Hither and Yon with Books

I grew up all over the world. Literally. I had what I think was a very normal childhood, with two loving parents and as much stability you can have when you're moved from school to school in the middle of the year. In no way was I harmed by this nomadic educational experience. In fact, I was probably turned into a voracious reader as a result. We read, as a family, books about where we were traveling so we'd know what to see, what to expect, and how to get along in that culture. And of course, books went with us on our long car/plane/boat rides. Much of what I learned came from seeing foreign places, museums, and living where the common language wasn't English, and books always paved the way first.

I'll never forget reading Mary Renault's The Bull from the Sea series (Theseus as hero!), then seeing Crete in person. Or reading about the cedars of Lebanon, and then getting to go to college there. Uriah the Hittite came alive when I saw Hittite ruins in Turkey. The Wisteria Covered Porch, a Turkish novel, limned a sense of Istanbul that was picture-perfect when I got there.

Even if you never leave your own town, you can experience life as a true international traveler. Let books take you there.