A Pink Suitcase: 22 Tales of Women’s Travel
(World Traveler Press, 2015)
edited by Jana Graber
reviewed by Ceridwyn Parr Buy at Amazon
A Pink Suitcase is a mouth-watering package of intriguing travel tales well told. Most stories involve a woman stretching well out of her comfort zone in a far-away part of the world.
Encountering a bear in the woods, meeting a tall and handsome stranger on a dark night in India, being groped in Bangladesh, getting lost in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, and running a half marathon in the intense humidity of French Polynesia- these are just of few of the stories.
Often the writer has needed to make a journey away from something at home, and has found a degree of self-knowledge and acceptance on her travels. Often the experience of doing something so far out of the ordinary has set her on a different course for the future.
Always the stories are well crafted and well edited, and a pleasure to savour. You may need an atlas to pinpoint some places, and you will need a firm hand on the credit card. A Pink Suitcase is the perfect book to read in your lunch hour at work, so you can begin to imagine your own intrepid adventures.
The twenty two stories in A Pink Suitcase have been collected and edited by Janna Graber, who has also edited two other anthologies of travel writing, for World traveller Press. Her own story about being exposed to child prostitution in Thailand while travelling with her own daughter is particularly poignant and challenging.
When I read travel books, I make a little check for authenticity. To assess whether the tales ring true, or if the advice is likely to be accurate,I choose a section from a country familiar to me and see if it is consonant with my experience. In this case, the chapter set in New Zealand is about the first bungy jump attempted by Sally Wendkos Olds, at the age of 73. While this activity will never be on my to-do list, everything Sally has written about the lake and mountains of Queenstown, the way the guide speaks, and the terrifying drop into the gorge sounds scarily authentic.
Travel writing not only entices the curious to travel, it can also provide vicarious thrills, relieving me of the need ever to bungy jump in my life. Whatever your motive, do pick up this Pink Suitcase and march off into the unknown.