Some of the best travel stories are those that weave together the author’s story and the feelings with the place they are visiting. This is what I loved so much about Traveling with Pomegranates, a mother-daughter story written by Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees, and Ann Kidd Taylor. Over ten years they traveled from their respective homes in South Carolina to ancient sites in France, Greece and Turkey.
The two take turns sharing their experiences, spliced with thoughts on two very different points in life. One is a recent college graduate and another a recent empty nester, both looking for what’s next. The strong women seek wisdom from the strong women that came before them, at the House of the Virgin Mary in Ephesus, at the Chapel of the Black Virgin at Rocamadour and the Sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone in Eleusis, among others.
But as much as the book is about the act of travel and exploration, it is just as much about finding yourself. Sue talks about the first time she fell in love with her house in Charleston, thinking, “I belong to this place.” Soon after, she was captivated by an idea that came to her in a dream and over time became her bestselling novel. Ann, on the other hand, is going through what I know all too well, the lost feeling after graduating from college and ending a relationship. It took her second trip to Greece to figure out where her future would take her.
I purchased a signed copy from my local bookstore and shared it with my mom and grandmother. We each wrote notes in the margins and underlined quotes that stood out to us. What passages they marked are ones that I may have skimmed over, but they forced me to read again. Traveling with Pomegranates is a great title for your book club or just to pass around with a group of friends. I’ve reread this book recently, following a life-changing trip to Turkey. It has just as much of an impact years later.
Admittedly, this book isn’t for everyone, as there are lots of references to Greek mythology that the reader may need to look up and lots of reflective journal-like chapters that have little to do with the destination. It doesn’t quite have the same style as Eat Pray Love or other books that combine travelogue and memoir, but is equally personal.
>> Check out Traveling with Pomegranates on Amazon.