Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Aug 05th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

A Search for the Good Life

AE_laura-fraserAuthor Laura Fraser’s account of coming to terms with and then learning to love her place in the world
Being a woman, a writer and an avid traveler, I was intrigued by Laura Fraser’s new book, “All Over the Map.” Travel writing may sound glamorous, but it can be an exhausting and sometimes frightening job. Many of the world’s farthest flung corners, once you set foot in their squalid streets, no longer seem exotic but downright scary. On the other hand, being a travel writer presents a string of riveting sensory experiences that remain engrained on your memory far after the reality has faded into the past. But perhaps more than a focus on travel writing, Fraser’s book, dubbed a “coming of middle-age memoir” by Booklist, is a look into the life of an independent woman who is coming to terms with her internal struggle for excitement and security. In short, she wants to have someone to come home to.

Fraser, whom you may remember from her sexy, bestselling memoir “An Italian Affair,” has penned the new tome as a follow-up to the first, recounting the many adventures she has had since she reached her fortieth decade. After her marriage ended in divorce and her dreamlike affair with a Frenchman ended in heartbreak, Fraser finds herself at a turning point in her life. A college reunion leaves her further pondering the choices she has made as in this excerpt from the book, “I find myself fantasizing about the men at the reunion—How did I overlook this wonderful guy? Why can’t we run off together now and try again?—but most are married; and not only are there rules about married men, there are delusions, on both sides, about still-single women they may have gazed at in government class or smooched and never slept with decades ago.” The insecurity of pondering past choices sometimes haunts the pages, a feeling that surely resonates with many.

AE_lit2Traveling as a woman alone is not always easy, as Fraser discovered the hard way while on assignment in Samoa. One too many drinks finds her judgment skewed and she ends up with a strange man on a secluded beach, painfully afraid and regretful of her choices in the morning. The harrowing experience left her fragile, frightened and on the verge of losing her wanderlust and self-love. But through the encouragement of friends and the pull of her career Fraser faced her fears and began to travel solo, once again finding the solitude of one’s own thoughts to be a tremendously rewarding experience. “As a traveler, I know it’s impossible to repeat amazing chance experiences, you have to appreciate them fully for the moment you’re there; life is just a series of those present moments, adding up,” a passage from Fraser’s book poetically reads. And one gets the feeling that this author genuinely lives what she says.

As Fraser recounts her multitude of various travel tales such as tangoing in Buenos Aires and traversing the Amazon, she reports not only on her own experiences and struggles, but those of women around the world. Her insightful interviews and watchful eye for uncovering small details about the travails and expectations of women from Argentina to Italy to Rwanda lends “All Over the Map” an exciting, journalistic quality.

Eventually the author finds herself in the quaint city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where she realizes that having a home and family does not have to be that of the traditional sense, but that it is a conscious state of mind that lends one a sense of security and peace.

Part travelogue, part self-help and part romance, as in, “Now it’s been four years, and I know that if this time I do see him again, it won’t be as a lover. But that’s fine, too. I’m moving ahead and haven’t lost those years I spent with him. All those beautiful moments—sipping wine and staring at the volcanoes in the distance, making love with open eyes, wandering around Moroccan alleys holding hands—don’t go away. The love in your life adds up,” Fraser’s “All Over the Map” is a courageous tale of a woman taking her life into her own hands and shaping it into her own wonderful creation. Although it may not be the life she imagined for herself, Fraser is content in her little piece of the world and has made peace with both her past and her unknown future.


Laura Fraser speaks at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 16. Capitola Book Café, 1475 41st Ave., Capitola. For more information, call Capitola Book Café at 462-4415 or visit capitolabookcafe.com.
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 31

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover