Can you imagine quitting your job and selling your house and possessions to travel the world for an indefinite amount of time?
I can, and I can’t.
Adventurous Leslie, who existed in college and for a few years afterwards, would consider this. Mom Leslie, who exists now, of course would not.
Adventurous Leslie who is somewhere still deep inside of me (maybe??) especially appreciated The Yellow Envelope: One Gift, Three Rules, and A Life-Changing Journey Around the World, a memoir by Kim Dinan that reads as a travel and relationship diary. It is honest, engaging, and beautifully descriptive about many places in the world I will likely never see firsthand.
It is, however, the additional element of the “yellow envelope” that moves the memoir beyond just another story of a couple traveling the world.
The “Yellow Envelope” includes a sum of money given to the couple before they leave on their journey. They are instructed to give the money away on their travels as they see fit. The only rules are: don’t overthink it, share the stories of giving if they choose, and don’t feel obligated to give it all away.
What I loved most about these stories is that they showed the good in the world. The author has extra money to give away to people who help her, and she does, sometimes, but sometimes she allows the people to help because they want to give what they can to her. Yes, there is hate and horror in the world but there is more good and beauty. We must always remember that.
These stories also appealed to my no-longer-so adventurous side. Because I have to admit I don’t feel adventurous at all anymore. I can’t imagine riding a train in Europe by myself – with no cell phone – as I did 20 years ago.
I can’t at this point magine going to India even though it fascinates me.
The author though is transformed in India, where she participates in a rickshaw race across the country with two other women.
“I held the thought of India in my mind. What was it about that country? Something big had happened to me there, an inner shift from one way of being to another. India had forced me to surrender. I realized, to uncurl my fingers, loosen my grip, and let go. And the world had not crumbled around me–just the opposite. The world had come to my aid and shown me that I could be so much more if I let my guard down and revealed myself.”
Although I could not imagine following her path I applaud anyone who can. I can now understand her confusion here:
“More than once I’d lamented to Brian about how backward I thought it was that our culture accepted that people spent lots of money on houses and new cars and buried themselves under mountains of debt but that saving up a tiny pile of cash and then spending it on traveling could be considered irresponsible and selfish.”
She loved how fellow travelers asked her where she had been instead of what she did for a living.
The book shows all that can be gained through travel, especially through the kind of travel that is not “comforts of home repackaged in a foreign land” but travel that makes you “enter other worlds.” This is the difference between vacationing and traveling, she notes.
I am thankful I did at one point experience some of this type of travel for myself, and though my sense of adventure has lessened, traveling gave me much that I will have in me always. And I appreciate this book for reminding me of that.
Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to download this book in exchange for an honest review.
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, you will not pay any extra but I may make a small commission. Thank you for supporting Leslie’s Bookcase.