake mix! There isn’t a person on earth who doesn’t melt when they see a freshly baked cake. Homemade hospitality will never go out of style. Try it, make a few friends, mend a few bridges. Or just make yourself feel warm and cozy.
A leash. Adopt a dog who needs a safe, happy, secure forever home. Your daily walks will soon become the highlight of your day (and using a leash is what responsible pet owners do!).
Ask Vanessa your travel questions on Twitter on Monday’s at 1PM.