In July 1968 two sisters, both in their early 20s, said goodbye to family and friends and got on a train in Buenos Aires with $250 in traveler's checks and a goal: to get to the United States. The author, Alicia Beatriz Antico Anderson, says it best, "I wanted to embrace the unknown, to risk, to reach out to the worthy and positive charged side of life, the one I craved." On Daring and Life is a memoir written from journals and letters penned during the journey and chronicling the bold adventure taken with her sister Marta, 46 years ago.
I believe some daring in life is healthy. So, my interest was piqued when I saw the title of this book. I assumed it would be a thriller full of excitement and danger. After all, it was about two young women who traveled alone from Argentina, through South and Central America to the United States.
A modern day thriller it's not, and still I was pleasantly impressed. This is a thoughtful, well-written book. It has a travelogue feel with descriptions of the cities and countryside the sisters traveled through, the various modes of transportation they used, and the food they enjoyed. Underneath is the harsh reality that without a definitive travel plan and adequate funds they were going to have to trust in the kindness of strangers. This fact brought with it a great deal of fear. Having plenty of time in-between places and events gives the author time for reflection. Chapters shift from travel experiences to thoughts about her life in Argentina and memories of her mother and father, their lives, and the expectations they had for hers. In her heart she believes that the United States holds the promise to change her life.
Traveling over 5000 miles mostly by train and bus is in itself daring. The travel hours were long, often over uncertain roads, with uncertain people. Still the sisters persevered. Performing a searching and moral inventory to find oneself, and then share it on the pages of a book, as Ms. Anderson has done, is no less daring. I remember my own need to understand myself and my place in the world 46 years ago, in 1968. I admire Alicia and Marta's courage. Theirs was a journey of faith and of hope: to be the best they could be in their new life. On Daring and Life is an inspirational story of self-awareness and self-realization.
Alicia Beatriz Antico Anderson was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She graduated with honors from the University of Colorado at Denver. She has taught Spanish, French and ESL to children and adults. Ms. Anderson lives in Maryland and Florida with her husband Carl. They have two children. Visit her Facebook page.
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