Travels with Charley in search of America

is the second book by John Steinbeck that I have read. To be honest, I
don’t like this reading as much as that of Bill Bryson’s, except the
first chapter, which explains men’s dream to travel, which is usually
inhibited by others saying that maturity will cure that infatuation,
and John Steinbeck found that he had waited long enough and should not
wait any longer for death may be coming. So he built (or actually, paid
a car-builder to build) a truck, named it Rocinante, picked up
everything he needed in the road, water, gas, bed, food, beer, wine,
books, notebooks, etc., and of course, his old dog Charlie.

he sets out for a trip. Surprisingly, most of his writings is about his
own thoughts, and occasionally a few conversations with strangers he
meets, and of course, the barking and disease of his dog. He sleeps in
his bed inside the car, he makes food in his car or has canned food,
and he is almost 60 at that time, so his interest in traveling was
already diminished – He might not have that sense, but compared to Bill
Bryson’s book of traveling across America, the reader may feel it.
Although time differs, the old man has too many considerations of road
trip inconvenience, and has made too good preparations; the young man
in his early thirties doesn’t care that much, and writes about people,
towns, and exotic accents he sees and hears on the road, because every
night he rests in a small town and drinks and talks in small town’s
pub. So one may be more retrospective and introspective, the other is
definitely more energetic and optimistic.

That is why the last
chapter is about going back home in Long Island while the previous
chapter starts from New Orland. So many miles of traveling is omitted
in his mind, only because as an old man, he is already settled down in
his home.

So, take a trip when I still have the youth.


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