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Linda Ballou

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Lost Angel Found by Dick Jordan
10/17/2011 7:08:50 PM
Wonderful review for Lost Angel Walkabout-One traveler's tales from Dick Jordan of Tales from the Road

Adventure travel writer Linda Ballou knows how to bring home a great story when she goes on a trip:  Get into trouble.  For her, the deeper the water, the fouler the weather, the more hazards underfoot and overhead, the better the story will be to tell.

Think about the alternative.  You come back from your journey and tell your friends and family that you encountered no flights delays, no bad meals, no lost or stolen personal items, no bed bugs at your hotel, and not a drop of rain fell on your head.  How do they respond to this tale of no-woe-at-all?  By yawning.

There is no danger that you will nod off reading Ballou’s Lost Angel Walkabout: One Traveler’s Tales.  Instead, you want to yell “No, Linda don’t go there!’ or “Linda, whatever we’re you thinking?”, or “Watch out, Linda!  Watch out!

Linda’s travels have taken her on a wide path across much of the globe.  One of the reason I enjoyed her book such much is that I have actually ventured—albeit as a less adventurous traveler—to several of the places she writes about in Alaska, Arizona, the British Virgin Islands, California, Colorado, Hawaii,  Montana, and Wyoming.

In “Irish Mist” Ballou is—as often as the case in Lost Angel Walkabout—on horseback.  She says “The Irish ride like they drive—with cheerful abandon!”  Then she throws caution to the wind in the willows and goes on the equestrian equivalent of “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.”

While arm-chair travelers may deem Ballou possessed by a devil-may-care approach to danger on the road, to me her stories express a confident “What’s the big deal?  I can do this!” attitude that probably comes from growing up in Southeast Alaska where self-sufficiency is an essential trait.

For example, when on a walk in a marshy area frequented by bears near Glacier Bay, Alaska, she found the tide beginning to rise rapidly and herself at risk of spending a cold night far from the comfort of her lodgings.  She obviously lived to tell about her escape, so I’m not giving too much away be quoting from the penultimate paragraph of her story, “Bird Walk on the Wild Side,” while leaving you, the reader, to enjoy the final, humorous conclusion to it:

“My panic rose at the sight of matted areas of grass where large animals had bedded down the night before.  I was over-heating from exertion and lectured myself out loud to stay focused, to mind each step, and to not hurry—twisting an ankle now would spell disaster.  Keeping my center of gravity low, knees bent for balance on the boulders, I made a Groucho Marx exit through the marsh to the forest trailhead.”

Not all of Ballou’s travels involved risk of life and limb; some were emotionally challenging.  In “Water Dogs,” she recounts a sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands with her mother. It was not their first trip together, and she writes:

“Traveling with Mom is like swimming in embryonic soup.  It’s as though the cells that once divided and multiplied seek to rejoin themselves.  A calm feeling, like being rocked in the lap of creation, fills me when I hold her hand.  Our hearts beat in perfect rhythm.  I feel grounded in the presence of my eternal witness, the only person who has been waiting for me at the end of all of my twisted adventures.”

But this time, it was stress, not calm, that both mother and daughter encountered.  Her mother, who had wanted for years to make this trip, became frustrated when neither swim fins nor mask fit properly, thwarting her initial attempts at snorkeling.  The story has a happy ending in the water that involves food—hot dogs— but you will have to buy the book to learn how this humble American wiener saved the day and the trip.

Here’s what Michael Shapiro, author of A Sense of Place and Guatemala:  A Journey Through the Land of the Maya, and faculty member for the Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference says about Lost Angel Walkabout:

“Whether river rafting in the vast wilderness of her Alaska homeland or trekking through the emerald hills of New Zealand, Ballou’s evocative writing takes you there. She reminds us that in a frenetic world connecting with nature’s beauty can serve as our salvation.

Legendary travel writer, Tim Cahill, another member of the Book Passage conference faculty, calls Linda’s book

a spirited collection of travel narratives recounting … haps, mishaps, and serendipitous adventures … Some of the stories might make you glad you stayed home, while others will inspire you to toss the TV clicker out the window and get up off the couch to explore our beautiful planet. All of these tales let you share the sensual experience of being there without straining one muscle, getting altitude sickness, or tipping your canoe.”

“Lost Angel” in the book’s title comes from her place of residence—Los Angeles, the City of Angels, not from Ballou being constantly lost when away from home.  And the “Walkabout” part?  Well, if I lived in L.A., I’d be wanting to head for remote parts of the world as often as possible to get away from the press of humanity in that city, too.

