Tuesday, February 16, 2010


So, I’ve been three quarters of the way around the world. I just have to close the gap between India and Europe and I’ll have it made. Not a bad milestone to have reached. Can I dream that I’ll make it ALL the way around the globe by the time I reach 60? Why not. Dream big, people say. Learn how to dance the flamenco. Take that course on sculpting. Write that book.

To be honest though, I prefer my globe-trotting through literature. I’m just happier curling up in front of my own fireplace with a good book. Much nicer than flying here and there and staying in hotels where mothballs deter ‘things’ from crawling up the drain. But then I may be slightly biased right now after that really, really long flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver, 11 ½ hours. Took me 2 weeks to get over the jet lag. And I only remember 2 of the 5 in-flight movies I watched.

But when I read, it’s countries outside of my North American home that interest me. I’m proud to say there is a hint of wanderlust in me. I’m just ashamed to say that I don’t want to leave the comfort of my home to experience it. One can get very attached to their pretty bathtub. Their bed and pillow. Their dog. And if you ‘read a journey’ you don’t have to worry about traveler’s—ahem—diarrhea.

Looking back, my literary journeys began to the Swiss Alps when I was 6 years old and had pneumonia. My mother read Heidi to me. When I was a teenager—and again sick in bed with pneumonia—she gave me some of those skinny romance novelettes from Britain. Later I graduated to thicker romances set in exotic locals like the Outback in Australia. If you looked at the back of the paper-backed book, it always gave the cost of the book in Canadian dollars, English sterling, and what it would cost in New Zealand or Australia.

In my later teens I devoured English mysteries, like Victoria Holt or Mary Stewart. It was Mary Stewart who lured me once again outside of the British Commonwealth with her romantic mysteries like 'Madame Will You Talk' set in Greece or 'Airs Above the Ground' set in Vienna. But it was the great M.M. Kaye with her heavy historical tomes set in the exotic land of India that has remained all these years as my very favorite author.

I still shiver with delight over the scene in 'Far Pavilions' of Ash driving his horse to a mad gallop with Anjuli behind him, her arms around his waist. Her long black hair flows out behind them like ribbons of silk as he rides the horse to a lather. Hordes of Anjuli’s jailers from the Rajah’s decrepit palace are right on their tail. And Ash and Anjuli are heading straight for what looks like a solid wall of rock. GASP!!!

It was M.M. Kaye who also took me around Asia as well as Europe in her mysteries—'Death in Zanzibar', 'Death in Berlin', 'Death in the Andaman’s', 'Death in . . . well you get the picture.

Lately it’s been Christian authors like Tricia Goyer, and Jack Cavanaugh with his 'Songs of the Night Series' set in Germany during WW2, who have taken me out of my North American comfort zone. Very recently it’s been Roseanna White with her brilliant 'A Stray Drop of Blood' set in The Holy Land and Rome, and Linore Rose Burkard with her Regency novels.

Thank the Lord for wonderful authors like these. With them around I really don’t need to renew my passport.

But then again . . . I do having that yawning gap between Europe and India to close. Oh well, maybe like old Bilbo there's one more adventure left in me. Maybe two?

To read more about my adventure in India or about my journey as a mother who gave up her child to adoption and subsequent reunion, check out my blog www.christinelindsay.com


  1. I too love reading stories set in countries all around the world, Christine. In fact, now that I have visited and lived in beautiful England especially, I've discovered how much I love reading about a place have actually been to. Also love those English TV series and movies where my husband and I can relive memories of thatched cottages in little English villages, those beautiful winding country lanes where the trees form an archway to drive under. and do hope Australia is on your list of countries to visit in the Southern Hemisphere. Of course, there are other places that do bring back memories not as pleasant. The poverty in the villages in Africa, the slum in Nairobi.
    Thank you for the post, Christine. It has been a reminder and a challenge to this writer that our books set in different places can bring enjoyment just with the settings alone.

  2. Lovely post, Christine.
    Your comment about your long trip - 11 1/12 hours - taking 2 weeks to get over makes me aware of the huge "trip in time" Marion and I will soon take.
    In just over a week we also set out on a long trip, involving (for me) three flights, one of which is 16 hours. We have a one day break to recover before the Florida Christian Writers Conference.
    I also have many vivid memories of my home country, Scotland, and growing up in Rhodesia, before it became the madness of Zimbabwe today. I love to read of those countries, because they still live in my memories.

  3. Sounds like we both grew up reading similar books! My summers were spent reading. The fondest memories I have of my mother are of us visiting the library. We used to frequent the children's library first, I'd come away with a stack, and then move on to the 'big' library where she would get her books. And then one day, we were reading the same books! It was a wonderful bond we shared and I will always be grateful for the way she encouraged me to read and later, write stories of my own. Sadly I can't say it is a genetic trait as both of my children always hated reading for pleasure!! Weird. Maybe once they hit adulthood that will change - my daughter is 20 now and she is more into it, but I think being in university the fact that she 'has' to read kind of puts her off a bit. I pray we will continue to write the stories of our heart, because they will touch somebody somewhere someday!

  4. I, too, have fond memories of my mother reading me Heidi as a child. Later it was Patricia St. John's Treasures in the Snow that made me want to visit Switzerland. I always found books with "exotic" settings more interesting. Why would I want to read about the familiar and ordinary? Books give me a chance to experience a completely different life.

    BTW, Christine, watching the Olympic opening ceremony's cultural celebration made me almost wish to be Canadian!

  5. Hi, Christine: I too was first inspired to write international fiction by M.M. Kaye and Mary Stuart. And I hope if you haven't read them, you'll add Madelaine Brent's wonderful mysteries to the list (the same era as Mary Stuart; Moonraker's Bride was fabulous set with an MK in China.

  6. Christine, great post! I love to escape into stories set in exotic locations and then dream about visiting there one day :-)