The Book of Wanderings: A Mother-Daughter Pilgrimage

Book of Wanderings

In “The Book of Wanderings”, Kimberly Meyer captures the story of her journey with her college-age daughter, Ellie, that retraces the steps of a medieval Dominican friar across the Mediterranean and around the Holy Land and through the Sinai Desert. Their modern-day experiences are neatly framed by flashbacks to the 15th century. The writing is rich with detail that brings far-away places to life, as well as the author’s own palpable longing for the road not taken. For me, it was heartening to learn of another mother-daughter duo successfully navigating so many different countries, including some frequently on travel advisories, and that the journey was deeply – albeit differently – meaningful to both of them. I appreciated her warning that one’s genuine desire to connect with others from different cultures will not always be reciprocated. Travelers are, after all, also customers with money to spend on goods and services – and that money can mean the difference between having meal or not to someone living on the edge. And Americans traveling abroad – regardless of our personal views – carry with them enormous geopolitical baggage that can, unfortunately, overshadow even the greatest goodwill towards others.