Travel is my favorite section in most bookstores, but Vroman's in Pasadena has a particularly great selection of travel writing. Lynne Martin's memoir Home Sweet Anywhere was one of my finds on my most recent visit to Vroman's.
PLOT - In her late sixties, Lynne Martin reconnected with a former love, Tim. They hadn't been a right fit when they dated thirty-five years earlier, but they had maintained their friendship as they went on the marry other people and have children. They reconnected when Tim was single, but Lynne was caring for her dying husband. There was an undeniable spark that had to be put on hold as Lynne took care of her beloved husband. After grieving, Lynne was ready for the next phase in her life, which included a relationship with Tim. They soon realized that a late-in-life love was not the only thing that they still wanted out of life. They both had the wanderlust bug and decided that they needed to see the world while they were still healthy enough to do so. There was so much to see and zero time to waste.
Tim and Lynne crunched numbers and they realized that they could sell their house and invest their funds, using the earnings on their investments to live abroad. They would effectively be "Home Free". In their first year abroad, they traversed the globe spending large chunks of time in Mexico, Turkey, Argentina, Ireland, France, Italy, Britain and Morocco. Home Sweet Anywhere is the result of a connection that led Lynne to move from blogging about her travels to writing an article for The Wall Street Journal. This article would jumpstart her writing career, eventually leading to this book.
LIKE - I like Tim and Lynne's adventurous spirit and spunkiness. They simply didn't care that everyone thought that they were crazy. The just went after the way of life that they wanted to live. I think that the theme of not wasting a single moment is valid for any age. Yes, the Martin's are older and aware that their travel days may be numbered, but none of us know how long we have and their story serves as a strong reminder to make the most of every opportunity. The Martin's are an inspiration.
Lynne paints beautiful images of the countries that they visited. If you're on a diet ( like I am), tread carefully while reading, as there are many mouthwatering descriptions of their meals. The Martin's are foodies.
The Martin's tried their best to avoid being tourists and to really live in their host countries. Most of the time, this worked in their favor, but they did encounter cultures where they struggled, in particular in Argentina. The big take-away seemed to be that in most cases, stepping back and observing situations before interacting can save missteps.
Home Sweet Anywhere ends with a chapter filled with advice for anyone who is considering living "Home Free." There is plenty of good information to be gleaned from this last chapter.
I found Lynne's path to becoming a published author to be interesting. Much of the last half of the book deals with Lynne's journey in writing Home Sweet Anywhere. She didn't set out to be a writer, so her story is unconventional.
DISLIKE - Overall, I very much enjoyed Home Sweet Anywhere. Occasionally, the chapters or situations ran long and my interest in the situation or country was uneven. Their time in Mexico and Ireland were less engaging, while I was totally locked-in during the chapter on Turkey. Although, even the slow chapters still had aspects that interested me. I guess it's like traveling, there will always be favorite moments or favorite locations.
RECOMMEND - Yes. Home Sweet Anywhere is a must for those with wanderlust or who love travel writing. It's also a strong pick if you are planning a trip to the locations that the Martin's visited. I'm looking forward to checking out Lynne's blog to read about their travels beyond the scope of this book.