Need a little travel inspiration? This explorer, teacher and environmentalist’s example will get you out on your next adventure.
Ann Bancroft became the first woman to arrive at the North Pole on
foot and by sled in a 1986 expedition with Will Steger, six other men and 49 male dogs. After that, she tallied other firsts, including being the first woman to cross both polar ice caps to reach the North and South Poles and was part of the first group of American women to ski across Greenland.
I had the fun of interviewing Bancroft for an article as she was about to set out on a new expedition, a surprising trip for someone who is typically associated with cold and ice. She and her frequent expedition partner Norway’s Liv Arnesen, are leading an international posse of women who are paddling the length of the Ganges River, from the source of the river in the Himalaya Mountains to the Bay of Bengal. They’re doing it to to call attention to the crisis of fresh water around the world.
Bancroft is an inspiration for anyone who yearns to get outdoors for some adventure travel. You don’t have to go to the polar regions or the Ganges, but she encourages everyone to push themselves for new adventures and experiences. “We’re all on a journey,” she says. “What’s your expedition?”
I’ve done a lot of traveling this summer, but I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus, so I have plenty stored up to tell you about.
I’ll start by sharing my new article on the USA Today travel web site. It’s about the pulchritudinous pumpkins of Half Moon Bay, California, and all the food-related activities there are to do there even after all the orange orbs have been made into pie.
Speaking of travel, I also had a great time interviewing Ann Bancroft, the famous polar explorer, for the Minnesota Women’s Press. She’s off on a new adventure in October, this time to India where she and Liv Arnesen and their team will navigate the length of the Ganges River. This hot, dirty, overpopulated trip seems an unlikely choice for someone who is used to the isolation and the pure, crisp air of the frozen poles. Yet, the more we discussed the perils of such a trip, the more her eyes lit up with anticipation of the challenge. The trip is part of a series she plans to undertake that will bring attention to the crisis of fresh water around the world. Find out more about the expedition at yourexpedition.com
Last week was a big one for literary events here in Minneapolis. I attended Pen Pals, an author series presented by the Friends of the Hennepin County Library, in which famed librarian Nancy Pearl interviewed Judy Blume about her new novel, In the Unlikely Event. Blume is chiefly known for her middle grade girls’ novels such as Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. The new book for adults is fiction based on the true story of the series of three commercial plane crashes that occurred in her home town in 1952. I haven’t read the book yet, but it sounds like it could put me off air travel for a while.
Finally, Faith Sullivan launched her new book, Goodnight Mr. Wodehouse at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. I aspire to be like Faith, not just for her literary expertise, but for her vivacious personality, humor and grace. She alternated reading from her book with short pieces of music from the time played by her friend Michael Anthony.
Set in Minnesota around the turn of the last century, the book is the story of a woman who has more than her share of tragedy in life, but keeps on going, buoyed by the diversion and humor of British author P.G. Wodehouse. Readers will love her comments about the joys and life-saving aspects of reading:
“Life could toss your sanity about like a glass ball; books were a cushion. How on earth did nonreaders cope when they had nowhere to turn? How lonely such a nonreading world must be.”
And, on retiring from teaching, the heroine hopes she “left her charges with a love of reading, one of the few things they could count on in life. The years could rob them of friends and farms, of youth and health, but books would endure. She eased deeper into the chair and turned the page.”
When I’m done reading Faith Sullivan’s book, I’m stocking up on a few volumes by P.G. Wodehouse.
Travel to the places you read about. Read about the places you travel.