Accidental Travels of a Single Woman


Non-Fiction - Travel
208 Pages
Reviewed on 04/07/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Accidental Travels of a Single Woman is a nonfiction travel memoir written by Terry Woods. When her doctor advised her that she needed to avoid the heat of Las Vegas summers, Woods weighed up her options and decided to opt for extended travel rather than spend her summers hiding in her air-conditioned home. At first, she used the time to visit friends and take trips she’d been planning on, but she soon realized she needed other ideas. Woods found the Affordable Travel Club and learned about European home exchange opportunities. Between the two, she’s been able to spend her summers meeting new people, having unforgettable adventures and becoming a part of some remarkable families as a result of her extended visits. This book reflects the sixteen years she spent traveling, which began with a month-long home exchange visit to Milan.

Terry Woods’ nonfiction travel memoir, Accidental Travels of a Single Woman, will delight armchair adventurers and, no doubt, tempt many of them to consider their own membership opportunities in travel clubs, housing exchanges and other travel opportunities. Her stories are wonderful and soon had me imagining each of the places she describes so well. Woods seems to have an affinity for people; something which has made her travel much more than just seeing the sights in other places. As she shared her stories about the people who quickly became good friends and family, I found myself in awe of her gifts for empathy and congeniality. I loved visiting Lake Louise and other parts of Canada with her, marveled at the resurgence of New Orleans and laughed with her at the awful Mimmo and her escape from the highly overrated Vico del Gargano. Accidental Travels of a Single Woman is well-written, engaging and quite entertaining. It’s most highly recommended.

Rabia Tanveer

Accidental Travels of a Single Woman by Terry Woods is a fun, witty and entertaining memoir of a woman who traveled to Italy where she had the time of her life. Terry Woods lived in Las Vegas, but as fate would have it, she had to leave the city every summer or else her allergy to the intense heat would get worse. From there, her story takes many hilarious and often adventurous turns, but she never backs down. Standing tall and proud in front of challenges and adversaries, Terry meets every hurdle head-on and succeeds.

Armed with her wit, charm and her sense of wonder, Terry begins her journey and reaches Italy where she finds out what it is like to be romanced in the most romantic country, but also what it is like to really live. She experiences the best of adventures, whether it is a royal wedding or being only miles away from a superstar. From being mistaken for a terrorist to becoming a journalist who covers George Clooney’s wedding, she lived a full life in Italy where she discovered herself and found out what made her click.

Even though this is a memoir of one woman, I believe this is a great book that teaches us to love ourselves first and then anyone else. I enjoyed how Terry took charge of her own life, made her decisions and decided to enjoy her life. I loved the fact that she actually had fun, even though the way to her happiness was not easy at all. Her story is eloquently told by the author drawing close to the reader and becoming friends, so that her story becomes our story. I loved it.

Kayti Nika Raet

Accidental Travels of a Single Woman is an inspiring travel memoir by Terry Woods. Beginning with Woods' diagnosis of being allergic to the intense Las Vegas heat, Woods soon embarks on a journey of travel, empowerment, and self-discovery. Each chapter highlights a different adventure, whether it's solo or with a companion, domestic or international. Each chapter is short and blends seamlessly into  the next. In Accidental Travels of a Single Woman, the reader is invited on a journey of wonder and favorite things as she dives into what truly makes us human and connects all of us together.

Woods manages to evoke empathy in the reader with her witty and often unexpected humor and, with a genuine sense of relatability, she offers a wealth of information and a positive attitude. It is almost as if the reader has become her travel companion as she looks back over the years. Woods effortlessly manages to capture the essence of her thoughts and conveys them to the reader, without weighing them down in a torrent of florid prose, in a tone that is lighthearted but carries a lot of emotional impact. She also keeps her wits about her in a few hairy situations. Woods urges the reader to try new things and never to view age, gender, or life circumstances as a hindrance. I enjoyed every chapter of this motivating book and feel that Accidental Travels of a Single Woman by Terry Woods would be a great read for anyone looking to enrich their budding inner traveler.

Gisela Dixon

Accidental Travels of a Single Woman is a travel memoir written by Terry Woods, based on her travel experiences over the last several years. Accidental Travels of a Single Woman is your basic travel memoir and begins with Terry explaining one of her reasons for wanting to travel during the hot summer months to escape the desert heat in the US. We also learn what is meant by the Affordable Travel Club where people basically live in each other’s homes and visit each other across countries or continents. The book is divided simply into short chapters, usually each one dealing with a new place or new experience. In this way, the book details travels primarily in European countries and talks about experiences living with the host families or people she met and knew in the local culture.

Accidental Travels of a Single Woman by Terry Woods is interesting because Terry is a woman solo traveler at times and this adds an element of “new-ness” to the book. In a sense, this is not your typical travel memoir because I felt it primarily explains Terry’s subjective point of view about her experiences with people and the local flavor, such as her personal preferences for things to do in Paris, for example. So this is certainly not to be taken as any kind of tour guide. But it will be an enjoyable book for anyone who likes reading memoirs because that is essentially what this book is. Terry’s writing style is sharp, to-the-point, and at times humorous, and this make it a fun read.

Lit Amri

Accidental Travels of a Single Woman by Terry Woods starts with her one-month home exchange in Milan, Italy in 2001. The exchange was offered by a retired language professor named Emilio. She brought her friend, Rhonda, to join her and Emilio acted as their guide, showing them great places to visit. They even went dancing in the nightclub right across the street from Emilio’s apartment. In Rhonda's own words, “Italian people are full of life.” From Milan they went to London, then Woods narrated her time in Luckenbach, Texas, a place that reflects an eclectic mix of its early history and legacy of great music. Then, there was the fun of personally renaming the GPS from ‘Grazelda Penelope Stein' to simply ‘GyPSy’, and Woods funnily confessed about her poor sense of direction.

Accidental Travels of a Single Woman by Terry Woods instantly reminds me of the quote by Saint Augustine: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” This memoir is informative and engaging. It’s not just about the places she visited, but about life as well; the people she met and their stories, particularly the other historical facts of WWII that she discovered in the chapter titled ‘The Whole Truth.’ It’s also about love, relationships, and family. Woods's family story, especially about her father, is very touching and thought-provoking. She also talked about religion and aging-a topic she pondered in the last chapter, ‘Age is a Matter of Mind’. On the whole, this is a great read and offers an abundance of inspiration from Woods.