When traveling to new places, I enjoy hours of looking out car or bus windows, noticing the traffic, trees, flowers, fields, mountains, wildlife, livestock, bridges, side roads, houses, and people. Perhaps it is then natural for me to enjoy travel books describing drives to remote destinations. I am please by accounts such as those in The Girl from Foreign: A Search for Shipwrecked Ancestors, Forgotten Histories, and a Sense of Home by Sadia Shepard, which I am rereading for a book club discussion.
Rereading is not something I often do, as there are so many books left to read, but it is enlightening to see how a book can be so different a second time. My memory from the first reading is an emphasis on Shepard's own spiritual/emotional journey. That is still present but I see how much she tells us about the people and places that she encountered in my second reading. The mostly forgotten story of the Jew in India suggests that much of what happened in the 20th century did not have to happen as it did.
I puzzled over some of the photos, wishing Shepard had written captions. I also would have enjoyed some maps in the book. Still, rereading was journey worth taking again, as there is a rich mixture of past and present and places I could not gone had not Shepard taken me there.
Shepard, Sadia. The Girl from Foreign: A Search for Shipwrecked Ancestors, Forgotten Histories, and a Sense of Home. Penguin Press, 2008. ISBN 9781594201516.