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Tuesday, 04 March 2014 09:19

The Reading List: Unbridled

By  Marika Flatt


A Memoir To Make Your Own 

I’ve been a freelance travel writer for more than a decade. Still, I rarely travel solo. I am usually with my husband. Or the kids. Or both. Until now. 

In preparation for an upcoming solo voyage, I read Barbara McNally’s memoir, “Unbridled.” I flew through this book and it left me with inspiration to try new experiences, be open to new adventures and, in general, live a more laid back life.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t expect to follow Barbara’s same path or have the same experiences she had, but the life lessons she shares in the book are sage advice for all women, no matter the age.

Barbara was raised a very staunch Baptist, ran into a marriage right after college, had two fantastic daughters, and, after a few decades, her marriage crumbled. Lost and alone, Barbara was inspired by some risqué photos of her free-spirited grandma to throw caution to the wind and head to Ireland to explore her roots and “find herself.”

On this first solo trip, Barbara encounters some frustrating (yet, typical) travel experiences early on, such as lost luggage, rental car issues and feeling navigationally challenged. Initially, she feels panic and then remembers the relaxed attitude of the grandma she loved so much, and is reminded to relax and go with the flow.

This hits home for me because I live a fairly scheduled life with three busy kids, running a business with my husband and just the day-to-day of life. With my type A personality, I could use a little relaxation inspiration. Plus, I too was very close to my Irish grandma and a trip to Ireland is on my bucket list.

Barbara’s lessons whisper through my ears nearly every day now—even when I’m not solo exploring. I hear her words of carpe diem, not to be so uptight and as the Cajuns say : Laissez les bons temps rouler, a French phrase that is literally translated to "Let the good times roll."

So even though I hope to never be without my husband, don’t plan to visit a hedonistic resort in the Caribbean, and might not walk in her shoes, Barbara has gifted me some important daily inspiration. I will try harder to go with the flow and  enjoy each and every day I’m given.

Visit for more information or to purchase your own copy.

Unbridled, Balboa Press/ a division of Hay House, $14.95

- Marika Flatt

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