Travel Adventures of a Worldly Woman
When you’re hitchhiking about in foreign lands, whether in France, Morocco, or perhaps New Zealand, it helps—as California-girl Lisa Alpine discovered—to be “young, blond, persistent, and female.” And to get along, once you’ve reached an approximate destination in hardscrabble exotica, you should be friendly, fearless, and sometimes counter intuitively trusting.
There is daring, humor, and even a bit of Eros in the fourteen stories that span her life from the innocence of eighteen, when she was struck with wanderlust, into middle age. “I am a woman who wanders and wonders and writes,” she explains.
And what wandering there’s been, beginning in Paris, where she tasted art by licking a Monet. In Vienna, she asked an old woman, who turned out to be a survivor of Auschwitz, where she might find cheap lodging and ended up as the woman’s house guest.
She met the chauffeur of Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones in Switzerland and was offered a job babysitting Richards’s two children, but after witnessing a temper tantrum by Richards’s live-in girlfriend, declined and took a job as a bartender, offering free drinks in order to get her slave-driving boss, who held her passport as ransom, to fire her.
She had the sort of inevitable adventure that tests us all, coping with her mother’s dementia before her death on Mother’s Day, 2011. In a bittersweet way, it was probably her most admirable adventure of all.
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