Posted in adventure, Memoir writing, Travel, Travel Writing, Women traveling

Getting Lost in Dublin

The Idea of Getting Lost

Getting lost can be a result of traveling into unknown territory. For many travelers and especially travel writers that’s the point of travel—to get lost, find ourselves in unlikely places, and discover something we could not have imagined just hours before. It’s the thrill of the travel writer, even if it is intimidating or scary.

A Travelers’ Tale of Getting Lost

In Ireland years ago, my mom joined my husband and I at his international conference in Dublin. Typically, the host university would have a robust itinerary for spouses and guests. But not this time.

One day Mother and I took the bus from our guesthouse to central downtown. I don’t even recall what we hoped to see or do. But we had shopped (my mother’s favorite hobby), bought a refreshing drink in the midafternoon and decided it was time to head back.

Map Reading Got us Nowhere

Our map did not match where we were. It didn’t resemble where we wanted to go. We walked and walked to find a street location that would give us our bearings to no avail. We laughed at our combined ineptitude. We walked until we were tired. We laughed at a city that seemed incomprehensible to either of us. We walked until we were parched again.

Finally, we waited in the heat of the afternoon, feet swelling at a bus stop.  

A stern bus driver wanted us on or off the bus. I was taking up time out of his route to step onto the bus to ask directions while mom stood on the street. Exasperated, he demanded, “Both of you. Get on. I’ll take you to the right bus stop.”

The Kindness of Strangers

In the end, he took time out of his route (and possibly at the ire of passengers) to get us to the correct bus stop, headed in the right direction back to our guesthouse, almost late for dinner with my husband.

We giggled at how this intimidating driver had given in to two damsels in distress. The kindness of a stranger was our hero in this story. The afternoon in Dublin was mom’s and my most memorable moment of a two-week Ireland trip.

A “Getting Lost” Story in Song of Herself.

You can find my novel, Song of Herself, on Amazon. In the novel you can find specifically the story of the protagonist, Fiona, getting lost in India and how she found her way to shop for a salwar kameez, on pages 166-168.

I believe, you will enjoy the adventure story of one young horsewoman’s journey to India alone to sell her uncle’s quarter horses. What she discovers along the way is the kindness of others and her own resilience to suffer the same obstacles she faced at home and due to her ability to taken the reins of her life succeed in overcoming those challenges.

Posted in adventure, Craft of writing, Debut Novel, fiction, Historical Fiction, Travel Writing, Women traveling, Women's Fiction

The Gold Standard of Book Reviews

I’m thrilled to share with you the book review I received from Kirkus Reviews just last week. Kirkus Reviews are the gold standard for anonymous, fair, unbiased book reviews. Many librarians use their reviews to determine which books they will purchase and shelve. See a partial review of Song of Herself, my debut novel.

… Wiley-Jones packs her narrative with a plethora of captivating themes and images that expose Fiona and readers to India’s cultures, religions, and styles (Women “wrapped their silhouettes with sarees in every color from ruby red to sapphire blue, and marigold to lemon yellow”) as well as the building Indian resentment toward British imperialism. Then there is the chaos of Calcutta, which the author describes in vivid detail, capturing the city’s history, topography, sounds, smells, and foods. Fiona is a complex character who repeatedly turns to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass for inspiration and guidance in her search for her own center. …

… An engaging period drama overflowing with historical tidbits.

Consider buying a copy for a Christmas gift of the book, Song of Herself !

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1639885501

Ebook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BDK7Q54J/

Recently my friend Marge wrote me,

“I just finished your book and loved it. It was a page turner! I loved the character development and learned so much. All your hard work paid off! Thank you for the adventure. I loved the ending!!”

If you have read the book, please leave a short review of two or three sentences on Amazon. 

Posted in Travel, Travel Writing, Women traveling

Travel Back in Time

On vacation last month we traveled to visit friends in Wisconsin we had not seen in many years. As we followed the Wisconsin highway and turned onto a two-lane county road, then to the unpaved road into the forested overhang of our friend’s retreat home on Lake Michigan, we knew we were almost there. As it is with old friends, we fell into old habits of eating, drinking, story telling, reminiscing, filling our glasses again and catching up on the years in between. 

A TRIP DOWN ANOTHER MEMORY LANE

But I must interrupt our current good time to walk the dog, Murphy, who travelled with us. So he and I trekked back up the long driveway to our friend’s house and I was transported to the Scottish Highlands, particularly the Isle of Skye.

I had visited the isle decades ago, where eight other tourists and I missed the last ferry of the day for the mainland. We ended up spending a night at the inconvenience of locals who found lodging for each of us, couples, singles (like myself traveling alone), and singles traveling together.

We spent a riotous dinner together laughing about how we had become so entranced by the island that we simply forgot to catch the ferry. At least I was not alone. 

The road Murphy and I walked that day took me back in time to why I missed the ferry. In wandering the lush undergrowth that was so mysterious then, I decided–just knew in my bones–that elves had to exist on that island.

Did they call them pixies, sprites, fairies, leprechauns (no, that would be Irish)? 

I could not see them, but I just knew (without really knowing) they could see me. They were watching my every move. And here again in this forest near the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin I could feel their presence then and there again. 

I WONDERED 

Were they observing me from the turn of the underside of a fern? 

How small were they and how many were there? 

 

Did they sit and twitter with each other about how funny we look and sound? 

Could they leap from leaf to leaf to get a better view of us? 

 

And did they listen from the creases of a tree?

Could they hide in the center of a flower, seeing us without being seen?

TRAVELING BACK IN TIME

I will never know the answers, but I will remember that unexpected overnight stay on the Isle of Skye. And then how my time in Wisconsin took me back, just as our drive had taken us back in time to visit old friends. What joys!

A TRAVELER’S QUESTION

When you travel what kind of alertness do take with you to explore even the mundane?