Friday, June 7, 2013

Around the World in 72 Days by Jason Marks

Publicity Race (Race Around the World Week)

Around the World in 72 Days by Jason Marks is a short biography that recounts the amazing journeys of reporter Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochrane) from the New York World newspaper and associate editor Elizabeth Bisland from Cosmopolitan Magazine as they attempt to race each other around the world in 72 days. The year is 1889 and as a publicity stunt New York World newspaper decides to send a female reporter around the world to beat Phileas Fogg’s fictional record of 80 days. Enter Nellie Bly. Cosmopolitan Magazine gets wind of this and wants in on the action.  Enter Elizabeth Bisland. Nellie was a spunky go-getter. Elizabeth was a dignified Southern gentlewoman. Both were adventurous and daring considering that was the Victorian age when
Nellie Bly
unescorted women were a bit of a novelty. The ladies were given almost no warning.  Nellie had two days.  Elizabeth had less than a day.  Nellie brought only the dress she was wearing, an overcoat, her cold cream, and a couple of extra underwear in a bag that’s smaller than my purse. Elizabeth came with a steamer trunk (more my style). Nellie headed east. Elizabeth headed west. Nellie, who didn't even know she was racing against another woman until she reached Hong Kong, took time to stop and visit Jules Verne, author of
Around the World in Eighty Days,
at his home in France.   The
Elizabeth Bisland
women visited exotic countries and saw snake charmers, botanical gardens, and were carried on sedan chairs by coolies. It was an exciting adventure.  Nellie even came home with a monkey.  I really enjoyed this book, mainly because the story was true. The only thing I found a tad distracting is that the author referred to Jules Verne's character as Phineas Fogg instead of Phileas Fogg. Regardless, it was an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime trip, the stuff dreams are made of, or in this case, the stuff classic books are made of. 


Carhenge, by Allinace, Nebraska
Not to brag, but I too had a once-in-a-lifetime trip. It wasn't around the world on ships and trains.  It was through eight states in an RV. It wasn't a solo excursion. Together there were three adults, one tweenie (12), and one brooding teenager (16). We didn't cover 25,000 miles, we whittled it down to 3,600 miles. We didn't see snake charmers, coolies, Buddhist temples, or a leper colony. But we did see Devil’s Tower in Wyoming where I broke a faucet that spouted bigger than Old Faithful and my husband quickly gave me up.  “My wife did it!” he told the grounds keeper.  My son braved contaminated campground swimming pools.   “It’s okay, mom, the turd was at the other end.” We saw majestic Mount Rushmore where even the grandeur and enormity of it didn't get my teenage daughter to crack a smile. We watched a shootout in Deadwood, rode a steam train in Hill City, South Dakota, and watched people roll their kayaks on the Arkansas River in Salida, Colorado.  We had a blast at Donkey Derby Days in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Raced to every scenic overlook in Mesa Verde to see the amazing Anasazi dwellings. We got to see Carhenge, in Alliance, Nebraska.  This is the replica of Stonehenge in England.  I loved it!  We raced around posing for photos. Everyone was excited.  My daughter skillfully hid her excitement. She insisted on wearing her hoodie, covering most of her face even in the 90° weather. She looked like Darth Vader. But I think Darth Vader did crack a smile once or twice. We rode recumbent bikes, roasted marshmallows, and watched DVDs together in the evenings.  And while we didn't come home with a monkey, we came back with memories that will instantly put smiles on our faces. I wouldn't trade that trip for the world. 

1 RV
5 People
8 States (WY, SD, NE, CO, UT, MT, AZ, NM)
14 Days
3,600 Miles
1 trip of a lifetime.

Happy reading, happy vacationing!

Good or bad, what’s your most memorable vacation trip?

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