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Traveling the Two-Lane: A Memoir and Travelogue

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Inching through rush-hour traffic at the age of sixty-three, it dawned on Marilyn that she was also inching through life. At that moment, she decided to make the journey of her dreams—a long vacation, a year or more alone in a van. She spent months preparing to escape her settled home and habits, and in June of 2004, she got on the road. Destination: Alaska. A lifetime of Inching through rush-hour traffic at the age of sixty-three, it dawned on Marilyn that she was also inching through life. At that moment, she decided to make the journey of her dreams—a long vacation, a year or more alone in a van. She spent months preparing to escape her settled home and habits, and in June of 2004, she got on the road. Destination: Alaska. A lifetime of memories accompanied her. As she drove, explored, and hiked, she pondered her past. Marilyn grew up gay at a time when homosexuality was not only illegal, but also considered a mental illness. For decades, she led a dual existence, trying to be “normal” while fantasizing about girls and women. Driving the two-lane back roads of North America, Marilyn grappled with her ever-present past and an uncertain future. "Traveling the Two-Lane" is the story of these two journeys—a solo sojourn across North America and a lifetime navigating as a closeted and conflicted lesbian in a world with changing opinions about same-sex love. Witnessing the riches of nature and genius of humankind while recognizing the evils of both, Marilyn confronts her past to better live her present.


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Inching through rush-hour traffic at the age of sixty-three, it dawned on Marilyn that she was also inching through life. At that moment, she decided to make the journey of her dreams—a long vacation, a year or more alone in a van. She spent months preparing to escape her settled home and habits, and in June of 2004, she got on the road. Destination: Alaska. A lifetime of Inching through rush-hour traffic at the age of sixty-three, it dawned on Marilyn that she was also inching through life. At that moment, she decided to make the journey of her dreams—a long vacation, a year or more alone in a van. She spent months preparing to escape her settled home and habits, and in June of 2004, she got on the road. Destination: Alaska. A lifetime of memories accompanied her. As she drove, explored, and hiked, she pondered her past. Marilyn grew up gay at a time when homosexuality was not only illegal, but also considered a mental illness. For decades, she led a dual existence, trying to be “normal” while fantasizing about girls and women. Driving the two-lane back roads of North America, Marilyn grappled with her ever-present past and an uncertain future. "Traveling the Two-Lane" is the story of these two journeys—a solo sojourn across North America and a lifetime navigating as a closeted and conflicted lesbian in a world with changing opinions about same-sex love. Witnessing the riches of nature and genius of humankind while recognizing the evils of both, Marilyn confronts her past to better live her present.

47 review for Traveling the Two-Lane: A Memoir and Travelogue

  1. 4 out of 5

    N.N. Light

    I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir/travelogue. I reminded me of my own crossroads adventure leaving my family behind and moving to a new country, all for love. :) Highly enjoyable and I highly recommend! My Rating: 5 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rosie Amber

    Travelling The Two-Way is travelogue and memoir of author Marilyn Berman. At aged 63 she boldly set off travelling across Northern America for 18 months from her home in Atlanta. In a decked out campervan and her trusty SatNav Marilyn headed off on May 1st 2004 with an ultimate aim of reaching Alaska. Marilyn's journey was both physical and mental, hence the book title. For the majority of Marilyn's life she struggled with her sexual orientation and found she lived a double life. The one she show Travelling The Two-Way is travelogue and memoir of author Marilyn Berman. At aged 63 she boldly set off travelling across Northern America for 18 months from her home in Atlanta. In a decked out campervan and her trusty SatNav Marilyn headed off on May 1st 2004 with an ultimate aim of reaching Alaska. Marilyn's journey was both physical and mental, hence the book title. For the majority of Marilyn's life she struggled with her sexual orientation and found she lived a double life. The one she showed her family, the world where she tried to lead a "normal" life and the second life where she met with and had relations with other women. The second life forced into secrecy and hiding so often by legislation and closed minds of those around her. By taking to the open road, Marilyn met new people and experienced the riches of the world. She met Maureen an art teacher who helped women in need and took Marilyn to discover the head waters of the great Mississippi river. In Rugby, North Dakota she stopped at the geographical centre of North America. In Calgary she visited the Glacier National Park and in Winnipeg the Mennonite Heritage Village. At Thunder Bay she found the Terry Fox memorial for a man who fought cancer and raised $25million dollars for cancer research before he died aged just 22 years old. She changed her mind about visiting Alaska, heading to Maine for the winter where she rented a house for six months because it would be too cold in her campervan. Here she was welcomed to a tiny community and found people didn't judge her, they accepted her. In the spring she set off once again and discovered Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, before travelling down to New Mexico to meet friends and finally returning to Atlanta. An interesting book about fighting for the right to live your life as you want while enjoying the experiences of the world's riches. My favourite lines were these; "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways...totally worn out, screaming 'WOO-HOO, What a ride!'"

