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Posted June 15, 2010
With each story I read in Linda Ballou's book, Lost Angel Walkabout, I thought, "This is the best story in the book." Then, I would turn the page and find that the next adventure was even more interesting.
I love the way the author weaves accurate and little known native history into each story. This information isn't what your typical tour guide might spout from a memorized script. This book and its information comes from roughing it in the wilderness in some remote sites where most of us would not go with a group much less alone, which is Linda's favorite way to travel. The aloneness is rejuvenating for her as she listens to nature and the spirits that dwell in each mesmerizing place speak to her.
As for aloneness, Linda says, "Much is said of the virtues of connecting with local cultures, but in aloneness you can connect with the forces that shaped them." Profound wisdom!
Not all of the trips were taken alone, however. I was especially touched by the story titled "Water Dogs" because of the tender way Linda showed grace and understanding to her 75-year-old mother who was along on a snorkeling trip. Linda was so creative in bringing the fish to her mom since Mom couldn't dive under and hold her breath long enough to see them near the cave entrance below the water. But this story is also a favorite because of the humorous way Ballou depicts the cast of characters. In fact, her sense of humor in telling the story not only made me feel like I was on location with her, it gave me a sense of her lively personality.
What I didn't expect, but found pleasantly refreshing was the spiritual aspect Linda brought into each tale. Her trips are inspired by her spirit guides, of whom she says, "Guides are simply that-guides. They try to direct you on an ever-changing path to soul-stirring moments, but the responsibility for the journey is ultimately yours."
So, I guess that's why Linda doesn't blame her guides for forgetting to take her silk underwear with her on the trip to Dorothy Lake. She nearly froze to death when the zipper of her sleeping bag broke and exposed her backside to the elements. What's an adventure without risk, right? And a little aroma from being wrapped in damp horse blankets to survive that night.
Tim Cahill's interview was a very special treat and served as an interlude to gear the reader up for more action and adventure. Having taken the time to chat with one of her favorite travel writers shows that this author had credibility in both the writing and traveling world.
Another thing that makes this book intriguing and sets it apart from other travel/adventure books is the eco alert at the end of many chapters. It's sad to know that many of the places Linda recounts in her stories are no longer the quaint, rural, peaceful spiritual nests they were at the time of her visit. They have been ruined by greedy deforestation, over-fishing, and toxic waste. This was an unexpected call to action in our effort to care for the beauty of our Mother Earth.
Throughout the book, the author's storytelling style is a great blend of travel journalism and real life experiences and spiritual insight that entertain and inform. Highly recommended reading.
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Posted December 27, 2010
Recent poor health had me looking for an escape. When I picked up Linda Ballou's book LOST ANGEL WALKABOUT, I found my salvation. Linda combines her most favorite things to create a book of adventures like nothing I have ever read. She blends her love of travel, and writing, and in several stories her love of horses, and with unsurpassed skill she takes the reader with her to places like Raven's River, Alaska, to windswept Donegal Bay, Ireland, to Waipio Valley in Hawaii, and North Island, New Zealand to name just a few. Linda not only takes you on a journey to exciting places and distant lands she shares herself along the way. Her stories are personal, enlightening, and captivating.
Raven's River is a particularly touching tale because it is a memorial to Matthew Wayne Bell, her nephew. It is a trip that entails a 140-mile journey, on the Tatshenshini, or Raven's River and includes white water rafting and hiking on bear trails. Linda shares her adventure and her love for Matt, as she educates us on the environment. Raven's River is a beautiful story of honor and discovery that is shared with grace and love.
I particularly enjoyed her journey in Golden Horseshoe or Bust. Linda, her 83-year-old mother, and nephew take off on a road trip. Her mother is insistent on driving. It is a typical family argument that adds amusement to this beautiful journey. Linda shares this memory of a courageous woman, with adventure in her soul, with a view in to her own. We learn even more about Linda and her mother in Water Dogs. These personal insights make this book of travel stories more like a novel.
LOST ANGEL WALKABOUT is more than a travel log, it is about Linda, the family she loves, the history of the lands and peoples she visits, and the folks she admires most, including adventure writer Tim Cahill and Horsewoman Lari Shea. I highly recommend this book: whether you are trying to plan your next journey, escape from your own couch, or want to inspire a young trailblazer.
Posted May 29, 2010
Lost Angel Walkabout by Linda Ballou is one of the most beautifully written travel books I have ever read. Linda tells her personal experiences of her many travels in different continents and environs. She is well-known as a top adventure travel writer, and her tales of her intrepid soul's search for beauty in the wilds and her ability to rouse physically to any demands of the setting will thrill the reader. She increased my desire to become more physically fit so that I could do some of the things she is daring and fit enough to do. She grew up in Alaska and has always loved horses. Her travel tales about returning to that wonderful environ and her experiences in many different places which involved riding horses are so beautifully inspiring. Linda also leads walkabouts in Los Angeles. I highly recommend her book as a treasure you will want to read, and then to re-read aloud to anyone who might want to listen. Her use of words is very commanding and her descriptions so vivid you will feel you have traveled alongside her and seen all the beauty of the surroundings which she so deeply appreciates. This is a MUST READ!
Bonnie Neely-Editor of Real Travel Adventures E-zine
Posted September 5, 2011
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