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Chapter 5 - The Accidental Tourist

Winter is hard for many of us. The days, while promising spring, are still long. Sunshine, when it visits, is often accompanied by cold, blustery winds. Here in North Myrtle Beach, even the beach and water look cold so morning walks just make me shiver. While we would all like to get away to someplace warm or just different, either we can't take the money or the time to do so.

That's why it is a perfect time of year to be an armchair traveler. There are many ways to go about this. One, of course, is to find a good travel book about a place you want to go and read it. Foders, Frommers, Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, DK Eyewitness Travel, and National Geographic all have wonderful travel guides that inform and engage. For me, I enjoy reading books that take place in other countries when I want to travel. With wonderful descriptions provided by a skilled author I go to any number of places.

Here are my picks for getting away even if it is just in your own home!

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle - This account of Mayle's decision to move from England with his wife and renovate a 200 year old farmhouse puts the reader right in the heart of France. The descriptions of the countryside, the people Mayle meets, and the seasons as he experiences them will have you sitting beside him as he tells the tale.

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen - Dinesen's book was made into a movie in 1985 but reading her book absolutely transports you there. The book details her life owning a coffee plantation in Kenya in the early 1900's. Dinesen's descriptions of Africa are detailed and beautiful.

The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall - If you prefer mysteries to memoirs, this one will take you to India. Vish Puri is a private investigator in Delhi. He is fond of food, adores his wife, and is very good at solving problems for his clients. As Hall takes you through this case, you will see the streets of Delhi, hear the motorbikes revving, and smell the curry.

On Folly Beach by Karen White - If you are craving something summery and warm, this book by Karen White would be a good one to sink into. Folly Beach, a little south of Charleston, is a beautiful little beach town. White's book has great characters, terrific description, and a little bit of the supernatural.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman - A little bit darker and colder than the previous selections, Backman tells the story of a hockey town in Sweden. If you are in the mood for an environment colder and more forbidding than the one you are currently in, try Beartown out.

Let me know if you have any favorite books which teleport you to another place!

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