Sarah D. Tiedemenn is the author of Traveling with Baggage: A Guide for the Hesitant Hiker. She is an East Coast native that had flown as far she could get away from New Jersey. In doing so, she found herself attending school in Hawaii. She was called back to the East Coast, where she currently resides, by something that we may simultaneously both hope for and are afraid of, love. This marriage not only led her to her soul mate, but to a life of mistakes, learned experiences, and solutions.
Traveling with Baggage is a grocery list of do’s and don’ts pertaining to the outdoors. It’s skittled with some authentic accounts and humorous anecdotes in sections, but mostly is broken down into an outline of easy to reference topics. While this may be helpful to some, I found it a little distracting. Only because I was expecting to read a memoir, but with the choppiness, I kept referring to the center aligned bolded topic preceding most paragraphs. I believe it took away from Sarah’s book and I sometimes felt like I was reading a manual that was trying to tell a story.
So, aside from my personal views on the structure of this book, let me tell you why you should read it. The uniqueness lies in the fact that Sarah suffers from her own personal neurosis. She’s riddled with an anxiety and fear that most Americans deal with every day, some behind closed doors. In fact, she tells you exactly why her fears are more of a catalyst than a handicap. From her upbringing, through her adult years, and on her adventures, she doesn’t hold back on her personal accounts. I love her honesty and you can even surmise the type of person she is through her words.
Even though there were points I didn’t wholly agree with, like her almost OCD nature on building the perfect itinerary, she does explain her point of view. I understand that tips and tricks are based on life experiences and not everyone will always take the same knowledge gleaned from certain situations. So, on a humble note, her explanations found me having talks with myself as to why should I be so judgmental when this woman is doing what she needs to do to get out there. She shares pertinent information so that others don’t make similar mistakes and become discouraged.
This book is novice-adventurer-friendly as it doesn’t contain intricate information about gear reviews, what to look for in mountaineering guides, or what classes you should take regarding first aid skills. Too much over the top info could make your head swim, especially if you’re just starting out. It’s not a memoir filled with descriptions of dreamy destinations that would make our earth porn tendencies stand up and take notice. (How’s that for a metaphor!)
It is, however, a book filled with the need-to-know basics of Adventuring 101. She touches on plenty of key points regarding how to stay safe in a certain environment, for example. Now, she’s not a ninja assassin by trade, but rather a practical woman with bonafide experiences under her belt. I mean, who would you trust more? I don’t think ninjas go camping regularly …
Sarah has lived through and garnered enough knowledge that she’s able to compile them into a paperback, give you the proverbial swift kick in the butt, and get you on your way! If you’re looking to start adventuring, but have fears or just aren’t sure where to begin, referring to Sarah’s book for “true north” will be an inspiration. See ya out there!
Much love and Aloha,
your clueless wanderer…
Click here to checkout her website.
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Note: This book review was done after Sarah had contacted me and sent me a copy of her book, non gratis. This reflection of her book is my honest viewpoint and my opinion was in no way swayed by any other entities, factors, or anomalies. Boo ya!