Category Archives: Writers

Thursday Thirteen #23: The Armchair Traveler

(Header created by me, just because I felt like it..)

A few days ago I was looking through the bookshelf for a book, when a couple of titles from our minuscule travel section caught my eye and practically demanded I visit with them. The Encyclopedia of Sacred Places by Norbert C. Brockman is a lovely and comprehensive book of sacred places around the world, and whets my appetite for “old stones”. It’s what started the revised version of the list in the first place. The Art of Pilgrimage (Phil Cousineau) is a book I’ve babbled about before, but it too called my name. So, with no further lead-up, I give you…


Thirteen Places On My Dream Travel List
  1. Machu Picchu, Peru – The fact that it wasn’t discovered until 1911 stirs the Indy in my blood. It’s been at the top of my list forever.
  2. Angkor Wat, Cambodia – Re-discovered in the 1850’s by French archaeologists, Angkor Wat has figured in movies such as Tomb Raider (the first one) and in Phil Cousineau’s travel recollections.
  3. Cairo, Egypt – I blame this one on the kind adult who gifted me with a colour-catalogue style book on Tutankhamen when I was a pre-teen. For a while there I had a serious crush on Howard Carter…
    Nikko, Japan – According to what I’ve read, it was established in the eighth century and became a training center for Buddhist priests. The Tosho-gu Shrine,Rinno-ji Temple, and Kegon Falls are just some of the places I’d like to see for myself.
  4. Borabudur, Java – Rediscovered and rejuvenated by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles in the early 1800’s. Where to begin explaining the strength behind the image of its two thousand carvings? Check out The Lost Temple of Java by Phil Grabsky. The photos are extraordinary.
  5. Glastonbury, England – I was lucky enough to spend the day there a few years ago, and the strange, strong energy was palpable. Chalice Well, Glastonbury Tor, the Lady Chapel at Glastonbury Abbey? I could spend weeks there.
  6. Queen Charlotte Islands, BC, Canada – Probably the most accessible of the bunch, the Charlottes were Emily Carr’s lifelong obsession, and probably one of the earliest links I had to native history here in BC. The only things I’ve ever seen of this culture are in museums, and while I appreciate that, it’s a little isolating.
  7. Paris, France – Like you couldn’t see that coming from miles kilometers away! All that history laid out in the arrondissements, the Louvre, Versailles….
  8. Jerusalem, The Holy Land – the desire to see this for myself has been with me for as long as I can remember, and when I read “Digging for God and Country, Explorations, Archaeology and the Secret Struggle for the Holy Land, 1799 – 1917” by Neil Asher Silberman a few years ago, I knew it was a place I needed to go.
  9. Marrakesh, Morocco – In 1917 the Saadian Tombs were discovered and restored by the Beaux Arts Service. When I go, this is where I want to stay.
  10. Granada, Spain – Specifically, Al Andalus. The name most of us know it by is Alhambra. a poetic sounding moniker that, depending on who you read, is translated as ‘The Red” or “The Red Fort”in Arabic. It became famous in North America when Washington Irving had his Tales of the Alhambra published in 1831.
  11. Petra, Jordan – Yes, it too figured in an Indiana Jones movie. But long before I sat in the dark and watched Indy put himself through the paces in order to save his father, a friend of the family showed me photographs of this desert city, and I knew I wanted, someday, to touch the delicately carved stone for myself.
  12. Santiago, Chile – Born there. My family’s history lies there – that’s enough of a reason to go, don’t you think?
  13. Chichen Itza, Mexico – well, really that’s just one of the sites I want to see in Mexico. Add to that Teotihuacán,Tulum, and Palenque and…

Looks to me like I could probably do a second list and perhaps, next week, I will. I’ve neglected whole continents!

Your turn – where would you go? Not sure? Here’s a jumping off point.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Caylynn
2. Sweetkitty
3. Sanni
(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Making Life Brighter: Sandra Boynton

I must share a secret with y’all.

I’m NEVER growing up.

While everyone else is reading the latest tomes of Canadian fiction and nodding sagely at the meaningfulness of it all, I’m happily ensconced in the kids section, insanely giggling to myself while gorging on the antics of Sandra Boynton’s characters.

Dancing hippos, ewes galore, confused cats, running bunnies, hip cows, turkeys, turkeys and more turkeys… this isn’t a bad trip – it’s the world she’s created for herself and her readers.

I’ve tried many times to figure out the appeal – is it the expressions on her characters faces, and the way you expect them to dance (or run or leap or drive) off the page? The inspired silliness that helps her puts words like ‘hippo’ and ‘berserk’ in the same sentence? The fact that she’s succesfully put out a book and cd called Grunt: Pigorian Chant from Snouto Domoinko de Silo, which is composed entirely of Pig Latin & real Latin?

Or is it simply that she takes so much joy in joy that there’s nothing for it but to join in? Even her surname has bounce – it’s so close to BOING!

I’ve yet to figure it out, and no serious scholarly work has been published on the Boynton phenom. I do know this though: I’ve not met a single adult who doesn’t at least crack a smile while reading one of her books.

I take comfort in knowing I’m not alone in my love of all things Boynton. Type her name into google, and you’ll find she has her own website (finally), a Wikepedia entry, and won the 1992 Greeting Card award from the National Cartoonists Association. Turns out she got her start greeting cards.

She definitely has a sense of where she stands in the world too – listed as her biography on Simonsays (the website for simon & Schuster, INC, publishers of Boynton goodness) is one lone line:

Sandra Boynton is an internationally ignored authority on romance.

So what’s not to love?