After retiring early, in 2017 my husband and I boarded a one-way flight to Rome with only four suitcases and a beer cooler full of insulin to begin our dream trip--a year of living in Europe. The dream was to live like locals, find out-of-the-way restaurants, and watch the seasons change. But behind every dream, there is the reality.
Our journey began with the twin challenges of reconnecting our post-retirement lives and finding affordable insulin to manage my Type 1 diabetes. Along the way, we dodged political unrest in Barcelona and navigated water restrictions in Egypt.
Through the ups and downs of travel, we started to rebuild our lives together… and look for a little adventure.
Idea: Saylor is a gifted writer. Her sensory descriptions give the reader a strong sense of place, as if they are right there with her, experiencing all the joyful sights, smells, and tastes of her travels.
Prose: This memoir covers much physical and emotional ground. Braving the World illustrates what it is like to travel with a longtime partner, how to manage a disease abroad, and the pitfalls of trying to plan everything when new places are inherently unpredictable.
Originality: Braving the World is a successfully written non-traditional guidebook. Though the book has the ingredients of a truly good travel memoir, complete with tips, tricks, and even recipes, it shines in its illustrations of the many anxieties of travel planning. On top of being a chronic planner, Saylor is also a Type 1 diabetic—her descriptions of exactly how she made this trip feasible will greatly benefit readers who want to travel the world, but aren't sure if they have a condition that might prevent it.
Character Development/Execution: Saylor is careful to describe herself in an honest way, including her likes, worries, and even character flaws. Her diabetes management gives a greater sense of who she is as a person, and often mirrors how she tackles other challenges throughout her travels. Though her husband Dave could be described more at times, the reader gets a great sense of their relationship and how they move in the world together.
Blurb: A touching and helpful memoir that shows how spending a year abroad can be more accessible than most think.
Date Submitted: October 21, 2021
After 2020, many of us are suffering from a major case of wanderlust. It feels like a vibrant breath of fresh air to experience other land and cultures through the eyes of one intrepid couple.
"One can feel Saylor’s passion for travel coming off the pages – she paints each moment well, whether it’s the food, the sites, or local color, which is so crucial for a travel memoir."