Source: Tales Told From The Road (

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More Blogs by Linda Ballou
• Winging it in the Central Coast of Calif. - Tuesday, July 09, 2013
• Around the World Travel - Wednesday, February 13, 2013
• A Cruise I couldn't refuse. - Thursday, January 10, 2013
• Let Me Take you on an "Un-Cruise." - Monday, December 17, 2012
• A Night in Old Hawai'i - Tuesday, October 16, 2012
• Spotlight on Lost Angel Walkabout - Monday, September 10, 2012
• Last Chance for Romance in the West - Sunday, August 05, 2012
• Serious and Trashy Summer Reads - Wednesday, June 06, 2012
• Lost Angel Walkabout is a Winner!! - Monday, May 28, 2012
• How to Make Travel Writing Work for You! - Wednesday, May 16, 2012
• Seeing the World with New Eyes - Wednesday, May 16, 2012
• The Boldest Woman in Old Hawai'i - Sunday, March 18, 2012
• Sacred Historical sites Hawai'i - Saturday, March 10, 2012
• Save the Skin your In - Monday, February 06, 2012
• Lost Angel Walkabout in the Top Ten 2011 - Monday, January 09, 2012
• Why do Writers Write - Wednesday, November 09, 2011
•  Lost Angel Found by Dick Jordan - Monday, October 17, 2011  
• Let me toot Jay's Horne - Thursday, September 01, 2011
• Rafting the Grandest Canyon of All - Thursday, July 14, 2011
• Gathering Roads speaks with Linda Ballou - Thursday, July 07, 2011
• 5/10/2011 - Tuesday, May 10, 2011
• Fiesty Tales from a Brilliant Storyteller - Tuesday, May 03, 2011
• Great Outdoor Days in L.A. - Monday, April 18, 2011
• No Place Like Home - Monday, April 18, 2011
• Featured author in Travel World Magazine - Monday, March 28, 2011
• Lost Angel Walkabout Brings Home the Bronze - Sunday, March 20, 2011
• Lost Angel has a conversation with Yolanda Renee - Saturday, February 19, 2011
• Secrets to travel writing revealed - Thursday, February 17, 2011
• Alcorn gives Lost Angel Thumbs Up - Tuesday, February 01, 2011
• Adventure Travel Expert for NABBW - Monday, January 24, 2011
• Top Travel Writing for 2010 - Monday, January 03, 2011
• Kudos for Lost Angel Walkabout - Monday, December 20, 2010
• Jack London and Me - Thursday, December 02, 2010
• One Writer's Journey Interviews Linda Ballou - Thursday, November 18, 2010
• Review: Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler's Tales - Wednesday, November 10, 2010
• Holiday Book Give Away - Tuesday, November 09, 2010
• Great Outdoor Day in L.A.-Sandstone Peak - Thursday, November 04, 2010
• Lost Angel takes a tumble - Tuesday, October 19, 2010
• Lessons learned at the Book Passage Conference - Friday, August 20, 2010
• Running in Good Company - Tuesday, August 03, 2010
• AB FAB Review of Lost Angel Walkabout - Friday, July 16, 2010
• Praise for Lost Angel Walkabout - Wednesday, June 09, 2010
• Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler's Tales has arrived!!!!!! - Sunday, May 23, 2010
• Happy Earth Day Mom - Wednesday, April 21, 2010
• Happy Birthday Water Babby - Sunday, March 14, 2010
• Discounts to Book Clubs - Thursday, March 04, 2010
• Do You Feel Lucky - Tuesday, January 12, 2010
• Mystical Moloka'i - Wednesday, December 16, 2009
• Spirited gift selections - Tuesday, December 01, 2009
• Feel Good Story - Monday, November 16, 2009
• Swim with Dolphin lady - Tuesday, November 03, 2009
• Spread the "Good News." - Thursday, October 01, 2009
• Secret to Youth Revealed - Sunday, September 13, 2009
• Talk at Distant Lands Travel Store - Saturday, September 12, 2009
• Conversation with Yolanda Renee - Tuesday, September 08, 2009
• Sometimes you get what you need - Sunday, August 30, 2009
• Wai-nani-A New Voice from Old Hawaii on Kindle - Thursday, August 13, 2009
• Water Lomi Anyone - Wednesday, August 05, 2009
• You Can Afford to go to the Islands - Sunday, July 26, 2009
• Remembering Moloka'i - Tuesday, July 21, 2009
• Best Deal on the Big Island - Tuesday, July 14, 2009
• Wai-nani recieves wonderful review - Tuesday, July 07, 2009
• Hawaii Bound - Thursday, June 18, 2009
• Linda Interviewed by Newoka on Web Mistress Radio - Thursday, May 14, 2009
• FENG SHUI GHOST-BUSTER CONFESSES TO $13,680 AND 1.3 MILLION! - Monday, May 11, 2009
• Los Angeles Times 2009 Book Festival - Wednesday, May 06, 2009
• Promo Day - An Event For People in the Writing Industry - Thursday, April 30, 2009
• Keeping Ancient Hula Tradition Alive - Monday, April 27, 2009
• Linda And Wai-nai head for the L.A. Book Fest - Wednesday, April 01, 2009
• 2008 Literary Awards Finalist - Friday, February 27, 2009
• Meet Mary - Friday, February 13, 2009
• Heavenly Hawaii article - Thursday, January 22, 2009
• Concious Discussions Interview - Friday, November 28, 2008
• Why we love the Divine Dolphin interview - Tuesday, October 14, 2008
• Radio Interview - Friday, September 05, 2008
• Linda Ballou to Interview with Writers in the Sky - Sunday, August 31, 2008
• Linda Ballou to Do Reading in Encino - Sunday, August 31, 2008
• Book Club Classics loves Wai-nani: High Chiefess of Hawaii - Sunday, August 31, 2008
• The Art of Having A Nervous Breakdown - Wednesday, August 27, 2008
• Los Angeles Book Festival appearance - Tuesday, April 29, 2008

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