One Pilgrim’s Tips, Tricks, Advice, Stories and Insights for the Next Pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago by Scott E. Bell

 

A truly inspiring and amusing guide to hiking the Camino de Santiago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confession time, I brought this book because I am longing to hike the Camino de Santiago and I wanted a honest to goodness, personal opinion of what it is really like to do this amazing walk.

I couldn’t have chosen a better book. The author Scott Bell somehow manages to encourage his readers to participate in the Camino whilst giving a warts ‘n all, no holds barred account of his own journey.

Scott starting his adventure at Saint Pied du Port in southern France, although there are various starting points. As we walk this beautiful, historical, journey with him he not only honestly gives his opinions on the sheer physical and mental strain which is put on the body, but he then offers advice on how to overcome them.

Of course on such a long route, accommodation is also very important, and the author discusses the various types of accommodation available, and the pros and cons of each, including some nasty little critters.

For some people the Camino is a spiritual journey, for others it gives them the time to find themselves, some are youth groups, friends, and others are families. During his travels he met and befriended many people from across the world, each with their own story, and reason for doing the Camino, and so human interest stories abound throughout the book.

The one overwhelming thing about this book is that it is truly one man’s journey, recounted with the purpose of helping others discover not only what they will need to undertake it, but also what they don’t need. The size of your backpack and weightiness of unnecessary gear is discussed and recommendations given by the self-named ‘snail’ of the route.

As the author says, the Camino de Santiago is different for each person, and during their journey that person will discover things about themselves they never knew before.

I found this book totally enthralling, and reading it, the author has inspired me to walk my own Camino when I can. I have to say though that even if you have no intention of doing the Camino, this book is jam packed with wonderful information about the villages and landscapes which the walk goes through and it is littered with historically interesting facts. – Highly Recommended!

About the Book:

So you’re thinking about walking the Camino de Santiago? Congratulations! This is the book you’re looking for.

This is not your typical travel guide. You won’t find lists of all the towns along the Camino, distances between them, recommended restaurants, tourist must-sees, yadda, yadda, yadda. There are plenty of good Camino guidebooks and apps out there for that. Nor is this a novel, diary, spiritual journal or reference manual. It is some of each… and a lot more!

Here you’ll find advice to enhance YOUR Camino. Practical stuff, like what to pack. What NOT to pack! Tips to keep you safe and healthy. Advice about carrying money. Key Spanish phrases. Stories to entertain you. I keep it light, I keep it simple, and I keep it real.

My experiences and insights on the Camino Francés will help prepare you for the Camino. But I don’t just want to prepare you to walk the Camino… I want to inspire you! My stories, after all, are MY stories, and my experiences are MY experiences. Your job is to get out there and create your own.

Your adventure awaits.

Available from Amazon in Paperbackhttps://www.amazon.com/Pilgrims-Stories-Insights-Pilgrim-Santiago/dp/1981042601/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1536847910&sr=8-1

and Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/Pilgrims-Stories-Insights-Pilgrim-Santiago-ebook/dp/B07CXKNNS9/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=1536847910

 

 

One Sip at a Time: Learning to Live in Provence by Keith Van Sickle

 

Can a two-career couple really pick up stakes and move to Provence?

    

When Californian Keith Van Sickle accepted an overseas work post to the French speaking Neuchatel in Switzerland, he and his wife could have believed that this event would be the stimulus which would change their lives forever.

You see, they loved their time abroad so much that on their return to America they decided to become self-employed as consultants. This decision gave them the flexibility and freedom to follow their dream of living in Provence France for periods of time.

So, together with their dog Lucca, they headed for Provence, and in springtime, for three years they stayed in three different locations, Mollégès in the Bouches-du-Rhône, Ventabren in Aix-en-Provence, and Le Thor in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

They were keen to learn the language, make new friends, and immerse themselves in the culture and customs of this beautiful region of France.

Keith’s wonderfully descriptive writing brings alive for his reader the amazing scenery, majestic mountains, incredible chateaux, beautiful villages and culinary delights which they sampled on their visits, and gives a real feel for living there.

As an expat his experiences made me smile as he so eloquently describes the so very unique ways of the French people. There are many examples of how in many different ways they differ so much from the English, some make you smile and some are downright frustrating, but all are interesting to observe, unless of course you are waiting for something or someone to arrive, when their manana sense of time isn’t funny at all.

Reading this book you get a true sense of how important time spent with family, and friends is in France. They are very patriotic and loyal to their country and region, indeed each department has its own culinary specialities, and festivals to celebrate the harvesting of the local produce.

