Travels With Maggie
by Pat Bean

Create Space, 2017. ISBN 978-1-544-62861-5.
Reviewed by Mary Potter Kenyon
Posted on 10/23/2017

Nonfiction: Memoir

To say I am not a seasoned traveler is an understatement. My husband David and I were too busy raising eight children to travel. I never even drove myself farther than forty miles until after David died in 2012, when I was in my fifties. It was his death that motivated my older sister, Joan, and her husband Dave, to sell their house and everything in it and take off in an RV to see the country, much as author Pat Bean did.

Travels With Maggie chronicles Pat Bean's six-month, 7,000-mile RV journey on the backroads of the eastern half of the United States. That the author's only companion was a Cocker Spaniel named Maggie, amazes me. Bean states in the epilogue that she traveled for an additional seven years after the 2006 trip, and continued to travel in the spring and fall, spending her summers in state parks. Now, she blogs about travel, nature, and birds from her home in Tucson, here.

I'm sure a more seasoned traveler would recognize towns, roads, and even the campgrounds in this travelogue, but I got lost in the details several times and ended up skimming over a few sections. My husband would have loved the descriptions and facts about birds, but I skimmed through some of that, too. I was, however, intrigued and delighted that the author shared titles of the many books she read on her trip. I was also impressed by her conscious decision to savor every moment of the day.

Reading Pat Bean's musings, I was struck by how different her life is than mine, or even from her own previous life as a journalist. Stop at a campground, get settled, take a hike, go bird-watching, eat over a campfire, and end the day with a journal and a good book . . . sounds like a dream life, and Pat Bean lived it for several years. I admire her for that.

I loved how each chapter began with a map showing the campground and journey. I'm geographically challenged, and this helped me tremendously in picturing her journey.

Pat Bean is a writer, avid birder, hiker and passionate nature observer with wanderlust in her soul. She spent nine years living and traveling in a small RV. She now lives in Tucson with a furry black ball of energy she named Pepper, a rescued Scotty-mix. She was also a journalist for 37 years. Visit her blog.

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