The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Places I’ve Gone on Account of a Book

Mostar, Bosnia


I read a book one day and my whole life was changed…Where were the kindred spirits with whom I could talk? Where was the country in which I’d find the dream that spoke to my heart? Where were those who had also read the book? Where?

-Orhan Pamuk. The New Life.

SSarajevo, bibliotech, Bosnia




Vienna, Wien, Austria


Istanbul, Turkey, bridge


House of Terror, Budapest


Drive to Nebraska, sky


12 comments on “Places I’ve Gone on Account of a Book

  1. I’m curious, Paige, in your travels in muslim countries, do you cover your head? If no, have you ever had any problems? What about in the other countries…no fear of going it alone? I was once young and intrepid like you. I spent my semester abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, and traveled to Italy, and Spain, essentially alone, still, I had the time of my life.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      October 12, 2013

      Hi Walter,
      Thanks for all the kind publicity for the blog! I appreciate it. 🙂
      I had no trouble in Bosnia. In Turkey, I was mostly in bigger cities like Istanbul and Izmir, and most of the young women I met didn’t have their heads covered. I didn’t cover unless I went into a mosque, where it is customary and I want to respect that. I met some really cool young girls on a ferry once, half who had their heads covered and the other half who did not. I need to ask if I can write their story!
      Actually, it was in Italy where I found myself getting hassled the most. Next time, I’ll learn how to say “The Pope is just up the street” in Italian. 🙂 Here’s a story on being a blonde abroad:

      I really do enjoy traveling alone. I like planning my own day and going in the random directions I’d like to take. I am cautious though–I try to remember, “If you wouldn’t do it in Denver, don’t do it here.” I watch my surroundings, I don’t head out solo at night. I think some people get in trouble on vacation because they think they are in a movie. Maybe I should blog advice about that…hmm!

      I agree that traveling alone can be a big opportunity! Instead of only chatting with my travel companions, I meet a lot of new people along the way.

      Did you enjoy France?

  2. Browsing the Atlas
    October 12, 2013

    I’ve had to start writing down places I read about in books and want to see for myself. Usually it’s a small park mentioned, or a street in a city, or a hotel. The list keeps getting longer. Never enough time to see it all — especially since I keep on reading.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      October 12, 2013

      Hi Juliann:
      Oh, if you’re looking for parks and streets, that can get intense! 🙂 I was looking for a specific street in Lisbon. I’ll need to write about that encounter. I think reading is a way to see it all, though. I’m quite a bookworm, and places so often are more excellent in my brain. Less public transportation and currency conversions in my mental images. 😀

  3. bethspurplenotebook
    October 13, 2013

    Hi! I’m curious as to what book led you to visit beautiful Nebraska (my home state!). It wouldn’t happen to be something by Willa Cather, would it? 🙂

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      October 13, 2013

      Hi Beth,
      I’m a Hastings College alum, and I taught there for a few years as well. And, yep, Willa led me there once upon a time. Went for the book, stayed for the skies. (I should also credit a Hastings College prospective student book as well.)
      I think your notebook idea is grand. This is where a lot of my stories come from as well, but I am partial to black lined spiral notebooks.

      • bethspurplenotebook
        October 14, 2013

        That’s my alma mater too!! We studied My Antonia during my senior sem and took the tour through Red Cloud.
        Small world 🙂

      • thenicethingaboutstrangers
        October 14, 2013

        Ah, so you were an English major, then? When I taught there, I had my office in the McCormick basement across from Dr. Strasheim. I had been an English and philosophy major myself, and it was fun to be a colleague with my former profs.

        Did you have class with Rich Lloyd? My hero.

  4. bethspurplenotebook
    October 14, 2013

    I was an English major. Unfortunately I never had Lloyd as a professor, but I did have Strasheim. Loved his classes.

  5. johnageddes
    October 14, 2013

    Nice to see your photos and I agree that traveling alone can be a real adventure. I have been to all of the places in the photos above except Nebraska!

  6. twobrownfeet
    October 29, 2014

    Paige, it’s such a lovely thought. Books and even movies inspire us to travel and discover new places. Probably, even music. Really like the way you match your captions with photographs!

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