Who could not be amazed at the incredible range of breads, pastries and gateaux which are offered in the boulangeries, and the wide range of produce which can be bought at the markets which are in all the villages however large or small. These markets really are wonderful to investigate, there you can find everything you need from fruit, and fresh goats cheeses direct from the farm, to chickens ready to lay your breakfast eggs.

I highly recommend this fascinating and entertaining book. Whether you love reading about other people’s lives, want to know more about ‘real’ France, or would like to live or holiday there, this very interesting book will captivate and amuse you.

 

About the Author:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keith Van Sickle grew up in Alameda, California, the son of public school teachers. He got his first taste of overseas life while spending a college term in England and later backpacked around the world for six months.

Grateful for the scholarships that helped him pay for college, in 1987 he started a foundation that helps students from Alameda pursue a college education.

Keith fell in love with Europe during a five-year expat assignment in Switzerland, where he and his wife Val lived in a village with more cows than people. After returning to the US, Keith helped start a company whose product was so geeky that he still doesn’t quite understand it.

Keith and Val dreamed of living abroad again but were unable to find another expat gig. So they decided to invent their own. Now consultants, they and their trusty dog split their time between Silicon Valley and Provence, delving ever deeper into what makes France so endlessly fascinating.

Read more at www.keithvansickle.com

 

About the Book:

Keith and Val had a dream – to live in Provence, the land of brilliant sunlight and charming hilltop villages.

But there were two problems: they weren’t French speakers and they had full-time jobs. So they came up with a plan…

Follow their adventures (and misadventures) as they quit their jobs, become consultants and split their time between two countries. Laugh along as they build a life in Provence, slowly mastering a new language and making friends with the locals over long meals and just a bit too much wine.

This light and breezy memoir is full of wry observations on France, like the power of cheese to sway elections, the right and wrong ways for men to kiss each other, and the law requiring that blood donors must speak French.

If you’ve ever dreamed of changing gears and learning what joie de vivre is really all about, you won’t want to miss this delightful book.

From the Book

Joyeux Anniversaire: The chef had written a cookbook and I bought one for Val, which he signed. His inscription read, “Valérie, vous êtes jeune et délicieuse comme les fèves du printemps” (“Valerie, you are young and delicious like the fava beans of springtime.”) . . . I had so much to learn from the French.

How to Kiss a Frenchman: Here, not far from where we had stayed the year before, it was two kisses on the cheek rather than three. How were we supposed to know this? Was there a border we had crossed but somehow missed the sign? (“Welcome to Eastern Provence. Please Follow the Local Kissing Regulations. And Enjoy Your Lunch, Especially the Asparagus, Which is Delicious Right Now.”)

A Night at the Opera: There are many words that are the same in French and English, like nation, pause, and danger. If I don’t know a word in French, sometimes I will just fake it by using the English word with a French accent. It works most of the time. But you have to be careful. There are words that exist in both languages and have entirely different meanings. These are the infamous faux amis, or “false friends.” Ask Val about the time she shocked her co-workers by talking about preservatives in food. Oops, preservative means “condom.”

Interregnum: France had started to capture our hearts. It wasn’t just a place we visited; it was becoming one of the places we lived. Thomas Jefferson is supposed to have said, “Every man has two countries – his own and France.” Maybe he was on to something.

 

One Sip at a Time is available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/One-Sip-Time-Learning-Provence/dp/0998312002/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/One-Sip-Time-Learning-Provence-ebook/dp/B01N24CGEE/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

and as an Audiobook https://www.amazon.com/One-Sip-Time-Learning-Provence/dp/B073ZLMPVG/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

The Little Bastards by Jim Lindsay

 

A true celebration of life in the 1950’s, this coming of age story encompasses the good, bad and the ugly side of this amazing decade.

Although not a biography, the author of this exciting story has utilised his experience of growing up in these times to make this incredible fiction story really unforgettable.

The main character is Sonny Mitchell and it is he and his group of friends who became known as the ‘Little Bastards’ in Willamette, the small town in America where they grew up.

The story begins in the August of 1954, it is Sonny’s 14th birthday and excitement is in the air when his friend Joe informs him that a train wreck has just happened at the golf course. What did the boys do? Well, just like boys would now, they hopped onto their bikes and raced to take a look, oblivious of the chaos they wreaked in the process.

Thus follows years of carefree existence for the ‘Little Bastards’ intermingled with some scary experiences and life lessons. However generally it’s just good fun as being typical boys they build a hideout, giving them a place to smoke, listen to Elvis and Buddy Holly, and generally learning first-hand about life, sometimes the hard way.

