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Reviewed by Leonard William Smuts for Readers' Favorite
Benny Mailman is no ordinary traveler. He is a former US Marine and would-be stand-up comic who has found peace and tranquillity through embracing spirituality. He frees himself from the confines of a commercially-driven world and travels not as a tourist, but as a seeker of authenticity through interacting with ordinary citizens. He visits fascinating places and meets interesting people, mostly local, while crossing paths with other visitors to the Asian countries he visited. Subtitled Searcher of Soul Keys, this is the second volume of Finding 42, in which his journey takes him from China to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. The title of the book derives from the author’s age of 42 when he started this part of his epic trip in 2012. That number reappears at frequent intervals throughout the book. Soul keys are gifts from the universe through symbols, magic moments, and awakenings. Benny enjoys coffee, good food, and beer. He travels on a limited budget and overnights in humble accommodation, bringing him closer to the local population and avoiding tourist traps. He eats in coffee shops, local pubs, and buys street food. While he does visit tourist attractions, he can remain detached from their commerciality. The resulting experiences enrich his life and understanding of humanity. Benny concludes that love is the solution to life’s challenges.
Finding 42 is a celebration of freedom, achieved through spiritual awareness and connecting with extraordinary people in special places. Benny Mailman discovered that he could sense positive energy and was in fact an empath – able to identify energies and then allow himself to be guided by them in his ramblings. He also senses negativity and knows to avoid it, which enables him to be selective and only engage with kindred souls. The characters he meets are described in wonderful detail in a highly readable manner. The places visited are equally well depicted and his visit to the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia is one of many highlights. Many snapshot images enrich the text. In some respects, Benny’s travels and spiritual quest are symbolic of life in general. Benny is not motivated by money, power, or ego. These are recurring themes that are explored with insight. By discarding a conventional lifestyle, he is able to make the most of his experiences and grow as a human being. This will provide inspiration to readers, as well as introduce them to a series of adventures in both ordinary and exotic settings. This book is both a travelogue and opens a doorway into the uplifting side of human nature and universal love.