  3. 4 out of 5

    Java Davis

    Book Review: Traveling the Two-Lane, Marilyn Berman it took me a long time to read this book because it was so rich, I often couldn’t absorb more than one or two chapters, or even one page, at a time. In her 60s, tightly wound, and a life-long closeted lesbian, the author decided to break free of her own shackles and go on an extended road trip. She bought a van, had it retrofitted for the road, and charted a strict itinerary, heading for Alaska. To her credit, Dr. Berman decided it was about the Book Review: Traveling the Two-Lane, Marilyn Berman it took me a long time to read this book because it was so rich, I often couldn’t absorb more than one or two chapters, or even one page, at a time. In her 60s, tightly wound, and a life-long closeted lesbian, the author decided to break free of her own shackles and go on an extended road trip. She bought a van, had it retrofitted for the road, and charted a strict itinerary, heading for Alaska. To her credit, Dr. Berman decided it was about the journey rather than the destination. It was about seeing sites, experiencing new things, meeting new people, and reconnecting with old friends. She drove in a somewhat haphazard manner around the United States and Canada for eighteen months, giving the reader insightful descriptions of her travels and what she took with her when she moved on. Counterbalancing this exceptional travel writing is the author’s remembrances of painful or embarrassing moments in her past that still plagued her. I was rooting for her to feel better about herself, and by the end of the book, I felt that she had reached this. This book is not just a fascinating, wonderful, travel read, it’s also a keeper, because I’m betting that I will want to read it again sometime. I am grateful to an agent of the author who offered me the opportunity to review this book. -- Java Davis http://theroadtripwriter.com/reviews

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Part travelogue, part memoir, this book is clunky and rather boring. She has a hard time connecting her past with her present in a satisfying way. I read this because she was a classmate of my dad's, and I applaud her effort, but I think this would have been better if she wrote it as a linear memoir. Sloppy editing increased the bland reading experience.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Angela DeCaires

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carol

  7. 4 out of 5

    Einat Toledano

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kazi Saykat

  9. 5 out of 5

    Linda Edmunds

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sheila Wood

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jules

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hj Mcclellan

  13. 4 out of 5

    BookLogix

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elaina

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Parker

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Robinson

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  18. 5 out of 5

    LD

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

  20. 5 out of 5

    gnarlyhiker

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amy Katherine Wolff

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jennie Helderman

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Kraemer

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary

  25. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jewel Star

  27. 4 out of 5

    Samra

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  29. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

  31. 4 out of 5

    Xty

  32. 4 out of 5

    Connie Steckel

  33. 5 out of 5

    Cat

  34. 4 out of 5

    Bharti Bhagat

  35. 5 out of 5

    Ms.

  36. 5 out of 5

    Blow Pop

  37. 4 out of 5

    Angelia

  38. 4 out of 5

    Carol Koepsell

  39. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  40. 5 out of 5

    Chelsey

  41. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  42. 4 out of 5

    Olga Malinowska

  43. 5 out of 5

    Mary Jones

  44. 5 out of 5

    Radhika Nair

  45. 5 out of 5

    Janice

  46. 5 out of 5

    Amber McDaniel

  47. 5 out of 5

    Terri Graham

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