Then as they go through their high school and senior years their interests evolve into the drag racing scene, transforming one of the gang’s 1940 Ford standard coupe into a hot rod. Behind a wheel, with driving licences they are free to do what they want, until life brings them up short when they discover that they are not invincible. A truly sobering time. However, nothing can quelled their zest for life for long and so their adventures to go on, with new things and experiences to discover, the world is their oyster.

The 1950’s was a time of freedom, after the wars and depression anything seemed possible, and life was for living. As we follow Sonny and the other ‘Little Bastards’ on the rollercoaster which was their teenage years, through the author’s wonderfully descriptive writing we are given the opportunity to experience those years in a truly unforgettable story.

 

About the Author:

I was born in Corvallis, Oregon on Feb. 18 1947, and raised on a farm nearby
that sustained my parents, brother Bob, and myself. After 8 years of education in a 2 room grade school, I entered and graduated from Albany Union High School. A stint in the Navy Reserve and a year and a half of college was followed by 42 years of farming. I have 2 children, Caralee and Jake, both of Portland, Oregon, and a girlfriend, Kathie. I live on the same farm with my dog Ruby.

I have several hot rods that I drive and an altered roadster that I drag race. I have developed a disease for land speed racing driving a modified roadster I have built.

After two years of writing my novel “The Little Bastards,” I can truthfully say I also have a disease for storytelling. I plan on starting the “Bastards” sequel next fall.

It is difficult to write a bio without talking a lot about oneself and using a lot of I’s. Pardon me.

 

About the Book:

Sonny Mitchell and his friends are blue collar boys who are bursting out of the restraints of tame suburban life. They yearn for action, fast cars, and something more.
A bond forms between members of his club as they progress from bicycles to hot rods, and take on experiences of white-knuckle street racing, beer guzzling…and girls.
But as these kids approach adulthood, a dark edge jeopardizes lives as some take these new exhilarations too far. It will be up to Sonny to stop a tragedy that could destroy the girl he loves and alter the course of his life forever.

 

Available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Little-Bastards-jim-lindsay/dp/1494356732/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1527238436&sr=1-1

Kindle https://www.amazon.com/Little-Bastards-jim-lindsay-ebook/dp/B00R377NAI/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1527238436&sr=1-1

and as an Audiobook https://www.amazon.com/The-Little-Bastards/dp/B00S6QKZB4/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1527238436&sr=1-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mumbai Matinee by Ajay Kaul

 

The magical lure of Mumbai

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ajay Kaul is an Engineering Manager who received his degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Roorkee, and his master’s degree in business administration from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He loves travel and world history, and in this, his memoir, he has used the substantial time he has spent in Mumbai, to gives his readers the chance to see beneath the surface of this city, the financial capital, and Hollywood of India.

His story begins in February of 1993 when he leaves his home in North India, to accept an internship at Tata Consultancy Services, in the impressive Air India Building, an attraction in the Nariman Point business district of Mumbai. Very quickly he falls in love with the city and so when he graduates the following May as a Chemical Engineer he is happy to return to TCS to work.

Through Ajay the reader is treated to a real glimpse of his life in Mumbai. On his first day he has to forget his mother’s warnings not to eat the food cooked by street vendors, after all he reasons, everyone does so, why shouldn’t he? Just outside his office at his first lunch time he is introduced to Patil, by his mentor Venky. Patil makes pav-bhaji’s at his stall, and Ajay becomes a regular visitor.  Patil’s food is delicious, and soon Ajay discovers that the tale he has to tell about how he became a pav-bhaji seller demonstrates the true entrepreneurial spirit which thrives in Mumbai

Throughout the book the importance of family, and the support the network of family members provides is clear. However, with the passing of the years, the world becomes a smaller place, and the restrictions with strict religious beliefs put on the younger generations can begin to cause problems. There is so much more free will in the modern world, and inter religion marriages are becoming less common. This problem, along with death, crime, and others, are prevalent in today’s society, not only in India but other countries throughout the world. In the telling of this memoir they all have a place.

As we journey with Ajay on the adventure which is his life, we travel to other parts of Mumbai and then farther afield, to the USA when he is accepted into Arizona State University. However, even when he lives in America he is still very much in touch with his family and friends in India, and he loves to visit his beloved Mumbai to catch up with them and watch cricket of course!

In this interesting book, Indian culture, taboos, traditions, food, cricket, and many other things are brought alive by the author, and through his writing we celebrate the amazingly vibrant city which is Mumbai.

