Book Review: “The Blind Masseuse” by Alden Jones

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The_Blind_Masseuse The Blind Masseuse, A Traveler’s Memoir from Costa Rica to Cambodia” written by Alden Jones, was a delectable read. This memoir was written with such oomph that I wanted to savor every microscopic and grand delicious life chapter of her travels.   I zoomed through the beginning, anxiously flipping the pages.  Quickly, I realized at that rate, I would be through the book pronto and allotted myself to read only one chapter at a time, for I wanted more stories.  Twice I looked up when reading about her journey through the Bolivian market and realized that I was in America snuggled into an easy chair and not teleported walking alongside her admiring the smells, colors, flavors and textures that she described with intense vivaciousness.

Jones shared with the audience her love of Cuba and a few magic phrases, one called “academic calendar”, which inarguably assists any wanderlust adventurer survive the rigors of the school year.  She identified the idea of reverse culture shock and became overwhelmed with the copious amounts and price tags of clothing options upon her return to America.  Like numerous memoirs, she had internal debates on when to or not to be a tourist or traveler and to enjoy or turn her nose at American luxuries.

She was entranced with the charm of the unfamiliar and experienced the joys of complete immersion of herself in the culture by speaking the native tongue.  She embraced the opportunity to improve her Spanish grammar by taking language lessons in Nicaragua. She understood the consequences of a consistent uprooted life in regards to a career and family for the search of a perfect travel moment. She made scandalous friends with the risqué locals and left lovers to lead trips to Fiji and New Zealand.  (I would too.)  She visited ex co-workers in Bolivia and succumbed to trying the local liquid.  She taught on a retired cruise ship for Semester at Sea and embraced the chance to be part of a 100 day “voyage of discovery” by traveling on her shore time with co-workers and comrades.  She challenged social acceptances surreptitiously behind grimy bus windows in Burma.  Jones penned a lovingly beautiful thank you and “this is what I think of you” letter to her inspiration that sparked her delight of exoticism with books and language that would lead to the most incurable disease, the fated travel bug.

This book is immensely engrossing and captivatingly enchanting.  I am painfully envious I have not lead her life!  I have omitted additional tales including the event for the title of this memoir, for I do not wish to be called a rotten tomato.  This book is a terrific read while traveling or when one needs an escape or a hiatus elsewhere.  With the holidays rapidly approaching, I would pick up this book for any traveler in my life that has ever tempted and teased the ideas of traveling to Cuba, teaching abroad or booking a Round-the-World airplane ticket.  Perfect travel moments are waiting for you!

Disclosure: A free copy of this book was given to a volunteer with the expectation that a fair and honest review would be written of it.

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Jill Otradovec

by Jill Otradovec

Jill thrives on travel has been fortunate to be a road tripper and train traveler. She’s visited all 48 contiguous U.S. States with the impressive assistance of sofas and floors belonging to friends and family and a fantastic mechanic. Though her current passport has one stamp and a pathetic layer of dust, she is a card holder of the Smithsonian Institution and National Park Service (which have been used this year).

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