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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Travel And Learning

What book comes to mind when you think about time you've spent away from home?

For me, it's easy to recall books I've read while travelling. Over forty years ago, on the road with my rock n' roll band, I finished "At Play In The Fields Of The Lord", a brilliant Peter Matthiessen novel seared into my memory. In the mid-90's, after reading "The Fourth Hand" while at a friend's house in Maine, I decided I was done with John Irving. On my last vacation, I plowed through Maggie O' Farrell's "The Vanishing Act Of Esme Lennox" in one sitting. Each book is clearly linked to the time away from home. Does this happen to you?

"My Life On The Road" - Gloria Steinem's 2015 memoir - is now forever connected to alligators in Florida's National Parks, vibrant art in the streets of Miami, a $19.95 pitcher of Margaritas my wife and I were unable to finish. Steinem's books invariably move and teach me. During my adult ed years, her 1993 book "Revolution From Within" was a beacon for me and my students. "My Life On The Road" is filled with hard-earned wisdom. My richest takeaway? The value of using the circle as an organizing principle, as many traditional cultures do. As someone who has rarely questioned the merit of hierarchy as an organizing principle, I'm grateful to Gloria Steinem for reinforcing an alternative - it's a powerful lesson she passed onto me from her lifetime of travel and learning.      

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