 

About the Author:

Ajay Kaul is an engineering manager, writer, and blogger based out of Orange County, California. His work led to him spending a significant amount of time in the city of Mumbai, India, and his stories in Mumbai Matinee show the many different sides of the colorful city.

Kaul received his degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, and his master’s degree in business administration from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He loves traveling and studying world history.

About the Book:

Ajay doesn’t know what to expect when he moves to the bustling city of Mumbai. He himself hails from North India, and the culture shock of the dynamic city takes a bit of getting used to. He’s captivated, though, and Ajay falls in love with the colorful metropolis and its many inhabitants. In the city, he will find love, friendship, and community—but also danger and the threat of disaster.

It all begins in 1993, when Ajay comes to Mumbai on a short internship assignment. He is caught in the shock wave of the 1993 serial bombings. Despite this brush with death, Ajay is determined to learn the secrets of the city.

After graduation, he comes back and finds new stories in the city’s streets. Ajay meets an interfaith couple who teach him about the power of love, a local labor leader who is more than he seems, and a dynamic acting teacher who could become something more. He also suffers another close call more than a decade after the bombings. Still, for every troubling experience, there’s one that pushes Ajay beyond his comfort zone and spurs him to embrace all his adopted city has to offer.

Available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Mumbai-Matinee-Ajay-Kaul/dp/1974413284/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522140804&sr=8-1&keywords=mumbai+matinee

and Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/Mumbai-Matinee-Ajay-Kaul-ebook/dp/B078PS5JYC/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1522140804&sr=8-1

and

Barnes & Noble in Paperback https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mumbai-matinee-ajay-kaul/1127702250?ean=9781974413287

 

 

Lakewood: Reggie and Anita’s Camelot by Reggie Hill

 

Lakewood – A little piece of heaven in this busy world!

For Reggie, Lakewood had been his childhood playground a place for him to explore, learn about nature, and make memories with his beloved Granny Good. Reggie’s grandfather had built a lake on his land there between 1942 and 1943. Post war gasoline was not available and ‘so the lake was built with pans pulled by mules and driven by men.’ Isn’t that amazing, a seven acre lake and a dam built solely by man and animal, surrounded by woods and fields, truly heaven!

Back then Daniel and Annabel Hinson, Reggie’s grandparents recognised what a special place Lakewood was and spent many Sunday afternoons in their trusty pickup atop the highest mountain at Lakewood lovingly gazing down the mountain to the lake.

When Reggie inherited Lakewood from them, he and his wife Anita decided to build a house on the land. Over the years they have been fortunate enough to live in this very special place, observing nature and the seasons. Through their busy careers they have always had Lakewood to return to and have enjoyed the peace and solitude there. This beautiful place, their piece of heaven has a bounty of wildlife, fish in the lake, and has furnished them with wondrous memories, and now they are sharing them with us the readers of this lovely book.

Each page is like a slice of paradise, with beautiful poems about the animals and nature which surrounds Lakewood. Interspersed with these are snippets of Reggie’s memories, precious words which transport us from our modern busy lives into a bygone era, a time when people had time to stand and stare, and children were given time to grow without a keyboard, mobile phone or educational stages to accomplish. I found this wonderful as I too was lucky, I had a childhood like this abet on another continent, and this lovely book brought back memories of special times with my grandparents.

This little book gives its reader something very unique, a place to retreat, far from the madding crowd. The memories, old photographs and anecdotes Reggie shares, and the visions of the natural world which share Lakewood with him make it very special, a book not just to sit on the book shelf but to be carried around until its pages curl and it becomes part of your life. I loved it!

About the Book:

This little book is about a truly blessed paradise, a place of solace for two people who are eternal soulmates.

Lakewood is truly a unique, tranquil and beautiful place. It is a mixture of tress, rolling pastures, and a pristine lake. The authors’ call Lakewood home and have shared it with family and friends for over thirty-seven years.

Lakewood is not just a place full of natural beauty and mystique, but it is a place of precious dreams and memories.

There are stories about the seven-acre lake’s construction during the gasoline shortage of WWII. An amazing combination of mules, men and muscle were the required fuel for its construction.

Other stories recount memorable wild animals, pets, and adventures that the couple, who called Lakewood home, experienced over the thirty-seven years’ worth of adventures.

The authors sincerely hope that this little book brings you peace and solace in this wonderful but sometimes hectic world and you can share in experiencing the magic of Lakewood.

 

Lakewood: Reggie and Anita’s Camelot is available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Lakewood-Reggie-Anitas-Camelot-Hill/dp/1641406267/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1518603284&sr=1-4

and Barnes and Noble in Paperback  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lakewood-reggie-hill/1127920643?ean=9781641406260