Today is a sunny, spring like day in Tasmania. In Australia the seasons begin on the first of the month. So September 1 was the first day of spring here. However I do not celebrate it until the equinox as I don’t think you can fool Mother Nature into thinking it’s spring when there is still bits of snow around parts of the state. In my mind spring is just around the corner.
Our state still has the bridge over the moat closed to mainland Australia due to Covid 19 so we aren’t going anywhere and neither is anyone coming here without 2 weeks of quarantine. Ho hum. We are fortunate we do not have the virus in our state but I feel for people in other parts of the world struggling with it.
On to the book I just finished yesterday. Yes it is another bit of travel writing. I think I’m almost at brain capacity with travel writing as I have been immersed in it for some time. Might be time to move on to something else for awhile.
This book is called Ghost Rider by Neil Peart. Memoir in its nature and perhaps a bit overlong. I was ready for it to end at a couple of points however it continued on.
Neil was a Canadian professional drummer working with the well known band Rush. I had not heard of but that is not unusual. He was married to Jackie with one 19 year old daughter, Selina, he was very close to.
She leaves home to begin university in Ontario and is in a car accident and killed instantly. Of course he and his wife are devastated. Then a couple of months later, Jackie is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Within a relative short amount of time he loses both his daughter and his wife. Then his dog dies. His very best friend in the world is arrested for selling drugs and goes to jail for a couple of years. What does one do in this situation?
He gets on his motorcycle and rides through Canada, the United States and into Mexico.
The book is about his travels which I found really good. He is good at describing the people he meets, the accommodation he stays in and the food he eats. I really enjoyed that.
He is also a big reader and he takes a great deal of life’s lessons from the books he has read and the books he is currently reading. He always visits a book store if one is nearby on his travels
The book also deals with the grief he feels and the loss and confusion of having to begin his life all over again in his late 40’s/early 50s. He has a small home at a lake in Quebec he spends time in and writes about the nature he observes. He is an avid bird watcher and writes of the birds.
He shuns being around many people and instead concentrates on having to keep moving as he is unable to sit still for long. He also hikes, spends time watching the beloved birds and reading a great deal. He has several good friends who live in various parts of North America that he rides his bike to in order to spend time with them.
This is his journey out of grief. I really enjoyed many things about this book.
He keeps a journal regularly and writes down everything that happens to him each day. The book is developed from this journal. He also writes long letters to his best mate in prison and to several friends.
The book is a combination of what he writes in his journal and what he writes in his letters. There isn’t very tight editing in it so it does tend to ramble, especially during the last third of the book. I became weary of the repetition at this point. However by then I was invested enough in his life I did want to know how it ended.
I do wish the editor had been a bit harsher with slashing out some paragraphs.
But overall it is a very good book and it deletes deeply into what people go through with the loss of loved ones and some of his thoughts were enlightening. However I wouldn’t wish the experience on anyone. He addresses what he does with the anger he feels as well.
If travel by motorbikes is of interest to you then there is plenty to keep you entertained in this but it does come with a lot of personal baggage as you can imagine.
The Blurb from Amazon:
On a journey of escape, exile, and exploration, he traveled from Quebec to Alaska, down the Canadian and American coasts and western regions, to Mexico and Belize, and finally back to Quebec. While riding “the Healing Road,” Neil recorded in his journals his progress and setbacks in the grieving/healing process, and the pain of constantly reliving his losses. He also recorded with dazzling, colourful, entertaining, and moving artistry, the enormous range of his travel adventures, from the mountains to the sea, from the deserts to Arctic ice, and the dozens of memorable people, characters, friends, and relatives he met along the way.
Published March 2003 by ECW Publishers. – 400 -pages