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GO GIRL: Finding Adventure Wherever the Road Leads
Marlee LeDai
Christian Living
ISBN: 0800759710

Did you know that 75 percent of those who take nature, adventure, or cultural trips are women? According to GO GIRL by Marlee LeDai, the average adventure traveler is a forty-seven-year-old woman who wears a size-twelve dress. LeDai herself has had a bit of adventure. Right out of college she spent two years working her way around the world, during which time she managed to have a number of interesting experiences including swimming with sharks.

Now, with adult children, LeDai continues to indulge her wanderlust and encourages others to do the same. Whether you have the means to take a trip to another country or just to a neighboring county, LeDai's message is clear: "Go!"

For LeDai, traveling isn't about where you go; it's about what happens to you when you go. "Even if you're just up for a hike around the block, this book is written for you. It is not about taking dream vacations. It is not about luxury cruises, whirlwind tours to glamorous cities, or the best hotels. This book is about the adventure that is already within you," she writes.

Brimming with information and inspiration, GO GIRL is part guidebook, part travel journal, and part cheerleader. LeDai weaves together her own adventures with practical tips (Five Big Travel Mistakes to Avoid; Healthy, Cheap Eats on the Road; No-Cost Souvenirs, etc.) and travel stories of women from the Bible, medieval Europe, and modern women who've all hit the road at some point or another. And what makes this book so unique is its emphasis on the distinctly spiritual ramifications of travel.

"'I am the door,' Jesus said of his place in people's lives. Then he refers to a going 'in and out' to find pasture. Of his sheep he adds, 'I have come that they may have life more abundantly.' In evangelical terms, salvation is an issue of our eternal destiny, and Jesus is the threshold. In a broad sense, salvation is a matter of God actually inviting us to explore life by passing over that threshold on a regular basis in order to experience it abundantly.

This exploration is a great adventure in whatever form it takes. It includes our life work, doing what we are gifted for to bless the world. It includes time off to reinvent our inner resources, rejuvenate our inner lives, rebuild our grace. The idea of vacations, based on the original 'holy days' of the church, means to vacate your residence, implying a change of location and routine. Vacations are where people sanctify their workaday lives, engage in physical activities that are fun or challenging, traverse a landscape they're not used to. What will you do with your forty-some hours of vacation? Will it be meaningful, pleasurable, and inspirational too?" she asks.

It's hard to argue with LeDai's enthusiasm and experience, and under her influence you might find yourself motivated to put "renew (or apply for) passport" on your to-do list. But whether you ever leave your backyard or not, GO GIRL will help you see the world in a new way, and therefore become a better traveler. For, as LeDai writes, "What is clearly characteristic of people who travel well is the fact that adventure is more a way of seeing than it is an active undertaking."

After a few paragraphs musing practical and spiritual perspectives on feet, LeDai writes, "Our feet, clad in protective shoes, are what enable us to participate fully in our own adventures. So let us step beyond the mundane. Grab your hiking boots or strappy sandals --- red or not. Know that something extraordinary will be required of you. Your shoes will get scuffed. Your feet may get blisters and be sore and achy, and surely, tired. But we'll explore our resourcefulness and God's grace even as we gaze upon the wonders of the world."

In a phrase, "Go girl!"

   --- Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel

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