Travels With Charley-Review

I was born and raised in Illinois. I have had the pleasure of seeing New York City, Washington D.C., and many parts of Wisconsin. In college, I was able to study abroad and see England, Scotland, Belgium, Germany, and France. One of the most sudden realizations I had was that I knew very little of my own country.

Very few Americans I have talked to have seen much of the United States. There are a lot of reasons for this. People have jobs and families, traveling can be expensive, and the United States is a massive country (3rd largest behind Russia and Canada). The United States has a very diverse landscape and diverse people. In an effort to learn more about my country, I began reading travel books.

I have a bad habit of buying more books than I read, and Travels with Charley was one of those books that had been sitting on a shelf untouched.

The books begins with Steinbeck talking about his wanderlust. He says this restlessness is natural in every American because we are a nation of wanderers and immigrants. Steinbeck buys a large trailer which he converts into a make-shift home, and he travels across the country with his dog Charley.

It is a venture of faith, to travel in such a way. I can hardly imagine it, but it sounds appealing. It sounds like freedom. Steinbeck ¬†writes about Montana and Wisconsin as if God can be found there. He excels in finding beauty in places people normally don’t think to look.

The book has given me a new appreciation for my country and, like all travel books I read, has given me a restless soul. What are some things you would like to see before you die?

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